You don’t want to LEARN?!

Mark Oates
Senior Software Engineer

On a day I will never forget, I was part of a group of junior and senior developers having lunch discussing different methods for debugging and tracing your software, when I heard one of the most horrifying things in my professional career. A knowledgeable co-worker began to extoll the benefits of “reading the wire” and how it can demonstrate things about your application’s behavior that you were not intending.

As I glanced around the lunch table and could see confusion in the glazed eyes of the junior developers. To help expand on what my co-worker was saying, I interjected that “reading the wire” meant: to inspect and read the network packets, along with their payloads to understand what is being sent and received by the application. One of the junior developers still looked like a deer in headlights and began to turn and stand before he had finished his lunch. I asked if he needed further clarification. He quickly and curtly responded, “I don’t wanna learn”.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

I – don’t – want – to – learn.

It usually takes a while for me to reach a tipping point, but I was instantly on the verge of a total lack of restraint. Shocked and unable to let the comment pass, I enthusiastically responded with, “What do you mean you, ‘don’t want to learn?’ What’s the point if you don’t want to learn?!” I realize that he was just flippantly trying to end the conversation, but the deeper meaning of his words provoked me to act.

Whether you are new in your field or a seasoned veteran, I hope that you always remain open to learning new things or approaches. Any time you don’t know the answer to an offhand question I encourage you to reply with, “I don’t know but I’m going to find out.”

P.S. – it doesn’t hurt for you to know how to read a packet trace either.