Sunday, February 18, 2007

Jeff Atwood is filled with poo

Jeff Atwood sez programmers are born, that you can't become a great programmer if you aren't born one. He asserts that, "A mediocre developer can program his or her heart out for four years, but that won't magically transform them into a good developer." To Mr. Atwood, I offer this humble rebuttal (quoting Col. Potter): Monkey muffins! I'm not being fair to Jeff, after all a text without a context is a pretext. But it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to.

No one comes into this world knowing how to do anything except cry, poop, eat, and sleep. However, our Creator graciously endows some with talents for various things: there are those who are naturally bent towards music, others who can see an object and render an image of it on the page, still others who can work their way through the abstract logical problems we encounter in programming, etc, etc. Talent is raw material, useless without honing it into skill. Redmond wasn't built in a day: show me one application that has shipped in the history of computing that was entirely produced by a newbie approaching a keyboard (or a breadboard for that matter) for the first time.

Peter Norvig has a great little article about the determination it takes to build skill in any discipline:
http://norvig.com/21-days.html

Good stuff.

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