According to Julie

Being good means knowing how to solve problems

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In response to the question “What do computer scientists and programmers know that others do not?”, Rob Fletcher, senior engineer at Netflix, gave this answer:

That the key to being good is knowing how to solve problems not in having encyclopedic knowledge.

Something I have to try to explain time & again when a non-technical person asks me “how do I do x on my computer” is that I don’t know. I can’t explain to you step by step over the phone how to make an image bigger in your document or how to print on both sides of the paper or how to switch between the internal and external speakers. I can probably – given the computer in front of me, some opportunity to explore the problem and accurate information about what you’re trying to do – figure it out. I’m familiar with the language of user interfaces and can use intuition and experience to explore an unfamiliar tool. I’m also less afraid of accidentally breaking something.

Programming is more like that than one might think. Sure, there’s knowledge involved but a lot of it comes down to familiarity with concepts, recognizing similarities in problems so you can apply similar approaches, probing the problem space with different techniques to see what works and when you get stuck knowing how and where to look for guidance.

I can relate to this so much (even though I am not a programmer or computer scientist). This kind of “being good” is why I work with technology, while other people with the exact same education and background might not be comfortable doing so: It’s not that I know stuff, it’s just that I am not afraid to figure stuff out.

This is true both for communication and dance. Being able to explain – in advance and in general terms – how to do something, that is a different skill. That is the ability to teach, which I also do both for dance and communication. But it is very different from being good at doing either of those things.

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