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einsteinboricua
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Self-starter or structure lover?

Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:54 am

I had a conversation with an ex-coworker and I mentioned to her that I had been taking a Programming in C course to help refresh concepts. It seems every position for software engineering requires you to know how to code in C and C++, but anyway...I had also mentioned that I kinda wished to have been able to take a long break during the initial Covid wave to dedicate time to enrolling in courses. She mentioned that she is like me: we want structure, a means to hold ourselves accountable but that her husband is a self-starter, that he's able to use his time off from work, read on stuff he needs to learn, and apply it. This is not the first time I've been told the same thing: I told my mom the same thing and she said that I should be more of a self-starter like my dad (no formal college education, yet making a generous income).

Of course, my concern with being self-starter is that unless the job allows you to use what you learned, how can you provide evidence that you know it? Hence why I prefer paying for courses that will force me to learn the concepts AND provide some form of evidence saying that I successfully completed a course/certificate in 'X'.

What about you? Where do you fall on this spectrum?
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flipdewaf
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Re: Self-starter or structure lover?

Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:51 am

Personally I fall in an part of the spectrum whereby I need enough structure to be able to assess what the end game is and why but I don’t like being directed with too much structure once the objectives are clear. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind some structured working and I love the processes of collaboration.

My favourite part of my job (I’m a research/process engineer) is talking to people about what the perceived project/problem is and turning that into a real project charter, problem statement and suitable briefs. Generally speaking, as an engineer it’s comforting to use numbers and measurements in briefs but I generally find that that means the brief holds some form of solving already happening.

So in essence I need the structure to understand the problem but the freedom to solve it. Lol.

Fred


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casinterest
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Re: Self-starter or structure lover?

Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:51 pm

I do a bit better with structure, but i am starting to be more of a self starter.
I find value in being accountable for what I take on. so if my project requires C or C++. I grab the book and go. However if it doesn't interest me, there is no point.
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Sokes
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Re: Self-starter or structure lover?

Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:04 am

I struggle with the topic.
Let's say to solve a certain task a certain amount of knowledge is necessary. Do I know beforehand what knowledge exactly is needed?
Are the books to be read the same, just the self starter doesn't read the full book?

Often a problem can be solved several ways. There are people who have fireworks of ideas. I assume the person who gets three ideas needs more knowledge than the person who gets ten ideas.

I believe the bigger the knowledge base, the more ideas one can have.

Another factor may be executive functions.

Do self starters solve problems good enough, as good or better than more structured people?

Does it depend on the work which personality is better? It would be nice if a self starter could share which type of work is unsuitable for them?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
LCDFlight
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Re: Self-starter or structure lover?

Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:54 am

I like to rebuild stuff within a structure. So, you might call that a parasite, or a renovator.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Self-starter or structure lover?

Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:50 pm

I'm definitely a structure kind of guy.

I knew that about myself at a young age. Almost joined the military because of that kind of predisposition. Glad I didn't, the way things turned out otherwise was far better than I could have imagined back then, the military would have stunted my growth.

The Internet is pretty helpful. You can find all kinds of tutorials etc to get yourself into a productive channel.

My experience with industry is they are too much in to self starters who pick up the current tech fad and build a lot of infrastructure around it then leave the company stuck with this blob of stuff no one else knows how to maintain. Yet over 30+ years in industry there aren't very many development organizations I've seen with the discipline to avoid this.

So, enjoy learning C and C++, but by the time you get to the point of using it someone will hand you a project written in Go or Rust and Ruby or Drupal or blah blah blah and expect you to fix it for them without any training. Get used to being air dropped into Paris with no knowledge of French.
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DL717
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Re: Self-starter or structure lover?

Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:59 pm

Structure. Brought me better security and ultimately a retirement that I am thoroughly enjoying.
Funny. It only took one pandemic for those who argue endlessly about natural selection to stop believing in natural selection.
 
Sokes
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Re: Self-starter or structure lover?

Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:18 pm

Revelation wrote:
I'm definitely a structure kind of guy.
...
My experience with industry is they are too much in to self starters who pick up the current tech fad and build a lot of infrastructure around it then leave the company stuck with this blob of stuff no one else knows how to maintain. Yet over 30+ years in industry there aren't very many development organizations I've seen with the discipline to avoid this.
...
Get used to being air dropped into Paris with no knowledge of French.

If there are no people with knowledge of the newest tech fad, how can management build infrastructure for it?
If there are no advantages for the tech fad, why would management bother to change things?
Can you give an example?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
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Revelation
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Re: Self-starter or structure lover?

Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:38 pm

Sokes wrote:
Revelation wrote:
I'm definitely a structure kind of guy.
...
My experience with industry is they are too much in to self starters who pick up the current tech fad and build a lot of infrastructure around it then leave the company stuck with this blob of stuff no one else knows how to maintain. Yet over 30+ years in industry there aren't very many development organizations I've seen with the discipline to avoid this.
...
Get used to being air dropped into Paris with no knowledge of French.

If there are no people with knowledge of the newest tech fad, how can management build infrastructure for it?
If there are no advantages for the tech fad, why would management bother to change things?
Can you give an example?

Where did I say there were no people with knowledge of the newest tech fad or no advantages to using new tech?

The issue is new tech needs to be introduced with an understanding that it now imposes a learning curve on everyone who needs to work with that tech, but in my experience that is rarely if ever done. What usually happens is manager wants X to be done and doesn't really care how, and some techie wants to learn about Y so they use Y to do X with no consideration of how that will impact the future development and/or maintenance of X. Usually that techie just likes to learn new things, or hopes by latching on to each new tech fad they are attractive to future employers. Other workers come along and are told to fix X and they don't want to look stupid so they go off to stackexchange and figure out how to bodge some sort of fix for the problem without really understanding how the system is put together. Before you know it, the project becomes an un-maintainable mess.

I've seen this act played out so many times it's absurd. For instance my first job out of college they hired a 'database expert'. He literally switched database vendors three times during our year long project, each time causing major schedule slips. He would mumble some justification for changing, but since no one else was a 'database expert' no one knew if his justification was correct or not. All we knew was he was the expert and they were hard to find especially at what we were paying so we just did what he said to do. Well, after trying the third one he announced he was leaving the company to go work for the vendor of the third database! Basically he used our company to get himself up to speed on all three databases and was able to make a comparison of them then decide which one he'd base his career on. This was the 1980s and the vendor was Oracle, so I hope he got himself a nice bag of stock to make the switch and held on to it, because he'd be a pretty rich dude if he did.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
Sokes
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Re: Self-starter or structure lover?

Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:46 pm

Revelation wrote:
...
What usually happens is manager wants X to be done and doesn't really care how, and some techie wants to learn about Y so they use Y to do X with no consideration of how that will impact the future development and/or maintenance of X. Usually that techie just likes to learn new things, or hopes by latching on to each new tech fad they are attractive to future employers.
...

Got it.
Interesting story, thanks for sharing.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?

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