Gathering glass is one of the first hurdles a glass maker MUST get over. It can take anything from months to years to learn how to gather proficiently. Depending on the work environment, you may find yourself just putting finished glass items into the annealing ovens for months on end before you get your hands dirty and gathering glass. If working in a small studio you might expect to be gathering on your first day.
Gathering glass on the end of an iron can only be done by turning the iron at varying but controlled and thoroughly understood speed ratios and also by moving the iron across the surface of the glass at a precise depth and speed. This all has to be done as quick as possible as the longer your hands are in front of the furnace the hotter they get! What I mean by "thoroughly understood" is installed correctly and stuck fast inside of your sub conscious mind.