Pair Programming forced me out of my comfort zone

VP of Technology, Opreto

2 minute read

As a software architect and developer, I’ve always enjoyed working independently. There’s something satisfying about diving deep into lines of code, tackling complex problems on my own, and working uninterrupted for hours on end. So when my boss suggested trying pair programming, I was immediately skeptical.

The Struggle is Real

The idea of spending all day working closely with someone else, sharing a (virtual) keyboard, and communicating constantly seemed like a nightmare to my introverted self. But my boss was convinced that it would help improve code quality, catch bugs earlier, and foster better collaboration among our team. So, we gave it a try.

The first few sessions were tough. I found it hard to make small talk with my partner, and the shared keyboard made me feel anxious and exposed. I was constantly worried about making mistakes in front of someone else and second-guessing my decisions. At times, I found myself longing for my quiet solitude so I could focus without any distractions.

I also felt like I was losing much of the scheduling flexibility I previously enjoyed. You can’t take the afternoon off and make up for it in the evening if your pairing partner for the day isn’t okay with those hours.

The Benefits are Real too

Something shifted as we continued working in pairs and settling into a routine. The benefits became more and more evident over time. Having another set of eyes on my code helped me catch errors I might have missed. Bouncing ideas off my partner and getting immediate feedback on my work was incredibly valuable. And even though it took some time to get used to, I found that working closely with someone else brought a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose that I hadn’t experienced before.

However, the most crucial benefit of all was that, over time, the entire team was becoming increasingly cross-functional. Each of us was exposed to a greater surface area of the code base by collaborating with people with expertise in different areas.

The Growth is Unreal

It took a while for me to realize it, but pair programming challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and communicate more effectively. Not only that, it did that for an entire development team over a few weeks.

Looking back, I realize that sometimes the things we’re most resistant to are the things we need the most. Pair programming forced me to grow in ways I never thought possible, making me a better developer and teammate.