What is pair programming?

Pair programming is a term used in agile software development whereby two programmers join in developing one program. Both developers share the same workstation: one computer, one screen, one keyboard, etc. The programmer controlling the keyboard is the driver, while the other is known as the navigator, dealing with general programming tasks. The two programmers keep on switching their roles accordingly.

Nowadays, remote and collaborative coding platforms allow the pair of programmers to work on the same project even when they are miles apart.

How Can Pair Programming Be Effective?

The key to successful pair programming is effective communication and savvy programming skills. The best way to succeed in pair programming is to have two programmers share one computer. The programmers work together to architect, code, and test the code. The right pairing would include two programmers at the same level, such as an expert and an expert, or two novices. However, you can pair the expert and non-expert, especially for educational purposes. The duo decides among themselves how to go about the task and the roles of each.

Advantages of Pair Programming

The benefits of adopting pair programming are:

Low Instances of Error – With two programmers working on the same project, there is a low chance of error as one developer reviews the role of another. It lowers the rate of mistakes or bugs by up to 15% compared a solo programmer tasks.

Improved Efficiency – It is presumed pair programming slows down a project by almost 50%. However, two programmers working on the same program are efficient with minimal chances of errors. So the project is relatively delivered on time.

Combined Effort – If one programmer experiences a challenge, the other can take over. They can brainstorm to find a solution to a challenge. It brings more satisfaction and personal/brand recognition.

Enhances Interpersonal Skills – When two programmers work closely together, it enhances their communication skills and teamwork, which results in improved staff relations.

Facilitates Learning and Sharing of knowledge- there is so much to learn from one another. It offers a good learning experience for novice programmers from expert programmers. It is easier to understand and take instructions face to face rather than from watching online tutorials.

Improved Quality Programming – You will likely get top-quality work from pair programming. Working as a pair in programming leads to a more precise articulation of complex aspects of the project/project manager and coding tasks.

Potential Downside of Pair Programming

High-level Coordination: The main drawback of pair programming is that both programmers must be actively engaged in the task until it is completed. Otherwise, the results will not live up to expectations. Both the programmers must be at the top of communication. Pair programming requires speaking out loud, and the driver must keep on guiding and communicating to the navigator.

Pair programming involves two programmers, one as the driver and the other as a navigator. The driver writes the code using the same device while the navigator reviews it. The right pairing will ensure excellent coding quality, few errors and bugs, and fast delivery of the complete task.


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