The most important skill you will learn in school

In my brief time in college, I have learned a few skills that allowed me to launch myself into a career. I have learned programming and started working in the field in a short time span. There are lot of practical things you can learn and use right away. But if I have to tell you which subject was the most iinfluencial in my career, no doubt it will be Art.

In college, I wasn't the typical student. I was in a hurry. Not to graduate but to learn something new, anything new. I always thought a semester was too long to learn just one simple thing like JavaScript. I took two art classes. I dropped one of them half way because I didn't know what I was doing. I stuck to the other, digital Art.

My digital Art class was at first confusing. Well in a sense, because it wasn't as organized as the other classes where you learn things in a strict Orwellian order.

In Art class, you had the choice to take any route you please to complete your work. The teacher would give us magazines, photos or anything she could get her hands on to inspire us.

The only thing technical about the class was familiarizing ourselves with Adobe Illustrator. Learning any application's interface is not hard. It is just a matter of practice. I feel learning Illustrator is no harder then learning Microsoft Word. Once you understand the basic you are only limited by your imagination.

And that's what it was all about. It wasn't about what is right or wrong. You thought about an impossible idea and used the tools you have available to create it.

I am still not very proficient in Adobe Illustrator but mastering the tool wasn't so important. Creating beautiful art is what mattered. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I am still impressed to this day that I managed to create this picture.



This act of coming up with solutions to a problem when there are no path to follow is the skill that I value most today.

Problem Solving

It's the same skill you apply everyday as a programmer. A skill that is so insisted upon in our education. You can see this problem on Stackoverflow; some users just want you to write the solution for them. No one wants to put in the work. It was the same mentality people had in my programming classes. "Just give me the answer."

In art class, even though it was digital art, people learned to come up with their own solutions because there were no right answers.

In programming class, even though there is more than one way to solve a problem with code, the teachers required us to follow their exact method or we were graded poorly.

Surprisingly, when I started working as a programmer, no one cared how I was going to do my work, as long as I fixed their problems.

I want to promote art today, because people think art is an easy subject you take just to get an A. What they don't know is that there is a much more valuable we can benefit from by taking Art.

If you are a programmer, try something different than code and math. You will be surprised by all the things you will learn.


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