This blog contains reflections and thoughts on my work as a software engineer

tirsdag den 13. januar 2009

Teach yourself X in Y days

Did you know it takes about 10 years to become good at something? Read the following paragraphs:
You probably know them - "Teach yourself X in Y days" - let X be Java, C#, Webforms and Y could be anything ranging from 7 to 30 days.

I read a post today on Coding Horror - you really should subscribe to his writings if you don't do already. He has quoted from Peter Norvigs "Teach yourself programming in Ten Years" - basicly, he says, it is old news that it takes time to become a superstar in anything:

Researchers 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. 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.

I don't know much about Norvig (I heard about him but never read anything) - I need to visit my favourite online book-pusher in the nearest future... :o)

Regards K.

P.S. - Actually I think this Mr. Norvig is a bit of a geek (a major one actually) - who would ever get a kick out of a "world's longest palindrome contest"?

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