What is pair programming?
It is cool to have a partner in your programming journey that uses the language and technologies as you. Pair programming is when two people work in a pair on a particular project where one person is the driver and the other is the navigator. The benefits derived from this method is so great that the programmer(the driver) improves in his technical skills and has experience working with someone. There are also challenges faced while trying to make this method work; communication gap is one of it.
The concept “Pair programming” started in the 90s, it became popular and was used in extreme programming (XP). extreme programming is a form of agile software development in which people work in teams to develop a project. Pair programming was used by women who worked on the first generation computer. They shared ideas and helped improve each other’s work in pairs. It was very effective.
How Pair Programming Works
Pair programming involves two people together to work on the same code base or editor or computer one takes the role of a driver and the other a navigator.The driver writes the programs/code and the navigator overseeing the program, they both switch roles after a while.
In pair programming, there is a project that is needed to be built or worked upon. The driver writes and implement the code, the navigator checks the code structure if it meets the requirements, test if features work, suggest improvements and is open to ideas from the driver. The two programmers have to communicate efficiently while working on a project. Once they switch roles, the same method is employed, both learning from one another. The driver can be a junior developer and the navigator can be a senior developer or someone with a higher level of expertise or experience.
Qualities of a driver
The developer has a knowledge of the language of being used in the project, he implements code and is open to accept corrections from his partner. He is also willingly to learn and communication efficiently with his partner. Lastly, he dedicates time and consistency.
Qualities of a navigator
The developer has good knowledge of the language used for the project and experience. He checks if the code written by the driver is up to standard and make changes when needed. He is patient and straight forward when pointing out errors or improving code structure. He is open to learn and ready to communicate. Lastly , He dedicates time and consistency.
Tips for effective pair programming
The most crucial skill is communication, as a developer with a greater level of expertise, there is need to break terms in the simplest way possible for the fellow to understand. Sometimes it may be frustrating if the developer does not understand after explain but tone matters so they won’t be scared. Taking breaks too is very important so that both developers can reflect on what they learned and measure progress. Collaboration should not be one sided, the senior developer should take the role of the driver sometimes so that the other can see and ask questions, even share need ideas to make the project a success. Time and Consistency should be put in to enable fast growth.
Benefits of pair programming
- Increased efficiency and productivity: It gives them a feel of working in a team on a project/
- Improved code quality: for junior developers, they get stronger in proper code structures that are readable to others, familiarity with code environment, procedures and methods of doing things.
- Enhanced learning and skill development: Both programmers learn from one another, different perspectives and experiences rubbing off on them
Challenges of pair programming
- Initial learning curve and adjustment period: at first, it takes time for both individuals to get used to themselves if they are not friends. It also takes a while to both understand where they stand in terms of skills and limits.
- Finding a compatible programming partner: one has to be comfortable to find his partner that he connects with and bonds with for there to be progress. It takes time
- Managing workload and schedules: in situations whereby there is a timeline, the project may take a long time to be completed. It also takes time to edit and go through code base written by someone else because experiences are different.
There is always tremendous growth in pair programming and so much improvement skill wise, it takes a lot of effort to achieve that. Teams can organize pair programming amongst their workers, people can bond closely and understand the work structure from another perspective.