Engineering the Future of Software
29–31 Oct 2018: Tutorials & Conference
31 Oct–1 Nov 2018: Training
London, UK

Your brain on software development

Fahran Wallace (OpenCredo)
13:1514:05 Monday, 29 October 2018
Secondary topics:  Anti-Pattern, Case Study
Average rating: ***..
(3.73, 11 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Software engineers, architects, and anyone interested in the architecture of solutions

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Experience building web applications or microservice architecture (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Understand a few cognitive biases, the impacts they can leave on a project, and how to combat them


The brain encounters more complexity than it can possibly deal with in life, and it has evolved a rich set of heuristics to deal with the problem. Those heuristics are fantastically tuned for staying fed, not getting eaten by bears, etc., but are they well suited for designing software?

Fahran Wallace explores the intersection of programming, architecture, and psychology through the medium of funny-in-retrospect memories, borrowed war stories, and attempts to avoid people swearing at her design choices five years later. Fahran threads together stories of systems that ended up a very strange shape or were killed altogether not through bad coding but through humans collectively optimizing for the wrong thing. You’ll learn about the biases that affect our programming choices, how we favor the first solution we think of (the anchoring effect) and are suspicious of things that were "not invented here,” and just how difficult it is to change your worldview (the backfire effect).

Photo of Fahran Wallace

Fahran Wallace


Fahran Wallace is a senior consultant at OpenCredo. She’s been programming professionally for seven years (and tinkering for much longer), starting with application development and growing to explore other facets of delivery, including architecture and tech leading. Her current focus is data engineering. Building things and hearing how others approached problems are her two favorite ways to learn.