Here’s a false belief many students seem to have:
“I can’t be a software developer because my school doesn’t teach computer programming.”
I was talking to a friend of mine recently, and we came across the topic of education and careers. I asked him what he wanted to become after graduating from college. Well, after admitting that he hadn’t really put any serious thought into what would happen after school, he said that the bad reputation of his school, and the insight and technical skills his school fails to provide wouldn’t allow him to have high standards in job-hunting. He believes that his institution is primarily responsible for landing him a job. This is a negative belief every student should stamp out.
Your school isn’t responsible for your future
Institutions often provide a set of career descriptions that apply to the programs they offer. They tell you that if you complete this IT program, you will be working in the position of an IT consultant, software designer, or online entrepreneur. This persuades us to believe that once we take the path, we won’t be able to influence our future careers anymore in case we happen to desire to change our occupation.
But in reality, taking that path won’t secure any of the aforementioned positions either. If we go to school and don’t put any effort into learning anything, we won’t be able to work as consultants, designers or entrepreneurs, because we haven’t internalized anything. We might’ve completed all the assignments and papers required for earning the degree, but in truth, we haven’t learned anything that we can apply under real circumstances. We have no expertise.
I bump into these personality types pretty often on campus. They always complain how incompetent they are because our school hasn’t taught them anything. This is what I heard recently: “How are they expecting us to do this online store project when they haven’t taught us how to query data from a MySQL server with PHP?” Well, allow me to ask this: “What do you do if you want to ski, but have never skied before?”
The learner decides what to learn
If you’ve never skied and want to ski, you learn it—one way or another. You either get yourself a pair of skis and hit the slopes, or you sign up for a skiing class. The choice is yours. No higher being will come down to shepherd you to learn the skill.
The same applies to school. Our professors aren’t responsible for providing us with all the means to tackle our projects. We aren’t toddlers, nor are the teachers our parents. We have to make decisions by ourselves if we want to accomplish something. And if we want to accomplish something, we have to allocate the time it takes to accomplish it.
No school is perfect. One school might have a curriculum better suited for you while another would drive you insane. If you’re comfortable with your school, you should stick with it, because otherwise you’d waste the next ten years looking for “something better”. And if the school doesn’t offer a well-rounded curriculum for your needs, you should find a way to individually supplement your education with the things you want to learn and use in the future.