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I'm not an expert; I'm learning

Chris Bongers
Looking to get into development? As a full-stack developer I guide you on this journey and give you bite sized tips every single day 👊
Originally published at daily-dev-tips.com ・2 min read

Although I've been a developer for most of my life, I can't say I'm an expert.

I do have some expertise, but as many things in Tech, they keep evolving, changing, and improving.
The same has to apply to my expertise.

Hence today's topic, being a software developer is a life-long commitment to learning.

In some recent posts, I've talked about Python not because I'm an expert, but because I want to learn about it.
And my way of learning includes writing about it.

In those cases, I love it when people point out other use-cases or alternatives to the examples I sketch.
This doesn't mean my learning is wrong, but there might be room for improvement.

And this, in return, makes one a better developer.

Public learning

You might call this approach public learning, and it doesn't work for everyone.

However, some aspect that might convince you to give public learning a try:

  • Feedback by peers
  • Feedback by product owners
  • Help from community members

For me, those kinds of feedback you typically won't get in school or even in companies.
So pro for getting community help.

But how does one go about this type of learning?
Some ideas to get you started:

  • Contribute to open source issues
  • Write down some learnings on a blog
  • Create a Twitter thread
  • Open discussions on Reddit/StackOverflow/etc.
  • Participate in meetups/events

And like mentioned before, don't expect to be the expert, but the learner. It's ok to make mistakes and have people guide you in the right direction.

If everyone knew how to do everything, it would be a very boring world.

Provide feedback and questions

You might have heard me say this before: "Ask questions," and even here, it's valuable.

You might often see a tweet or discussion by me asking for feedback on a certain language, idea, or concept.

This is a valid way to get in touch with people who have done something like this before.

With the information from these people, you will complete your idea on this particular topic and learn from it.

Don't be afraid to ask something you're not sure about, or you question why it's done in that way.
I love it when my PR's are being reviewed and someone questions why I use method x over method y.
Often that's a super good question too, which I either can answer well because of z. Or I refactor it because it didn't have a particular choice to it.

Conclusion

To conclude this article, in the upcoming week, ask yourself am I learning? If so, make that choice to ask/write/speak about that learning!

Thank you for reading, and let's connect!

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Discussion (8)

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lexlohr profile image
Alex Lohr • Edited

This is a bit like impostor syndrome. I consider myself an expert frontend developer with now close to three decades of experience, because I never stopped learning and I never stopped asking questions. Even an expert cannot know everything.

Also, I would say that an expert is basically someone who asked first and learned faster than most everyone else.

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Chris Bongers Author

Yes it's very close to that.
But almost from another persons perspective, at least that's my feeling around this topic.

It's almost societies image, oh you're a senior, you must know everything, or we'll shame you.
Of course it's not that black and white, but I know many people that experience this, and it's wrong.

You are right, if you never stop learning you are doing your absolute best to becoming your best self.

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

Always be learning, thats the way to do it.

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robencom profile image
robencom

I applaud your positive attitude towards this issue, but it is kind of unfair that in the IT world, we can "never" be experts.

It is overwhelming the amount of knowledge that is expected from a developer to know/master!

But it doesn't end there. Even if you know MOST of the things related to programming (network, OS, cloud services, DB, backend, frontend....) still you need to dive into the business logic which is related directly to the business you are working on, for example, I worked as Software Developer in Telecom so I needed to understand Telecom related business logic.

We need to figure this out...After all, "we are the experts" :D
youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg

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dailydevtips1 profile image
Chris Bongers Author

Wow, this youtube short, I haven't seen it before but I can so relate to it!
Indeed we are the experts and we can do absolutely anything 😂

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robencom profile image
robencom

That video is LEGENDARY... Anyone who have worked in a BIG company knows the pain of working with such people...

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

Share the knowledge along the way, experts cant relate to beginners, but you can relate to the person at your level and bring everyone up with you. If everyone waited to be an expert we would have no content to lean from and in a stagnant industry.

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dailydevtips1 profile image
Chris Bongers Author

That is true Waylon, well said 🤘