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Re: At what rate are YOU progressing?

by gregor42 (Parson)
on May 02, 2001 at 18:00 UTC ( #77319=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to At what rate are YOU progressing?

In my experience I have found that, as in many disciplines, there are those who were born to it & those who are made. The very best are usually those who are both. Like a Mozart type, with an inherent gift, and a Maestro for a father to encourage him. (..or make him into a trained monkey...)

For example, I worked with one gentleman once, a Russian immigrant, who spoke broken english. In 6 months he went from knowing only HTML & minimal JavaScript to becoming one of the best Java programmers I've ever met. This guy was in his 40's when he did this. That's natural talent. (Plus the inability to BS w/coworkers because of the language barrier meant no distractions..)

But then there's the rest of us. I started programming when I was 6 & I'm 30 now. I'm not Merlyn either or Vroom for that matter. But in my own circle of influence I make a difference. How do I get better? By wanting to learn. That's what makes all the difference. It makes a difference in who I hire also. If you want to learn then I'll hire you in a minute over someone who's been writing nothing but CGI's for 3 years & doesn't know how to use mod_perl for example...

So what does that mean? That means that you're going to act a little geeky, in that you might spend your lunch hour reading tech books, like all of the O'reilly books that are pushed by everyone here with a semi-religious zeal.. (Merlyn helped write a few after all..) or kill time in the office by decyphering how your favorite module's code works.

It also means that you DO learn the 'wierd' syntax. Learn the code that you don't know & without question you'll find uses for it. And then you WILL use it. Then you'll open your eyes a little more & realize that you weren't the first person to figure that out & you start learning new ways to do things. After a while you'll start realizing that all of these 'gurus' you worship are just plain folks like yerself. They just spend their time differently. They learn. What's more, they're not these inapproachable demi-gods, they're actually interesting people to talk to. & yes you'd be a little snippy too if you kept answering the same simple FAQ-entry questions all the time. But have you ever stopped & realized that when people here take the time to post code, they've taken the time to write about it, think about it, agonize over it, etc... Especially when it's not their code, but rather a reply, you come to understand that these people really (say it with me now) want to learn.

I know for me, sometimes I feel like I'm searching for the Holy Grail. The truth is you'll never be Good Enough. When you are, that means you're done learning & then well, it's time to die("Say goodbye to the nice people\n");



Wait! This isn't a Parachute, this is a Backpack!


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Re: Re: At what rate are YOU progressing?
by merlyn (Sage) on May 02, 2001 at 18:15 UTC
    After a while you'll start realizing that all of these 'gurus' you worship are just plain folks like yerself. They just spend their time differently. They learn.
    As an example, I can't tell you a thing about competitive professional sports or current sitcoms. I don't watch TV. I don't follow games. People have to explain to me when I'm watching the SuperBowl with them (to be social) that something that just happened was "good" or "bad". And I haven't seen Ally McBeal, and didn't watch my first Seinfeld until prodded by others, and after it was already in syndication rerun hell.

    What I spend most of my spare time doing is being online. Researching the next item, reading about technologies, being here and on Usenet and IRC, answering questions. Well, and the twice-a-week trip to either the Karaoke bar or the live comedy club. And on airplanes, I'm just as likely to read the latest book from O'Reilly as I am a good SF novel.

    Now project that backward 30 years. I didn't do sports in high school (I was the runt that got picked last anyway). I spent much of my time in the library, or at home reading whatever books I could get my hands on.

    So, to get here, I traded all that "normal" stuff. I gave up my childhood for my career.

    Would I do it again? Probably. But don't ask me any questions about our Portland Trailblazers; all I know is the stadium creates traffic jams occasionally, and I can't even tell you what part of the year the season is.

    -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

      Says merlyn:
      As an example, I can't tell you a thing about competitive professional sports or current sitcoms. I don't watch TV...What I spend most of my spare time doing is being online.
      I suspect that this is a red herring. You waste a lot of time on IRC. If you stopped doing IRC you would watch TV and get just as much done.

      (This isn't a suggestion, of course.)

      I don't think anyone can be 'productive' all the time. But some people watch TV in their downtime and other people watch IRC; I don't think it's really that different.

      --
      Mark Dominus
      Perl Paraphernalia

        Ahh, but the IRC is like here. I get info and give info, and yes, socialize in between. If I traded all the time I'm on IRC for an equal time watching TV, I would be less productive. Admittedly, I have to wait long moments before I get something from IRC, but those gems are worth it.

        -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

        Dominus, do you know how merlyn spends his time in IRC? I don't think so (I don't either), but I guess you have prejudice about how IRC is going on. It's not that all channels are just crap talk. If you e.g. take a look at most of the channels that reside in Open Projects Network you can find a lot of useful information there - mostly channels for opensource projects coordination. So I think accusing using IRC is a waste of time is simply a wrong assumption.

        Btw., is it just me or did merlyn's post read like adminspotting? *eg*

        Update:Sorry, Dominus, if I got you wrong. If it was meant with sarcasm or so then I didn't get it. I was just writing what I tried to interpret from your writing or between the lines. If I misinterpreted it: Again, sorry.
        --
        use signature; signature(" So long\nAlfie");

      No TV. No sports. You just went up a notch in my book! :)

      And not all of us consider that such things "normal." On the contrary, those things keep the masses amused and distracted from doing "normal" things like learning, exploring, and asking difficult questions of themselves and their surroundings. Why have people partake in debates, communicate with their congresspeople, and learn philosophy and science when they can vegetate and consume instead?

        Says turnstep:
        No TV. No sports....those things keep the masses amused and distracted from doing "normal" things like learning, exploring, and asking difficult questions of themselves and their surroundings.
        I don't think that's true. In Annie Hall there's a great scene in which Woody Allen is at a horrible party inhabited by horrible boring intellectuals; he sneaks off to the bedroom to watch the basketball game. And predictably, someone comes to berate him for watching the basketball game when he could be improving his mind.

        Woody has a great speech about how this is a completely different kind of accomplishment, a physical accomplishment, and that the people in the other room are afraid of it because it isn't their kind of accomplishment and they don't understand it.

        One of the most wonderful things about sports is that they are universal. Everyone on earth has pretty much the same kind of body; that's why we can have the Olympics. To be uninterested in sports is to be uninterested in the body and what it can do. And of course you know many geeks who are divorced from their own bodies. But that is not a healthy way to be.

        Sports are not incompatible with learning, exploring, or asking difficult questions of one's surroundings. Many people shut off their brains when they sit down to watch the football game, but that does not mean that is the only way to do it---lots of people shut off their brains when they use the -w switch too.

        --
        Mark Dominus
        Perl Paraphernalia

        The guy on the street can tell you all this detailed information about what celebrity is doing this or that and they don't know
        who wrote Moby Dick?!? I see it as bizarro world. The smartest people are pushed to the margins of society whereas joe blow jock is seen as normal. Would not a "Normal" society pay teachers more than ad execs and wouldn't our heros be great scholars that have fought for the betterment of mankind such as Chomsky and Rousseau instead of people that throw a ball thru a hoop and get a million a year. However I am not saying I am against people playing sports I myself am a mountain biking, surfing, and snowboarding freak Although these are more individual sports where self expression is the main factor Anyways I'm just ranting as Matt Sisk would say! cheers

        js
      How many movies do you watch? :-P

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