My own competency

My single degree was in Electronics and Physics, so although that covered a considerable amount of digital electronics and CPU design, I’ve pretty much picked up everything I know about software in my own time or on the job. Consequentially, there are aspects of computer science I feel I don’t know as well as I could. I’m thinking especially of areas which are less frequently used in practice, but often cited as fundamental and important, such as compiler design.

I stumbled on this ‘programmer competancy matrix‘ the other week, and thought it would be a good first iteration of my own syllabus of areas I’d like learn more about. So I cut’n'paste it into a spreadsheet, and starting annotating it with how confident I feel in each different area, along with the next steps I’ll need to strengthen my knowledge in each area.

Startlingly but perhaps unsurprisingly, the tentative next step I arrived at in almost all areas I feel deficient was to finish working through SICP. Alright, alright, my path is clear.

4 thoughts on “My own competency

  1. obligatory spelling snark: competency.

    That said – I really admire that you have the self-awareness and drive to step back and generate goals based on this list. I read it a while ago and kind of clocked where I fit into it, but it never occurred to me to try to take action on the holes it identified. I tend to feel too rushed/confused/distressed by my immediate concerns at any given moment to attain the kind of perspective you have.

    If only it was easy to make lists while I’m running.

  2. I’ll echo everything xtian said. Very impressed. Looking at your Google Spreadsheet (thanks for making that available!) I’ve got to say I’ve declined since I left Uni!!! I really need to refresh myself on a few things if I want to stay in this industry (which I guess I don’t have that much of a choice about ;)).

    Nicely done, JB. But I’m not sure how that “years of platform development” warrants learning to program something new, though no excuse is really necessary for buying a Mac or an iPad now, is it?

  3. Yes indeed, Uncle Nick – absolutely. It’s embarrassing to be a purportedly professional programmer, but them stymied with simple operations when at the front of a room full of eyes just because I’m confronted with a Mac on the podium. It’s long past time to add a Mac to my collection. And I’m mostly pro-iPad, so that would be cool, no doubt.

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