As many geeks will tell you, no matter how my degrees you get, if you want to be a good techie, you’ll have to teach yourself 90% of the tricks. Well, it’s been said a gazillion times and sounds easy but it’s way harder to do it. Having to teach myself anything (even how to fix a simple electronic device) is among the hardest things I have ever had to do. Why?
The first time I dropped out of college, I was just getting the hang of everything. I was so psyched and in a mood to learn new stuff and then all of a sudden, I was back at home. You would think I had a lot of time in my hands but at most times I wished the day was a few hours longer. I had to get a job (which was of course manual) which took up a lot of my time. I also had to help out at home which left just a few hours which I had to divide amongst my sleep and my geek stuff.
Faced with this kind of situation, it is very easy to just procrastinate stuff till when you’re free (which we all know might be never). So being me, I found a way to merge all that and started teaching myself new skills. On my interest map at the time was computer networks, security and a bit of programming. Of course, if you want to become good in something you have to do it every day and that is what I did. Some days I would get home about to collapse and it was super hard maintaining that discipline and consistency all through.
People say that you get used to things with time. Well, self-training is like sleep. It was hard for me to wake up early as a kid, two decades later, it is still hard for me to wake up early. I usually wake up before my alarm goes off but it is still hard to do it. It’s the same with self-training. It will always be hard to respect and maintain the consistency discipline.
I have had to teach myself a lot of stuff. At one time when I was 19, I used to work for 16 hours, got to school for 4 hours, sleep for 3 hours and test my hacker skills for 1 hour. Of course, I slept a lot at work and this style was a bad idea but I had promised myself. I promised myself to make sure that I learned a bit of a new skill every day, even if it was for 5 minutes.
Our field is a bit different from the rest. While all fields progress to new heights, the technology field is mutating. If you want to remain at the top of the food chain, you have to be loaded. You have to learn a lot of new skills on a daily basis. My main goal is to first off all master my main focus and become the best. Then I have to acquire a huge number of support skills which make me into an all-round individual.
I am more of a Computer Networking guy but I have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours training on computer programming, Database administration, 3D design and animation, web design etc. I have also allocated a lot of time for writing, business, and people skills.
Why self-train myself? At 22, I have attended 3 universities and at no time have I ever gotten more value from school than what I have poached for in the school of life. During my first year as a dropout, I learned twice as much as I had learned in my 13 years of schooling. I had a chance to grow skill-wise and as an individual too.
The reason why school works out for most people is that you are being pushed. You have deadlines and teammates with whom you are competing. At home or wherever else, you are alone. There’s no one to yell at you if you decide to take a nap and skip today’s training, there are no visible consequences. But if you decide to tame yourself, there are fruits to be reaped. There is no greater thing than a man who is in charge of his mind and body 100 %. You will become indestructible.
Of course, we all fall at some time. Just remember that when you’re doing it solo, there is no one around to pick you, you have to grow some huevos and pick yourself.
Also published on Medium.