Software development

Practice makes perfect

06.07.2021  — 

Software developers from the Vehicle Software Solutions division have teamed up in order to learn with one another and, in so doing, foster an ongoing learning process.

Taking it to the next level with practice and persistence

Using the so-called CodeKata, a practice model from British programmer Dave Thomas, IAV colleagues set various tasks with the goal of becoming masters in their field – software development. The term kata comes from Japanese martial arts and refers to stylized combat with a set sequence. Constant repetitions in a kata are conducive to internalizing basic elements of martial arts. The positive effect: sequences, which occur again and again, can ultimately be successfully performed in your sleep.

The principle can be transferred to software development. The team regularly tries out different tasks – from easy to complex – and expands its know-how. In the process, they use predefined tasks like e.g. those from Cyber-Dojo. The different tasks and intense cooperation make katas attractive for participants of all knowledge levels. New techniques, tools, and programming languages can be practiced in a playful way.

In practice, two people take on the roles of pilot and co-pilot, respectively. They spend seven minutes working on a solution process – with the pilot actively working on the code and the co-pilot advising. Once the time has run out, the co-pilot becomes the pilot and the next team member assumes the role of advisor. The participating developers switch roles following this pattern until the task has hopefully been successfully completed within the allotted hour. The focus of the at least four participants is currently on tasks in the C-environment, but Python and C++ are also on the agenda for the next few months.

New perspectives and approaches to problem solving

The point of the one-hour sessions is not to arrive at a standard solution. Different approaches and techniques can be considered for the solution. In addition to providing a safe space to try things out, alternate roles, and learn together, the katas are fun and they promote team spirit. Those colleagues who have already participated appreciated the new perspectives and approaches to problem solving they were able to gain.

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