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There IS a right way

Dear Reader,

  1. Fins in FIRST
  2. BCD next with the jacket open
  3. Place your regulator in the jacket and then close the jacket over it.
  4. Wet suit goes on top
  5. Zip it up

I was taught this mantra by one of the greatest dive instructors I know, Donna A. of, and I run through it about once a month with fresh new minds learning how to scuba dive. See, there is a right way to pack a wet bag, this way.

At the lunch break, I am always happy to discuss the why with the students, but during class, the why is because I said so. I’ve got 350+ dives. I have made every non-fatal mistake that a diver can make. Additionally, there are thousands of divers all over the world that have tried every new idea you think you have for how to pack a wet bag and guess what, we all have standardized on this way because it is the best way. That is why we teach it as the right way.

For the past few years in tech, the prevailing attitude is “everyone should learn to code”. (that’s a whine for a different day) I believe that everyone interested should learn to code, but if you are going to learn, accept that there are right ways to do things and wrong ways to do things. In scuba diving, doing things the wrong way usually has pretty immediate and sometimes disastrous results. In software development, your ‘new way’ might work well for years. But doing things the wrong way will  eventually lead to a failure.

Please, on your own personal project, experiment all you want. Do things any way you want as long as you are the only person who will ever have to use or maintain the code. If there are other developers involved though, do things the right way. Do things the standard way, follow the community standards for the code you ware writing. If we all do this, everyone wins.

Until next time,
I <3 |<


p.s. We pack a wet bag that way to protect the regulator and console.  That is the most sensitive and usually the most expensive piece of dive gear. Fins are sturdy and cheap, they go on on bottom to protect everything from drops. Wet suits are soft and spongy. If something gets dropped on your bag, the wet suit helps absorb the blow. There is a reason we call it the right way.


Dear Reader,

Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong.

— Unknown

In scuba diving, the skills a student learns are important, they could save their life. New divers are taught skills to “proficiency”, they can successfully perform the skill on-demand. They can’t teach others, but they can save their life, or the life of another diver.

When training Dive Masters, it is a different story. Dive Masters have to be able to perform a skill to to “exemplary”, they have to be able to perform the skill so well that the presentation is an example to other divers. Then, and only then, can they begin to teach that skill to others.

Tech on the other hand, has the mantra of “the best way to learn a new skill is to teach it”. It is fine to present to others what you have built or learned, and inspire them to experiment with your ideas. This is proficiency. This however, is not teaching. Teachers should be able to perform to exemplary, not simply to proficiency.

Learn your important skills – life and career – to exemplary. Then – and only then – go out and teach them to others.

Until next time,
I <3 |<