Jack of all trades

jack of hearts cardI often bemoan the fact that I know a little about lots of things, but not much about anything.

It would be nice to feel I was a real expert in something – but my old chemistry teacher, describing how he got the right to put Doctor in front of his name, explained that it’s a process of knowing more and more about less and less until eventually you know everything there is to know about nothing at all.

While we do need people who are experts in particular areas, we also need those who have an overview: who can look at several related areas and see how they fit, or consider different options.  Otherwise how can the experts know their expertise is needed and right for the job?

So rather than complaining that I can’t pick what to specialise in, I’ve decided I’m going to play to my strengths and cover everything: not to the point of becoming an expert, but to the point of knowing what they entail, what the main features are and what the individual strengths and weaknesses are.

Specifically, this summer, rather than agonise over what programming language to focus on, I’m going to pick three or four possibles and work through them in parallel, working out how they are similar, how they differ and which does particular tasks more efficiently.  In the same way, with game making, I know of a few different packages, so it’s looking at each, maybe making the same game in each package, to see how they work and how to use that package best.

I’m nudged into action by a particular person whose programming skills I have admired enviously from afar – only to learn that I’ve studied computer science and he hasn’t but just gets on with it anyway.  It’s about time I learnt that attitude – if I don’t go out and find these things, they won’t come crawling into my lap!

I was off work sick today, but will be going in tomorrow for the last day, finishing up, tidying up and preparing for the long summer – and I have several things I intend to do this summer.  This study of different languages is only one.  I may tell you about them: not sure whether I want the nudge of knowing I’ve made them public or would prefer to keep quiet just in case (or is that setting myself up to expect failure?!).

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