Category Archives: The White Belt

The white belt

Today, I decided to read about “The White Belt” in chapter 2 of the Apprenticeship Pattern book. Basically, this chapter talks about how learning a language and becoming good at it can make us feel confident about what we do; until we have to learn another language that comes to challenge us and question our knowledge. Speaking of the white belt, it basically is trying to make us understand that even if the black belt leads and knows the way, the white belt will have no choice but to follow and learn the way.

The solution gives a clear explanation of what is the white belt and how it is important to unlearn what we have learned in the past and start fresh. By learning a first language, we can practice and get familiar with it. It might make us feel like we know everything until we have to learn a second language that comes to question our knowledge and understanding of the first. It does not mean that we do not know the first language that we learned, but we have to combine and sink both languages and approach it with a mind of a beginner. One thing that I learned from computer science, is that we learn every time. We will never acquire the complete knowledge of coding, programming because there will always be improvements to make, new challenges to overcome and surpass.

Jerry Weinberg said: “In order to climb, you must leave the sure footing, letting go of what you already do well and possibly slipping downwards into a ravine. If you never let go of what you already do well, you may continue to make steady progress, but you’ll never get off the plateau.” What I love about this quote is that we need to understand that in programming, getting off our comfort zone (e.g. meaning letting go of that language that we perfectly know and mastered) and possibly slipping downwards into a ravine (meaning taking the risk to try a new language and not be afraid of the challenges, difficulties it may bring) should not scare programmers. It changed my way of thinking and what I learned is that to be a good programmer, we should be ready to face any challenges. A programmer cannot stay and remain in his comfort zone because he is scared of the challenges and difficulties another language might bring. Then, he will never learn and improve his skills, he will continue to make steady progress without going any further.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Gracia's Blog (Computer Science Major) by gkitenge and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.