Reading Isn't Enough

13 Mar 2020

This is a trap that I fall into. I like reading, I've got a list of books I want to read. I learn from reading. But Engineer, even Software Engineering, is something you only really learn by doing.

You can read all the documentation. You can read an entire codebase. And you will understand a good portion of it. But you won't really know it, how it works, or it's limitations.

I often start new projects or features by trying to read as much as I can. I try to find a path through the jungle and see the end before I start. Depending on what the work is that can be quick...or not.

Sometimes I don't get my hands dirty early enough, in a classic turn of phrase from Joel Spolsky, to launch the damn editor. Because this is a field where you learn by doing, not by reading.