30 January 2013

Black Belt – Now you know what you don’t know

A story from my life:

Once when I was young and was training Ju-Jutsu, receiving a black belt was my goal. Probably I believed I would be like Bruce Lee (I still hope :-)) because you can’t be better than him….or?Several years later during one of my workouts, I was discussing with my master about different martial art stiles and he told me something wise: You start your journey by choosing a path (stile) and follow that until you reach a master wisdom (black belt). Only then you are ready to look at other paths (stiles) and understand what distinguishes them apart.

I am convinced that you can apply this on most of the skills you learn. If you take programming as an example, you start learning one programming language and after several years of experience you are start looking and using other languages. Why? Most of the case you see benefits in using another programming language for a particular task. By learning other languages you also learn more about your first language.

For me learning is fundamental part of my life, both in work and in private. I try to absorb as much knowledge as I ever can and I found out that using different source and forums gives you best return.


+ Its very practical. You can take it with you and read it any were.
+ The language is very good. A book is edited several times before it’s printed.
+ Quality is good. The quality needs to be good enough for a publisher to publish it.
- It cost money. Not much, but still you have to pay for it.
- It you want the latest “stuff” you will not find it here. It normally takes one to several years before something new is printed.
- Its one way learning. You “can’t” ask the writer any question.


+ Extremely practical. You have it in your smart phone in your right pocket. You can access it any were anytime.
+ It free. Well, you have to pay your mobile subscription.
+ You get the latest stuff. You can follow discussions and ask questions.
- The language doesn’t need to be correct. At best the blogger used some grammar tool and removed the worst part (like me :-)).
- How do you know that the content is true? You don’t! You can assume by how the blogger is and from potential comments.


+ Most of them are free. For webinar you are often requested to register before you can attend the webinar.
+ Often it comes together with a PowerPoint presentation with rich information.
- Limited access. You need good internet bandwidth.
- Noise. You need to isolated sound around you, either by earphones or go to some silent place.

People (colleges / CoPs)

+ Its free.
+ You can ask questions and have deeper discussions. You don’t have to wait for an answer. It’s easier to ask “stupid” questions if you don’t understand.
+ You can draw sketches it make the learning process easier.
+ You can create improve your network for future needs.
- Limited access. Hopefully you only spend round 8 hours a day with your colleges.

Instructor led course/conferences

+ The instructor has high competence in the subject.
+ The instructor is hopefully good in education and has good material.
+ At conferences you can connect with new people and sharing experience.
+ You can ask questions if you don’t understand.
- Cost a lot of money. Often your company pays for it.
- The number of courses/conferences are limited, both in content and geographical.

Don’t forget that you can do all mentioned parts above yourself.

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