Mentors, music, and motivation


Carol Willing


March 18, 2015

As I get ready to attend the Write/Speak/Code conference, I’m doing more reflecting on the past few months than packing for the trip. While I would like to leave San Diego with warm enough clothes for New York City, I want to write a few brief thoughts about learning from others. Learning from others is one of the things that I love most about software development. While I enjoy my time quietly working through code on my own, I value the time that I spend collaborating with other developers. When I was a child, black rotary phones were popular, libraries were a great place to do research and pore through musty books, and mailboxes were quaint boxes that held paper envelopes, postcards, and the annual Sears catalog.

While the technology has changed and evolved over the years, interactions with people have remained important through all of the changes. Communicating my ideas and listening to the ideas of others have been critical skills for me for as long as I can remember. I believe communicating and listening are key to solving problems that impact another individual’s life or a community.

As a music lover and amateur band member, I enjoy playing with musicians that are better than me and sharing my limited skill with those that ask for my assistance. One thing that I know is that there is and will always be more music that I enjoy than I will ever be able to play or master. I appreciate the time and effort that other musicians put into their craft.

Like in music, I search out other software developers in my quest to learn a new skill or find a perspective that is different than my own. Whether informally coding at a study group, having a recent grad teach me how to use an app on my phone more effectively, emailing a Python creator, or pair programming at PyTn, I find that most individuals have something very valuable to offer to a new or experienced developer. I’m very thankful that these people choose to share their unique talents. I’m also humbled by their knowledge and motivated to share my own perspective at Write/Speak/Code. Selfishly, I can’t wait to hear the thoughts of the attendees at Write/Speak/Code and their creative ideas too.

A special thanks to Professor JoAnne Yates for teaching me the importance of communicating well with others.