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Re: What if you are not a genius?

by bikeNomad (Priest)
on Jun 10, 2001 at 19:48 UTC ( #87301=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to What if you are not a genius?

There are some kinds of knowledge and ability that only come with time and experience. For instance, few people have an innate knowledge of how to plan and execute the task of building a large program.

My own history is a good example (not that I was a genius, but...). I was going to college in 1975 when USF introduced their first course about microprocessors. Though it was a graduate course in the Electrical Engineering school and I was either undecided or a Communications major, I convinced the prof to let me in the course.

I was fascinated by the course. I memorized the instruction set, side effects, and bus timing of all the 6800 instructions. I aced the course, coming out above even the grad students.

The prof who was teaching the course had worked out a co-op situation with the local Honeywell branch. Since I needed a job, I was offered a position as one of four programmers on a team that was embedding a microprocessor system into a military teletype device.

What no one seemed to realize was that I'd never actually written anything larger than toy (university) programs, and had no idea how to structure a large program, or how to work with other programmers, or how to plan my time and effort.

I failed miserably, leaving them to find someone else to make sense of my scribblings and code snippets.

When hiring programmers, I have always taken both experience and intelligence/aptitude into account. Successful managers don't let themselves be dazzled by the brilliance of an untested new hire to the point where they risk the future of a critical project.

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