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Tobias Haindl
Tobias Haindl

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Forget the 10.000 hour rule! Strive for range!

In his book Outliers Malcom Gladwell argues that the perfection of a certain skill takes a lot of time.
He brings up successful people from different domains and analyzes their lives.
It all boils down to one thing:

  • practice
  • more practice
  • even more practice


David Epstein in his book Range provides a fresh perspective on this debate.
Who has the upper hand in long and daunting journey striving for perfection in a certain skill:
the one who focuses early and gets in a lot of practice ?
Or the one trying out things across different fields and deciding later on what to master in life.
He brings up famous people like Vincent van Gogh and explains how a late start and a huge range of different experiences can be essential for mastering a skill.

During reading his book, I thought about how this discussion influences tech careers.
I think a late start into a tech career does not prevent one from becoming a great developer.
Earlier experiences in other domains can help with understanding the customer/user better.
Previously earned domain knowledge can be applied during requirements engineering. It can help explain the customersโ€™ needs to colleagues etc.

Of course there are a lot of hard skills to master in tech like getting familiar with the syntax of a new programming language.
However, I think a broad range of skills can be helpful, especially when working in a team.
Having people with different skills on your team brings fresh and new perspective to your hive mind.

Let's discuss

Did you specialize early in your career on a certain niche?
Did you switch careers late?
If so, do you regret it or are your previously earned experiences beneficial?

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