4 Stages of Competence

Published 2nd June 2013

With the upcoming launch of Ghost on the horizon I decided it was about time I learned some node.js. The process of learning a new platform reminded me recently of the “4 Stages of Competence”:

1. Unconscious incompetence — The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. 2. Conscious incompetence — Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. 3. Conscious competence — The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill. 4. Unconscious competence — The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task.

I’m probably only just at stage 3 with node.js but I find the experience of going through this process again exhilarating as I haven’t learned something new for quite some time.

I think sometimes once we get to stage 4 we are tempted to become complacent and can’t be bothered to go through stages 1, 2 and 3 again. I think it’s good for us to do this every so often to test our brains and remind us what it is like to be a newbie at something.