The Art of Communicating as a Programmer

Generally speaking, communicating as a programmer means speaking in very technical terms. We often forget that much of the time, the people we are speaking (or writing) to do not understand these terms. Whether you’re a Senior Engineer talking to a Junior, or a Programmer communicating with a Customer Support Representative, here is a list of things to keep in mind to cultivate a fruitful conversation: 

Know Your Audience

Does he/she have a background in programming? Would acronyms like API ring a bell, or would it go right over everyone’s head? It’s important to gauge the room before deciding what language to use. Using too technical of terms (without explanation) will result in an audience that is lost and less likely to comply. However, if the audience is well versed in the language of programming, be sure to communicate your message using the technical terms in a way that doesn’t sound demeaning or condescending.

Use Concepts That Are Familiar To Your Audience

If your team is demoing to the executive team, for example, relate the new functions to past work and current platforms. Visual images can literally paint a better picture; use familiar images and diagrams that will make your point more relatable and approachable.

Be Concise

The reception of your explanation or communication depends on its clarity. Again, using a demoing example, use only the language that required to relay your message. By avoiding rabbit holes and side tangents, your audience will have a higher chance of retaining just the critical information.

Make Your Point With The Right Tone 

With so many different languages, there are bound to be developers who prefer one language over another, or as Business Insider puts it, “religious wars” over programming languages. In these situations, “agree to disagree” may be your new favorite phrase. Avoid using condescending terms or degrading name-calling when someone suggests you switch to a new language.

Remember, great communication means fewer bumps in the road. If the person you’re talking to can understand what you’re trying to say, your message is more likely to be received.

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