Comfort vs. Confidence – A Thin Line Between Apathy and AssuranceFiled Under Human Factors, Thought Stuff
At the beginning of every project the question is always muttered at least once:
So which language/framework are we going to build this in?
This is a complete guess, but I would wager that 90% of new projects are built with the same technology that the previous project used.
True, there are a subset of developers (just like consumers) that continually need to be on the bleeding edge, however, this is by far not the majority of people nor businesses.
Additionally, I do believe that almost every computer language has the ability to solve any problem (although elegance of the solution changes).
So boiling it down, I would say that there are only two reasons for choosing to stay on currently known technology, either comfort or confidence.
Most developers when asked the above question will default on their current tool set. This is because either:
- They are confident the current tools are correct for the job
- They are overly comfortable with their tools, thus lacking confidence in anything else
For example, remember the Lotus Notes and XML guy? If not, I once knew a developer who solved all problems with Notes and XML, regardless of context and complexity. This would be a great example of somebody that is overly comfortable in a tool set.
People who are comfortable are in fact – apathetic; however, it is very hard for some people to recognize. Because the apathetic person is actually confident and competent in their knowledge and tools they are infrequently challenged. Thus confidence can disguise comfort and apathy.
The thin line of confidence comes into play when someone is disciplined to know the difference, and make the judgment call that changing languages/frameworks will actually lower the probability of a successful project (whether wrong fitting technology or barrier to knowledge/skill entrance is to high).
The greatest gift you can give yourself at a frequent interval is a big kick in the ass. Getting out of comfort ruts is the only way we grow. Always challenge yourself to learn, always challenge yourself to grow, and you will know the difference between comfort and confidence.