a rare bird...consult and teach/train

Dan Shafer revolutionary.dan at gmail.com
Sat Mar 25 17:13:29 EST 2006


Well, this could become a very long, rambling discussion if I lay out all my
thinking but given the recent propensity of list members to wish to focus on
specific technical issues, I'll keep my response here brief. Happy to pursue
this off-list if you like, though, Erik!

In more than 25 years in the software business, I've met perhaps six people
I would say could do both. I have two basic theories (and lots of
corrollaries; see above).

First, it takes a different mind set to program than it does to teach
programming. Maybe even conflicting skills. Specialization takes place at
some point. It's sort of like the question of why major league pitchers, who
were uniformly the best hitters all the way through college, suddenly can't
hit. (Like all analogies, incomplete, but....)

Second, by the time you get really good at a programming language, you
forget what was hard to learn because you've assimilated it. It's now
sublimated thought. I saw this over and over again during my years as an
expert system consultant and designer. The subject-matter expert was almost
helpless to explain the basic ideas of his or her craft.

Most of the folks I know who teach a programming language are average or a
little better programmers in that language. In fact, right now sitting here
I can only think of three people who are both really good programmers and
really good teacher/trainer/tutor/mentor types in those languages.

On 3/24/06, Erik Hansen <erikhans08 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> --- Dan Shafer <revolutionary.dan at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > It's a rare bird who can
> > both consult and teach/train
>
> why is that?
>
> Erik Hansen
>
> erik at erikhansen.org    http://www.erikhansen.org
>
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--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dan Shafer, Information Product Consultant and Author
http://www.shafermedia.com
Get my book, "Revolution: Software at the Speed of Thought"
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