When you start remembering names

When I was a child and started to listening to music, I had a little monophonic outdated set.

At the time, I remember that the sound that was coming out of the box was a quite indistinct continuous stream. I could make the distinction between two stations but could not name the song or the bands that were playing on. It was just “music”.

Very soon, I learned that I liked one song more than another. In order to be able to exchange with my friends at school, I started focusing on the band names and then I knew I definitely like The Cure‘s music far more than Samantha Fox‘s one.

Because I now knew the names, I could find the records at the media library, exchange with some friends, who suggested me new bands. I could read some music magazines to learn things about Joy Division and Tony Wilson. And because I then knew who Tony Wilson was, I could soon discover the other bands that used to play in the Haçienda in Manchester.

I was learning faster and better.

Naming things is a first step to think about them.

This can seem very obvious but it is actually quite common not to know names.
I do not know one single name of an American Football player. This is because I do not actually really care about American football. And that’s OK. You cannot be interested in everything. You cannot know everything either.

But if you are interested in a domain, I would suggest you try to remember its actors name. And this is also valid for code and IT.

It is very easy to embrace code by just doing it and keep avoiding to think about it. There is too much work, too much to learn already. Why would I bother learning who is doing or did things around?

Because it helps to think.

As an example, how to answer a common question like “should I use unit tests”?

If you don’t use unit tests already, you will jump on the first article that states they are not that useful and that in real life, it is OK to skip them.
You will because the normal human behaviour is to

  • fear change
  • be lazy

And you are human.

But if you know that Joel Spolsky, despite being an excellent writer and being a guru in software management, is also quite out of the code now and more, is also tempted to take the controversial side of things, you might reconsider your position and instead take advice from real coders.

And if you do, you will write unit tests.

I, personally, still am at the very beginning of this process. I still have a LOT of names to learn, relations to build and of course even more things to learn.

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