The Job is your training



"School is where they teach you how to think."

I've tried to believe that statement, but I just can't. In college, every time the professor turned to us and said: "Any questions?" The question that followed was the same. A student will raise his hand and ask, "Is this going to be on the test?"

School is where you learn to get good grades. The moment I started to use real-world methods in class, I was accused of cheating. Since I haven't used any bubble sort and red and black trees in a real job, I spent my time learning about software.

The most underrated skill I learned on the job is installing software. In the beginning of my career, I would spend days if not weeks pestering the lead developer. We would spend time together trying to figure out how to get the project up and running. Installing tools and dependencies, setting up configurations and environment variables, and understanding the developer workflow. No class in school will prepare you for this.

Project tasks do not come as word problem format. Schools obsess over creating theoretical situations. "Jack and Jill each have a set of N numbers where 1 < n < 10^24. They are considering merging their two sets while ignoring all duplicate..." No task comes in this format. When they are coming from a manager, sometimes they just say "The top link on the homepage is broken"

You have to conduct your own investigation, replicate the problem and then solve it. To correct the maxim: Jobs teach you how to think.