re: Keep learning, should you invest your own time? VIEW POST


Thank you for researching the actual hours practitioners in the two mentioned fields need to put into learning to stay in their field. It really helps putting Bob's numbers into perspective.

While I do think that Bob's numbers are severely flawed, and I think that about quite some of his statements, I can see where he's coming from. He sees software professionals as some "hardcore coders" who love to code outside work, and to whom coding is not just a hobby but the hobby. And since his perspective is far from my own, I can only disagree with him.

A lot of my university colleagues do entirely different things from coding in their free time. They go climbing, they they perfect their cooking, or they read through several (thick!) books a week. I myself spend a lot of time making and analysing music, as well as with cooking. Are we bad software professionals because of that? Uncle Bob would certainly say "yes" and, again, I would disagree. Doing different things in your life can only benefit your coding skills, since they provide you with different ways to tackle problems. And - at least to me - coding professionally is nothing else than solving other people's problems.

So, in a way, you could say that we do spend those 20 hours per week on learning work-related things. It's just not that obvious how and when our work will benefit from them.

Cooking together, for example, is nothing more than applying parallelization and caching algorithms to biochemistry problems. In fact, we often talk about interesting technical problems we encountered at work/uni projects, so we learn in several ways - all while having fun (and an awesome meal). Playing Jazz makes you "think on your feet" - you don't have a lot of time to think about your chord progression when you're playing. And if a few measures sound shitty, you still carry on, hopefully doing a better job next time. Yes, there are "idiomatic" solutions to many situations (like II-V-I progressions and established Blues solos), but the really interesting stuff happens when those are not enough or are ignored for really good reasons. Sounds familiar? ;)

As for the part of "owing" someone something: I owe my employer what my contract (and the law) says I owe them. Nothing more, nothing less. That doesn't mean I don't put 100% effort into it. That only means that I have a somewhat healthy relationship towards working, or at least I hope so.


I love the view you have on this, very interesting how your connect other free time activities to increasing yourself general skill level and reflecting that on your skills as software engineer. Thanks for sharing!

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