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The role creativity plays in programming

I consider myself to be a very logical person. I tend to favor practicality to aesthetics. I feel like this lends itself well to being a developer. I think that logic is seen as a key trait when looking for a developer. I agree, a big part of being a good developer is about being able to think through a problem logically and come to a conclusion that will solve the problem.

I think that one thing that separates really good developers is that they have at least some amount of creativity. Logic allows them to see the problem and work through how to best solve it given their past experience and knowledge. Creativity allows them to see a problem differently and come to a solution by seeing how things can work in a way that they have not done before. Creativity allows for connecting ideas not previously used together to creates something new.

If you want to improve yourself as a developer, I would suggest that you do something creative outside of work. Expand what you do and gain new exper…
Recent posts

Intern Project, a look back.

This summer I was able to be the Lead Developer for our intern team. The team consisted of a developer that was chosen as our Leader, he was able to show his leadership ability in a setting that he would not have otherwise had access to. Myself and another full-time developer helped to mentor the interns and build out the site. And, of course, four interns that are studying software majors at their universities. These four had very limited experience with developing a website before coming to work here and also did not really know what it means to work in an enterprise-level team environment.

Over the course of 11 weeks, with roughly 50 working days we were able to design a new website and build it from nothing into a fully functioning site that will add value to our business. Everyone had amazing opportunities to learn and grow and come together as a team. The people that we were at the start of the summer are so much better with more knowledge and experience to draw upon now at the …

Developer Job Description

What do you tell people when they as what you do for a living? Do you say that you are a programmer or developer? What if they follow that up by asking what that means, or what your daily activity means?

I have an answer that I think describes what I do best.
Problem Solver I am first a problem solver. I generally use technology as the tool to solve problems, but there are also times when a non-technical answer is really the best solution. Being able to break down the problem at hand and see it from different angles always me to provide numerous different solutions, then talking or thinking through those options should lead to the best possible solution. This works very well in a team environment because everyone has different ideas. Someone else will think up other ideas than I will, by sharing our ideas together we can build new ideas together.

Code Author When a technical solution is chosen and I start writing code, I shift into a different role, Code Author. Here I am focused on w…

Interns: Taking off the training wheels

My intern team has been working for several weeks now on our new website. We have already completed one deployment to production and are finalizing our second one. We started with a plan to release often adding small bits of functionality as we go and so far that plan has been working really well. We already feel like we have accomplished a lot because we have completed many of our project's requirements and should easily be able to complete the rest giving us time to do even more than just the original requirements.

One of the things I have had some difficulty balancing has been how much to lead the interns and how much to let them figure out on their own. In deciding what our team process should be and how we should allocate our time, I think it was important for me to do more leading. I saw some deficiencies in how we were currently working and brought up some ideas for how we could address them. We had moved into spending all our time just working through stories and did not h…

Advice from Dan Wahlin

Dan Wahlin was here this week running an Angular training course.
The Intern team had the great opportunity to steal an hour of his time today to ask questions and learn from an expert. We had some Angular specific questions, but we also got a ton of great life advice.

These are the biggest take-aways I had from our time with Dan.

His greatest strength is his persistence and ability to work harder than others. He said that he might not be the smartest, even though he clearly is very smart, but that he will out work you and he will solve whatever problem he is facing through his persistence.He also said that it was important to quiet your inner critic. You should not be afraid to do something, but rather use that fear and "go over the wall, not run away." I have also recently begun reading the book Banish Your Inner Critic, which focuses directly on this concept and what you can do to change your inner critic, this advice had really great timing for me.The next thing will not …

New role: Lead Dev

A few weeks ago I started my new role as the Lead Dev for my company's summer intern project. We have 10 weeks for a leader, myself, another full time developer, and four student interns to join as a team and create a working application from scratch. In the Lead Dev position I will be focusing most of my time teaching the interns and building them up rather than directly coding the application. I will find ways that I can stop hurdles and roadblocks from slowing progress, while helping the interns gain insight into what goes into building an application. 
Our first couple of weeks together have not been focused on writing code and more on less technical things. We have done team building exercises and already feel like a solid team with everyone willing to share their own ideas. We have defined the requirements for our project and had sketching sessions to mock up what our application it's going to look like. We have taken those sketches through several rounds of feedback comi…

HDC 2016 Keynotes

I really enjoyed attending the 2016 version of the Heartland Developers Conference (HDC). I want to share some of the things that I took away from the conference this year.The biggest highlights for me were the 2 keynotes on day 1 of the conference. Tarah Wheeler kicked off the show with a great talk that focused on mentoring. Jeremy Clark finished the day off with a complimentary talk about how to be more social and interact with fellow developers at events like HDC.Tarah Wheeler's KeynoteFrom Tarah's speech I gained a lot of encouragement to go forward and work to help mentor others in the community. She has found that when she gives to others that it has opened doors for her in the future. Even just giving someone encouragement can build a relationship that benefits everyone involved. Mentoring doesn't require you to know everything and not even a lot more than the person you are mentoring. Knowing just 1 more thing than your mentee still provides them with knowledge.��…

Double Back Development

Have you been stuck on a problem at the end of the day only to think about it all night? Then when you start work the next day, you are able to solve the problem quickly. I think I may found a reason that happens.

I got this idea from listening to this TED talk: Can Slowing Down Help You Be More Creative?

In this talk, Adam Grant discusses how procrastinating can lead to more original and creative ideas. He found that there is a curve for creative ideas. People that get things done as soon as possible and those that get things done at the last possible moment tend to produce the least creative work. However, someone that puts things off a little is allowed to let new ideas form and still has time to actually implement them.

One of my biggest takeaways was the idea of, “Quick to start, slow to finish”. To cultivate creativity, you want to start a project off as soon as possible, but then set it aside and leave it alone for a while.

With this in mind, I am suggesting a different approac…