Sarah Mei on pair programming:

I did full time (~7hrs/day everyday) pair programming for many years.

For the first three months I was exhausted all. the. time. I actually don’t have clear memories of those 3 months; the only other time in my life that happened was right after each baby was born😅

After that, it got better. Like any other skill, if you communicate a lot, it gets easier.

Talking to other developers was communication “easy mode” - we had similar backgrounds & interests, so we could just launch into code & design discussion.

But after a few months, I found I was also better at talking to people on the outside - who weren’t developers or sometimes who weren’t even in tech! 😱

Pair programming felt like a cheat code - I could “just” communicate about code & design, but it secretly made me better at communicating other things as well.

I know there are lots of reasons to pair program for code quality and etc etc etc, but I don’t see much written about the personal benefits.

For me, an introvert with meh social skills, pairing opened up a previously-inaccessible world.

It made me good at talking to people.

My previous career as an ESL teacher had a similar effect on me. That’s why I’m glad that I didn’t study computer science in college the first time, or get into software development right after I graduated. I needed to be forced to work on my people skills. I think I’m a much better developer now than I would have been if I’d gone straight from school into coding for a living.