Good teachers do more than help you learn, they help you develop a view of the world and give you an education. Good books are usually enough to teach you technical subjects, but a mentor will add depth and meaning. I am lucky enough to study with such people and I’m trying to make the most of it.
After studying computer science, if you do it properly, you will be capable of much more than just writing some parts of some programs that your boss already designed. Sure, you can do it, but you should pursue a higher meaning of your work. Sometimes I think that we should try to do what is hard, not what is easy. Although we can accomplish something valuable even if it is easy for us, I believe that only by doing something harder we will grow and add value to our current abilities and knowledge.
I’ve also come across a few ideas about leadership and innovation this week. As I was saying earlier, doing something easy needs less knowledge, so we should try to accomplish the difficult task of innovation. And that is a challenge not easy for anyone, because creating something means imagining something that hasn’t already been done. And it’s only the beginning, because its potential can only be achieved by developing it and presenting it in a proper way that attracts interest.
Leadership seems a difficult task as well (so accomplishing it will have value). Although being a balanced person and having common sense means that you should know your place, not talk too much, be polite and not boast, doing this will also make you stay in the background, unnoticed. I believe leadership requires strong individuals, and it will require a moderate amount of boasting, or rather proving your abilities. In order to be respected, you need to be able to prove at any moment that you are better (as a professional, not as a person) than any of the people you lead.
They know they can’t do your work, and when you show them you can also do theirs, they will respect you
For example, if your work is at a higher level than that of the people you lead (say you’re designing, and they’re building your design or implementing your work), they might think that you’re just designing and you have no idea how to practically do something. The moment that you go to them, and show them that something they are doing is wrong, and you take their tools and show them how you would do it in a better way, you will probably be less efficient and slower than they are (because they do that work every day), but you show them that you can do their work. If they work at a lower level than you, and they just implement what you think (conceive), then they know that they will never be able to do your work. And by showing them that you can also do theirs they will respect you.
Both innovation and leadership are interesting challenges, and accomplishing them successfully must be very rewarding. Good teachers help form many ideas similar to these, ideas about life, profession and putting meaning into them.