Self Learning and Popular Myths About Computer Programming

Before I became a computer programmer, i heard the story of a guy who studied computer science in college and graduated to become a mainframe programmer. At some point in his life when personal computers became popular, he was downsized and lost his job as a mainframe programmer.

The story goes on to say that because so much had changed between what this guy learnt at college, his mainframe programming skills and the new world of personal computer programming, he found himself unable to re-learn and transition into a new computer programming job. Consequently, this individual became un-employed. The conclusion of the story was that computer programming was somewhat of a risky, unstable career with an unreal requirement to acquire new skills and learn new technologies.

Inspite of the story, I went on to become a programmer and here is what I have to say to anyone who gives credence to this line of thinking.

  1. Self learning is now a necessary skill in life. To succeed in any career or profession in the 21st. century, one must be agile and be willing to adapt to change.
  2. Keep your skill current. The smart thing to do is to recognize that keeping your skills current is challenge that you can and must accept no matter what your profession is.’
  3. Do what you love. You will be motivated to learn new technologies or new tools in your profession if you are indeed doing what you love.
  4. Anticipate and embrace change. Change is your friend and not your enemy. When you see changes in your career, workplace or life, do not deny it. Accept change for what it is, a harbinger of new opportunities.
  5. You are the master of your destiny. Do not accept a victim’s life. Yes, unfortunate things do happen, but better still, blame no one for it and take personal responsibility for the outcome of your life.

Keeping up with the challenge of learning new technology, starting new careers and adapting to an ever changing workplace is your personal responsibility. The individual in this story could have learnt a more modern programming language before he was downsized. However, he choose not to, and by doing nothing he sealed his own fate. Learn to anticipate, embrace and thrive on change and you will have a better story to tell about your own career.

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