re: Keep learning, should you invest your own time? VIEW POST


Whether or not Uncle Bob is still "beloved" is surely a topic for longer discussion :-) but I agree with much of his reasoning around pace of change. The key point where we differ is the phrase around "you owe it to your employer" which is patently rubbish. You are already in a time/effort-for-opportunity/money arrangement with your employer which needs to be seen as win-win by both sides without any burden of guilt on either side.

Learn extra stuff if you are intrinsically motivated to do so for the pure pleasure of learning and the benefits acquiring knowledge brings. Internal motivation is the only way this is going to stick. If this extra knowledge can be shown to bring more value to your employer, then by all means make this a point of discussion during your next pay review, but that shouldn't be the main driver.

  • Does not working Uncle Bob hours make you unprofessional? Of course not.
  • Does working Uncle Bob hours make you professional? Of course not.
  • How many lifetimes of extra work would it take to stay on top of the expanding surface area of software engineering?

Nicely put! In the end it's all about your own choice, and matching the learning to your own priorities.


Many of the things Uncle Bob says make sense, but the endearing nickname and accumulated fame make it dangerously easy to fall into the pits of authority bias.

Never assume something to be true just because "Uncle Bob" (or any other author) said it. Come to me with independent reasons.

I especially have an issue with his "learn in your own time" stance — he quotes that doctors do not get paid by patients to practice sutures and football fans do not pay to see players run through tires. Both are not really true: in both cases the employers will generally pay for training, and training time is calculated into the final price of the service.

Of course that doesn't mean that you should work on your random hobby projects during office time, but in my opinion when you ask about learning opportunities during a job interview, it should never be answered with "If you read Uncle Bob's books, you should know to do that in your own time".

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