DaveInsurgent wrote:I'm not sure about the 20 hours though. That seems like a lot! I have a family, two kids. I am 26. I try to read and work on new things as much as I can, but I am certainly not a "20%"er. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a *nix shell, I use Internet Explorer... [...] I look at Kent Beck, Martin Fowler, and many others and I see a CLEAR line between us. But I don't think it's the 20/80 line.
First, you're looking at how you compare stacked up against, arguably, the top 1% in their field (although Beck seems to be losing it a bit these days). If there is an 80/20 breakdown in programming skill, then there is probably a further breakdown within the 20% and within the 80%.
Second, while you might not have time to delve into things outside of your core, you should work hard to at least carve out time to advance your existing skills. If you're a web dev then, unless there is overwhelming reason not to, you really should have a couple other browsers in your workflow. Even if you're not a web dev, and you just need a browser, there's no harm in trying out Opera or Chrome or Firefox. If you're a Windows app dev, then push yourself to try some new tools. If you're using MSBuild for everything, then check out Rake for fun. Basically, push it a bit at work and mix things up where you can, if you aren't already.
Since professional development is vital to keeping you current, which in most cases is beneficial to your employer, you should broach the topic of carving out an hour or so every day on the job for training. Sure, it's not 20 hours a week above and beyond, but it's 5 hours a week that will have long-term net positive results for both you and your employer (surely you aren't 100% productive 40 hours a week at work, plus you might learn ways to be more efficient that up your productivity much more than 5 hours)
DaveInsurgent wrote:I think that, as an "80%", is wrong. It's not adequate - those people are inferior both in their skill and their ambition. They are NOT professionals. I consider myself to be an adequate professional, I expect that if I keep at it I will make senior developer/engineer some day with the right amount of experience and practice, but I don't consider myself a "20%" person.
I'm sure there are bands within the 80% (if we assume such a thing) as well. In the article linked
to by the article Steax mentioned, the author does a good job framing up, specifically, what he means by the delineation.
eta: I currently work at a .net shop on a small team (I'm half of it). We do web dev stuff. asp.net mvc (and whole lot of other, cooler, frameworks are the standard... asp.net mvc has been out for years now). One candidate we interviewed, when asked what they knew about the mvc stack, said nothing but they'd love to learn someday. They've been programming for a while and in .net the whole time and doing web dev stuff for most of that time.. but all in old, crusty technology without even looking to see what else is out there. Those are the people that I think of at the bottom of the not-criminally-incompetent stack.