I have a colleague that likes to pass on knowledge he has learned from others as his own hard-earned experience, this is seldom a problem as most know who taught him and can ask the source directly. We work in a specialized mechanical setting, it has a special jargon.
This gets problematic however when he claims to be good at programming. In our office there are few who have anything but the most basic programming experience and many have none at all. At break the other day we started discussing a program he had written, as I had done something similar a few months earlier I was curious to see how he had done it. (I enjoy to program but I am not skilled at it).
Seeing as he claimed to be a skilled programmer I wanted to see if I could learn anything. I was rather surprised when his solution had a cycle time of 5 minutes where my solution took 10-20 seconds. Asking a few more questions it became clear that he only had limited knowledge of the language.
The other problem is that he keeps changing his story when he talks about his previous employment, one day he wrote something in C++, the other day it's Java and so on. Same story, different implementations. When prodded he changes back to his original story.
We work in a mechanical setting, programming is not out main line of work. The colleague is implementing a mechatronic system in a low level setting, structured text or ladder (PLC). We have safety means implemented to ensure that nothing goes boom, but it is making me uneasy that his skillset in a high-level language are so poor.
Unfortunately, my own experience of low-level programming is insufficient to judge his solution, and there is no one else readibly either.
- How should I approach my superiors with my suspicions?
- Should I even approach them given that my claims are rather loose?
- Should I discuss it with him and... what? Claim that he is not skilled enough? I can see no way that will turn out good even if my claims are true.