[clug-talk] [OT] Sait
fledderhof at telus.net
Thu Jan 6 17:11:35 PST 2005
Giovanni Cuzzola wrote:
>I think if you learn a language on your own you become an "hacker" while
>if you learn "well" in school you could become a good professional.
Absolutely right! For professional programmers, "hack" (as a noun, not
a verb) is used to mean "kludge".
I've learned several professions and trades both ways, and would opine
that while practical experience and natural skill is essential, the
knowledge, standardization, and mounds and mounds of details taught in
school are invaluable. When you learn "on your own", you only have your
own wisdom to guide you.
I gave up on tech and the accompanying lunacy of résumés, interviews,
etc after the tech crash in order to finish a long-abridged
apprenticeship as a carpenter, with a parallel apprenticeship in
scaffolding. I belong to a legitimate trade union in which there are no
"glorified labourers" - only apprentices and journeymen. I can tell you
that even after all those (fifteen!) years, I remembered more from my
formal and informal on-the-job training than most non-union,
never-apprenticed "hacks" - we also use the term - ever seem to learn.
Trust me, I've been plenty on of both kinds of jobs, and heard plenty of
Yes, much of that training is "on the job" - but you learn it,
journeyman to apprentice, not by gosh and by golly. A similar thing
happens in better software firms, where you benefit from the knowledge
and experience of others - as opposed to the ones where the training
system is. "Oh, just go figure it out."
A sample detail: what is the added wind load when a scaffold is hoarded
(tarped) in? Six hundred percent. That directly affects other aspects
of the build, like number and spacing of tie-ins. A lot of foremen and
bosses on jobsites that I could mention - but won't - shrug such things
off as unnecessary. Their scaffolds fall over on a regular basis - ours
don't. A case in point: the collapse at the Centre St. TD bank the
How does this relate to tech? The standards that we apply to physical
structures, even temporary ones, are closely paralleled in applied
science technology and (software) engineering. Issues like hoarding
relate to fan-out, heat dissipation, failover processing, and
maintainability. That's why medical, military, and other equipment is
designed by professionals, to pre-existing standards: so the children's
hospital doesn't burn down due to an overheated resistor and cruise
missiles don't land in the wrong country. (Most of the time.)
Granted, if you're developing the latest image-manipulation program,
this is a lot less critical. Same for a 6' access platform. When I
sign off on a large build, though, someone puts his life in my hands:
instant karma. So for that job - or a heart monitor - I'll use a pro.
For a simple website...
Perhaps the moral of the story is that one should use the right tool for
the job - something I learned in trade school! ;c)
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