We ran across something interesting on GitHub of all places. The “Open Source Society University” has a list of resources to use if you want to teach yourself computer science for free. We found it interesting because there are so many resources available it can be hard to pick and choose. Of course, you can always pick a track from one school, but it was interesting to see what [Eric Douglas] and contributors thought would be a good foundation.
If you dig down, there are really a few potential benefits from going to college. One is you might learn something — although we’ve found that isn’t always a given, surprisingly. The second is you can get a piece of paper to frame that impresses most people, especially those that want to hire you but can’t determine if you know what you are talking about or not. Lastly, if you go to the right school you can meet people that might be useful to know in the future for different reasons.
The Internet has really changed all of those things, you can network pretty easily these days without a class ring, and there are lots of ways to earn accredited diplomas online. If you are interested in what we think is the most important part — the education — there are many options for that too.
One of the problems with self-education, is that it is sometimes hard to know what you want to study. If you want to be on par with students graduating from brick and mortar schools, something like this program can help you sort out your options and at least see what areas you ought to be studying.
This initiative is far from unique, but we found it interesting that it is hosted on GitHub and uses other online tools like Trello. We’ve been big fans of MITx (and the related EDx). We’ve also stolen learning materials from the military.
While some people (and employers) will never accept the autodidactic, we think it shows initiative when it is done right. Just don’t tell us you were the valedictorian of your class of one.