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What if strong programmers tell you how they become strong? [Article inside]
7 points by shvetsovdm 16 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 8 comments
I asked 11 strong developers from Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, JetBrains, Avito, ok.ru, drom.ru, and Farpost about how to become a strong programmer, and distilled all the nuggets in the article below



> The funny thing is, chess is patterns that your brain won’t see at first. That is why it is recommended to start with small drills rather than the full game for the first year, so that the current state of a game seeps into your subconscious, and moves become reflexes.

This makes no sense to me. I never heard of chess beginners being recommended not to play the game for a year, if that's what the quote is saying. Sure, beginners should learn basic tactics and endgames, but even the strongest players still practise tactics and work on endgames. It feels a bit lost in translation. (Maybe it's a Russian thing, but I've heard/read a lot of Russians talking about their early chess days and never heard about that method.)

But ok, I persevered. Soon I got to

> “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room” – Confucius

Uh..that doesn't sound like Confucius. Quote Investigator, after what looks like extensive research, couldn't find the line in print before 2003.

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2019/02/21/bright/

Also, I find the page very hard on the eyes. Way too many different fonts, formats, font sizes. Too much white space. It gave me a headache before I was halfway down the page, I found it very uncomfortable to read. Great idea though.


>This makes no sense to me. I never heard of chess beginners being recommended not to play the game for a year, if that's what the quote is saying.

That's not what the quote is saying. I've frequently heard it said that beginners have a tendency to assume that they should start by studying one or two openings and trying to memorize as much of the variations as possible. Its natural to think one should start at the beginning and so they think that studying openings will help them. However, studying tactics and small puzzles would be a better use of a beginner's time.


Ah, that interpretation makes sense. Yes, no point learning openings if you lose pieces to simple tactics as soon as your opening knowledge ends. So then it should say "start with small drills rather than learning openings", not "That is why it is recommended to start with small drills rather than the full game for the first year". I mean, studying endings is useful even for an absolute beginner, and they are just as much "the full game" as openings.


I recalled one thing – "Study the end game".

How Josh Waitzkin taught Tim Ferris how to learn with a chess game learning example. Josh removed almost all figures from the table and said that we can learn so much more from the simplest game situations.

See it here https://youtu.be/UbXIbN5S3hE?t=101


Hey,

thanks a lot for such extensive and helpful feedback. I appreciate it. And I will look into how improve the reading experience


You're too kind :-) Also, I'm reading it on a large screen. Possibly it looks entirely different and fine on a phone? I don't know. Best wishes.






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