Looking back on DBC, one of my favorite aspects of the program was peer pairing. Working with another Dev gave me the opportunity to learn from someone else’s skills and short cuts. Although pairing was helpful generally, I particularly enjoyed the opportunities to pair with non-Davidson Devs through Google Hangouts. These pairings gave me the opportunity to connect with other young professionals from across the country – something that traditional Davidson courses rarely do. I gained insight into their career paths and motivations, which helped me in reflecting on what I wanted out of the bootcamp and how I wanted to leverage my new development skills moving forward. The pairing sessions were also one of the spaces that I felt I could actually apply the soft communication and collaboration skills we were writing and reflecting about in the course. I found the Driver/Navigator system very effective, most of the time, and I think it has a lot of applications in other group settings. One space I would like to apply it to is the Student Initiative for Academic Diversity, which assists on tenure track hiring searches. Small teams of three to four students interview the candidates on each search and are responsible for writing a 1-2 page letter summarizing their evaluations and insights from the interview. I think the Driver/Navigator structure could be very effective in streamlining the writing process for those letters which are usually challenging to co-write.
Though I came to enjoy the pairing sessions, at first I was apprehensive not knowing how well the other person and I would work together or if our skill levels would mesh well. But with clear time and work expectations those unknowns contributed to the value of the pairing experience because I got to step outside my comfort zone, while knowing that if it went horribly I would have still met the minimum requirements and could learn from the experience. It felt like one of the more authentically “safe to fail” spaces because the risk felt high but the stakes were fairly low.