Laura Diane Hamilton

Technical Product Manager at Groupon


First Year Design Patterns: Surviving and Succeeding as a New Developer

Today Patrick Flor gave a great talk at Geekfest about his tips and tricks for surviving as a first-year developer in a new role.

Patrick is a first-year developer at Groupon. Previously, he has worked as a gardener, a primary school band director, and a humanities grad student.

The trick, Patrick told us, is to develop a flow—a pattern of activities—to maintain balance and work effectively.

Phase Hourly Daily Weekly
Booting Up Read and start/continue story Read, type (for example on, greet friends, do something unexpectedly nice Prioritize reading, videos, hobby coding, and open source contributions
Cache Warming Get context / reproduce bug Review pull requests, prioritize stories, standup Read, write, or code something hard
Managing Stack Pair up or headphones, hide chat and email, build test, code JUST DO IT, capturing tasks/tangents/ideas quickly (perhaps on OmniFocus) Running out of time? Go in earlier, don't stay later
Flushing Buffers Commit, document, pull request if done Get to know someone on or off your team better—e.g. at lunch/coffee Talk with friends/family and thank them for everything. Delight someone.
Sudo Poweroff Take a walk or play ping-pong Go home as scheduled, unless you'll be fired for not finishing something tonight Capture how you did and how you feel, go home, and unwind!

Patrick also recommended the following books:

Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides:

Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman by Dave Hoover:

New Programmer's Survival Manual: Navigate Your Workplace, Cube Farm, or Startup by Joshua D. Carter:

AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis by William J. Brown, Raphael C. Malveau, Hays W. "Skip" McCormick, and Thomas J. Mowbray:

Elemental Design Patterns by Jason McC. Smith:

And finally, The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander. Electronic version available for free.

Reading The Timeless Way of Building helped me temper the workplace-centrism that could otherwise have made my patterns too focused only on the mechanics of work, not its sustainability/place in the worker's larger life, and I think it might similarly help new developers intuit and leverage their own local/personal patterns and anti-patterns.—Patrick Flor

Here is a video of Patrick's talk:

First Year Patterns: Surviving and Succeeding as a New Developer from Groupon Engineering on Vimeo. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to