Not all programmers are comfortable with coding alone for 10 hours a day. Matt Kleiman spent years programming inefficiently in a cubicle. His Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and other learning disabilities deterred his success on traditional development teams. Seeking out an environment that would nourish his strengths, he found Pivotal Labs. Pivotal's Extreme Programming practices empowered Matt. Attend his talk to learn how pair programming and test-driven development transforms ADD into an asset in the workplace.

 
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Outline/Structure of the Talk

Theme:

Employees with learning differences should seek out inclusive work environments. Employers should recognize the value of encouraging a diverse workforce, especially including those with learning disabilities. Our industry rarely acknowledges this area of diversity and inclusion. I have found Extreme Programming practices, such as pair programming and TDD, to nourish my strengths as a programmer with ADD.

Flow and Outline:

To convey these messages I start by telling my story. I examine how I was very successful in school, where accommodations were made for my learning disabilities, but ultimately unsuccessful in the mainstream tech industry. I discuss how a thorough retrospective of my career helped me compile a list of criteria that my next job needed to meet. Then I explain how TDD and pair programming help me be a more effective programmer on a daily basis. I finish up with a call to action to the audience.

Learning Outcome

Outcomes and Audience:

My talk is for both employees and employers. I want other professionals in tech to consider more than just salary, perks, etc. when thinking about their jobs - I want them to know it's possible and positive to think more holistically about their work. What finally helped me was being mindful of my needs as a professional and putting that first, instead of trying to fit someone else's idea of how an engineer should be. Some of us might fit that typical mold, but for those of us that don't, it's important to see ourselves for who we really are and honor those self-truths in our work. That can be done by advocating for changes in one's current role or by seeking a new job that nourishes one's strengths.

I want employers to know the tremendous value differently-abled employees can provide when we work at our peak capacity. I detail the unique traits I possess as a differently-abled employee; however, the value of those traits can only be realized at work when there are certain structures in place. In my case, those structures are pair programming and TDD. If employers can implement practices that foster the full strengths of differently-abled employees, they have an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.

Target Audience

Everyone. This is not just for engineers, as the message is more broadly about how to be your best self through a positive work environment.

Prerequisites for Attendees

No prior knowledge necessary.

schedule Submitted 8 months ago

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