A free association thread about lifelong learning and the role of college.
I'm assuming in this thread that the ability to learn on your own is an important skill for software engineers. It's something you will need to do throughout your career.
The question I want to think about in this thread is: does attending college improve your ability to learn on your own later in your career?
It seems like a reasonable hypothesis that college would help you learn how to learn.. After all, college gives you a lot of experience with learning, since you it forces you to learn a lot more content than you probably would on your own.
However, college learning is a very structured form of learning: with classes, homework, tests, and so on. It's qualitatively different from the kind of learning a software engineer would do on their own during their career.
And for those who didn't attend college, it may be that those people are forced to learn on their own to succeed at work, without the benefit of structured learning like school. So, perhaps they actually better at self-driven learning than those who went through college?
Either way, it does seem like an interesting empirical research question: does college have an effect on people's abilities to learn new concepts on their own, later in life?

I imagine there's research on this topic, but I haven't been able to find it. /fin
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