From practitioner to developer

From practitioner to developer

  • Posted by Gerhard Pramhas
  • On 8. April 2019


In my last blog, I shared with you my thoughts on the literal interpretation of the German word Ent-wickeln, which means “to develop”. Today, I would like to shed some light on the requisite tools associated with becoming a developer. In this context, I will address the question of why – when it comes to driving innovation forward – a practitioner is always needed alongside the theoretician, and what structures this requires.

The skills of the practitioner

I won’t state the obvious here by mentioning the scientific disciplines – these are fundamental prerequisites for every developer, regardless of whether his or her career focus is theory or practice-related. There is simply no getting around the fact that you can’t be a developer without knowledge of the scientific fundamentals. Ignoring this principle will doom to failure any attempt to turn practitioners into developers.

So – that aside – what are the practical skills? This is where it gets interesting. Realising an idea, an innovation – or whatever we want to call the development of new products and services – always involves two parties: the theoretician and the practitioner. The theoretical path to becoming a developer is a clearly defined one, as is the path of practitioners, although for the latter, its implementation doesn’t work.

The solution for practitioners who want to become developers

What kind of solution is possible? Essentially, practitioners have to accumulate their theoretical know-how through practice. And that is indeed a rough road to take. Alongside his or her practical knowledge, a practitioner is also expected to master the theoretical tools. This is the only way practitioners will ever be able to compete with the theorist from the HTL (secondary technical school) or university. This path is tedious since the practitioner has not yet learned how to learn. Or do you know a practitioner who has spent several weeks studying for a mechanics exam?

From my experience, however, I can say that this difficult road is worth the effort. Our goal, then, can only be to create structures in which the practitioner learns the theory. Not in all its depth, but in such a way that he masters it as a tool for his new developments.

What are your thoughts on this? Write to me with your views at I’m looking forward to a lively discussion! You are also welcome to send me your questions and suggestions any time by using my contact form.