Why I don’t care for College as a Programmer
A minor disclaimer: I do not attend a bigshot university. I speak from my own experience at colleges that are ‘just okay’ schools. However, I’m inclined to believe that what I believe holds true to 99%, if not all colleges.
Most people hate college because of the work. Not enough partying and chillin with homies, yo. ”College would be great without the actual work”. If the work itself doesn’t bother you, you may very much thrive and enjoy the college atmosphere.
Or you may be like me.
I actually love to work hard. The idea of working, in itself, is not intimidating. What does bother me is what I am working on, how I am taught it, what I am not learning, and how much I am paying.
There are, of course, many different specific areas of programming that one may choose to pursue. I have made my decision as a mobile developer, and I work hard every day to become a better one.
I don’t care what specialization you choose, no school will have the ability to teach you exactly what learning will be useful to you. My school tries to be all encompassing— so broad that it teaches you the very basics of generalized programming.
This not only doesn’t work well, it’s a complete waste of my time. I’ve wasted countless hours in class ‘learning’ things that I may never have to use again in my life.
By trying to teach me as generally as possible, you teach me as little as possible.
My second complaint is the severe disconnect between what you learn and what is actually relevant. I’ve been to two colleges and have found them teaching me things that haven’t been relevant for years.
Even if your school manages to keep up with the times, there will always be some minor lag. The programming world moves fast — new frameworks are coming out often and things are always moving forward — it’s really difficult to keep up with this when courses are taught in huge semester chunks.
I also really dislike how knowledge of a subject is strongly reliant on the competency of the teacher. Even if I have a lovely, hilarious teacher, he may not be teaching me what you really need to be learning.
The generalized nonsense that I am suppose to be learning is now more difficult because of unreliable teachers.
Yes, there are some really effective teachers. But that is not the point.
The point is that I am taking on debt for a institution that has easily been replaced by the internet. I have taught myself to be a pretty good programmer almost entirely through what the internet offers me.
StackOverflow helps me solve simple problems. #Iphonedev IRC at freenode helps with with the tougher ones. Amazon connects me easily with books containing more specific knowledge on detailed subjects.
I can learn just about anything I want, and I certainly don’t need school to help.