Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Girly and Geeky and Proud!

After trying to think up new ideas for an android app, the thought of "learning to program for girly girls" crossed my mind.  Of course that then begs the question of whether there is a market out there.  How many girly geeks are out there.  I'm sure I'm not unique. Sadly I'm in a minority and found half started blogs and pages, where clearly their audience wasn't very big so they lost interest.  How very tragic is that!

One thing is sure and what was clear from every one I came across was that they had a reoccurring theme: they are a girly geek and proud!  I know in my late teens and early twenties I tried to hide my girliness, as I thought that was right.  I would always try and show all the kinds of things I like that aren't girly, such as football and computer games.  Let's face it though these days most girly girls, whether geeky or not, like football.  So there is nothing new there.

So what changed?  Why did I stop trying to hide the girliness within?  Yes I still like football, computer games, poker, etc.  I guess it's with age, you just decide to be yourself.  Although to be fair I have found out that I hid my girliness badly.... and was fooling no one.

Has this ever caused me any problems in my career?  No.  Have I ever been perceived that I can't do my job?  Perhaps sometimes when flustering and not using technical terms, or waffling.  Or indeed during the lazy days when I used to flutter my eye lashes and get someone to do my work for me.  I don't advise you do that by the way (and I haven't for many years!).... work gets very boring when you're not doing your job and after all I enjoy coding, so why get someone else to do something that I actually do enjoy!!

So now I'm confident in what I know to be right, and confident to say when I just don't know the answer, or sometimes add the phrase "I'm guessing", I think intelligent people respect me.  I say intelligent people, as they quickly see through the bubbliness, and the perfect nails, and see that I too know what I'm on about. 

I'm going to have to add, that sometimes it's how you deal with people, and that goes for whether you are male or female.  Us programmers have egos.  In this industry you have to know how to talk to people, how to suggest things, how to fight for what you think is the right way to do something and sometimes I get it wrong.  Sometimes "Miss Bossy-Boots" comes out, and then it might as well be game over, as no-one likes her when she shows her face.

I've tried different approaches at every company I've worked at, and while the stern no nonsense side of me gets the job done and gains respect from the managers, it becomes a lonely and unrewarding place to be.  It's only recently that I've learnt that bubbly friendly, working hard girl still gets the recognition, and not only that, it makes for a much more enjoyable day at the office!

It is interesting that during my early days as a programmer, I look back and don't think that I worked to the best of my ability.  However interesting enough I've been chatting to work colleagues from that time and they remember a different picture to me.  They remember me as being good at my job, or bringing something new to the team.  Someone recently even told me I was a breath of fresh air.  

I can only conclude, that I'm girlie, geeky and proud, and how nice it is that I'm not alone in feeling like that! xx

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


This is my third attempt at writing about agile and why I like it!  I find myself going on while explaining, and not in the best way.... so I've decided to start this blog with a link to someone who can explain it all far better than I can.  Who better than Uncle Bob to tell us about it....

Be Inspired by Robert C Martin

When I first watched that video, it almost sounded space aged, now it's the world I live in.

I work in a 2 week iteration - I have a clear picture of what is expected of me, I know what my colleagues are doing.  I get quick feedback if what I'm doing is what the customer really wants.

I do TDD - my code is derived from my test, I don't write code without having a failing test.  I have confidence in anything I change.

I pair program - I keep focused by discussing and communicating what I'm doing and why I'm doing it, while I'm driving, I ask and learn from my colleague while they are driving, whilst I add any suggestions.

I keep my code clean - I try to write my code so the next person to read it can understand it quickly and easily.  We read code 10 times more often than we write it.

I refactor - with the confidence of tests I feel I can improve the code without damaging it, sometimes only in a very very minor way.  Leaving it in a better state than when I found it.  The boy scout rule - leave the camp site cleaner than when I found it.

I'm improving - working in short iterations I can quickly learn from any mistakes and improve.

In summary, I'm becoming proud of my profession and any work I produce.  It's a very rewarding feeling, and I don't want to work any other way.... well not until they have found a better way... and isn't that the agile way anyway?  Keep improving and finding better ways that work for you, for your team and inevitably for the project.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Off Topic... Tattoos (& XML)

For the geeks out there you will instantly see why this bit of XML doesn't parse: XML Wrist Tattoo Straight after posting a mocking comment with the picture on my facebook page, I then quickly realised that maybe he wasn't trying to be "correct" maybe it was what the meaning of <love> </hate> actually meant to the owner.  Were they saying "don't let the love end, and stop hating before it's begun."  Anyway what does it matter, it probably means something to the person who was prepared to have the commitment of them inked upon their skin.

It only comes down to first impressions, and my first one was unfortunately a bad one.

Whilst watching a show with Davina McCall and Fearne Cotton, I was admiring their wrist tattoos.  I've always said I wouldn't get one; they are just the trend at the moment and will show your age in years to come just as tribal bands do now.  Many people are getting them just because celebs have them, but it got me to thinking about them none the less.  Don't they quickly give a glimpse of who you are, and they are sociably acceptable due to the popularity, (unlike for example a face tattoo) and a nice chunky bracelet or watch can quickly cover them up.

I've also said I would never have a tattoo that is visible while at work, just because of the preconceptions that people have of tattoos.  That said I'm never shy to tell people I have 3 on my back or show them to people who are interested, so what difference does it make?

Anyway perhaps something to think about after my next tattoo.  I have my next hidden tattoo planned, and I'm so lucky to be on the waiting list of one of the countries most talented artist who can pick and choose the work she does.... and I can't wait to show it off to who ever I choose!