Introduction: I am a Senior Systems Design Engineer based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I have been working for 35 years; primarily in the software profession. I realized a few years into my career that my approach to software engineering was significantly different from my colleagues: I have an innate ability to model problem spaces that others just do not seem to possess. This is particularly evident in the paradigm known as OODM (Object Oriented Domain and Modelling). As a result, although I was able to successfully build complex systems, I had a great deal of difficulty finding any traction in the industry. It seems that I was just too different - I just did not know how. I eventually discovered that I have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), Aphantasia, and SDAM (Severe Deficiency Autobiographical Memory). This news made me extremely happy: I was finally able to successfully model myself and my life after all of these years: And I was very hopeful that I could now find a community where I could survive and perhaps even thrive. Over the course of my career, I came to the realization that there exists two approaches to Software Development: The Pattern Approach (PA) and the Modelling Approach (MA). The MA Development Process: Both the PA and the MA require domain specialization. How that specialization is acquired is different. Practitioners of the PA must memorize the patterns that belong to the specific domain. Practitioners of the MA must study the domain from the raw data within it. The PA is quicker and much more efficient. It is a shortcut. The MA is a much more time consuming and laborious approach. Those who practise the MA are generalists by nature. They had to start from birth to model reality. They had to model everything before they could have any confidence in their knowledge of the world or themselves. Personally, I can vividly remember listening with awe to my peers who were able to have definitive opinions on varied topics as I was growing up. Only later did I realize that they were typically only parroting opinions that they heard from others. It took me a long time to get to the point where I felt confident about saying anything. When I was 25, I intuited that the truth could not be found in the mainstream media, or the universities. I had completed an engineering degree in the top school in Canada. I resolved to study only those books written by saints. This allowed me to complete my mental model of reality. Only when I turned 30 did I begin to feel confident enough to express my opinions. And my opinions were virtually unassailable, unlike those of my peers. When I began my career, I found myself having to research new areas of knowledge. However, because my talent is modelling, I was able to find true sources and study that domain relatively quickly. Because I am autistic, I have not been able to keep a job for any length of time. This has forced me to study many diverse domains over the course of my career. Understand that when I am modelling a new domain, I am not creating a new model; rather, I am extending and refining the model that I have been building since childhood. You begin to realize that systems share similar Symbolic Language - what could be called ‘meta’ patterns. In short, you soon realize that domains become easier and easier to model. This is how one becomes a generalist and a specialist at the same time. The MA and Creativity: This is how one is able to think outside the box. This is where true creativity stems from. The mind is able to intuitively model new domains with minimal knowledge and energy. One can simply intuit. This is where the separation/boundary between the natural and supernatural begins to get extremely thin. This level of consciousness is extremely difficult to attain or even to believe possible for those who rely solely on the PA. This is why I claim that the MA approach can never be replicated by a machine. Because it taps into that model that is infinite - that model that some call God. A Call for Virtue: Each one of us is capable of both approaches to some degree. And we are all capable of developing each approach to some degree. There is no ‘correct’ approach. Each of us are made with specific skills and inclinations. Nobody is broken or a mistake. We desperately need each other. It is imperative that we develop ourselves to the best of our abilities. It is imperative that we realize that every individual is necessary and good. We cannot afford to treat people as broken or as refuse. We need to develop our virtues as best as we can. Today there exists a desperate need for humility to realize that we simply cannot do everything; That we need others. There is a level of narcissism in society that has rarely ever been seen before. The last job I had, my manager fired me because he was looking to hire someone exactly like himself. This is hubris at an unprecedented level. Naturally we play to our strengths. We all use both approaches. But I believe that the MA is more difficult to learn. That is why I believe that those with good memory never develop it fully. Also they don’t need to because society seems to have evolved to a point where you can be very successful without the MA. ASD, SDAM & Aphantasia: The relationship between Aphantasia and poor memory is very interesting. I think I have unique insights because I worked in the software profession. My Achilles heel is my poor memory. I thought that because I had poor memory, I was unable to store and retrieve patterns easily. Today, the ability to know patterns is critical for a software developer. It can make or break your career. It has destroyed mine. However when I discovered that I suffered from Aphantasia, everything clicked. I realized that I could not work with patterns - not because I had a bad memory. But rather, because I could not visualize them in my mind. I am no expert but I suspect that is why my memory is so bad. I suspect that the mind relies on the ability to visualize patterns in order to efficiently store and retrieve memories. The mind has the ability to be a classic pattern recognition machine. I believe this also explains my autism. Because I am unable to store and retrieve patterns, I am therefore unable to communicate with individuals non-verbally. ASD & Hyperphantasia: It made me question why people with hyperphantasia also suffered from autism - I am thinking here of Temple Grandin and Nikola Tesla. I suspect that they have a similar pattern problem, but it is the opposite. I think that they see things so vividly, that they are way too vivid to be mere patterns. They have the problem perhaps of remembering too much. So that when they see a pattern in someone’s face, they cannot generalize to the appropriate category. Perhaps they have to find the recorded image of the specific person with the specific expression.
Nepean, Kanata, Ontario, CAOpen to Relocation
Open ToFull Time JobFreelance/Contract Work
Career InterestsResearchComputer Science and ITLeadership & Management
💪Skills & Strengths
Re: Systems Design Engineer - Seeks Systems to Design and Engineer Dear Sir or Madam, I have been in the Software industry now for nearly 40 years. I have always sensed that I was different. Twenty years ago I realized that my memory was exceptionally poor. To my surprise, a few months ago I was diagnosed with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). I wish I had known much earlier as It is not like me to misrepresent myself. It was a big revelation to me and it helped me significantly to understand my life. I was also diagnosed with Aphantasia and SDAM (Severe Deficiency Autobiographical Memory). The discovery of Aphantasia, (the inability to see with the mind’s eye), was an interesting surprise; I did not know that people could visualize things when they closed their eyes. The subconscious effort I had to exert to overcome these limitations led to the development of specific strengths. My abstract reasoning is very good. My ability to focus on a problem is quite sharp; I have high fluid intelligence. I can very quickly load and analyse problem spaces. My thinking is very logical, flexible and lateral. I am good at recognizing groups, and at forming relationships between concepts – especially relationships that are not obvious to neurotypical people. I am extremely curious and analytical. People who have my strengths typically excel as artists, writers, inventors, investigators, and entrepreneurs. As a manager, I am good at communicating, mentoring and sharing knowledge. I am also good at thinking outside the box, analyzing current systems and coming up with solutions - typically before the problems are even recognized. I am extremely open to the idea of neurodiversity and I know how to make it pay - and I have seen it pay many times. As a developer, I typically work best in the OOP paradigm (Object Oriented Programming). In short, the unique expertise that I have developed over my lifetime is the ability to solve complex problems - technical or otherwise. My weakness comes in the form of patterns. I cannot see patterns. I cannot remember patterns. In code, or in people's body language. This has been problematic. I am currently developing strategies to overcome this weakness – at least with people. I thank you for your time and for your kind consideration. Sincerely yours, Patrick Dooley.
Creative ThinkerDeep EmpathizerDetail-oriented ThinkerHyperfocus