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    Back then I was 5 years into my programming career, I had passed 10,000 hours of practice, and was starting to worry that the “10,000 hour strategy” I had been following and telling other aspiring programmers to follow may have been in vain, because I was still a pretty bad programmer (many would argue that today, 6 years later, I’m not much better, but now I can say that’s just because I only have 29,000 hours of practice).

    Anders Ericsson discusses the 10,000 hours rule directly in his book Peak. The number 10,000 comes from one study of violinists and is an oversimplification promoted by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers.

    One of the main things I took away from reading Peak is that hours of practice is not enough. The practice must be deliberate practice: specifically training in a finite set of skills, often with coaching help, and at a level that is just outside your comfort zone, so you are neither bored nor overwhelmed.

    In addition to the raw amount of time put in my guess is that the folks in your study are also very systematic about what they are working on and might have discovered deliberate practice for themselves without knowing the name.

    Peak was a really inspiring book for me, and I recommend it highly for anyone interested in improving a skill.

    Finally, this is a cool mini-study! Thanks for posting it. I think this is a really interesting topic especially related to programming skill.

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      Related - I’ve found an old post asking what deliberate practice is for programmers.

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        This is deliberate practice for me. I tried to make up my mind how to implement a state machine in C++. There is a big design space to explore and many principles to consider. In a professional setting there is usually no point in optimizing; pick something from Stack Overflow and continue. Taking the time to find an optimal solution gets you into good habits. Over time you can apply these habits under pressure as well.

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      I would LOVE to see the original response/e-mails, especially Knuths’ since it is well known he does not use e-mail anymore (was it a letter, was it e-mail by an assistant etc.?)

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        Good point. They are all interesting. Knuth’s was great (b/c like you said, he prefers snail mail). I’ll update the repo this weekend with those.

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        hmmm, the time that I program in my programming job might be but to far of what Peter Norvig still achieves while managing.

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          Very interesting :) Can you share which software projects you were following? At least the ones who’s author responded to your emails :)