Saturday, November 04, 2006

Practice makes a man Great

Practice makes man perfect.  Quite true. But does practice makes a man successful. Or to that matter, does practice makes someone “Great”. I ran into this article on Fortune. According to the article, researches have shown that natural gifts or natural talents are irrelevant to great success. What is important is the intense and deliberate practice of ones job. As it mentions:
“The evidence, scientific as well as anecdotal, seems overwhelmingly in favor of deliberate practice as the source of great performance.”

The arguments in the article are quite true. In retrospect, if I look back to the days in school, university and last few years as Software professional, I have developed certain strong skills in programming and software development. And all the credit goes to diligent practice, lateral thinking, open to different ideas and ability to relate various topics to core fundamentals.

As article mentions “The good news is that your lack of a natural gift is irrelevant - talent has little or nothing to do with greatness.” I do quite agree with it. There are some things which one person does better than other. And if he goes on improvising them, he achieves emphatic success in that field. Elements like passion and strong interest are vital for any successful individual or business. However just having strong passion and lack of practice does not lead you to anywhere and everyone knows that. All in all the article gives insight on what is the simple formula of being successful.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Were the days spend in the Engineering School worth it?

That is what Kathy Sierra is addressing in her latest post titled Why does engineering/math/science education in the US suck? on her blog Creating Passionate Users. Probably I didn’t mention about Passionate Users on this blog, but that’s one more place I visit regularly. Tons of learnings for any software professionals. Heading on to the post from Kathy Sierra, she rants about the how useless and obsolete the engineering and science education is in US. I did my engineering in India and the engineering education system is quite influenced by west and most of what Kathy says does apply to engineering education system in India also. If I look back to the days I spend in the engineering school, I feel the experience was quite fulfilling and enriching. No doubt there were elements of cramming, exam oriented, problem solving by recipe however I never practiced them except “problem solving by recipe”.

Most of the India still lives with middle class mentality. The idea the prevails there is to get good grades in high-school, get admission in the best engineering school in the course which has best job prospects, and finally settle down with the “job for life” without even giving a damn thought of what are you interests, do you really want to do Computers or are you really destine to be theater artist. All that because there is lot of competition, a never-ending fight for survival and no room to introspect and think about what one wants. All that aside. Coming back to the engineering education system in India. I didn’t go to best engineering school but the one I joined had decent reputation at the state level. I joined Information Technology course without knowing a bit about what it means. Just knew that it’s to do with computer, is an upcoming field and has lot of job prospects. The college I went has a decent line up of the subjects. I learned courses ranging from Civil Engineering to Engineering Drawing to Simulation and Modeling to Compiler design. Honestly it was a good mix and I am realizing some value of all I studied back then. Seeing the other side of the coin, that is the teaching methods and how stimulating the environment was etc. Teaching methods were in someway exam oriented or rather to get things done or to just complete the course. But that said, the faculties were open for the discussion and ready to help one in pursuing his/her ideas or thoughts. What I feel is that lot depends on the individual rather than the system. System does play a great role but it is meant for masses and evolves over the period and influenced by lot socio-economical factors. The engineering education system in India calls for a revamp, however we don’t see it happening any time soon. The 50 years of legacy and the mindset would take time to change.