Non-developer in the coding world — part 2

In my last post Non-developer in the coding world — part 1, I gave you a glimpse of my working environment and began explaining about some of the hardships I’ve encountered while working with developers. Last time, I talked about ‘developers being like machines’. Today, I’d like to continue with my insight on my dear developer co-workers and talk about communication.

Buzz Lightyear on my teammate’s monitor

But before that, since it’s been a while, I’d like to update you on how I’ve been doing with work and my co-workers. To my utter surprise, I’ve been able to master a few skills on processing what my teammates(developers) say or ask me to do, but also, I’ve been learning to organize my thoughts before I speak to them so that there might be less misunderstandings. I personally think this is an incredible achievement for myself because I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. Of course, there are still many things I still struggle with when I work with them, but now I know what to do in certain situations which helps me stay put.

Now let’s start talking about the real thing: communication. Communication has never been easy. It becomes difficult when people have different opinions, but it becomes even more difficult when people have different opinions and don’t understand each other’s logic all at the same time. As I mentioned in my last posting, I have absolutely zero knowledge on programming. I am more familiar with art and literature than with computers which means that my mind and my co-workers’ mind are structured differently. We have different priorities and point of views. Every thing that I’ve just mentioned might be quite obvious, but the truth is, these are the main factors why we’ve been clashing so much in opinions and struggling with communication.

WE ARE JUST DIFFERENT.

The little garden one of my teammates is trying to grow in our office

The most challenging thing I’ve encountered while interacting with developers is their way of voicing whatever question they may have on certain opinions, ideas, or topic. Our developers are very straight forward to the point of being exceedingly straightforward at times. They ask questions or make comments such as “what is your purpose?” or “there is no logic in your opinion” or “what you’ve just asked is logically or theoretically possible, but it cannot be done at the moment”. Actually, I am very thankful for their feedback. The issue is their tone of voice and emotion they deliver whenever they ask these things. They tend to voice questions very aggressively, so it is difficult to keep calm and answer them with gentleness and kindness. When someone speaks to you aggressively, you naturally try to defend yourself. This happens to me whenever I speak with our developers. I take defense, and this only makes it all worse. I am just guessing that this happens because developers are not very familiar with speaking to people since they’ve been trained to speak programming language for a long time. As I mentioned above, I have been doing a better job at dealing with these issues and am hoping to discover a solution for this sometime soon.

Also, developers have their own language and culture. What I mean by this is that they do speak English, but they have different jokes that they laugh at (which I can’t laugh at because I don’t understand, and this deeply saddens me). When we work together, we use gitlab. It is filled with issues and tasks that our developers need to take care of. It is actually our main mean of communication. Our developers ask me to read the issues and tell me that I can find all the information there. Well, I read through one of them and completely misunderstood the issue and had to hear the whole information and explanation from our PO. Issues on gitlab regarding development are mostly filled with very technical words, so obviously it is very hard for a non-developer like me to understand what’s going on.

Of course, I have also failed badly in communicating with developers. However, I sometimes feel like I have to adapt their way instead of me and them trying to be considerate to each other. Maybe someday, they will have the opportunity to understand my struggle with working with people whom are very different from them.

Please stay tuned for the last of the trilogy! The last topic will be on “developers not interested in the necessities of life.”