Well over 10 years ago I learned of the so called Four stages of competence.

In short, these four stages identify the progression of skill adoption:

Someone with Unconscious Incompetence doesn’t even know that they don’t know.

Someone who is Consciously Incompetent has some idea of what he doesn’t know.

Someone who is Consciously Competent can get the job done, but has to work at it.

Someone is is Unconsciously Competent does’t have to think about the mechanics and can just get on with the job.

Over on DevThought is a good blog entry “The four stages of programming competence” summarizing how these stages might apply to programming. Worth reading.


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March 2009