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The Voice Inside Your Head

Published 12/4/2015

In today's episode we discuss the concept of vocalizing the things you are thinking about as you work through a problem - the "voice inside your head."

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and today I'm going to be talking to you about the voice inside your head. Specifically the voice inside your head when you're trying to solve a problem. If you are like me, you solve problems by thinking about them internally and maybe trying to write them out on a piece of paper or maybe solve them in code. But sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to talk it through. And to take it one step further, talking it through with another person can be incredibly powerful, especially if the problem has any kind of creative aspect to it. In other words, if you're trying to solve the problem in a unique way, if the problem has something to do with a user interaction, for example, it may be helpful to have another person involved. This is commonly referred to as rubber duck debugging. Debugging by talking to it rubber duck has been shown to be a relatively successful way of debugging problems because so many times, as we said on the show before, the problem is mostly solved by the time that you actually explain it in all of its individual pieces. And talking to a rubber duck, for example, and explaining exactly what the problem is often leads to some kind of epiphany. We're talking to a person has a secondary value, and that is that you are showing that person how you think. And fundamentally, this is important to be able to collaborate with people. And here's a little bonus for people who are looking for a job. If you get a problem handed to you in a job interview, talk it through as you are trying to come up with a solution for the problem, talk through the voice that is inside your head because that gives your interviewer a glimpse into how you solve problems. This is fundamentally important for an interviewer to understand exactly how you go about solving problems. And if you keep it all in your head, then your interviewer doesn't know the difference between you and another person who is thinking absolutely nothing. Here's the other benefit. If you start talking about a problem with a know the programmer, it is very possible that the problem itself will change, not the solution, but the problem itself. Because a lot of the time we don't fully understand the true nature of a problem until we try to solve it with another person. It helps to sit down and work on a problem with another person because typically they're going to look at it differently. And in fact, they will understand the core tenets of what the problem is in a different way than you will. A problem is not simply a question. It's not simply a sentence. It is a set of situational variables that you have to solve an outcome for. It's basically like looking at a set of variables and you're trying to combine certain things to make something come out on the other end. And you may look at those set of variables and see something different than somebody else sees. For example, if you have somebody from the marketing team come in and talk with you about a particular problem, they have the context, usually, of what kind of audience you are building this thing for. So your solution may not be as complete as if you were to talk it through with a marketing person. If you talk it through with another programmer, they may see some opportunities for optimization or they might see some opportunities for a better user experience that you didn't see. Unless you were to talk it through with them, you wouldn't have uncovered those things. So talk out what you're thinking, especially when you're solving problems. If you are in an interview or if you are working on the job, talk out what you are thinking. Today's episode was extra short because we don't have a sponsor, but in lieu of not having a sponsor, I want you to go and visit spec.fm today and view the other shows that are on the spec network. We have quite a few shows now that you would enjoy, if you enjoy Developer Tea, you're going to like these other shows, design details, vicarious, does not compute. And we have other types of content on there, like little bites of cocoa, if you are an iOS developer, you will love little bites of cocoa. So go and check it out, spec.fm, it is totally worth your time. And you're already going to be there because that's where the show notes for Developer Tea are. So click around, take a look at the other shows that are available on spec.fm. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. Make sure if you don't want to miss out on future episodes of Developer Tea that you subscribe and whatever podcasting app that you choose to use. If you are enjoying this show, please consider leaving a review on iTunes. This is the best way to help the show up and you help other people out. This helps them find the show easier if you leave a review. So go to iTunes and leave a review for Developer Tea. Thank you so much again for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.