By Brian Gates, Front End Engineering TA
David Rogers, the front end engineering instructor here in Orlando, likes to tell his students not to be “Han Solo” – meaning, don’t try to get through the whole program working on your own. While I appreciate the message, I can’t approve of the phrasing. I don’t mind the terrible pun, that’s Lucas’ fault anyway, but I do think it’s unfair to Han Solo, who did end up coming back to save the day at the end of Star Wars. (um, spoiler alert.)
Still, Harrison Ford’s iconic movie roles have plenty of lessons for success in The IronYard (and life, really, but I’ll focus on TIY).
You Can Help – Even when you feel blind from too many hours staring at your own code (or too long frozen in Carbonite), you can still get in a position to help someone else who’s stuck.
“No, you’re missing a semicolon. I see it.”
Know When to Let Go – Sometimes you will have problems that you can’t quite solve as well as you’d like. Sometimes you will think of improvements that could make things so much prettier/cooler/more elegant/more awesome, if you could only spend more time.
“I can get it. I can almost reach it”
There will always be more to do. Sometimes you have to listen to Sean Connery saying “Let it go.”
Read The Documentation – You are going to have to dig deep to make things work. If you don’t thoroughly read the instructions up front, though, you can end up digging in the wrong place.
“And take back one Kadan, to honor the Hebrew God whose ark this is. That’s a non-backwards-compatible change they introduced in version 3.0.”
Quick and Sloppy Beats Getting Crushed – There’s a time and a place for careful, precise planning.
There’s also a time and place for ditching the careful plan and just getting away from the giant thing that’s about to flatten you. Learn which is which.
Celebrate the Victories – You’ll have wins while there are still big problems in front of you. It’s ok to savor the wins.
Still in his future: Getting strapped to a table and tortured, being frozen solid, sleeping next to animal intestines in the snow, and watching his future wife make out with her brother. But he can enjoy the moment.