Great post, Oscar.  I agree with a lot of what TheCodist wrote.  Sometimes 
I work longer when I am in the zone, and sometimes the chain pointers just 
won't hang together, so I go play with the dog.  And today I never 
underestimate the value of sleep to the logical/creative process! 

Mostly the biggest difference that has come with age is learning the 
software funhouse of PHP and finally being smart enough to amass a teaching 
library of examples.  It really doesn't do me any good to remember all the 
nuances of an email pipe or a cURL post request, but on the occasions when 
I need the knowledge, I can go back to my well-documented example, with all 
of the comments that explained the key points.  A consequence of this 
discipline has been that I can address all of the small challenges much 
faster than I could have when I worked in older programming languages, 
where I did not keep detailed notes and well-commented examples.  And as we 
all know, the larger challenges are made up of small challenges.  My PHP 
library gives me the time I need to concentrate on other things that I'm 
not so good at, because I know I'll be able to blow through the PHP part of 

If I could give one bit of advice to any new programmer it would be, "Slow 
down, save your work, write good comments, and come back to it in a month 
(whether you need to or not) to see if the comments still make sense."  If 
I could give one bit of advice to any new programming team it would be, 
"Work together, collaborate, develop consensus around every difficult 
issue, then come back to it in a month and see if the decisions still make 
sense."  I worked for a while with a young man who measured his life by the 
number of commits.  He would work in isolation late into the night 
(sometimes into the morning) and when he came to the daily stand-up he was 
so sleep deprived that he couldn't explain what he had done the night 
before.  So we had to start reading his code in order to try to figure it 
out.  Invariably it was sparsely commented and often had the code smell of 
a self-absorbed thought process.  I never tried to prove it, but I harbored 
the idea that his contribution to the project was actually a net minus 
because of all the team time lost trying to understand what he was doing.  
No doubt he was a brilliant problem solver at the algorithmic level.  I 
wonder how much more effective our team might have been if he had been more 
of a team player, more reflective and better able to express his ideas in 
natural language.  I am sure the team could have learned a lot from him.

Does it really take 10,000 hours to achieve proficiency?  Maybe not.  Maybe 
it takes 10,000 challenges.  It's interesting to try to handle the "help 
desk" activities for a while.  Deal with other people's problems.  It will 
teach you a lot about your own thought processes.  A good way to do this is 
tackle questions on Experts-Exchange or StackOverflow.  If you accept one 
challenge a day with your morning coffee, in a year you will have wrestled 
down a couple of hundred problems.  You'll have done some well and some not 
so well, but it will have given you a variety of interesting questions and 
it's a great way to get a head start on the teaching library.

On Wednesday, February 12, 2014 11:49:22 AM UTC-5, Oscar Merida wrote:

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