There is a trend among students - skip classes because they have a job. I've seen this happen to my colleagues when I was a student, and I see this happen to my students today, when I am a teacher.
I always disagreed with this, for a very simple reason - education is the best investment you can ever make.
A job gives you money, but with a better education you can get a better job and even more money. If money is what you're optimizing, then the calculus is trivial: "money" << "even more money"; the choice should be obvious. Shouldn't it?
Breadth vs depth
The average employer is not interested in increasing the skills of the employee, unless the skills are immediately related to what the person is doing for the company.
For example, if you're making sites in PHP: they may support you in learning more about PHP, they may also teach you about databases, XML and CSS (stuff related to web-development) - the minimum you need to get the job done.
However, they will never ever encourage you to study other fields, such as computer graphics, parallel and concurrent programming, cryptography, etc. These things won't bring immediate profit to the company, therefore from the company's perspective - this is a waste.
Long term investments
Certainly, there are companies that are lead by wise people who encourage any kind of self-improvement, even if it is not tightly connected with the business.
This happens because they understand that education is a long-term investment. The payoff is not instant, but it is much "juicier".
A good leader is also aware of the fact that a bright person will take "usual" ideas and find new ways to apply them, new fields in which they can be applied, etc. This is why a good leader won't discourage your attempts to learn something new.
General hint: if your employer teaches you about things that are not directly related to whatever is written in your job profile - stick to that employer. This means that they are not selfish and not purely profit-oriented; they care about your education.
Another thing good employers have in common is their awareness of the following fact:
The only thing worse than training your employees and watching them leave is not training and keeping them.
Yes, some teachers are incompetent; either they don't know what they are talking about, or they simply fail to show you how cool their subject is. I admit that I've done these things in some classes:
- go to the back of the classroom, put my headphones on, cover my head with the hood, put my head on my face, sleep;
- disconnect myself from the world and read a book;
- play "sea war" or other paper games with an equally-disinterested classmate;
- write an article or a poem on my PDA (obviously, not one related to the class);
- work on assignments I got in other classes (draw charts, write code, etc).
I don't regret I've done these things, and I'd do them again.
However, I would always be there when the teacher was a competent person, listening to whom I saw as a privilege, an honour. Those folks are worth heroic efforts such as:
- getting up early on a Saturday;
- coming to the university just for their class;
- doing my homework, such that I could ask for their advice regarding the parts I didn't understand.
It may come as a surprise, but a university has a lot of bright people in it. Hanging out with them will significantly expand your horizons. You make an investment into your own future - and that's wonderful.
- If you fear you won't find another job, you should learn how to make decisions based on arguments, not fear;
- Unless you're in a desperate need for money, the only reason to not attend classes because of a job is shortsightedness.
and I can assure that studying and working will make most of people get crazy of how tired they will feel afterwards. So, they won’t neigher learn good enough, not work on full energy and screw out both opportunies. Don’t do it.
Comment from: gr8dude [Member]
Good point - it is like trying to kill two rabbits and ending up being kicked in the ass by both of them :-)
However, if it is a part-time job and you can manage your time properly - you’ll be fine. That’s how it happened in my case.
I got my first real job in high-school, and I’ve had other, “unreal” :-) jobs prior to that.
Now I have 3 jobs (teaching, the company, and saving the world :-)
Comment from: alexandru [Visitor]
hello buddy :)
it seems you had some bad experience with students (who are missing classes because of a part/full-time job) :)
I am an employee for.. hmm .. 3,5 years now, and my employer didn’t really invest much in me in terms of education.
I don’t have Java certification still (even if we were promised years ago).
But - I have this Documentum certification which will be almost useless if I go to another company that doesn’t use Documentum products.
So you see the point - investments are done only when necessary.
Java certification would be more useful and universal, and it would surely help me employ myself in another company; what good is it for the current employer?
People, hunt good employers :) .. or make yourself an employer.
Comment from: gr8dude [Member]
Hmm… they didn’t give you that, but maybe they gave you something else - knowledge shared by other, more experienced folk who work in the same company? Some skills? Some books?
We know that a paper that says “X graduated the university” doesn’t necessarily mean anything :-)
In the same fashion, I wouldn’t conclude that an employer that doesn’t send their people to training courses is a bad employer; they can reward and support the employees’ self-improvement initiatives in other ways.
But if they don’t do that, or if they actively discourage people to do that on their own - that’s a serious problem.
Comment from: alexandru [Visitor]
I didn’t learn almost anything from the other employees because I was one of the very first to come to the company.
I learnt only from other Romanian/Italian companies where I worked, or, more correctly speaking - where I was sold.
It was more self-improvement, no real encouragement from the company. As I get better they can sell me for more money.
Why certification was good? Well, they had to buy us good books in order to learn for the certification, which is nice.
Also, they gave us time just for learning (normal-payed time), which is also very nice.
I would like to continue the same way with Java and Oracle.
But they wouldn’t let me, as it doesn’t improve company’s profit, really.
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