Read of the Day: “The Anti-Dropout, Or, Why I’m Going Back”
6:00 pm, May 28th | by Colette McIntyre
Today’s read is an interesting Medium essay from Quinten Farmer, a startup evangelist, college dropout, and self-professed “vocal proponent of ‘Career Hacking‘” who has recently decided to return to school. Farmer’s justification of his matriculation is a thoughtful look at the benefits of university credentials and the accessibility of knowledge. While we’ve wrestled with the value of university degrees versus job training/employment before, we think Farmer has a unique perspective.
Part of the fetishization of the dropout over the past few years has been the assertion that smart people can “teach themselves” the skills needed to succeed in technology and business. I take issue with the fact that this implies all smart people are autodidacts (not at all the case in my experience). It also implicitly argues that all “important” knowledge can now be found online in a readily digestible format.
It’s true (and exciting) that so much knowledge has moved online in the past decade. I can learn basic programming via Treehouse. I can learn web design in a course on Udemy. But what if I want to learn about the physics that drive hardware performance? The materials science behind the next generation of wearable computing? Or what about how to bring electronics manufacturing back to the United States? There are real, fundamental sets of knowledge that are still locked up in traditional academia.
We can debate the merits of this, as well as how quickly this knowledge will go “open source”, but as a 22-year-old in 2013, I’m not willing to bet my career on that time frame.
To read the rest of Farmer’s essay, “The Anti-Dropout, or, Why I’m Going Back”, click here.