I’m coming to the end of my 4 year degree in Web Development - which I ultimately did not actually need at all, but undertook it to get the ‘piece of paper’. In hindsight, I’d do it differently. I’d use my time at university more effectively. Yes, I’d still go to university, but why?
In the web industry, knowledge is key. But there are two things that come above that: connections and experience. Before you shout at me, I understand that you can do well without connections, and with less experience than another person but listen.
University opens up doors to something called time, we are all familiar with it, some of us have lots of it, some of us don’t. It’s a bit like money in that we all want more of it, but unfortunately, we’re limited in how much we’re allowed free. University allowed me to spend my time doing things that if I was working I wouldn’t be able to do:
- I met some pretty awesome people including, but not limited to, people that have helped me find work.
- I have been able to attend conferences, and meet people that I’ve spoken to on Twitter.
- I have had time to Tweet, a lot … a hell of a lot. I actively partake in discussions on Twitter, and am always happy to help people.
- I have been able to learn & work on other things, that aren’t university related.
- I have built connections with other people.
- I have a confirmed job for after university after taking a year out & working on placement.
I don’t think university would have opened up the time that has allowed me to build up connections to people, or build up my skills, or even build up some ‘disposable’ income (student loan is awesome).
Of course, university isn’t for everyone. If you’re coming to expect that you get a free ride to spend time doing nothing, that’s not the case. You obviously have to do some work. I’ve worked hard, worked on things in uni that (in at least 2-3 cases) I’ve got the potential to push forward and release.
I also have the opportunity now to do part-time lecturing if I so wish at the university. To help others learn, and help educate them - this is something I’m passionate about doing.
University is fun, it’s hard work, it allows you to get time. But it is expensive. I come out with a loan to pay off, it’s not exactly debt, but it’s there.
Also, please don’t let the cost of uni act as a deterrent, it should be far from that. You get the best social 3-4 years of your life, and it costs you a little bit of money that you pay back later when you’re earning. It’s an investment, absolutely, definitely.
If you’re a developer, if you’re unsure about whether you’ll get a job, or don’t know quite what to do. Go to uni, get the degree, spend the time honing your skills, and working with people. Meet others, attend the hell out of conferences, work on that startup idea. Just don’t waste the 3-4 years in bed and drunk.