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Re: On Hubris

by Dog and Pony (Priest)
on Apr 19, 2002 at 07:21 UTC ( #160452=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to On Hubris

It is a very common experince, I'd say. Sometimes, the stuff I do just seems to go so well, I know exactly how to deal with this and that etc, and I think "D*mn I'm good". It is quite a good feeling actually.

I had the same feeling when I was cooking food for a living too, sometimes. But I did very well know that I was no star chef, or even worthy of peel the potatoes for one. I just felt I was doing great with what I was supposed to do right here and now, and everyone was happy.

It is the same with computers, I *do* know that I know very little of what there is to know, still I sometimes feel like a great programmer. It is one of the rewards. :) You have the right to remain delusional for the next five minutes.

When you are very new at something though, you can easily imagine yourself being the programmer (or star chef for that matter) in just a few months, because you are almost there, being that good. Haha. Then reality pops up and tells you how things work, and after a few such experiences, you are accustomed to reality.

Also, when you are new, you learn stuff much faster, because you learn so much. Everything is new, you learn a hundred things a day. Now you learn two new things a day. Of course you get hubris when you learn so much so fast. :)

And never forget, that certain kinds of hubris is considered a virtue among our ranks. And this is one of the good kinds (unless it turns to boasting or a personal cult of course) - it allows you to think you are good enough to do something, or get that job, or whatever... and probably succeed. Within reason.

<joke type="punchline" execution="poor"> Wow... I am a great poster! </joke>

You have moved into a dark place.
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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Re: Re: On Hubris
by moodster (Hermit) on Apr 19, 2002 at 08:42 UTC
    I agree. The more you learn, the more you realize just how much there is left to learn. In my experience, really good programmers tend to be pretty humble when asked about their level of skill, because they know that there's myriads of they don't know.

    People around me say that I'm a pretty good programmer. I don't. I just know that I have a long way ahead of me and I'm terrified that they will find that out :)


      I know well what you're saying here. Recently I had a performance review with my line-manager, it was all going very well, and suddenly he started on about how I was an 'expert' Perl programmer.

      I stopped for a minute, recalling meetings and the people I'd met there, many of who I do consider to be far better Perl programmers than I am.

      I told him I didn't agree, I said I'm not there yet but I'm working towards it. He looked slightly confused, probably not used to people disagreeing with good things in reviews, and told me to compare myself with the other Perl programmers in the department. I could suddenly see his point.

      Now I have the advantage of both having people who know far more to learn from, and people who know far less to teach to. It inspires a wonderful combination of hubris and humility. I'd recommend it, you run to try and catch up with the pace-setters ahead, but make sure you're trying to set pace for those behind.

        When they offered the Perl course at my school recently, the same thing happened to me. One of the students who's working closely with the teacher who got the course accepted looked at me and said that -- for me -- it would be an "easy A, since you're the Perl guru around here".

        My first thought was: Boy, is this place in trouble if I'm the Perl guru around here! My second thought was an attempt to think of anybody else, anyone, who I could even attempt to talk Perl with. Nobody came to mind. It makes sense, unfortunately -- school administration is made up of the kind of people who would never come in contact with it, there's really only maybe five staff members who can do anything sophisticated with a computer anyway -- logically, nobody would hardly have heard of Perl.

        I'm guru by default, it would seem...

        You are what you think.

        That is what I use perlmonks for. :) Since I got this new job, I have noone to teach me stuff anymore, so I have to search for knowledge and mentorship elsewhere. It works pretty good, because people ask a lot of questions I wouldn't have thought of, and others answer them, and I get to learn stuff. Or I answer questions after finding the answer, again learning more. It is great.
        You have moved into a dark place.
        It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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