Be The Worst

Intimidating in much the same way that The White Belt pattern is, Be The Worst encourages software developers to surround themselves with peers that have much greater skill levels. As the weakest member of a team, one has ample amounts of room to learn and grow. Practically speaking, due to the skill present in the surrounding developers, they will be able to correct the unseasoned programmer’s mistakes, and prevent those mistakes from recurring in the future. Furthermore, the goal of the pattern is quite emphatically to cease to be the weakest; the person making use of this pattern will be working extra hard to climb up to the level of the professionals surrounding them.

Admittedly, this is a bit of a difficult pattern to put into practice – at least for me – in the immediate present. The only time I can relate to Being The Worst is when I first joined the programming team back in sophomore year of college. I certainly noticed the gap in capabilities; I was much slower than the other members at solving problems, and my solutions tended toward the bulky side, with optimizations that weren’t necessary for the problem at hand. Over time, being among the other members of the team taught me to evaluate context to determine how thorough I needed to be with my code, and gave me mechanisms for assessing problems in a way that was more programmatic.

I expect that this pattern will come into play whether I like it or not as I enter the workforce. Whatever team I happen to join will have been doing the things it does for years before I ever showed up, and may have tools and environments that I’ve had minimal exposure to, if any. As such, I will need to keep the ideas of Being The Worst in mind while I learn to navigate that team, working in any ways I can to raise myself to their standard and beyond. For now, though, I will have to settle for my position of Being The Neither-Worst-Nor-Best in my current team for the remainder of the capstone.


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