Can you help me?
Don’t you love those newsgroup posts? Granted, this is not a real world example (at least I hope it’s not), but why do programming newbies always
- neglect to assess the complexity of the arbitrary problem they just came up with
- assess the complexity of the problem wrongly – far too low, that is
- assume it can’t be very difficult if only they find someone to “tell them how to do it”
I don’t want to rant, I find this really interesting. Maybe we’ll all be able to create better computer applications or even programming languages/frameworks if we understand why people think the way they do about computers. I’m sure there are psychological articles about this out there, but I didn’t go look for them.
I don’t understand (1), because if I have the idea of making a new hobby out of jumping from helicopters with a snowboard on my feet, I don’t fool myself by assuming it’s just a matter of tumbling out and falling downwards. Maybe it’s me, do other people do this? Accepting the fact that the problem won’t solve itself, I can’t help but think… and assess complexity. No way around it. Is there?
I don’t understand (2) because in the face of a problem that I know absolutely nothing about I don’t tend to assume that it’ll be extremely easy. Hell, any office clerk is used to the idea that it’s better to assume all tasks are a bit more difficult than they appear. Why is rocket science proverbially difficult, but a problem involving writing a computer program by definition simple?
I don’t understand (3), but I’m sure that’s because I don’t understand (2).