re: 4 years on a degree or a side project, choose one. VIEW POST


For most of my life, I hated school (although I loved learning). It took me 9 years of off-and-on to finally complete my CS degree. Toward the end though, I had some great teachers and fellow students, and I really started to see the value of a well-rounded education. Primarily, it gives you many different lenses through which to view a given problem. These are lenses you may not get from experience alone, and they can contribute to better solutions.

For instance, in a recent question about API versioning, I suggested that maybe the right answer is not to version (don't break backward compatibility). You get stuck with some old cruft sometimes, but you keep your customers. We can see examples of this over and over by studying history. A more recent example is keyboards. QWERTY and the staggered key layout are not efficient or ergonomic means of input, but they exists because of limitations on mechanical typewriters over 100 years ago. You probably couldn't sell enough ergonomic Dvorak keyboards to buy coffee, because they break backward-compatibility with the user.

Anyway, I would definitely choose the degree. Although I worked during most of mine, too.

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