Training Engineering Graduates: Encourage Deliberate Practice

In a zen story, once a small boy was playing near the river when he saw an old man with a long beard seated in the sand. The boy moved closer and watched as the old man drew a perfect circle into the sand.

“Hey, old man, how did you draw such a perfect circle?” asked the boy.
The old man looked at the boy and said, “I don’t know, I just tried, and tried again…here, you try.”
The old man handed the stick to the boy and walked away. The boy began drawing circles in the sand. At first his circles came out too wide, or too long, or too crooked. But as time went by the circles began to look better and better.
He kept trying and then, one bright morning, he drew a perfect circle into the sand. Then he heard a small voice behind him.
“Hey old man, how did you draw such a perfect circle?”

Deliberate practice, with a continuous feedback cycle that can be used to measure progress has transformed novices into geniuses.

Psychologist Anders Ericsson, in his research, summarized that the highest level of expert performance is displayed by individuals with more than 10 years of experience. The maximal level of performance is not attained automatically as function of extended experience but it can be increased even by highly experienced individuals as a result of deliberate effort to improve.

Malcolm Gladwell, NewYorker columnist & author of many bestsellers, argued in his article argues that as a society we overemphasize innate talent in geniuses. He cites example of Ben Fountain, Cezanne who achieved excellence late in their life. They spent years perfecting their art through continuous and deliberate practice.

When looked closely at the lives of different pioneers of their fields, the commonalities that emerge in their success pattern point towards early start and deliberate practice. Author & Journalist Geoffrey Colvin, narrates here, how painful and demanding practice and hard work is secret to success.

But, as explained in this article, deliberate practice also requires constantly performing challenging tasks under environment that fosters competitiveness and provides expert guidance.

In HiSpark program, engineering graduates in their final year, develop commercially viable applications, challenge themselves gradually in 3 separate phases of increasing complexity. They learn to achieve autonomy by picking tasks that are slightly more complex then their current skill set and are guided and helped all along by experiences professionals. To know more, visit

Authors: Neha Vashishtha, Ph.d in Linguistics. She can be reached
Gaurav Tiwari, Program Owner, HiSpark. He can be reached at