Your boss assigns you a task---maybe it's a bug, maybe it's a feature request---which requires you dig in to that area of uncharted code. How you feel about the uncharted code at this moment has a huge influence on how quickly you reach your solution.
I work in the arena of large-scale application development. Sometimes I'll come across a task that requires me to go snooping around in unexplored areas of code (sometimes it's code I don't remember writing from 3 years ago. I'm over here like "curse the fool who wrote this!!!" while pulling up my own name in the submit logs). Usually when lots of unfamiliar methods and classes are woven together, it can seem like working with a giant bowl of spaghetti instead of a well-crafted tapestry (but sometimes it really is like a giant bowl of spaghetti and maybe it needs to be refactored). When you're facing a vat of tomato-ey noodles, you can find comfort in the very essence of what you're dealing with:
It's obedient, always. Whatever it is formed into, whatever it is told to do, it will do it predictably everytime. And this can be a blessing and a curse. "Why won't it do what I mean for it to do???" Oh, but it won't. It will do exactly precisely what you tell it to do whether the outcome is what you've intended or not.
But this is also great news! It is so much easier to find where something is happening when you know that it must be happening somewhere. Which brings me to my point: If you approach a confusing chunk of code like it is a mysterious shifting cloud of unicorns, then unicorns it will be to you as you go to problem solve. If you, however, approach it like a detective, methodically sleuthing through the unknown, (I know this problem is happening somewhere and I know I can find it) then you're journey to solvingdom will be so much faster and more enjoyable. As motivational-speakery as it sounds, attitude will heavily affect the outcome! So the next time you're looking at that slithering mound of pasta with a fast-approaching deadline, don't forget that your approach will be the determiner of the speed of your success.
Go make your scrumlords proud, people.
Alina is an engineer that specializes in software development. She graduated from GVSU with BSCE in 2013. She is also a talented artist and has a keen eye for detail.
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