Apprenticeship Patterns – Record What You Learn

Write it down. Document it. Record it. This goes for things at home, work, or school. If you have an idea or come up with a solution to a problem, write it down so you don’t have to come up with that idea again a month down the line. It just so happens that one of the patterns, “Record What You Learn”, in Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman[AP] by Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye is all about documenting information. It discusses how it is very important to record any ideas you have or solutions to problems you have developed [AP]. More importantly, it discusses how these things should not just be written down and forgotten [AP].

I cannot agree more with what this pattern is all about. Your records should become a resource for you to use later down the line when you are working on something you felt you have seen before and aren’t quite sure what the solution was [AP]. The pattern also recommends that you go back to where you keep these notes regularly, so they will not be forgotten and hopefully new connections can be made each time [AP]. What good is keeping a notebook full of information if it is only going to collect dust?

Now I understand that recording information like this is easier said than done. I have learned this lesson more than a few times. One occasion in which I have failed to follow this advice was knowing what to do when a computer loses its trust relationship with a domain controller. This was back when I first started my internship and had limited knowledge in this area. My coworker had shown me how to regain the trust relationship and since it was such a simple task (just a PowerShell command and reboot) I figured I could remember it. Well, a week later when the server I was working on lost the trust relationship, I couldn’t remember what the command was. It took me about an hour to find the correct command. At lot of time could have been saved had I written it down in the first place. Needless to say, I have that command written down now.

One last benefit I’d like to mention about recording what you’ve done is it allows you to share it with others [AP]. By doing so, you may be saving someone else tons of time and frustration because they were able to utilize what you shared. Oftentimes you can find very useful information on sites like Stack Overflow and other forums. The end lesson of all this is simply, write it down. It will make everyone’s lives easier.

Link to pattern in book:


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