I have been assigned to read the first chapter, and the introductions of the subsequent chapters two through six. My first take-away line from the first chapter is that this book was written for me, not for my boss or professor. I find this ironic, since I wouldn’t even know about this book if not for my professor assigning it to me. I understand the meaning is to read it for my own benefit above all else, which I agree with.
Martin Gustavson summarizes apprenticeship as having the attitude that there is always a better way to do things than what you produce. Does this mean that as soon as I believe I have produced something that I believe is perfection, I am now a journeyman? I feel like this definition is not very accurate.
The outcome of an apprenticeship depends on how much effort one wants to put into it, it is more my responsibility to succeed than my master’s/teacher’s. I’d like to add that having a good or bad teacher directly effects how much I am going to learn. In high school, I barely passed algebra 2 with a D, whereas in college, I got an A in calculus. Obviously there is a huge leap in difficultly of the two subjects, so why did I preform much better in the harder class? The main difference between the two classes (and the two outcomes) was based on the crappy high school teacher I had versus the professional college professor. That concept will repeat in an apprenticeship setting.
Chapter two’s introduction starts with an interesting story about a philosopher and a zen master. I found this passage particularly interesting. Every time the master tries to explain something, the philosopher excitedly interrupts him by expressing what he has learned or studied elsewhere. By interrupting the lesson, the philosopher misses out on information. The phrase “empty your cup” refers to the concept that you must come to new experiences with an empty mind in order to fill it with as much knowledge as possible. New learners especially have this problem where they rudely can’t listen and learn. I may be guilty of this, but at least now I am conscious of it.
Chapter three is all about the “long road” in reference to the endless journey of knowledge. It bothered me particularly when the chapter states the importance of long term goals over things like salary and leadership. If I understand this correctly, long term goals in this context only means more knowledgeable in a specific field, with the trade off being you wont make as much money. My long-term goal is solely to make as much money as possible.
I would rather rich and dumb than smart and poor, depending on your definition of “dumb.” The book seems to define “dumb” in this context as “not knowing as much about programming as you could” which I can live with. As long as I am smart enough to be a good person, I would rather make more money. Overall, I think this book prioritizes knowledge too much, knowledge is the means to wealth and power, not the other way around.
Chapter four is about not becoming comfortable as the smartest person in your development group. If that happens, the book encourages leaving that group and becoming the dumbest person in a different group, then working your way up again, which makes sense and is agreeable.
Chapter five reiterates that perpetual learning is important no matter what your skill level. It covers prioritizing a reading list and continuously learning as much as possible.
Chapter six is related to five in that you must maintain your own learning. Once you graduate, you don’t have assignments or due dates to keep you on track. Beneficially, this means you also don’t have to learn anything you don’t think is relevant/interesting.