The “Confront Your Ignorance” pattern offers the next steps after you’ve followed the “Expose Your Ignorance” pattern. It’s not enough to admit that there are gaps in your knowledge; an apprentice software developer needs to be willing to do the work to fill in those gaps. The book suggests several ways to go about this. You might read introductory articles about the subject, start making a breakable toy, ask experts and peers if they’re willing to share their knowledge, or learn alongside someone else. Personally, I think learning with breakable toys would be the most effective strategy for me. I understand what’s going a lot quicker if I can try something myself and see it in action. I’ll also keep in mind asking peers and mentors. A lot of the time, I won’t be able to figure out something that’s obvious to someone who already has knowledge in a certain area on my own.

The writers emphasize that this pattern needs to be used with “Expose Your Ignorance.” Confronting your ignorance without exposing it means fostering a culture where failure and being seen learning are shameful and must occur in secret. It will also probably be more difficult and time-consuming if you don’t ask for guidance when you’re stuck. Exposing your ignorance without confronting it means you won’t be able to solve any problems outside of your particular niche, and others won’t appreciate it when the gaps in your knowledge prevent you from fulfilling your responsibilities.

This is also the first time the writers have mentioned a situation in which you should prioritize the job over the apprenticeship. It’s possible to be so caught up in your drive to learn more that it gets in the way of delivering the product. You might also be tempted to go about solving problems in a way that helps you learn what you’re trying to learn, but is impractical for others. You should be striving to improve your craft, but not at the expense of your team and your duties. Part of being an apprentice is putting the needs of your community before yourself. These guidelines provide a good balance between the greater goal and what’s more immediate.

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