Someone on a social network asked the question “Is it possible to have 10 years experience in C#, .NET, jQuery, and SQL and still know less useful information than a coding bootcamp graduate.”

It is very possible. Also very unlikely.

The secret is that very little “information” goes into being a good programmer. Even less so in the days of Google and Stack Overflow. Most if it is having a nose for when you are on the wrong track. When an assumption doesn’t work. Which assumptions seem reasonable at first and burn you and your team hard after a year in prod and which are almost impossible to reverse. What it feels like (literally feels like) to be using the wrong data structure for the problem you are solving.

And you can absolutely be in this career for decades and never acquire that. But, it’s also really hard to acquire at a coding boot camp. And some of the things that they teach in a university CS program that feel impractical (LISP, 1-6NF, the theory behind OOP, algorithm analysis) lay the groundwork for having that nose, though they don’t lead invariably to having it.

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08 November 2021