Lately I've noticed people talking more and more about the hacker mindset, about abandoning traditional methods and finding shortcuts that allow you to get results faster. And I've realized that I'm actually this kind of hacker myself.
For me there has been plenty of that in school, of course. Always looking for the shortest path to a satisfactory grade. Which doesn't mean I was cheating on exams, just that I was not learning everything. I was just understanding the important things and making the right connections.
Years later, I'm still hacking my way around work. For instance, if I have to work with a new software which I don't particularly enjoy, I don't learn the software, and then start the work. Instead I learn as I go, reading documentation when I need it.
After analyzing the path of the hacker, here are my conclusions:
* You can't hack your way around everything: if you want to achieve the best results with things that matter to you, you'll have to sit down and learn things in depth, in order to maximize your understanding of a subject and be proficient in that certain field.
* The path of the hacker has one major aspect to it: you focus on results. So even if you are not skipping documentation, always keep focused on what you want to achieve, on the actual results, not just the theory.
* Experiment a lot, but also try to understand the outcome of your trials, so as to gain as much experience as possible.
So, yeah, I enjoy being a hacker, because I can't always work only on things I love, but it's best not to get too carried away by it. And yeah, it's easy for me to hack my way around new programming languages or development tools. But this is because I've tried to learn some aspects of programming (OOP, software architecture, UnrealScript etc) to the best of my abilities instead of just hacking my way around them.
So what are your thoughts on the matter? :)