Mark Smith's Journal

Work related musings of a geek.

Tech confidence vs. tech competence

[staff profile] mark

One of our volunteers, [personal profile] kaberett, published an article today.

It's a really great post that captures one of the things that I really think is crucial to Dreamwidth's success as a project (and business), and it's the idea that anybody can contribute, everybody is valuable, and yes -- mistakes can and do happen and it's OK.

To pull out a bit from the article that really resonates with me:

[I]nstead, we work towards fostering tech confidence, through creating a culture where babydevs know that senior devs have their backs; a culture where people feel able to ask questions of the broader community, in public as well as in private; a culture where people learn how to test and debug and Not Give Up; a culture where our co-founders own their mistakes, and do so publicly, so that nobody has to feel alone. When people get discouraged, we give them pep talks. We remind people that it's okay to learn visibly, instead of having to pretend to be entirely competent all of the time. Everyone can learn from the mistake that anyone makes – and mistakes are caught soon after they happen, so consequences can be minimised.

Yup. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Contributing to Dreamwidth isn't about how much you bring to the table when you get here. We don't care how much experience you have or what your resume says or if you even have one. The fact that you're here and that you want to contribute? That's all you need. The rest can be learned.

08.07.2013 11:13 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kaberett
Question: I am thinking about trying to turn this into a talk. Thoughts on whether it might fly as a proposal? (In general - I haven't got anywhere in particular for submission in mind yet.)

(And, seriously, thank you so much - I am kind of in slightly flappy tears about how much it means to me that y'all think I'm doing you justice here, and that anyone else thinks it is a useful articulation of the concept.)
08.07.2013 11:48 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

jjhunter: Drawing of human J.J. in red and brown inks with steampunk goggle glasses (red J.J. inked)
Posted by [personal profile] jjhunter
I thought it was all kinds of brilliant myself, fyi.

(And I count myself very much in the category of babydev working her jaws experimentally every time you do one of those bait posts, wondering if this will be the time I'll bite.)
09.07.2013 03:43 am (UTC)

(no subject)

denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Posted by [staff profile] denise
I think it would be a great talk proposal! The confidence vs competence divide is something I haven't really heard articulated in exactly that kind of way before, and it's one of those "oh, of COURSE!" things once you hear it :)

(LCA extended their deadline if you want to possibly go to Perth...)
09.07.2013 02:39 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

misskat: A castle with rockets and fire cannons with the DW D on it. (Castle Dreamwidth)
Posted by [personal profile] misskat
I think it'd be a great talk. :)
09.07.2013 05:13 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kaberett
Oh. Oh. And actually this ties into my stuff about Neurodiversity In Volunteerism, and why non-code tasks get devalued because code is placed at the top of the hierarchy of skills and coders then feel like they're "wasting time" on non-code volunteering, but people who can't code aren't going to do jobs unless they - and their work - are valued equally! Yes. Okay. I am not going to have any problem filling 45 minutes with this. ;)