First step to “speak” code?

As we got to know from the first DBA class big majority of us are not coders and many BIMers never used a programming language before, and as we are taking this course most probably a big percentage of us does not plan to become a developer….but….most probably many of us will be working with developers in smaller or bigger companies a year from now when we will have our beautiful Master diplomas in our hands. And here comes the potentially scary part: how are we going to work with them? And how are we going understand “their language” especially when we actually don’t “speak it”?

The goal of this article is to start building up “list” of materials that can bring us a bit closer to understand developers. Here is the first (very subjective) part of the list. (Although some articles/videos are long they are worth the time.)

When the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) started a digital transformation strategy it’s Head of Group Technology & Operations, Dave Gledhill created his own application just out of mere curiosity and for his own fun which made him understand the logic behind the development of their own systems and points of attention much better. The article gives an interesting perspective on why managers should also get their hands “dirty” and how can this help them to make better decisions.


What are the hardships when managing developers? Reading this post makes it clear that although managers and higher level executives might be the ones that have the steering wheel in theory in practice the developers are those who make things work or not work. This read also mentioned the fact emphasized in the previous article: you need to be able to write some parts of the code even if you are a manager who has no background in development.


“The World belong to people who code. Those who don’t understand will be left behind.”
On a personal note: this is the best thing I ever bought in an airport by far. This June the Bloomberg Business Week spend a whole issue on “explaining” what is code, what is a computer, a little about programming languages, a little about programmers and what is it like to work with them amongst other topics. This might sound boring as a list like this but it is one of the best written pieces in the topic I ever read and the online version is much better than the printed as it has videos, interactive “games” etc imbedded into this mega article. It takes a while to read the whole thing but it has a touch of fun and sarcasm in it which makes reading easier and very enjoyable.

20replies by programers

4. Engineering Culture at Spotify videos 1 & 2
These two 13 minutes videos show how things work at Spotify, what makes them able to develop fast and change the platform step by step in a very innovative way. Both videos are really entertaining while you can learn incredibly lot from them about how to make developer teams engaged, aligned and thus successful.

Spotify Engineering Culture – part 1 from Spotify Training & Development on Vimeo.

Spotify Engineering Culture – part 2 from Spotify Training & Development on Vimeo.

And last but not least a less “serious” way to get the feel of programming, coding and all what is around it:
The ultimate “geek” series that has two hilariously funny seasons so far and the 3rd one is coming in April (only). It shows the daily life of a start-up in Silicone Valley starring four developers and a “manager”. If you want to have a good time don’t hesitate to watch it.

What are the materials (videos, articles, courses etc) that you use or suggest to get to know the “developer World” better? What were the most interesting things you read or heard in the topic?

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3 responses to “First step to “speak” code?”

  1. eamarinova says :

    I loved this article. As a programmer and business person, in the same time, I found the article really interesting (especially the 20 replies..I totaaly agree, since I have used all of them). I like the way in which you have incorporated materials from the news, from different articles, videos and even a movie, and I think this is an effective way to show that this is a current problem, and that there is a solution.

    Often business people do not understand IT work and their way of thinking. I agree that the communication is also inefficient, since they are just talking in different languages, and I have experienced that. In my opinion this is where we – BIMers- must help.

    Synergy between IT world and Business world is the path to success right now, I believe, and the topic you discuss is very important.

    In my opinion, one cannot understand developer’s world if he/she does not try to code, or at least watch some introductory videos of some computer language , as HTML, JavaScript or C++ (interesting and not hard). Once a business person learn how to code in at least one language, he/she will be able to get an idea of the developers world, and when he/she tries to explain what he/she did with that code in business context, he/she will discover the communication gap. Everything I wrote is based on my experience in my previous university and work.

  2. 377095lo says :

    First of all thanks for sharing this blog, it is the most interesting and amusing one I’ve read so far. Spotify seems to have a very inspiring engineering culture and the videos make me wonder if they have don’t have any co-operation issues at all.

    Last year I did an Interim project on ‘’the co-operation in the high-tech industry’’, which was about the issues that often arise when engineers and managers have to work together. These issues are, as you described here, caused by the engineer-dependency of the managers and miscommunication through the ”different” languages (technical versus managemental). In the project I learned that within the business world there are also certain prejudices that lead to cooperation conflicts. For example, managers often suppose engineers to be unsuitable for management positions and not customer oriented. Managers sometimes even find the engineers weird, based on certain characteristics, like the way they dress.

    There are also some similarities that can connect the managers and engineers, such as common business objectives, intrinsic motivation and the supervisory role that they both occupy. Business objects can still be met if the focus shifts towards these similarities. Perhaps managers would also need to be pushed more to try to better understand the engineers.

    I think it’s a very good thing that you brought up this subject. The relationship between managers and engineers will play an increasingly important role in the future and there is a lot of potential for a better co-operation.

    • gabriellapimpao says :

      Thanks so much for reading the post & commenting 🙂 The project you wrote about sounds very interesting I would love to get to know more about it so in case you write a blog post on it or have some materials please share it with me because this is a topic which really interests me 😉

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