They say ten thousand hours of practice is what is takes to master a skill. Ten thousand hours of playing violin, of hockey, of programming. No: not ten thousand hours of doing it. Ten thousand hours of conscious practice with the intent to get better. [1]

When riding a motorcycle, devote 5% of your attention to recording what you do and what the results are. [2] Later, reflect on “I leaned this far, and the bike turned in the center of the lane. If I lean farther, I can take it tighter.”

As professional developers, we have the chance to put in these hours and get paid for it. If we code eight hours a day, that’s only five years. That is unrealistic, so call it ten. After ten years, are we masters of our craft? Only if we code every day with the conscious intent to get better. Are you learning from your work every day? Thinking about what you’re doing and how to do it better tomorrow?

This is the difference between ten years of experience and the same year of experience ten times.

[1] Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, ch 2
[2] this one book we have at home about how to get good at riding motorcycles, like for racing.