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Javier Estraviz

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Becoming a better programmer
      Profession and Career   Dunning-Kruger effect · Dreyfus model · Peter Goodliffe

Today I will leave here an entry about the 2015 conference by Peter Goodliffe, which is titled Becoming a Better Programmer. Something that, a priori, should be the goal of every software developer passionate about his profession (IMHO). Peter has a book published by O’Reilly in 2014, with the same title.

This time, first the video and then some notes on it:

I have to confess that although the message and purpose of the talk fit with what I expected to hear, after completing the visualization I was not too enthusiastic. However, I emphasize the idea that Peter strives to make clear:

“It’s all about ATTITUDE.”

The attitude is determinant in the professional career (and in life), also for a programmer. The 46 minutes of talk have also served to discuss topics related to learning models:

  • The Dunning-Kruger effect: cognitive bias by which subjects with little knowledge or skills are believed to be better and smarter than others who are much better trained or prepared.
  • The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition (stages: Novice -> Advanced Beginner -> Competent -> Proficient -> Expert).
  • The Knowledge Portfolio (see The Pragmatic Programmer).
  • The 5 stages of learning: Denial, Anger, Negotiation, Depression and Acceptance.
  • Yes, in this video (as in many others) Malcolm Gladwell is quoted, the journalist and lecturer who popularized, in his work Outliers, the thesis that it is necessary a dedication of around 10,000 hours in the practice of a subject to reach a level of mastery in that matter.

That said, an interesting video but … I expected it better.