ICPC 2023
Mon 15 - Tue 16 May 2023 Melbourne, Australia
co-located with ICSE 2023

April Wensel: Applications of Emotional Intelligence in Program Comprehension

Software engineers may work on machines, but we are ultimately humans collaborating with humans to serve humans. There has recently been increased interest in the role of so-called “soft skills” in software development tasks, including the often emotionally demanding work of program comprehension. How do we reduce the pain experienced by developers navigating complex codebases, critical code reviews, or discouraging Stack Overflow exchanges? In this talk, I’ll share reflections from seven years of working with software engineers in diverse settings on developing emotional intelligence skills, with an emphasis on compassion. I’ll describe encouraging results, challenges, as well as opportunities for further research.

April Wensel (@aprilwensel) is a software engineer and the founder of Compassionate Coding, a conscious business that trains technologists in emotional intelligence skills and social responsibility. She has facilitated training sessions at Fortune 500 companies, startups, software agencies, and academic institutions. Prior to starting Compassionate Coding, she spent a decade in software engineering and technical leadership roles at various companies in Silicon Valley, building products in healthcare, gaming, education, and user research. She has also taught coding and mentored software engineers through community office hours. She received a B.A. in computer science from Pomona College and has collaborated with researchers at Carnegie Mellon’s HCI Institute and the Carnegie Institution for Science.