do you have the knack?

27 Feb

Just to make the clip somewhat meaningful beyond amusement, I here put a serious spin on it… please ignore my few words for your most carefree enjoyment.

So, the puzzle of the day: is there really such a thing as “having the knack”?  I was rather surprised when in a discussion regarding programming skills the majority of those present – mostly (software) engineers – deliberately voted for the notion of coding being a skill learnable by anyone, rather than something which required certain pre-requisites of logical thinking or analytical reasoning mindset/abilities.

Up until then, I’d been quite happy to swallow hook, line and sinker the whole philosophy regarding ‘a certain type of individual’.  The membership  of which clan I embraced with mixed emotion: either a blessed talent or a discomfiting bane taking turns at lodging in my life.

But now I’ve been led to ask whether it is all just an urban myth, after all?

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Posted by on Friday, February 27, 2009 in selfish


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4 responses to “do you have the knack?

  1. Sympodius

    Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 2:05 am

    I think both are true. Some people do have ‘the knack.’ But I also think that most people can be taught to program. Perhaps not all that well mind you 😉

  2. rach

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Hello there 🙂

    Was just thinking about you the other day and thinking it was about time I got back in touch 😀 … when there I see a comment from you! (Been a bit hectic since and all, but hey.) So yes, how are you and everything? 🙂

    Maybe catch you on msn or so some evening?

    Hrm, your comment did make me laugh and all 🙂 bringing back all those memories of watching folks (me included 😛 of course) getting taught to program, and what a sight it must have been to behold. Hehe…

    What brought the concept back to my thoughts, is that there’s also a bit of a learning curve between being able to program (swotting up just one way of doing something) and being able to work with and understand other people’s code. When they’ve chosen to design something one particular way, understanding why and also how that modifies your preferred solution.

    I think that was behind the whole “knack” thing. I’m pretty happy that I can program just fine, but I find it distressing to discover a codebase with 10yrs of development by many (very intelligent and capable) engineers is not quite a trivial context to be working in. I keep wanting to bypass the “learning curve” overhead and just get on with the real guts of the problem, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that… and when it doesn’t, little me gets all self-doubting and thinking she isn’t even as good as dilbert anymore 😛 Lol!

    ~Rach 🙂

  3. rach

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Ps: have you given up on the whole blogging thing yourself? It was Feb08 on livejournal… 😛

  4. Sympodius

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I know what you mean. I spent about 4 months last year trying to get to grips with someone else’s code. I’m not sure it matters how well code was written or how good you are at understanding other people’s code, that’s always rubbish.

    As for me, yeah, I moved to pownce for a while for a blogging. I really, really liked that platform, but then it got bought out by another company. I decided the heartbreak or being the only LiveJournal user left and then Pownce leaving me left me only one solution: I’m just going to host it on a website of my own.

    It’s not really set up yet, but I’m going to be using a Drupal based solution at

    And yeah, come on-line and say hi any time.


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