I constantly hear people complaining that they aren’t getting what they want out of college, that they can do it alone and that they don’t want to be taught ‘behind the times’ ASP and that their college needs to be brought into the ‘current day teaching techniques’ – so here’s why I think all that is a load of crap.
With your teacher(s), you will more than likely deal with the hardest client you’ll ever have
With my first web development project at college we had to develop a random concept web site into XHTML/CSS. I submitted a div tag/CSS layout and was promptly asked where I took the code from and why I was trying to cheat in my college class. To which I explained that I had been developing outside of college for some time prior to joining the course, which wasn’t met by believing eyes.
You see this type of interaction with a teacher is what teaches you the fundamentals of dealing with bad clients, bad contractors and bad customers. Do you blow your lid and call the teacher a fool? Or do you politely explain you’ve got x years experience playing with sites beforehand?
If the teacher has past experience running their own company or doing client projects then they’ll be even further of a problem to you. They’ll teach you how old fashioned some clients can be by being old fashioned themselves – why aren’t you using tables? Does this validate to HTML 4.0 standards? Why aren’t you including food costs in your client billing breakdown?
Learning ASP isn’t all that bad, especially if you are in it for the money
There’s more money in ASP and there’s more real jobs available. The type where you sit in a company and develop all day long. The language teaches you structure, and gives you a first hand view of what it is like on the other side of the fence should you be a PHP/Ruby on Rails type of guy. Why is it a bad thing to be able to start a PHP/Ruby vs ASP argument with ‘well I’ve worked with ASP before, and…’?
If you’re good, you’ll learn to teach
I spent a lot of my time helping out my friends with problems at college, my grades suffered but at the end of the day but I gained a good knowledge of what it is like to teach. Today this is applied to how I can teach clients about how Rolled’s process works, how we teach them WordPress or basic XHTML for post formatting in their CMS.
At the end of the day I finished basic tasks in less than a minute, and spent the rest of the hour helping people out and learning from it – just because you’re finished with something doesn’t mean there’s nothing else to do.
I was useless at presenting when I first started on my college course, a nervous wreck when standing in front of the class. If your course includes presenting and you’re asking why – I honestly don’t know what you’re thinking.
The talent of being able to react to an incredibly tricky question from a teacher in front of 10-20 people and not look like an idiot is something of a secret that you can take to your grave. Putting passion into something you have no passion about when presenting is also another talent that few have, especially when it’s all put together the night before at 4am after getting in from a night out.
It teaches you how to place graphics, what fonts work and what don’t, how to present one idea but how to present another – and at the end of the day, it’s practice for pitching if you are to be in that position later on in life.
Stop whinging – stay in college and get your degree/diploma. College can teach you many things you wouldn’t learn outside of the boundaries until it’s too late. Do you want to present to a client having never done it before? Deal with a bad client for the first time on your newly acquired project? Have work go entirely dry and not have those Junior ASP programmer positions to apply to? Lose every PHP/Ruby vs ASP argument because you have no facts to use to back up your side of things?
At the end of the day it’s college, it’s not an experience many get more than twice for two to four years of their life. Suck it up, learn from it and experiment as much as possible whilst you can.