[erlang-questions] Training new Erlangers

Siraaj Khandkar <>
Sun Oct 21 19:28:40 CEST 2012

On Oct 21, 2012, at 12:26 PM, David Goehrig wrote:


> 1.) Why would I ever want to use ________?
> 2.) Wow ________ is cool! I'm going to rewrite everything using ________!
> 3.) WTF were the thinking when they implemented ________, it is far too complex!
> 4.) Oh $#!+ I need rewrite everything again as a proper __ application.
> 5.) repeat cycle again ad nauseum infinity.) goto 1
> This cycle goes through several iterations that seem to repeat for each
> group, where they discover the value of bits of OTP by reinventing it piece
> by piece.

Yep. That sounds very much like myself :)

> I wish there way a way to fast track this learning by devising a fiendish set
> experiments to get them to do all the wrong things quickly. A "Learn Erlang
> the Wrong Way" course, to distill months of painful lessons into a few short
> weeks :)

This is futile. The only thing you can do in a few weeks is ACCEPT things as
facts, not actually UNDERSTAND them. Until you understand, you're bound to
repeat the above cycle.

Also, the way you say "...to get them to do all the wrong things quickly..."
sounds a bit douchy. Like you just want these code monkeys to hurry up, get
their shit together and get to the assembly line...

What is missing in that scenario is MOTIVATION, which is critical for really
learning. Made-up example problems are usually boring. You need REAL problems
that people are really motivated to solve, and solid concentration time to
think about solutions. Not gonna happen in ANY course. Courses are best as
presentations of how the teacher solved his/her real problem and what he/she
learned along the way.

> Granted, you are probably still doomed to repeat those lessons for the next 2
> years as they get ingrained in practice.

Yep :)

> How have other's experiences been with Erlang training programs / seminars?

I never took an Erlang course per se, but what I said above applies to learning
anything. Not saying one shouldn't take courses, on the contrary, I feel you
should consume as much as possible given an opportunity (there're crucial bits
of info one can pickup from a course), but the only way to learn is to try
really hard to solve something, then read/listen to advice and revise your
solution. Lots of educational value in NIH. Might be the reason why people love
making new web servers :)

P.S. I think you may be missing-out on the best programmers if you constrain
the pool to domain knowledge only.

Siraaj Khandkar

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