Mastering the Game: Work Life after CollegeWednesday January 27th, 2016
Beyond a college degree, we must pursue a higher level of knowledge that can only be gained through work experience, passion projects, and simple curiosity.
Your college degree isn’t worth as much as you think it is. We all embark on a journey to further our knowledge at a young age, and continuously traverse books, articles, essays, projects, and exams that will ultimately lead us to a degree and a job. However, the journey does not end there. We must pursue an even higher level of knowledge that can only be gained through work experience, passion projects, and simple curiosity.
The Working Life
When I first began my internship at Brolik, I was quite overwhelmed. There was a system in place that I was very unfamiliar with; coding libraries and frameworks, which I had only scratched the surface with in the classroom, were used as second nature. It didn’t take long for all of those As at school to quickly feel meaningless at work. The biggest reason for this is because of the disparity between the industry and academia. It doesn’t take long for any collegiate junior or senior to see that what they learn in the classroom can be vastly outdated from what is currently being practiced within the industry. This especially holds true for anyone within the computer science and digital media fields.
If you feel the need to explore something new, then by all means do it.
All of this is not to say that a college education doesn’t prepare you for work. Think of your education as the tutorial level of a video game. Once completed, the player will have basic understanding of the core concepts of that game, but the player still has a long way to go until they master the game. So graduating is really just the tip of the iceberg, but keep in mind that while devotion to improving your skills in one game is good, you really should consider…
Keeping it Fresh
In addition to working experience, passion projects outside of work become a very nifty way to expand one’s knowledge on a subject that they otherwise would not cover in the workplace. While working for an employer, a person will gain experience in the field, but each person needs to build up their own identity, that which makes them uniquely valuable to their employer. Also, passion projects are a great way to keep your skills fresh while working on something different. Imagine if you had to play the same level or the same game over and over again. It would get pretty boring after a while, and with that your love of games diminishes, so play other games in addition to the one at work, and you’ll find that…
The World is your Oyster
Any personal project can be started out of simple curiosity. Curiosity towards any subject can lead to something much greater at the cost of only a little time each day, so it is always worth pursuing. If you feel the need to explore something new, then by all means do it. If you feel that you’ve stumbled down a path you’d rather not go, then just turn back. There’s no need to regret the things you tried to learn and failed, but there is every reason to regret not trying.
This work won’t go unnoticed, either. Putting in this kind of work will be noticed by your supervisors, future employers, and colleagues. Your individual work will speak volumes more about you than your college degree ever will, as it shows that you’ve not just completed the tutorial, but have mastered the game.