10,000 Hours

ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
I started reading Outliers yesterday and in chapter 2 Gladwell posits that 10,000 hours of experience is the magic number to achieve mastery in a field. He uses the backgrounds of orchestral virtuosos, the Beatles, Bill Joy, and Bill Gates as examples and that got me thinking about experience in our field. When I was looking for a job earlier this year, I recall several higher-level positions asking for 5-7 years of experience.

40 hrs/week
x 50 weeks/year (assuming 2 weeks of vacation)
x 5 years
= 10,000 hours

However, I will argue that there is a difference between 5 years of experience vs 1 year of experience 5 times. By this I mean that someone who job hops frequently or changes roles doesn't have the same relative level of experience as someone who stays in the same role or supports the same product for 5 years. As an example, look at the hours Turgon has spent studying for CCIE - almost 1000 hours - in addition to actual work experience. The Microsoft Certified Master: Exchange Server 2007 program requires 5 or more years of experience with Exchange in order to be accepted into the program. In fact, the only Master rotations that require less than 5 years experience are SharePoint and OCS, and I assume that is becasue they haven't been available for 5 years.

Does it really take 5 years (or 10,000 hours) to achieve mastery in our field? What do you think?

Comments

  • LarryDaManLarryDaMan Member Posts: 797
    Being a sports fan as I am, I have read some of Gladwell's stuff. I find his work interesting, sometimes funny, and often thought provoking. I have only read excerpts from Outliers.

    Talent, natural ability and intelligence play a big role though. 10,000 hours working with a guitar will not necessarily turn someone into Jimmy Hendrix. Likewise, someone could spend a lifetime gaining experience and not match the success of Bill Gates or Babe Ruth.

    There are intangibles that probably cannot be taught, qualities that a person either has or doesn't have.

    10,000 hours experience would go a long way towards making you an expert in any field, but there have been 7 year olds who have written classic symphonies. When becoming a master of anything, which is more essential to have: innate ability or extensive experience?

    Those who have both are the real masters.
  • keenonkeenon Member Posts: 1,922 ■■■■□□□□□□
    interesting.. i think noone is ever going to be become a master as stuff changes and your required to keep learning so your forever a student. at best being a "master" is only because the new people know less than you icon_wink.gif
    Become the stainless steel sharp knife in a drawer full of rusty spoons
  • brad-brad- Member Posts: 1,218
    depends on the depth of the field, and how succeptable that field is to change.
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    brad- wrote: »
    depends on the depth of the field, and how succeptable that field is to change.

    Also how dedicated you are. Just because you work in a field doesn't mean you master it :D
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • KaminskyKaminsky Member Posts: 1,235
    Gomjaba wrote: »
    Also how dedicated you are. Just because you work in a field doesn't mean you master it :D

    YEP ....

    When I first started out, I remember feeling after my first month's work that I was a genious ! Close to 20 years in now and it seems the more I learn, the less I know.
    Kam.
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect ;)
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    Turgon wrote: »
    Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect ;)

    That's probably the most important point to be made with all this talk of "x number of years/hours experience". You can spend five years, a grand total of 10,000 hours, playing solitaire and only ever fixing minor problems at your job even if you're called a systems administrator. On the other hand, you can spend a few months working on something and get so enthralled and rolling that you practically master that whole concept in that short time. After all, if simply spending the time and doing the bare-bones minimum equated to spending the time and working your butt off, every single college grad and undergrad would be experts or near-experts in their fields of study. (Ask "that friend" who took a humanities or sociology degree because he/she wanted the quickest way out of college about their studies some time, see how much they remember from classes they took between drinking.)

    It's not just about the time you spend, but also how you spend the time. As for mastery. . . that's a relative term. 10,000 hours is a long time, but does that make you as knowledgeable as someone who's spent 20,000, 30,000, or even 100,000 hours? I'm a little weary of the concept that, somehow, learning and growing ever ends and you "master" a skill. After all, my former kung fu teacher used to say, "practice doesn't make you perfect, it makes you a little better."

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  • Paul BozPaul Boz Member Posts: 2,620 ■■■■■■■■□□
    This explains my ungodly video game skillz ;)
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  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    Paul Boz wrote: »
    This explains my ungodly video game skillz ;)

    Is that the only thing you've been practicing for over 10,000 hours? icon_lol.gif

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  • Paul BozPaul Boz Member Posts: 2,620 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Slowhand wrote: »
    Is that the only thing you've been practicing for over 10,000 hours? icon_lol.gif

    I can say a few things that are probably far too inappropriate for these forums ;)
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