Amir Abdolrazaghi is a Software Development Engineer at Capital One and one of three keynote speakers at 100% Jellyfish in London on 6 December. He explains why developers need to hone their soft skills if they want to produce code at scale.
Tell me about your background?
Not everybody has time to experiment with new features and experiment with things and learn about them. I take the opportunity to do that and when I find something useful, I bring that in. In the end, it’s all about the quality of the code and finding new ways of making it scalable. I am always interested in new things, breaking them down, and making it easy for people to consume it. It’s not that developers are resistant to change – but with deadlines, not everybody has time. I want to make that process easier.
And that’s where the cultural piece fits in?
Yes. I’ll talk about the ethics of dealing with people. I’m interested in the best way developers offer and receive comments and how we can ensure a more democratic representation to the way we work. This is really important when dealing with multiple teams, libraries and projects.
Ensuring everybody knows what the key mission is important, isn’t it?
Absolutely. We love to sit and write a piece of code, get it out there, and move onto the next thing. But as teams grow, development work becomes bigger than that. You need to talk to people, get their opinions and bring them on your side. If you write code without telling anyone, you’ll either end up ignored or, even worse, labelled a dictator. As developers, we tend to create silos and not look outside them. When writing code, it’s good to share it, and it’s always good to have channels where you can encourage people’s feedback.
That sounds easier said than done?
It’s not easy. On one hand, you want to maintain that level of quality in your work, but on the other hand, you don’t want to discourage people. But if you’re open to explaining the details and offering examples – and you’re willing to be patient – you will get so much more from your work.