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Discussion on: What advice would you give to university (college) students?

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Bence Szabo

Listen to podcasts in the domain you are interested in. They keep you up to date on what's going on in the real world and it won't be a shock later.

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Jason Huebel • Edited on

That's great advice. University doesn't prepare you for the real world. It's concepts and theory. That's not a bad thing, mind you. But it's less practical than, say, a vocational school or other targeted training that's focused on job skills.

Personally, I feel like the value of university for your average developer is low. You end up with tens of thousands of dollars in debt for skills that you could have easily learned on your own. I will qualify that by saying that the data sciences are different. I see the value of university there. But then again, people who focus on data sciences often end up in academia. So they won't be exposed to the real world anyway.

That said, I still feel like most developers aren't doing themselves any favors by drowning themselves in school debt early in life for skills that they could learn elsewhere.

(EDIT: "real world" meaning the normal for-profit job market. That's not meant to be disparaging.)

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Austin S. Hemmelgarn

I think the value really depends on what you're doing. Depending on what math courses you take, a university setting can be extremely helpful for learning them (graph theory and set theory come to mind, both are remarkably useful knowledge for software development in general, but many people have trouble learning either without the guided setting of an actual university course).