The Athletic Programmer

Sometimes I think it would just be easier to just throw my best at my work. I’d happily have someone paid to constantly coaches me and tell me how I can improve and have me work on the skills that need improvement. Instead we are used for the skills that we are already good at, regardless of if there is room for improvement. Part of an athletes job is to sit down and hone their skills, spending hours practicing. Only a small fraction of their time is spent performing but by this point they have neared perfection. In corporate America, all of our time is spent performing with almost no time to practice and only the bare minimum of training. We spend most of our time doing the tasks we are already good at and not expected to learn new skills as part of the normal routine. If I were able to spend half my day coding brand new things in frameworks and languages I had never used, the other half of my day would be more productive and I would probably do a better job since I had spent time building parallel neural pathways. They always said in school practice makes perfect, so why doesn’t that same principle get applied in the real world?

Google gives their employees 20% time to perform mental exercise and practice and look where they have gone with that. How can you have your employees become athletes?