What I learned from skills I no longer need

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Is a quote by Alvin Toffler, Which I often think about: “The 21st-century illiterate will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, are ignorant, and cannot renounce.”

My first step in programming was in 1990 when I started playing together Hypercard. I read the book, played with tutorials, and experimented with Hypertrack, the scripting language behind HyperCard.

Work was addictive, and I soon stayed longer at night to build basic programs and learn more complex routines.

[Read: How your ‘fighting style’ should determine your team]

To be fair, Hypertech was more scripting than programming and referred to as ‘programming for the rest of us’. Nevertheless, I felt like a hacker while writing code that would generate random pictures or basic games that even my friends could play.

The World Wide Web soon came into view, and I realized that I needed to learn a new set of skills if I had the desire to use this new medium.

A few years before that, I taught myself how to develop film and print photographs in a dark room built in my parents’ house. I read books, did courses, bought stuff and then spent hours mixing chemicals and developing photos. Then I bought my first digital camera, the QuickTech 100, and got my hands on a copy of Photoshop, and I realized that a whole new world had opened up.

Since then, there have been many moments where I realized that my skillfully acquired skills were no longer useful.

So the countless hours that I spent trying to get those hideous outdated skills all went to waste, right? No, far from it.

We all learn, unlearn and unlearn.

And it really is more than that: By learning all these skills, I learned much more than just skills.

HyperCard introduced me to coding and network-based thinking, which came in handy when it came to the World Wide Web. My photography skills gave me a different insight into framing, design, even storytelling. And with every learning experience, I also got better at acquiring skills.

Now I have to remind my children every time they complain about something that they are taught in school. He argues that he is being forced to learn a particular skill that he thinks will become irrelevant later in life.

But the goal of education is not just to impart knowledge and knowledge. It is also about giving you the mental tools to acquire a skill, and it is a skill that you will never have to unlock.

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Published on February 4, 2021 – 15:28 UTC