On Learning...

Author Name • April 28, 2011 12:59 PM

Over the past few months I did a little bit of iPhone programming at work, and being such a novice in the area of Cocoa programming, I looked around for a more focused selection of podcasts to listen to during my long commute. I came across the Build & Analyze podcast over at 5By5, which is hosted by Dan Benjamin, but the majority of it is Marco Arment spewing his thoughts about iOS programming, coffee, and life in general.

As I listen to each episode, I'm figuring out that in a lot of ways, Marco thinks a lot like I do (or at least how I want to think). I may banter about more of his thoughts in future posts, but for now, I couldn't agree more with his stance on learning and putting yourself in challenging situations in the Desk and Balls episode. When he was coming out of college, he talked about how he thought he knew everything, but his first job quickly showed him that this wasn't true. That moment for me, however, was when I got to college, and Georgia Tech showed me that I didn't know anything (and I didn't know how to learn, either). Fortunately, I eventually learned how to learn by the time I graduated, which is what college is really all about.

Marco goes on to say that his first job kicked him in the butt, and he was surrounded by people that were so much smarter than him. He was able to learn and absorb all kinds of knowledge and techniques about writing code that he didn't already know. I love this mentality. While my job probably isn't as challenging to me as Marco's first job was for him, it's still a challenge and I learn new things every day, and I am surrounded by a lot of people that are a lot smarter than me. Also, this concept is one reason I attend CocoaHeads and read blogs about programming that are way over my head, because being around those people and thoughts grows my own understanding of the Cocoa programming world.

Unrelated to careers and programming, though, I recently had an experience that kicked me in the butt, but it forced me to learn. My church small group leader asked me to lead a discussion on Galatians 3 and 4. I've been a Christian for a long time, and I'm familiar with Galatians, but I don't think I've ever read through those chapters to really study them (except for when I read through the Bible in high school, which was way too long ago to count). It was essentially all new material to me, other than the premise that we are saved by faith and not by works. Studying Galatians with the mindset of leading a discussion on it forced me into a very uncomfortable position, but in the end, I learned a lot about these two short chapters and how they related to the rest of the Bible. The people in our small group are way smarter than me, which put a lot pressure on me, but in the end, I really enjoyed my preparation time, and we all had a good time discussing our perspectives on these chapters. I hope to keep studying the scriptures on my own in a similar way.

What challenging situation have you been in lately?