Break it till you make it

I am currently doing a programming course, where the instructor first teaches us to write a piece of working code. He then encourages us to break it – to tweak some part of it until it stops working – and to restore it.

‘Break it till you make it’ is a mantra that every engineer follows. Just as software engineers take code apart to see how it works, mechanical engineers take cycles and automobile engines apart to put them back together.

The steps involved here are:

  1. Start with a working system
  2. Break the least significant part of it and restore the system
  3. Break increasingly significant parts and restore the system
  4. The the whole system apart and build it from scratch

The most effective means to become an engineer is actually to reverse engineer.

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