Skip to content

Know When to Apply

Posted on:June 9, 2021 at 12:13 PM

A quite peculiar behavior begins to emerge among professionals with significant experience: they approach complexity with a nonchalant preference for experience in the moment.

Expert whisky professionals who have been in the industry for 30+ years and grown up around distilleries in Scotland tend to ignore the “rules” and etiquette around whisky drinking. They choose a fancy scotch and order on the rocks because they know exactly the experience it will give them in the moment. Professional tasters dump equal parts water into a scotch because they typically nose things at around 20% abv. In some whisky “expert” circles this would be sacrilege.

In engineering we see this approach too. Senior engineers care less about dry, solid, functional, strict type systems, etc. and care more about the specific situation they find themselves in. They may wholesale copy from stack overflow, copy-paste code from file entirely into another, or completely ignore time and space complexity.

The core difference here is that the pros know when to apply the right patterns and when it really doesn’t matter.