15000 hours of experience

15000 hours of hard work
Image credit: jesse orrico https://unsplash.com/@jessedo81

It’s 2018. It’s been 10 years since I started my IT career as a programmer. Gradually, with the passage of time, I shifted my career from programming to other business roles and finally now settled to product management.

In last 10 years, I have worked for more than 15,000 hours. Here’s how I got this number:

Average working hours per day (only productive): 6 hours
Average working days per week: 5 days
Average working weeks per year: 50 weeks
Total Years: 10 years

Multiplying all these numbers gives my total working hours: 6 * 5 * 50 * 10 = 15,000 hours.

Now there is a wonderful book by name Outliers where the author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. This number was derived by Gladwell through studying the lives of extremely successful people in the field of hockey, music & computer science.

You can see that I have comfortably reached the 10,000 hours rule set up by Gladwell. So can I call myself an expert in IT? Can I define myself as an IT rock-star? 🙂

Unfortunately, defining oneself is one of the most difficult things to do. As Alan Watts quotes, trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.

Honestly speaking, I don’t know if I am an expert or not. I even don’t know if there is any way of judging it. Even with these 15k hours of experience, I still feel nervousness while starting or launching a new product.

I remember listening to one of Sachin Tendulkar’s interview where he mentions that even during his final years of 20-year illustrious career, he used to get nervous while going out in the field to bat. I also remember listening to Amitabh Bachchan where he talks about getting butterflies in the stomach before the launch of his movies.

This has led me to a conclusion that nervousness and anxiety are useful in achieving success if you care about the outcome. Another thing that I have found that it is extremely important to enjoy what you are doing.

What I know is that I love my job as a Product Manager. I love the feeling of making things. It’s actually very fulfilling. Product management gives an experience where I am forced to collaborate with so many people at various stages. I am usually involved right from the beginning till the end of the product lifecycle. And finally, when the product is live, it gives an amazing feeling of creating something out of nothing.


So, here’s what I can finally conclude now:

  1. There is no substitute for hard work. 10,000 hours is nothing but just a milestone.
  2. You have to continuously learn new things.
  3. Success will come by periodically re-assessing your techniques just like athletes do. You have to work, rest, reassess & Repeat to reach your goals.
  4. Success is subjective. Sometimes you should simply enjoy the process of doing a task and go with the flow instead of getting worried about the result.

Do you have 10,000 hours of experience? Do you consider yourself an expert? Let me know your views in the comments section.

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