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When does learning become mastery?

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

What is the difference between learning and mastery?


If you want to cook pancakes, it's not too difficult. Just download a recipe and follow it step by step.


Even though you know what to do, you don't know why you are following those steps.


Learning is following the what, and mastery is following the why.


Smart contracts are not difficult to program (in solidity, at least, rust may take quite a bit longer). It's easy to learn.


Mastery, however, is just as hard as any other subject. For example, you will often hear that you should use calldata instead of memory when passing in dynamic arrays to a public or external function because it will save execution cost. If so, why does solidity even allow you to do something inefficiently?


Learning is following the recipe of using the calldata modifier. Mastery is knowing why and when not to.


Mastery means understanding why things are the way they are. For example, why do gas costs for storage variables keep going up, and how do the developers decide on the pricing? What does this mean for the futureproofing of your smart contracts? Based on how Ethereum evolved in the past, what future risks do you need to watch out for?


These are all questions someone who has mastered the subject can answer, but not someone who only learns the subject.


The learner watches videos, memorizes facts, and regurgitates them in a quiz. The student with mastery dives into the system itself, runs into challenging or unusual situations, and demands explanations.


This is why our program is so long compared to others. Mastery does not happen over 5-10 weeks. It takes a long time to understand different aspects of blockchain and see how they relate to each other.


On the other hand, mastery need not take years. A computer science master's degree takes 1 to 2 years, depending on the university administering it. We can cover significant ground in 4 months if we apply the same level of rigor. We also give students the option to stay on longer and learn even more topics. One cannot master all of blockchain in four months. Still, one can significantly master one blockchain and use that as a springboard to master other aspects of decentralized technology.


At RareSkills, we are looking train students who master the topic, not merely learn it.


If that interests you, apply now.




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