Benefits of Pair Programming

Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

After I graduated bootcamp, I got into a habit of coding alone. There’s something satisfying about getting into a rhythm and having no interruptions. As time has gone on, however, I’ve realized how beneficial pair programming can be, especially in a pandemic. Here are some of ways that pair programming has helped me and my code out.

The first benefit of pair programming that I find extremely helpful is that it allows you to speak about your code. This is a skill that I’m admittedly still working on, but I get my best practice when I’m coding with one of my friends from school. Finding a partner to program with provides a safe space where I can work through feeling like I sound awkward or like I don’t know what I’m talking about without feeling judged. And in time, that awkward feeling starts to go away because I’m gaining confidence in my conversations and my ability to speak technically about the code that I’ve written.

Another perk to being able to speak out loud about your code is that you yourself gain a better understanding of what your code is doing, or how you can edit to make your code more efficient. Having someone ask you questions about what you’ve written gives you the opportunity to teach and explain, which is often the best way to learn something yourself. Engaging in a conversation and working together can be the perfect environment for gaining better understanding and coming across those “a-ha!” moments we all know and love.

The second benefit that I’ve become thankful for, especially in these pandemic times, is that pair programming provides accountability that we don’t necessarily have when we’re working from home. Personally, I fall into “treat yo’self” mode when I’m working alone. I’ll debug something that’s been broken and frustrating me for a while, and then immediately want to celebrate by watching Tik Tok for too long (am I the only one?). Making time for more pair programming has given me the accountability that I need to power through and make progress on the projects I’m working on. I think we take for granted how much human interaction does for us on so many levels. The debugging and the failures and the successes that we encounter throughout the day feel a little more meaningful when we have someone to share them with. I find that I’m more motivated to work when I know that I have someone to be accountable to, and who will celebrate with me when I’ve accomplished something!

Last is something I’ve mentioned throughout this article, and that’s debugging. As pair programming is not a one-way street, you’ll often be helping to debug and walk through your partner’s projects. In my experience, this is a great way to build your knowledge and understanding of the technologies you’re working with. Coding is as much about fixing what’s broken as it is about building new things, and getting practice jumping into unfamiliar code and debugging it is one of the best ways to deepen your understanding.

You have so much to gain from pair programming! If you don’t already have someone that you’re working with on a regular basis, go out and find a partner. Not only is pair programming a fun way to connect with your peers while being productive, but it helps you to learn and grow as a developer. Happy coding!