Episode 75 – Your Code Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect with Sam Jarman

 In Podcasts

Sam Jarman is a software developer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand. He started his software development journey with C and later Objective-C creating Apps for iOS. Sam is also a keen blogger and writes a blog series called “Junior Dev Diaries” where he talks about what he’s learnt in the first few years of his career. In addition to blogging, Sam is an improv actor, public speaker, writer and future thinker.


Episode Description:

In this episode, Phil talks with software developer Sam Jarman about everything from his early days as a high school student developing his interest in I.T., handling lack of recognition as a junior, how to control your emotions and communicate effectively in a team environment, the exciting future for the growing I.T. industry, dreams of becoming a senior developer and how sporting wisdom can apply to software development teams.


Key Takeaways:

(1.14) Phil opens by asking Sam to share a bit about himself. Sam tells of his blog series, Junior Dev Diaries which documents and captures the lessons he’s learned in his career, to help others avoid the pain. Sam shares that he’s been “doing IOS apps since high school”, where he had 10 to 15 apps in the App Store before going to university and has been dabbling ever since. Sam says he joined the BNZ Bank’s IOS team in New Zealand seven months ago, to work on their IOS app. He says it’s been “pretty fun” going back to IOS full time. Sam says he performs Improv shows on the weekend in Wellington and while it’s different to coding there are similarities, “there’s a fair bit of making it up as you go along, which is a good skill in life, I think.”

(3.16) When Phil asks Sam for a unique career tip, Sam says that in programming, your code shouldn’t be thought of as for yourself now, but for your team or yourself later. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or bug free, it just has to be understandable. It makes you think about code structure and quality and the asset you’re adding to the business environment.

(4.39) Phil asks Sam to share the story of his worst career moment and what he learned from that experience. Sam shares what he calls the “low point” in his career, when he was working at a startup and he was very negative and defensive in a team meeting and towards a new hire. He says he learned how to control his emotions and communicate more effectively in a team.

(7.46) When Phil asks Sam whether he’s changed his approach to be more open minded and collaborative, Sam expresses that the difficulty as a junior, is that it takes three to four years to be able to say something with confidence and experience behind it.

(8.54) Phil asks Sam to share his I.T. career highlight or greatest success so far. Sam was recently named New Zealand’s Young I.T. Professional of the Year by the Institute of I.T. Professionals in New Zealand, where he was recognised for his blogging and work at the startup.
(11.57) Phil asks Sam what excites him about the future of the I.T. industry and careers in I.T. Sam says the most exciting thing is that there’s so many people entering the industry, there’s a lot to be taught to and learn from new developers. Sam predicts that there’s also going to be exciting opportunities in technical leadership in 5-10 years’ time. Sam’s also excited about technology, artificial intelligence and an API-driven world. Sam says I.T. is a growing, new industry and isn’t going to go away.

(15.15) Phil moves into the Reveal Round and asks Sam what attracted him to a career in I.T. Sam reveals that the “bug first hit me” in Year 9 when he had the opportunity to build a website and discovered programming with the help of the school’s I.T. support person.

(17.40) Phil asks Sam for the best career advice he’s ever received. Sam says developing empathy for other developers and for your team, understanding other people’s wants and needs is something a lot of people need to work on.

(18.13) Career-wise, Phil asks Sam what he’d do if he could do it again. Sam says he would learn Python from scratch, Ruby or JavaScript and more website front-end development, because it’s visual and you can get fast feedback on what you’re doing.

(19.21) On the topic of career objectives, Sam says he’d like to transition to a Senior Developer, become a better developer and help others improve.

(20.38) Phil raises the subject of non-technical skills and what has helped Sam in his career so far. Sam says with self-awareness, things become simpler.

(22.19) Finally, on sharing his parting piece of career advice, Sam says the codes or languages or tools or technologies you write don’t really matter as they’re always changing. What’s important is that you have to learn how to learn. He says, develop your “soft skills”, being a developer is a team sport, it can be handy to apply sporting wisdom to teams in software development.


Best Moments:

(11.16) Sam “I think feedback’s career food and I absolutely love it and when people have no feedback for me, I get almost a little bit upset and I’m like, ‘Ooh are you sure there’s nothing I can do better?’ Like I’m sure there’s always something to work on…”

(11.30) Phil says no matter how long you work in the industry there’s always something new to learn. Sam agrees and uses the analogy of keeping fit. “You don’t just run every day for six months and then you’re fit the rest your life. I think you have to keep working on it and I love it, I love that process…”

(14.05) Sam says the I.T. industry has a lot of work to do to support new talent and make sure that under-represented groups are getting into the industry, “Because diversity of thought is important.”

(22:34) Sam “…And I think it’s that’s really key and I’ll say it again you don’t have to know everything but you have to know how to know anything and that’ll help you kind of approach in new piece of technology and spot the patterns in it that are similar to what you already know or were spot things that you need to go figure out.”


Contact Sam Jarman:

Website: https://www.samjarman.co.nz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/samjarman @samjarman

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