· learning

Learning: Writing about simple things

My colleague Aman King is back in Pune for the time being and during one of our conversations he was asking me why I didn’t wait a bit longer and learn more about Ruby before writing about it.

In a way he is right and I didn’t write anything at all about C# or Java when I was first learning how to write code in those languages because I didn’t have the confidence to write about something that I knew nothing about.

However, what I found when I was initially learning F# was that even writing about very basic things was quite useful to me and once I’d written about something my understanding of it tended to increase.

For example about a year and a half ago I wrote a post about some common things that I’d been getting confused with and I was quite surprised to notice that I never confused them again once I’d written that post.

I’m not sure of the science which explains why that happens but I’ve noticed a similar thing happening with Ruby.

I wrote about the advantages of learning through teaching last year which is along similar lines and I think the points I made there are applicable even if the subject matter would be trivial for others.

The other useful side effect which sometimes happens is that someone much better than me will point out a better way of doing something than what I described and I can then use their approach in code I write in the future.

In a somewhat related article titled ‘Blogging, empowerment, and the “adjacent possible”’ Scott Rosenberg recently described in more depth how writing about things can actually change the way we think about them.

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