Understand Deeper

Recently I have seen first hand, some of the true engineer attributes are. I finally have some sense of how to understand things deeper. From working with my wonderful peers.

Being a User

I rethink my history of growth. I pick a fashionable/popular choice of programming language. I skip the boring manual, hop from blogs to blogs. It works! Mimic how professionals do it. I learn things quickly. Apply things quickly. “Tinker until it works” has always been my philosophy to go about things.

But now I have seen my colleagues. They go deep on understanding the technology they work with. While I was happy to know just enough to be dangerous. This is really dangerous, can do something blindly versus can understand something and doing it. But I have always have the desire to understand more.

Engineers and technology users are mostly the same day to day. Users could look more useful on getting things done. Users know how to work with those magical boxes called abstractions, use the most productive tools to make things happen.

But when incidents happen, users have no idea. They can see things are on fire now, but they cant find where the fire is. Engineers know can see through the fire, find the root cause of the fire and stop it from happening.

Lazy Engineers

They read the manual carefully. They don’t just learn something. They verify how things work. They are curious on strange behaviors. They are skeptical about obvious choices. They operate on a solid base of fundermental understanding of things.

They understand something deeply!

Then They have deep insights looking at things. They know how to use some advanced features of the technology we work with to solve a problem elegantly. They can explain the tradeoff made to a technical solutio and see the big picture of how this will play out in the long run. They can describe the merchanics of how things work. They answer your questions. They are humble and very lazy engineers. But they are willing to get hands dirty if they have to.

I have always been a user. Now I want to slowly build my muscle, to try to think things deeper, to try to see things in bigger picture.

To Matthew Draper, Jessica Stokes, Samuel Cochran, and many other engineers at Buildkite :)