More Practice Ranting

By Deane Barker on April 29, 2006

Being the Averagest: Here’s another installment in my extended “we all need to practice more” rant.

I have trouble thinking of any modestly difficult profession in which continuous study and practice aren’t the norm. Fighter pilots train in simulators before getting into the latest jet. Actors and politicians practice their lines and their smiles. Opera troupes do mock performances before public appearances. Writers, poets, and artists attend workshops, and study the work of the Masters.

Everyone practices — everyone, that is, except for us. We just grind stuff out, day in, day out. Are you as embarrassed about the state of our profession as I am?

Here’s some more along these lines: A Call for Memorization and Practicing Programming.

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Comments

  1. Most people learn by working, instead of just practicing for work.

    Carpenters, Taxi Drivers, Sales Clerks, Maids, Plumbers, Waiters, Bankers, Teachers, Architects, Lawyers, Physicists … everybody that “works for a living” learns while working.

    I agree that if your craft has any “art” to it, you should attend workshops and study the masters.

    But “IT Stuff” is NOT the same as acting or flying jets or performing heart surgery. We don’t have the same burden to “get things right” the first time.

    I have yet to meet a “paper certified” (practice only) engineer that has an ounce of sense. But my trial-by-fire colleagues are wizards.

  2. Are you saying that programming isn’t an art? I’d say that it is. Sure, you need not get it right the first time, but an actor gets as many takes as is necessary and they certainly need to practice a lot.

  3. I have yet to meet a “paper certified” (practice only) engineer that has an ounce of sense. But my trial-by-fire colleagues are wizards.

    Agreed. But imagine if you combined the two — have someone who gets loads of practical experience, but who also recognizes his/her weak areas and proactively practices to make those ares stronger.

    I have never met such a person, but I bet he/she would be scary good.

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