I got my degree in chemical engineering, not CS or computer engineering, but for the first time this fall I'll be working on a large programming project with other people, and I have no clue how to prepare. I've been using Windows all of my life, but this project is going to be very unix-y, so I purchased a Mac recently in the hopes of familiarizing myself with the environment.
I was fortunate to participate in a hackathon with some friends this past year -- both CS majors -- and excitingly enough, we won. But I realized as I worked with them that their workflow was very different from mine. They used Git for version control. I had never used it at the time, but I've since learned all that I can about it. They also used a lot of frameworks and libraries. I had to learn what Rails was pretty much overnight for the hackathon (on the other hand, they didn't know what lexical scoping or closures were). All of our code worked well, but they didn't understand mine, and I didn't understand theirs.
I hear references to things that real programmers do on a daily basis -- unit testing, code reviews, but I only have the vaguest sense of what these are. I normally don't have many bugs in my little projects, so I have never needed a bug tracking system or tests for them.
And the last thing is that it takes me a long time to understand other people's code. Variable naming conventions (that vary with each new language) are difficult (__mzkwpSomRidicAbbrev), and I find the loose coupling difficult. That's not to say I don't loosely couple things -- I think I'm quite good at it for my own work, but when I download something like the Linux kernel or the Chromium source code to look at it, I spend hours trying to figure out how all of these oddly named directories and files connect. It's a programming sin to reinvent the wheel, but I often find it's just quicker to write up the functionality myself than to spend hours dissecting some library.
Obviously, people who do this for a living don't have these problems, and I'll need to get to that point myself.
Question: What are some steps that I can take to begin "integrating" with everyone else?