|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
Re: Autodidactby Dog and Pony (Priest)
|on Apr 17, 2002 at 15:25 UTC||Need Help??|
Well, I kind of see myself as an autodidact. That depends a bit on how you see it of course, and if you can "stop" being one. :) I most definetely learned to program on my own ,starting way back on the old commodore C=64. Sitting alone out in the woods, teaching myself first BASIC then assembler by looking at other programs, demos and games. Back in that day it was still reasonable to pull apart a "compiled" program and find out what it did. :)
Lots have happened since then, of course. For one thing, I have been working at real companies as a programmer and developer. I have had the honour to work with people that are a lot more talented and skilled than myself, and I have learned a lot from them - as I try to teach as much I can to those that know less than myself.
This is where I wonder if I am still an autodidact by definition? I still have no schools or degrees in computing, programming or whatever, other than the fact that we did some turtle graphics and COMAL on the old COMPIS computers (the worlds only 186, I am told) in school when I was about 14 or something. I don't think anyone cares. :) But I have been learning stuff from others, not teachers, but collegaues, and some of them more or less mentors - am I still self-taught?
In my own mind, yes. I taught myself to program on my own, and I got a job based on this knowledge, etc. As for what I can and can't - there are of course a lot theoretical stuff and stuff I do not have from a class. That might hurt my progress because I didn't think of a certain approach, on the other hand, I think I think more freely, as I don't have one "right path" that I follow. I might well be wrong. *Grin*
My biggest assets today are really the ability to learn new stuff fast, and the ability to find information on the things I do not know how to do even faster. I guess that comes from the background where you never had anyone to ask if you were stuck - find the answer, noone is gonna help you. My collegaues with 14 on a dozen networking degrees and stuff (everyone should join the IT sector, jump aboard) are simply stunned at what I can find in what time with google. I think it isn't uncommon here, but for them this is magic... and yes, they do use google. They just don't grasp how to sift information, and they can't seem to use it once they get it.
However, give them a school example of some algorithm to solve, and they will crack it in no time. I know who I'd rather be.
This is nothing specific to autodidacts contra degree-people. It just happens to be so at my latest workplace :). In reality, a good programmer is a good programmer no matter how he or she was taught. Just different approaches, and I'd rather have a mix of both, then just either one.
At least here in Sweden though, recruiters have an enourmous craving for pieces of paer. You will probably not get a job without a degree, without lots of luck. I got my first real programming job by a "bet". I bet them that I could learn to program java good enough to do a real work for them in 3 months as an intern. I was apparently good enough, as I won the bet, even though I kinda doubt I was really any good... haha. But they saw I could learn, and learn fast, and they accepted that. At least here (Sweden), it seems programmers, or people that know how the work is done, rarely has anything to do with hiring people. So of course there must be a huge respect for papers. :) Another thing is that it is a Microsoft country, which is bad for a java/perl programmer... but ah well. It should be good for the "certified"... just about anyone who has been unemployed at any time the last five years, that is, whatwith all these unemployment programs in the IT sector. :)
You have moved into a dark place.
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.