The dark side of learning from our mistakes

IT is largely unlicensed and unregulated. People have different feelings about this. As a college drop out with no certs besides a ZCE in PHP 5, I’m a big fan of the situation. One positive of this, is that most of the good people in IT tend to be self motivated to learn. We tend to learn from our mistakes, and learn from bad situations. However, the downside of this is mastery is often achieved through bad situations.

I’ve often said I’m paid as well as I am and I’m as skilled as I am because I was often underpaid and overworked in my youth. If I didn’t take jobs that didn’t pay enough that required more than I was capable of, I would not be forced to become the developer I am today. This is objectively true for me, and possibly for many others.

So what’s the dark side of this? Cheap bosses and clients got what they paid for. I got decent pay during my faux-apprenticeships. Decent companies and jobs existed for when I was ready for them. That is all kosher in my book.

The dark side is we suck at true mentorship and apprenticeship. Stackoverflow and other sites let us curate the tribal knowledge of how do do specific things. Training exists and great trainers abound. I’d like to think I’m a decent trainer. However, its hard to get an opportunity for one on one mentorship. I wouldn’t know how to teach a green developer in a holistic manner. I could just give them tasks and let them drown because it worked for me. However, I think there is a better way. I just don’t know what that way is.

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