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Last Post by atch
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Does anyone know what his formal education is?

Does it really matter? Whatever he studied, it's probably obsolete today. His accomplishments are stupendous and his technical knowledge of C++ and programming in general can be matched by only a handful of people in the world. This completely dwarfs whatever educational background he has, that's probably why you'd have a hard time finding out about it. The field of computer programming is very much like that in general, people get judged by their contributions, their expertise and their skill, the educational background matters only as a means to acquire those skills, but you are not judged based on education.

As for the criticism on that link, Herb Sutter is just one man, and Microsoft is a big organization that never cared much for C++ (for many reasons, mostly marketing and vendor-lock-ins). You can't blaim him.

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mike_2000_17 hi, thanks for your reply. Well, I personally believe that it's good to have some sort of a formal education. Secondly I saw a discussion between him and one guy from boost library in which herb seemed to have very little idea what he is talking about. As for his knowledge - that is at best questionable, and please remember that knowledge != ability.

Edited by atch

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Well, I personally believe that it's good to have some sort of a formal education.

I'm currently working towards a PhD, so you don't have to convince me of that. However, for computer programming jobs, there is often much less emphasis on formal education as there is on demonstrable skills and experiences. For example, I was once offered a job at a computer game company, they were asking me to abandon my bachelor degree that I had barely started, long story short, they recognized my programming skills and didn't care that I had no more than a high-school degree. This is not uncommon in tbat field. It doesn't mean that a formal education is not useful or valuable. Often, the saying goes "you learn more in your first two years of work than you did in your four years of college/university".

Secondly I saw a discussion between him and one guy from boost library in which herb seemed to have very little idea what he is talking about.

Everyone say stupid things or talk through their hats. Herb Sutter is not immune to that. It's very possible that he was talking too much about something he knew too little about, that happens all the time, especially with respectable figures of authority that get a certain free-pass while doing it. They shouldn't get a free-pass, but unfortunately they often do. All that said, you cannot discredit the person as a whole because of that either. For example, Linus Torvalds has made a baffoon of himself on multiple occasions by talking through his hat, but that doesn't take away the fact that he is an unparalleled system's programmer and open-source advocate who made tremendous contributions (Linux, Git, etc.).

As for his knowledge - that is at best questionable, and please remember that knowledge != ability.

Questionable? Sure, everything should be questionable, there is no such thing as someone with unquestionable knowledge, or at least, there should never be. That's just basic critical thinking, applied. But Herb Sutter is undeniably one of the major figures or references when it comes to technical knowledge of the C++ programming language, as evidenced by his GotW series, his books, and his prominent involvement in drafting the C++ standard documents. It would be hard to argue that he faked all this, or to argue that his work is just hyped up for more than what it is.

His works clearly shows that he's a very language-technical guy and, you could say, a philosopher of good programming practices. And, his job is mainly to design programming languages, standard library components, and compilers, which I think makes a lot of sense given his area of expertise.

Does that mean he's the best programmer out there? No, he certainly isn't. Knowledge does not equal ability, at least, not in areas other than the application of the knowledge itself. The area of work where you can apply good technical knowledge of programming languages, of compilers, and of programming practices, is in the design of programming languages, libraries and compilers, and that's what he does and is good at (although, Microsoft hasn't been the most fertile ground, IMHO).

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hi mike
I think the point is that personally believe that herb sutter isn't someone with special gift nor ability. But that's me. Alexandrescu - love him.
As a flip side of a coin - in my college, doctors (not all of them but some) who work as my tutors, know so little that sometimes I wonder what they really know. Anyway, thanks for discussion.

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I think the point is that personally believe that herb sutter isn't someone with special gift nor ability.

Don't go looking for people with "special gifts or abilities", cause you're just setting yourself up for disappointments. There are great people who deserve a lot of respect or admiration, but there are no super-humans. If you elevate some person to some kind of godly status, you're most likely to be disappointed eventually (when meeting or interacting with the person, or when you find out more things about him/her).

Alexandrescu - love him.

Love him too. He's a real template-kung-fu master and a clock-cycle hawk. But he isn't flawless either.

As a flip side of a coin - in my college, doctors (not all of them but some) who work as my tutors, know so little that sometimes I wonder what they really know.

I get a bit of that too (from the other perspective). Sometimes undergrads think that because you are their senior, you're supposed to know everything about every subject they question you on. Remember that knowledge is volatile and changing. I forgot at least half of the things I learned during undergrad courses, retained only the essentials, while I developed much deeper knowledge of only a few specific areas. Give your tutors a break, dude.

I think your expectations are unrealistic. I know cause I was like that too. My father is really knowledgeable, especially in history and politics, I grew up thinking he knew everything and had solid opinions on every issue. I projected that expectation on other "authority figures", with many disappointments (and quick judgements like "this guy is an idiot because I asked a question he couldn't answer"). Growing older, learning my own things and forging my own opinions, that unreasonable expectation disolved as I realized we're all just normal people with different experiences, aptitudes and opinions. Certain people have earned more respect in certain areas (e.g., your tutor or some veterans of your field), but they don't have answers to everything, and they are certainly not always right. This is a very important life lesson to learn.

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Agreed. Will certainly give it a thought. Thanks.

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As for (some of) my tutors, real example:
I asked him, not face to face but over the internet, so he had time to think about it before he replied:
I - "Would this X method be acceptable while creating tables?"
He - "Your method X doesn't create table, here are two methods to create a table: A and B"
I - "But I've checked my X method and it does create a table"
He - "Then yes, your method will be acceptable"
I - "I've tried in the mean time to create a table with your A method and it doesn't work, any ideas why?"
And he didn't even bother to reply. But there are more examples, no time nor space obviously here.
Regards.

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