Was studying worth it?

I have a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and a Master of Structural Engineering. I decided to work as a software engineer. So, was it worth studying for six years?

Unfortunately, I don’t have a definite answer to this question and here are my four reasons why:

  1. The master’s degree was extremely challenging for me. As a result I got used to studying many hours a week. I actually thought I was going to fail and have to quit before the first semester was over but I decided to push through it and ended up doing ok. Every semester after that was much better than the one before and I ended up doing really well. This noticeable improvement allowed me to gain confidence in my own abilities.
  1. I can hardly remember what I did in my bachelor’s degree. I remember having a rule that I would never study past 5pm and never on weekends. What did I do with all that free time!? I remember having a lot of fun during that time and I definitely was able to gain some life experience and meet people who will always be a part of my life.
  1. Studying not only taught me how to learn but it also taught me how not to learn. A lot of what I studied was too abstract. I couldn’t really apply what I was learning. Teaching myself software development has been much more effective because I can apply what I learn straight away, which never really happened as a structural Engineer.
  1. A degree is an official proof that you can accomplish something and the results you achieve are somewhat objective. It gives you a sense of credibility, which is important when applying for a job.

As you can see, I can’t really decide if studying was worth it. It definitely wasn’t a waste of time but I still don’t feel it was a very effective use of my time. I will always wonder if I could have gained similar life experiences doing something else in a shorter period. It’s also interesting to speculate what would have been had I studied computer science instead…

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10 thoughts on “Was studying worth it?

  1. I’m also doing my under grad in civil engineering and still don’t have enough interest but still believe that I should learn CS and somewhere implement this in Civil field. By your story taking that as a base I’m also feeling the same that you did few years back but have a great dream to build a firm irrespective of the field. Please guide me with your schedule how long did it take to learn all those language and how many hours a day. How did you made this page? Your writing habit n all that.
    I would be really tankful.

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    1. Hi Manish,

      Thank you for your interest in my blog. I made the blog with WordPress and I try to spend at least an hour a month on writing new content, which ends up being about one post per month. English is my native language and it took me about a year to learn enough German to be fluent.

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      1. Actually I was asking for your journey from Civil to CS. I am feeling the same way as u did. How much time did u spend in learning those programming courses?

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      2. I see :D. After completing my master’s degree I spent about three months learning about Computer Science before starting an internship as a Software Engineer. Since then I have continued to learn about Software Development with a focus on Java and Android. I spend about 30 hours a week on it, not including what I do at work.

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      3. I am just in my 2nd year. 10 hours a week that too for 1 year would it be enough?Or how much should I spend before getting into the placements round of the final year so that I could land in a software company during the placements.
        With full dedication!!

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  2. Hay David ! How old are you ? Where do you live ? You story is interesting and a bit similar to mine. However, other than you, my bachelor was concluded in a much distinct area from Computer Science. I graduated at Law School and worked as a lawyer for over 4 years before accepting that this was not me, and that I was sufocating day after day. I’ve now turned to my real passion that is technology and CS. Therefore, I’m self-taughting programming and just begun a CS bachelor. Thanks for your postings!

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  3. Hi David,
    I liked your blog!!

    > It’s also interesting to speculate what would have been had I studied computer science instead…

    Really interesting… I also studied for 6 years (kind of a CS/SW engineer degree); most of the value that I see from this experience is almost exactly the same that the 4 points you mentioned. So even when mine was CS related, now we are in a really similar situation! That doesn’t mean you would be in the same place, but it’s curious.

    My guessing is that CS (and many other areas) is so wide that there is room for everyone, with their own specific set of skills; so finally, maybe all of this is just about to find a spot where you can enjoy and therefore succeed.

    I think that sometimes we believe we have a entire plan to succeed, or at least that we need to have one, but probably the most important part is to fail fast and be flexible to find the place where we fit better.

    Maybe in a couple of years we could have a better idea about the true value of those 6 years and a better conclusion.

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    1. Hi Aaalvaro,
      Thanks for your detailed response!

      It’s nice to know that we had similar experiences, even though we started quite differently.

      I also agree that failing fast and being flexible is important.

      And maybe we will have a better conclusion after a couple of years.

      Like

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