One of the most intimidating things we can do is learn on our own. What if we’re not learning the right things? What if we’re not understanding them fully? What if we’re not on the path to our goals?

Within the software industry, you will find people from all walks of life. Those who went to college in a related field, those who went to college in an unrelated field, those who didn’t go to college, etc.

What if I told you that with enough time and dedication, you could learn just as much as someone who has a 4-year degree? But what if I told you that by teaching yourself, you are actually on a trajectory to be able to learn faster and comprehend more than those who do not?

As a professional in the software industry, your job is lifelong learning. It is a core skill for any job in the industry. Languages, Frameworks, Technologies, and more can all come and go. The important piece is that you can quickly learn new things.

However, not everyone can learn new things quickly, let alone without some sense of imposed structure.

Practically all development is self-taught. Although a CS degree is useful for a handful of moments where you dive into abstract theory, the reality is that you are more likely going to spend time on learning tools, frameworks, interaction models and much more.

However being self-taught has it’s challenges. One such challenge is while being self-taught, you will be proficient in the topics that interest you, however your core foundation may be lacking as some of the more boring topics may not be interesting to you or does not pertain to what you work on day-to-day.

Being able to realize your deficiencies is practical to deliberate practice. Not only would you be able to fill the knowledge gap, but you’d also be able to learn how to learn more efficiently.

At the end of the day, self-taught is about the willingness to learn, expand your breadth of knowledge, and know what “good enough” means with regards to concepts of languages, frameworks, etc.

Knowing what you don’t know is key to improve in the long run, which will help you learn more quickly.

Don’t be intimidated by teaching yourself. Take some time to stretch your mind, and ultimately have faith in yourself that you can do great things.