Know Your Tools
0 reactions 2018-06-20
A fully expanded and revised version is available in The Coding Career Handbook!
You missed a lot in your bootcamp. I’m not talking about compiler theory from computer science courses. I don’t mean algos. I mean a lot of basic knowledge of your tools is lacking. “A poor craftsperson blames his tools”, they say. But you. You’re no “craftsperson”, you’re still a novice. You don’t even know your own tools that well. You haven’t built that much with them, and you still freak out when things go wrong. It’s not your fault, but it’s in your power to fix your gaps. The bootcamp gave you a head start, now you have to go the distance.
I dunno, do you get paid in Github stars?
Fill in -your- gaps. Focus on you and your needs. There are so many opportunities in tech that you can pretty much pick out your turf and play entirely within it AND be completely ignorant of all the other stuff AND still do great! Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of playing the meta-game. It is possible to make strategic blunders but it’s also impossible to avoid them altogether. Stop trying. It’s much better to focus on the “good enough” and be directionally but not literally correct. The goal is to be accurate, not precise. Try your best to be right, but don’t worry when you’re wrong.
There’s more to knowing your tools than just knowing what they are. There’s also the why and the who. Who made the paradigms we live in now? Who’s maintaining it today? Why is the API the way it is? Why did it change from past versions? (If you’re feeling adventurous: how does the tool work under the hood?) Let your intellectual curiosity carry you and fill in your lack of experience with research that nobody else bothers to do. Guess what? There could not be an easier subject matter to research, this stuff is literally all online and version controlled with git, and all the people involved are still alive and easily contactable.
And when you’ve filled something in, when you’ve found something cool in your research, write it up.
P.S. Learn in Public!
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