Always Learning - My Career Day Speech
For the past few years, I've been participating in Career Day at one of our local middle schools. I get to put together a presentation and talk to the students about my background, how I became an app developer, our apps, and what my day to day job is like today. But beyond talking about our business, I tell every class of students the same thing:
When I was in middle school, there was no iPhone, and there were no apps…
Even when I was in college, there was no iPhone and no apps.
So everything I'm doing today, I learned after I finished college.
You don't get a high school degree, or a college degree, and hold it up over your head and say "I'm done learning! I'm educated!"
The world is changing so fast - there's no end to learning. I know that in 5 years, or maybe 10 years from now, we won't even be using apps anymore. We'll be using Zubers. Or whatever the new thing is going to be called. And I'm going to have to learn again how to make that.
It's really not fair to call the students "students" without calling the teachers "students" too. We should ALL be constantly learning from each other, brainstorming, questioning, and growing as life long students.
There are a lot of amazing resources that we should make available to our kids, global networking that we should allow in our classrooms, and technology tools that we should teach, but most importantly - we need to model the attitude of a life long learner:
- A willingness to try new things
- Personal goal setting both big and small
- Not giving up, not discouraged by missteps or failure
- Understanding importance of accepting feedback from friends and critics
- A dedication to achieving success through focus, discipline, and plenty of hard work
I think the kids really respect having role models to teach them a different kind of mentality and not just curriculum. After Career Day, the students wrote thank you letters to the speakers they saw. These are three of my favorites:
Student 1 - "When I first thought of computer programming, I thought that all programmers were nerds with ties and pocket protectors, but then I met you. You were the perfect example of what I want to be."
Student 2 - "I learned that app makers don't have it easy and just come up with a perfect app in 10 seconds. It takes lots of time and experience to create a good one, and even after that, there are updates."
Student 3 - "I learned that even though you graduate from school, you can still keep learning things."
Final Note and Links:
I taught myself to program through the free Stanford development course in iTunes U, with the help of tutorials from the great @rwenderlich, the dedicated user base of stackoverflow.com, and a LOT of practice with trial and error. I learned about the market from the blogs of more established developers like @MattRix, @jerols, and @GavinBowman. I also received support and feedback from many educators on twitter and from emails sent to us by our users.
If you want to learn to program, to change the oil on a car, or to play guitar… there are resources to start learning almost everything online today. And if you start pursuing a passion, your support system is out there waiting to find out about your efforts and goals and to cheer you on along the way. Keep learning everybody!