Over at the Bridging the Nerd Gap, Brett Kelly wrote about being real. and it made me think. He writes about never feeling like a “real” programmer,

He writes,

“I bought books, annoyed smart people with questions and generally fumbled my way into a passable set of programming skills. Truth be told, I’ve never felt much like a “real” programmer.”

Additionally, he recently wrote Evernote Essentials which I own a copy of and can attest to its thoroughness and quality. Even through he doesn’t feel like a real author. I’d say 20,000 words about a software program in convenient book form makes you as real an author as anyone.

This resonated with me because that’s how I’ve lived all my life. I am a huge believe in self-teaching and if you want to learn something, go learn it. Don’t wait to be taught it or find a teacher. The knowledge is out there, go find it.

From an early age I taught myself most of what I wanted to know. I wanted to make magazines so I learned PageMaker and Photoshop.
I wanted to learn more about computers so I tinkered. I dismantled and I repaired. I learned how they tick and what made them work.
I wanted to learn the web so I taught myself HTML and CSS.

I’ve done a great many things and have random and varying passions. I’ve never really been a real anything. I was always the self-taught hack. I didn’t go to school to learn about computers. I played and experimented until I learned.

I was speaking to one of the Human Resources people at work as I helped them with a computer issue and was asked what my degree is school was. He assumed it was Computer Science or something technical.

Much to his surprise, I responded with, Creative Advertising. ((My running joke is I have a B.S. in Communications. Which is an asset to handling the politics of technical work.))

I believe I got my sense of hard work, experimentation and self-teaching from my parents. I had the privilege growing up to learn about the printing world from my parents.

Both parents at one time owned and ran their own businesses. I learned a lot about hard work from them. When you are the company there is no letting up. If you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.

Learning is a life-long pursuit. There is no end to it when we leave the doors of the schoolhouse. I’ve been in the working world long enough to know many of the people doing jobs are not doing anything they have formal training to do.