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Re: Reflections on Skills of the Skillful

by eyepopslikeamosquito (Canon)
on Jun 30, 2009 at 05:00 UTC ( #775906=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Reflections on Skills of the Skillful

From Peter Norvig's Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years:

Researchers (Bloom (1985), Bryan & Harter (1899), Hayes (1989), Simmon & Chase (1973)) have shown it takes about ten years to develop expertise in any of a wide variety of areas, including chess playing, music composition, telegraph operation, painting, piano playing, swimming, tennis, and research in neuropsychology and topology. The key is deliberative practice: not just doing it again and again, but challenging yourself with a task that is just beyond your current ability, trying it, analyzing your performance while and after doing it, and correcting any mistakes. Then repeat. And repeat again. There appear to be no real shortcuts: even Mozart, who was a musical prodigy at age 4, took 13 more years before he began to produce world-class music. In another genre, the Beatles seemed to burst onto the scene with a string of #1 hits and an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. But they had been playing small clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg since 1957, and while they had mass appeal early on, their first great critical success, Sgt. Peppers, was released in 1967.
There are many other useful tips in Peter Norvig's essay, such as: make it fun; learn by doing; talk to other programmers, read other programs; work on projects with other programmers; be involved in understanding a program written by someone else; learn at least half a dozen programming languages; and many more.

If you have the passion and the ability, the results will come. Be patient. And good luck in your journey.


Comment on Re: Reflections on Skills of the Skillful
Re^2: Reflections on Skills of the Skillful
by $self (Friar) on Jun 30, 2009 at 10:42 UTC

    Another nice read on this topic is this Scientific American article from awhile back: The expert mind (Ross, August 2006)- "Experts are made, not born."

    It's more enjoyable with the original typesetting and art work, but the text is freely available here.

    It makes the same point of working on problems at the right level:

    "Ericsson argues that what matters is not experience per se but "effortful study," which entails continually tackling challenges that lie just beyond one's competence. That is why it is possible for enthusiasts to spend tens of thousands of hours playing chess or golf or a musical instrument without ever advancing beyond the amateur level and why a properly trained student can overtake them in a relatively short time. It is interesting to note that time spent playing chess, even in tournaments, appears to contribute less than such study to a player's progress; the main training value of such games is to point up weaknesses for future study.

    Even the novice engages in effortful study at first, which is why beginners so often improve rapidly in playing golf, say, or in driving a car. But having reached an acceptable performance--for instance, keeping up with one's golf buddies or passing a driver's exam--most people relax. Their performance then becomes automatic and therefore impervious to further improvement. In contrast, experts-in-training keep the lid of their mind's box open all the time, so that they can inspect, criticize and augment its contents and thereby approach the standard set by leaders in their fields."

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