I've worked across different high-performing teams.
A selection of these were:
- Serving with the Royal Naval Reserves working with long-serving officers and ratings
- Working at a multi-billion pound software development company (with extremely talented engineers)
- Working freelance with some industry leading individuals
The only thing I've noticed all exceptional people (across multiple fields) do to perfect their craft, is practice.
I heard my XO (Executive officer) one time when deployed with the Navy, mentioned he would rather have $NAME on the ship before he took on any other Royal Naval Reservist.
The only thing $NAME had done, was have multiple deployments under his belt and had spent lots of time on the ship.
Just do the activity
- To be a good violinist, play the violin more.
- To be a good coder, code more.
- To be a good writer, write more.
This applies to beginners and to people approaching mastery of their craft.
You'll always hear the same thing said by the very best in every field 'I feel like I'm still learning they'll say. The way you stop fearing faiure is you always assume you have more to learn. Success is about what you get. Craft is what you get to do. James Clear
I don't think I'm saying anything new.
I have heard people say this a thousand times over and over.
- Spend time in the saddle
- Just build
- Practice, practice, practice
But as a beginner, I hadn't heard this, and I'm writing this for Kealan in the past, or newbie coders wanting to improve as quickly as they can.
Work hard. I got tenure a year early. Junior faculty members used to say to me: 'Wow, what's your secret?' I said: 'It's pretty simple. Call me any Friday night in my office at 10 o'clock, and I'll tell you.' Randy Pausch
It's hard, but it works faster
When I first started learning how to code, I thought shadowing, and watching experts would "propell" me faster.
It's helpful to do in moderation, but it's not as effective I believe, than just coding.
Coding myself was way, way harder than watching these expers who just "knew" how to do everything.
But I improved way, way faster - by doing the difficult, arduos work of coding more.
It also has the added benefit of enabling you to see if you enjoy doing the activity.
If you hate coding, and don't want to do it - spending 8hrs a day coding as an Engineer might leave you miserable.
The "least fun" part of coding is when you first start, and have no idea what to do.
If you can get over that hurdle, chances are you can learn to be a great professional Engineer.
We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be and if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.
If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.
We have all seen this when we do arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start over again, the faster I shall get on.
There is nothing progressive about being pigheaded and refusing to admit a mistake.
And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistakes. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on. C.S. Lewis
I have written on similar topics to this, you might enjoy: