Coding and developing software is no longer a case of a single programmer hibernating in his basement with his father’s old Macintosh running Windows 95. These days, the work is being done by like-minded, project-oriented coders sitting shoulder to shoulder, working collaboratively on group projects. Teamwork is vital to success as it’s one of the key aspects of technology- compatibility, and integration.
“‘The ability to work in a team’ was the number 1 priority that employers looked for in potential candidates”
Forbes magazine, in their article ‘The 10 Skills Employers Most Want In 20-Something Employees’ listed, in order of importance, ‘the ability to work in a team’ as the number 1 priority that employers looked for in potential candidates, with the ‘ability to make decisions and solve problems’ as a close second.
At number 3, ‘was the ability to plan, organize and prioritize work’, and 4, ‘the ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization.’ There’s a very obvious pattern here. Employers want their employees to be capable of cooperation and collaboration for the sake of the project at hand, and people skills are vital to teamwork.
Paul Glen, the CEO of Leading Geeks, describes the process of developing software as ‘like living in a dream state.’
‘ To be productive, you have to enter an entirely symbolic world, where you manipulate algorithms and variables, foresee flows and contingencies, test out ideas, and follow intricate threads of thought. Working in this sort of world requires long periods of uninterrupted concentration.’
Focus, concentration, finding practical solutions, are all valuable traits to have, but if you can’t stand the person sitting next to you, or the project leader looking over your shoulder and asking about the project’s deadline, then your ability to participate in a team-oriented workplace will suffer.
Problems of coding in a team.
In ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,’ Patrick Lencioni describes “The ultimate dysfunction of a team is the tendency of members to care about something other than the collective goals of the group”
Of course it’s your job to create innovative, intelligent and engaging technology, but you’re not the only one with that goal. You can walk into work with all the technical fluency in the world, but if you can’t translate it to benefit your team’s project, what use will you be?
Coding bootcamps do not simply provide a guiding hand, more so, they provide a practical learning model which teaches you how technical environments work, and along with all the technical aspects of programming, they will teach you the importance of coding in a team. You want to gracefully enter the workforce as a viable employee, as opposed to a wide-eyed university graduate in need of a chaperone to take them by the hand.
It’s in your own interest to immediately accept that you’re not the only one with ideas. Learn to agree, learn to disagree, learn to negotiate, but very importantly, enter the group with an open mind and the ability to accept that occasionally, you will be wrong. We’re emotional animals, and coders are no different. It’s important to get to grips with the group dynamic, and all those unsaid laws of group politics. Just remember, you’re all there for the same reason. You share the same responsibility, and the same objectives.
No matter how good you think you are. It is good to get exposure to both the best and the worst of what other people do. You can learn from both. And one thing you need to have in your tool kit is the ability to work with anyone whether you like them or not. People skills are critical to a successful career.
Where does that leave you?
Senior analysts and programmers way above your pay-grade, with potentially decades of experience between them, are not to be feared. They were you once. They entered the door for the very first time just like you. They stammered the first time their boss asked their name, they may have kept quiet for the entire first day, but they stuck with it, so they know the intimate details of the process. They want you to succeed because, at the end of the day, they have invested in your ability to provide something for the company’s sake.
The world never stops turning, so it’s wise to come to terms with being in constant communication with your team, whether you’re sitting side by side at a conference table, or within chatting distance, or through email correspondence. They need you, and you need them. It’s just like the interactive learning environment provided by the Code Institute where you’ll be asked, from the very beginning, to become familiar with the importance of group management and teamwork.
You’re in the same boat, and while you may not agree with everyone, you may not even like certain individuals, you’ll work better together than apart.
Even great minds occasionally need help. After all, Andrew Carnegie, the genius Scottish-American industrialist who changed the American steel industry in the late 19th century said:
“Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”