I believe our mind (esp. our memory) is like a muscle. If we don’t seriously use it, it tends to age, weaken and lose capacity. Over the last 5 years, i spent 2009-2011 in the US on my own — tremendous learning and improvement, perhaps the most active learning period in my professional life. Then after I came back to SG, i studied financial math program, c#/dotnet, python and more c++.
I feel the serious study keeps my mind active. However, over the last 18 months, I notice various signs of my learning capacity reducing, but it’s not all due to aging —
- biggest factor is lack of concentration, due to kids and family commitment
- not enough time to periodically re-visit each topic,
After all, I feel it’s vital and paramount to keep our mind in constant learning mode. 活到老学到老.
Learning a tech is not 100% all about getting the job done or getting better jobs, even though that’s about 99% of it, admittedly.
A few colleagues (a tiny minority) at my various jobs seem to enjoy the learning process, even proprietary technologies with low market value. Learning tech can be a joy. In such a context, or such a geek, don’t mention “saving time”.
As mentioned in the title + first email, I feel our brain is like learning machine, and like a muscle. (I guess chess is also a kind of brain exercise…) Any such exercise is never a waste of time.
Some people make a decision to learn something (Spanish? Wu-bi Chinese input? musical instrument) even when they are as busy as we are. I guess Learning a technology is sometimes like that.
However, I (grudgingly) agree it’s not so fun learning, say, java struct, for years and then see it falling out of favor. I carefully pick the low-churn technologies, like you would pick watermelons at the supermarket:) See my earlier email