Passing on Knowledge


    This week I had the opportunity to introduce a recently employed colleague. He came out of school when there were almost no programming work available. Being a smart guy he has nurtured his programing skills while doing other things to pay the bills.

    I really like spreading the little knowledge I still have. It feels like I have forgotten a lot more than I remember. This week I worked on a couple of Visual Basic 6 applications. At the beginning of the week I didn’t remember anything. I had some small fragments of ghosts of memories in the back of my head. Thanks to Google I could find a lot of information about the topics involved. Information that filtered through my remaining knowledge lead to an understanding of the problems at hand.

    This got me thinking about what I should try to pass on to the new guy. Experience is not easy to teach and we are working in an industry that is still very immature. Technical details can be found withing seconds on the net so that’s unnecessary to teach. I ended up recommending him to read Code Complete, Second Edition and The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master. That should take care of most of the, kind off, tangible things. I then spent most of the time to give him the guts to dare to have fun while working, to communicate his view when in disagreement with the customer and to ask for help before it is to late.

    I really hope he enjoyed it as much as I did. It’ll take more than three days to pass on more than fifteen years of work life knowledge.