The Software Craftsmanship movement is approaching the development of skills and experience in a new, old way. From their Manifesto:
As aspiring Software Craftsmen we are raising the bar of professional software development by practicing it and helping others learn the craft.That is, while they are not specifically eschewing training and other traditional means of learning the craft, they seem to be more focused on doing the work in collaboration with others, and particularly others who are farther along the path.
In the martial arts, at least the Japanese/Okinawan martial arts, a teacher is known as "Sensei". From Wikipedia:
The two characters that make up the term can be directly translated as "born before" and implies one who teaches based on wisdom from age and experience.When I was training in Shotokan karate, we were taught that Sensei meant "one who has gone before." Not "master", but one who was farther along the path than we - the students - were.
In medicine, after completing one's formal education, in the United States one spends time as an apprentice (Intern) and then journeyman (Resident) before being examined by a board and considered ready to practice medicine as a true practitioner.
As a software developer*, I may or may not receive any formal training. I may or may not ever get to work with someone who is sufficiently farther along to help me learn. I may end up working largely on my own, under the supervision of someone who has no skills in my chosen (or discovered) profession. There seem to be so many ways in which I can fail to learn, improve, or achieve mastery in this scenario. And this scenario is far too common.
Organizations are driven by their organizational imperatives, and by the biases, constraints, and limitations of their leaders and managers**. While there are some that are beginning to recognize the importance of "upskilling" their employees, many leave it to the individuals, and the individuals don't know where to go.
A core component of the idea and vision which we're calling "Mastery Quest" is to provide means for these individuals to learn and be mentored and upskill themselves. Combining community-created and community-owned challenges and quests, individuals will have a way to learn as they go.
A part of that will be receiving "experience points" for work that they're doing anyway. Is a developer doing Test-Driven Development? Get someone to attest to the amount of time they've been doing it for experience points. Is a veterinary technician successfully drawing blood from a small dog or any size cat? Get someone to attest to this achievement, and get experience points.
These things should - and do - count.
Now the question is "how do we set this up so that we can make it a reality?"
* Or a veterinary technician or tester or office administrator or...
** Leaders and managers may be the same people, and often are not.