Monday, August 31, 2009

Top Down Thinkers

Today I got to thinking about top down thinkers. I'm a top down thinker. I design before I configure. I write specs before I write code. I write outlines before I write text. I'm the author of Top-Down Network Design, so all this comes as no surprise, no doubt. :-)

When I'm learning a new system, I like to hear the big picture first and then iteratively learn about the nuts and bolts. If a manager gives me a task and I don't understand how it fits into the overall project, I may get bored and/or confused and, I must admit, I may not do my best work. I like to understand architectures, interactions, dependencies, messaging between system parts, and so on, before I dig into a single component or task.

I think a lot of engineers work like I do, but I've also worked with many who prefer to work in a bottom up fashion. They develop the pieces first and then build them up into a working system. What about you? How do you work best?

And, speaking of top down thinkers, I love convertible cars and am a big fan of's new Top Down Envi iPhone app. The picture above is a screen shot from the app. I also recommend my iCertify app. How's that for an awkward segue? :-) iCertify is a set of flash cards that will help you study for the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam.

Are you a Cisco Networking Academy student, by any chance? In honor of the school year starting, I lowered the price for iCertify to $2.99. Get it now before the price goes up!

I remember terrific Fall days when I was a college student, riding in cars with boys (convertibles, of course), lugging books along. These days you can just bring your iPhone and study for your CCNA in your top down car. Enjoy!

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