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Stop waiting for the montage

Dear Reader,

I love 80’s movies.

Probably one of my favorite movies of the era is “The Secret of My Success”. That movie was all kinds of awesome. Like so many of the movies out there from that timeframe, it had a montage showing the protagonist working hard to succeed…for about a minute.

The concept of a montage was so overused in the era that it became a trope in films, the 80’s Work Montages.

An 80s work montage is great because it takes all the hard and boring parts of the real work that has to be done and edits them out. What is left is a few cute cut-scenes of what needs to be done sets it to a fast paced – and short – song. By the end of the song, the job is done and the viewers are left smiling because they saw the easy parts, the fun parts, but not all the hard work behind it.

Too many people I see trying to get into software development want an 80s Work Montage to teach them how to code. Ok, honestly, you probably could learn to code in a 80s Work Montage because coding isn’t the hard part. Coding is the equivalent to taking a basic grammar class. Yes, you’ve got the basic tools to write when you are done, but that doesn’t make you Tolkien.

Begin a software developer is not the same as being a coder. Software developer use the tool of code to solve problems. Being able to think critically about a problem and being to see the solution is a discipline.

Like all serious disciplines, you have to invest time to really learn how to do it. You have to start small, you have to fail a lot, and eventually you start to succeed. The more you do it, the more you succeed. How long it takes to master the discipline of software development depends on the person. All of us have different strengths. Some strengths don’t lend themselves to being able to think like a software developer. Even those that are wired for it don’t master it quickly. The best software developers I know took the time to learn the craft. They logged the long hours. They sacrificed other parts of their life so that they could focus on this.

Stop looking for that 80s Work Montage that you think will make you into a software developer. Sit down in front of a computer and start solving a problem – notice I didn’t say writing code? Start solving a problem. When you are done, solve another one. Keep solving problems until you can start to see the answer in your head.

Solving problems as a software developer isn’t a skill you can pick up in a short montage in your life. Put in the hours, master the craft, then you can reap the rewards.

Until next time,

I <3 |<

p.s. In the movie, the secret to his success was that he actually did all the work that was summed up in a simple montage.

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