Novices and experts come in two flavors.

Both types of novices don’t know what they are doing. They lack the skills or the experience to be called an expert. But when they work their approach is markedly different. One type is deeply aware of their deficiencies and acts timidly, fearful that their limited skills will lead to disastrous consequences. The other type is either ignorant of their limits or brashly foolish.  They are quick to take on tasks beyond their abilities. They don’t seem to notice when they’re out of their depth and should probably get help.

At the other end of the spectrum are experts. These people have years of experience and complete mastery of their tools. But even experts show a dichotomy in their approach to work. One type is keenly aware of the stakes, of everything that could go wrong. They take a cautious approach to work. Planning, measuring and carefully executing their tasks.  The other type takes their experience and skills as evidence of competence and pushes hard to execute work with a quick eye and sure hand.  They trust their familiarity with the domain and tools to carry and deliver the work.