The Pairing Diaries: Week 2

Two down, two more to go.

Monday, January 23rd

Paired with Tony, who incidentally matched with me that day (we were both rockin’ the same water-resistant North Face black hoodie). This was my first pairing session at a client site! Tony told me a bit about how React’s component, props, and state work and how Reflux is used to store global variables. We paired with another developer — yet another mob programming session!— where we worked on error message output for a billing form. There was verification that took place both on the front-end and back-end, but there were bugs that occurred (the error message wasn’t appearing as it should). Their team seemed really solid and collaborative, and it was overall good vibes. It was nice to recap the day with Tony, who gave me more insight around expectations of a software crafter.

Tuesday, January 24th

Paired with Jayden, which was super cool because he basically downloaded a huge amount of knowledge. I was unfamiliar with how his team operates and their tools, but I did know JavaScript and can recognize ES6 so there was that. Jayden basically defined and explained a bunch of the software and terms for me, such as GraphQL, POC, Terraform, Jenkins, Swagger, mutation, elastic search, auto-scaling, etc. We paired on writing unit tests for SQL’ing and fixing display dates. It was particularly useful to watch how Jayden debugs!

Other highlights included drinking some nitrogen-infused cold brew in the morning and eating Mexican food for lunch. I stepped out for a brief while to talk logistics with 8LA’ers who were going to TechFair LA; my phone died on me within five seconds of that call. Damn you, Apple Watch.

Wednesday, January 25th

Paired with Sylwia and another team member #moblife. Sylwia gave me an overview of the various APIs and microservices that her team works on. I like having context! I understood some things (at the most superficial level) from pairing with Jayden the day before. She was tasked with having the search engine point to a new elastic search bucket by re-writing those queries. Again, I felt like a fish out of water. It’s hard not being able to contribute and I felt like most of the time I was just asking questions to reaffirm the task at hand. Sylwia made sure that I had the opportunity to drive, which made me uncomfortable, but I appreciated that.

Thursday, January 26th

TechFair LA was located at The Reef, this creative design-y monolith of a building just south of the 10 freeway. It was a stone’s throw away from my favorite community college, LATTC, and there is a huge chair in the middle of their parking lot. The fair was apparently the largest tech fair in LA; there was an upward of 10,000 attendees and the line to get in wrapped around the building. There were also extremely long lines to talk with Tesla and SpaceX representatives, which made me re-think whether job fairs are really effective (because I don’t think they are). Despite being wedged in a corner, we had tons of people talking to us and doing our coding challenge or tweeting at us to enter a raffle for a Raspberry Pi. I had my 30-second pitch down pat. It was fun and we got our name out there, but also tiring.

My favorite part was working with people through the coding challenge. There were a few memorable people, including this guy who hadn’t written Python since college (but was still down for the challenge!) and a woman named Fox who refused to use loops. I love seeing the way people approach problems. I also reunited with a long lost friend from college who had no idea I was back in LA! ‘Twas dope. And I met a cool vendor who was interested in our services and gave me a vase of yellow flowers to take home.

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