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Skill Acquisition

Check out the graph below. It is a totally made up (cuz I like to make things up) fabrication of the relationship between software skill acquisition and time (tic-toc, tic-toc). The y-axis “models” a simplistic three skill breakdown of technical software skills: programming (in-the-very-small) , design (in-the-small) and architecture (in-the-large). The x-axis depicts time and the slopes of the line segments are intended to convey the qualitative level of difficulty in transitioning from one area of expertise into the next higher one in the perceived value-added chain. Notice that the slopes decrease with each transition; which indicates that it’s tougher to achieve the next level of expertise than it was to achieve the previous level of expertise.

The reason I assert that moving from level N to level N+1 takes longer than moving from N-1 to N is because of the difficulty human beings have dealing with abstraction. The more concrete an idea, action or thought is, the easier it is to learn and apply. It’s as simple as that.

The figure below shows another made up management skill acquisition graph. Note that unlike the technical skill acquisition graph, the slopes decrease with each transition. This trend indicates that it’s easier to achieve the next level of expertise than it was to achieve the previous level of expertise. Note that even though the N+1 level skills are allegedly easier to acquire over time than the Nth level skill set, securing the next level title is not. That’s because fewer openings become available as the management ladder is ascended through whatever means available; true merit or impeccable image.

Error Acknowledgement: I forgot to add a notch with the label DIC at the lower left corner of the graph where T=0.

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