Leaving the Nest
So far since I have been here, I have been in the main room, safely within range of people I can ask to help me. I am still pretty shaky in my understanding of all of this new material so I thought it was necessary for me to be near help at all times, carefully toeing along through my work. This week, however, I found my usual spot taken by the time I arrived in the morning, so I had to brave the great unkown--the extra room next door. Surely, this was the domain of advanced programmers, people who could work independently and only ask for advice when they wanted to have a conversation about lofty topics, not when they needed help with fundamental tasks as I often do.
Despite my preconceived notions, I managed to gain a bit of independence and see that I, too, could handle most of my work alone all day. I think I just needed a little extra push to get going, a chance circumstance, in this case. Once I was in the framework of setting out to do independent work, I realized that it wasn't actually too difficult. I just needed to have the experience of getting things accomplished on my own to see that I could do it.
This week, I found I can be much more efficient when I am alone with my thoughts and have time to think through everything before attempting to tackle an issue. I had the chance to take plenty of notes about everything I was doing, from my thought process, to the steps I took to reach my goal, to the detailed results of each of the different routes I chose. I found that even though this took a little more time than simply running through different tasks, it was a very valuable excercise because it allowed me to have a map of everything that worked and didn't work.
I could go through what I had written if I needed to think about exactly where and when I had changed something, be it my code or my approach to a problem. Another benefit to slowing down and recording everything I was learning is that it stuck with much more firmly than hearing someone explain it and attempting to commit it to memory. I am far more comfortable navigating through each page of code than I was just a week ago. I have a much greater understanding of the model-view-controller paradigm, as well.