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May 7, 2012

Education: It Can’t Be Taken Away

Hey guys,

I’m starting a new job in a little over a week.  During my layoff, I spent my time learning how to make iPhone apps.  See here and here for the shameless plugs.  Alas, there isn’t as much money in iOS development as you’d think.  Don’t get me wrong, they both sell pretty well.  They just don’t sell well enough for me to live on at the moment.  But that’s cool.

My new job is doing iOS app development for a small local business.  I got the job because I taught myself how to make iOS apps.  That, and I brought two apps to market on my own.  I know stuff that is pretty valuable to know these days.

If you want to get ahead, it’s important to know stuff.  What you need to know varies according to your circumstances.  Being able to execute on that knowledge is important, too.  Just not as important as having the knowledge.  A job can be lost.  Tools can be stolen.  Equipment can fall apart.  Knowledge of how to do something can’t be taken away.  As long as you know how to do something, everything else can be worked out.

I used to drive tour buses for a living.  Admittedly, it wasn’t much of a living.  It was work, though.  And it was work that couldn’t be done by just anybody (CDL licenses are not that easy to come by.)  To this day, if everything else fell apart and I had to start from square one, I can make a living driving a bus.

Years later, I finished my degree and now I know how to write software.  I may have turned in my company computer when I was laid off last December, but I didn’t have to turn in my education and experience with it.  I was able to leverage my education and experience into some modest side income and a new job.

While having a formal education will tilt the numbers in your favor, you don’t necessarily need one to live a satisfying life.  There’s all kinds of ways to learn stuff.  Especially these days.  As long as you’re acquiring knowledge on a regular basis, you can’t help but succeed.

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