Learning to Love Coding — Again

F-Secure Life, Security & Privacy

Java Programming with the Intentional Method,”which takes place at F-Secure’s headquarters in Helsinki on the 7th of April, isn’t just a chance for aspiring coders a chance to learn some foundations of an extremely marketable skill. Students will also get the opportunity to spend a Saturday experiencing a method of coding that helped Maaret Pyhäjärvi, one of the class’ trainers, fall in love with her profession, again — by working as team.

“All learning on this course is highly interactive, and you will be working in pairs with a method where thinking happens hands off the keyboard, and words are needed to get the idea to the keyboard through someone else’s hands,” the class description says.

Maaret discovered the “joy of creating something” through programming during one of the roughest parts of her childhood. When allergies put her in the hospital at age 15, she drew upon her experience copying game code out of magazines into her family’s VIC-20 and Commodore 64 to create a new program that was particularly interesting to her teen self.

“Turns out what I wanted to do back then was girlie-magazine test called ‘Test if you are popular’ scoring each answer and telling me different results based on whatever the responses were,” she said. “I remember loving the drawing of my splash screen graphics line art, and fine tuning them for hours.”

Her allergies prevented her from pursuing her love of Chemistry so she studied Computer Science at Helsinki University of Technology, and this cured her of he passion for creating with code.

“Computer Science studies made me write code in ~10 languages, and hate programming,” she said.

But luckily, she found another way to apply her talents.

“I found the problems we were solving to be boring and felt that many men went out of their way to devalue who I am and what I can do. But when I discovered I was superbly great at finding problems and understanding things we did not yet understand, I became a tester.”

While she didn’t feel that the field of testing was immune to gender boundaries, her teammates had a tight bond and supported each other. Still, it wasn’t until she was 40 that she discovered the method of programming that would reignite her passion and change her life.

“Mob programming is a way to do programming in a group, using one computer as the input device for the whole group,” she explained.

She enjoyed the collaborative process of using words to get ideas inputed through the keyboarder who acted simply as a conduit for the group’s thinking. Working together was much better than typing away on her own.

“It turns out though that human mind is a fascinating thing, and the experience rewrote my value system around how I look at programming.”

Best of all, it employed all the skills she’d developed in her life with computers.

“My natural ‘tester instincts’ helped us build things right the first time. And the programming rubbed off on me enough to bring me back to working with code both in groups and solo.”

Now to give back, she teaches using the “Intentional Method,” which she favors because “there’s much more to a programming language than just the programming language. There’s the tooling and the technical practices, and communities in which we learn.”

She’s found that many of the classes she took have made programming “a less fun experience.” Her classes are designed to do the opposite. She emphasizes the “pairing up and creating while learning with likeminded individuals” that are the best parts of her job. And it’s a job that never fails to stimulate her mind.

“I’ve worked with software for decades, yet there are no boring days.”

Sounds pretty good, right?

So what should newcomers to programming do?

She believes that you’re a programmer “as soon as you get started.” And she encourages newbies to pursue the things that make her appreciate her profession so much.

“Pick problems that fascinate you,”Maaret said. “And find a flock of people to work and learn with, preferably in a pair or mob.”

And that’s exactly what this class is all about.

If you want to work with amazing coders like Maaret, check out our current openings.

 

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