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Learning How To Be A Developer

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Does the popular "sheep dip" model of short training courses actually help people become better developers? Is teaching as a performance art really the way to go? The time has come to shift our attention away from teaching and think instead about what it takes for people to really learn how to be great developers.
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I don't know about you, but I'm sick of all of the miracle cures that are being offered to people who want to become software developers. The "Learn all the buzzwords in one hour" books and courses are just a waste of time. All they do is set unrealistic expectations and then fail to meet them. The fact is that learning to become a good software developer takes a lot of time and effort.

"Sheep Dip" Courses Considered Harmful

Lots of training organizations offer three- to five-day "sheep dip" courses that promise to teach you a new programming language or software development technique. And our organizations believe this hype. We get sent away to the course and when we come back we're expected to know the stuff. It would be laughable if it weren't so sad.

Humans don't learn very much in intensive courses. Think back to the last time you attended a "sheep dip" course. Sure, while you were there it felt like you were learning; after all, you were working really hard. But how about when you got back to work on Monday morning? If your experience was anything like mine, you had a period of total confusion and feeling completely lost. "What do I do now?" The deer-in-the-headlights look when asked to do something that seemed really easy during the exercise in the course.

At best, all "sheep dip" courses really do is provide an overview so that you know what you need to learn. At worst, they manage to completely confuse you and in the process convince you that you'll never really be able to learn anything.

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