Program These Situations Out of Your Programming Environment

Program These Situations Out of Your Programming Environment

The biggest challenges facing programmers are not ones you might expect. It is most often not a lack of technical skills but difficulty thriving in unfamiliar situations. Because priorities and tasks shift rapidly due to outside forces, it is good practice to expose programmers to new situations through role playing that will allow them to thrive. As a full service Functional Service Provider of SAS Programmers and Services, it becomes important to have strategies that can help because disruptions which are bound to appear can cause inefficiency that will affect your productivity. Here are some suggestions, taken from a colleagues’ white paper, to ensure your programmers are ready for any situation:

· You can have your programmers touch base with their manager each morning to get the task for the day. Then have two or more programmers regularly switch assignments once a week, for a month, so they can share their experiences having to deal with the disruption from their norm.

· Programmers quite often are put in a stressful environment wherein work has to be done accurately and as quickly as possible. So it is great to assign status milestones related to workload. Get your programmers to estimate and track progress using individual milestones, then have regular meetings to evaluate how well the initial estimate was and look for ways to create more accurate estimates, if warranted. Actively discussing questions about the milestones will become valuable experience in managing expectations with limited risk.

· Working in groups can be awkward with some programmers, leading to poor collaboration. Again, creating situations that artificially put a premium on coordinated effort can be an effective way to help programmers learn this critical team skill. You can create situations where programmers need to jump into an unfamiliar programming area and modify or explain the content. When programmers work together they usually split up the work into less discrete chunks. While this may be practical because they won’t get in each other’s way, it doesn’t promote cooperation. Practicing working in groups will come in very handy when they start stepping on each-others toes.

· Some people are naturally tidy, while others… not so much. The same can be said for programmers who can keep things neatly organized. While being a bit disorganized can work for some, it’s not a bad idea to remind all that you never know when someone will be looking in. So create situations where programmers need to clean up after one another. Motivate your programmers to maintain a personal programming space that is easily accessible to others. Emphasize how useful well-informed comments can be and to understand the practical need to keep programs clean and well documented.

If programming could be fully reduced to dumping in data and pushing a button, companies could save considerable expense by hiring chickens to peck colored buttons as opposed to experts with the ability to reason through scientific and technical challenges. Training that emphasizes the programmer to have a deep understanding of how everything works is critical. Encourage understanding of standard code by:

Re-purposing a program for another use.
Assign new tasks with limited selection of starting programs and have them select one and explain why. If a better option exists ask them to explain why.

You, as the manager, could then review the final code to ensure the modifications make sense and nicely lead to the desired outcome.

New situations require new skills. There are many serviceable training options available for general work and SAS skills, but it’s important to have training that specifically targets the local environment in which programmers need to thrive. Situational exposure training can help programmers fully leverage their training and talent and can help them build a broader, more durable skill set that is ready for all the challenges in their local environment.