In this final installment of my individual apprenticeship patterns, I think an important one to write about would be Find Mentors. To summarize the main point of this one, I would say that it encourages people to observe their role and their surroundings to see where they can find the most value from learning or use their resources. It encourages you to look at things from one level back instead of blindly jumping into something right away.
Personally, I have been in a role where I had to figure out a lot of things that could have just been taught to me. I quickly learned that I would be able to ask other junior developers how they managed to learn things on their own and it helped me a lot. If other junior developers were not available, then I would work my way up to people who had the most recent on-boarding experience and hope that they could recall the process I was currently going through. For the most part, that worked out well!
Thanks to this pattern, I thought it was useful to think about and remind ourselves that even though our mentors will know a lot more about us, they still do not know everything. They are still continuing to learn as much as we are in their own careers.
I thought I should update this blog to throw in a little hidden announcement if anyone actually reads these that I will be learning at a company with about 100 peers going through the same thing. This makes me feel a lot more confident knowing that I will have a designated support system around me and have mentors around.
Overall, I agreed with the pattern. This is because I can testify with my personal experiences how useful it was to be able to utilize my resources including being able to ask mentors questions or just find my own. A common question I had for my interviewers was, “Will I have a mentor or support system along the way throughout my career progression?” Personally, it is important for me to have a designated place to go for support because it just takes one more worry away about having to ask somebody a question.
It is now time to conclude my individual apprenticeship pattern series! I hope you have at least learned one thing from it because I have learned so many things.
Testing, testing. I may need your approval on this article I read by Software Testing Magazine on Approval Testing. Approval testing, as defined by this article, is a way of software testing that results in presenting the before and after of an application for a user (ex: software development team) to review it and potentially approve it. It’s more of a visual representation of testing and one of the major cons is how the results have to be checked manually.
Some testing tools mentioned include: Approval Tests, TextTest, Jest, Recheck, Automated Screenshot Diff, Depicted (dpxdt), and etc.
The main purpose of the software testing tool, using TextTest for example, is checking that the text output after running program from the command line in different ways.
What I found interesting is how a user can see that a test technically could have “passed” or “failed” but still decide to mark it as the other because they choose what feature they are looking for in the end. This makes it a little more flexible to use approval testing as it is more of a guide or guideline for a user instead of only seeing one word and then a short description of what could have gone wrong. I think this process is much more transparent or descriptive with a user about what could have gone wrong or what went right.
One way the content has changed how I will think about the testing is how there are so many more types of software or programs out there than we can imagine which help us better code or create our own software and programs. This one is especially good for visual coders and testers who like to see their results firsthand to compare what they are expecting with what they actually got.
Overall, I found this article was useful because it introduced me to thinking about a better way of logging the differences between what the reference result is versus the actual result. I did not disagree with any of it since it showed us how we can use approval testing to our advantage while still being honest about its limitations.
When coding, users always have to be conscious about the way their code may be implemented or used in the future by different services leading to potential misuse. After reading Code Health: Make Interfaces Hard to Misuse by Marek Kiszkis, it made me think about how important communication between testing code is.
I found this content useful because Kiszkis featured some examples that can show how an interface could be misused easily. The examples included:
- Requiring callers to call an initialization function
- Requiring callers to perform custom cleanup
- Allowing code paths that create objects without required parameters
- Allowing parameters for which only some values are valid, especially if it is possible to use a more appropriate type
It is also good to remember that at the end of the day, code should be defensive but not too defensive to the point that complexity is increased and performance overall is reduced. Kiszkis says “it is not always practical to have a foolproof interface” because there will be situations where some requirements are things that cannot be expressed in an interface.
After seeing so much content based on being careful about what you code it is surprising how this article says it is not necessary to plan too hard. I kind of understand why Kiszkis would say this but personally, I kind of disagree with this. The reason why I disagree is because if someone does happen to end up with more time to work on something than expected and they know it will make something more efficient, then why not go for it?
Overall, I appreciated what was shared in this article in terms of encouraging users to try and see issues that can arise with their code when it comes to interfaces. The main takeaway for me is that if something is brought up, or triggered by undefined behavior, a user should try and make it impossible for this to happen. A way of doing so is by adding things where necessary, like certain slots in his example. It does not have to be too specific but detailed enough so that it covers different aspects, similar to how we try to prepare for everything when it comes to equivalence class testing.