Some Views on Life, Learning, and Tech

The word view is often a synonym for opinion. Opinions are impossible to escape in life—particularly in the tech world. Opinions are good, we embrace them (rather than ban them) but opinions can become toxic when mixed with ego and passion becoming explosive and personal. (We have all been there.)

Views are always shaped by values. You might start there first. Understanding both explain the reasons behind the rest of our content on skilstak.io.

Conflict usually comes from not knowing why a person has that opinion. In fact, most anger can be linked to misunderstanding. Too often technologists start with conclusions without an explanation of how they arrived at them leading to misunderstanding, judgement, anger, and the occasional fist pounding or middle-finger.

For example, the following conclusions are very confrontational:

  • Microsoft is awesome!
  • React sucks!
  • Semicolons are useless in modern JavaScript.
  • Python is a horrible first language.

See, a bunch of readers just got angry. 😁 Many will be wondering immediately which conclusions we actually agree with. [Spoiler alert: all of them.]

More importantly, however, is the question, "Why?"

Even if your conclusion is backed in objective observation and experience starting with it comes off as trolling and personal when given first—especially because so many technologists are afflicted with like-mentality and intellectual laziness when it comes to researching their own conclusions—or worse—sharing how they arrived at them. We strive to be different here.

All of this introduction summarizes why we are sharing our views with you up front, right away. So you'll know where we stand and why.

Summary

After having said all that introduction about not starting with conclusions, for the sake of brevity we are going to go ahead and list our views as conclusions linked to their full explanation:

Learning

  • Creativity, exploration, and controlled failure are key to learning.
  • Every human has an innate right to education and learning.
  • Every member of society has a responsibility to learn and to teach.
  • Learning material can't keep up without being approached like source code.
  • Learning is best in person from someone who has already learned it.
  • Learning retention is best when done over time rather than concentrated.
  • No one is ever done learning including people who call themselves teachers.
  • Age is irrelevant when it comes to learning.

Educational Systems

  • Most American schools are deeply flawed because their model fails.
  • College Board and the AP Computer Science program is very broken.
  • College provides fundamental skills that can be obtained elsewhere.
  • Colleges should drop all assessment entry requirements.
  • College-level education should be free for everyone.

Programming

Web Libraries and Frameworks

  • React.js is bad for the Web because it throws out established standards.
  • Vue.js is better than React.js because it is simpler and follows standards.

Tools

  • Every full-stack engineer should master the VSCode and VI editors.
  • Every offensive security professional should master the ed editor.

Careers in Technology

  • For certain specific tech professions college is a waste.
  • The school one attends should have nothing to do with being hired.
  • White-board interviews are inaccurate assessments of employability.
  • White-board interviews are ethically wrong.
  • Employability and performance should be measured by merit and results.