Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

10Oct/09Off

Trying To Look Smart Often Makes You Look Stupid

It's a snowy day so I'm doing snowy day things like playing with Oscar and reading twice my RDA of stupid crap on the web. One of the things that I've truly enjoyed (other than chasing the little monkey around) is a post by Ted Dziuba entitled "I don't code in my free time" which is a spectacular summary of all the reasons that even the whippersnappers ought to think of languages as tools instead of canned solutions to a given problem. I also agree that solving actual problems (and getting past that particular problem) is much more rewarding than trying to rush ahead to learn every flavor of the month that might be really, really useful in a hypothetical situation in an imagined future.

That said, if I were charged with hiring programmers I don't think I'd really bother with folks who did obsessively learn new languages. That seems to me more the earmark of an intern who is viciously underpaid because they need to get the 'this new widget will cure cancer if only I can get through a few more rote exercises using it' syndrome worked through their systems. Despite the fact that the old guys might not follow each and every twist and turn on dev mailing lists, the old guys have an alternative approach to throwing everything at a problem to see what sticks: they actually know a bit about how to solve problems with tools they're actually skilled at using. I don't hate questions but I hate people that answer any given question/problem by posing a hundred other problems. Sometimes trying to look smart makes you look really fucking stupid.

To Ted, good work and thanks for being cranky. That's something the world could use a lot more of. Dealing with cranky fuckers who know what they're doing adds some pressure to the showboaters to actually get things done. God forbid.

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