I was a little put off by the last graduate class on formal methods that I took a little over a year ago. I got frustrated, and decided to quit with the idea that I would pursue a focused, independent course of study relevant to my career (meaning I would experiment with and study new technologies in my spare time). I know what’s better for me than the out of touch instructors at a university, right?

Last week, I started a class at Auburn again (towards a Master of Software Engineering degree). A couple reasons come to mind:

  • I don’t have the discipline to direct myself on any outside of work study that’s remotely close to the level of work that is required of you from a university course. It’s far too easy for me to just spend an hour going through my RSS reader on development blogs and call that learning than it is for me to struggle with working on something in depth in my spare time. I hope I can get better at this someday.
  • I’m over half-way through my master’s degree course requirements, and it would be nice to complete it.
  • Although I don’t get a feeling that master’s degrees are a necessity for even advanced software engineering positions, I still think the degree will help me in my career.
  • Work can be monotonous, and it would be good to get my neurons firing in different ways.

You can make up seemingly reasonable excuses about why you shouldn't do something challenging, but even if that something is not 100% on target or good for you, if it's in some part beneficial, then when you look back at it you're probably not going to regret it.

My current class is on web development using Java Server Pages. While JSP is by far not the hippest buzzword in the web development world, I’m still excited about learning something different.