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Is it Better to Be Self-taught Than to Be Formally Educated?

Is it Better to Be Self-taught or Formally Educated?
If you are in a pickle about being self-taught or getting a formal education, you have come to the right web-page. In this OpinionFront article, we note the advantages of each of these to help you decide which one would be best for you.
OpinionFront Staff
Last Updated: Mar 22, 2018
Did You Know?
A self-taught person is also known as an autodidact.
Today, knowledge can be found anywhere and everywhere. With Internet having become accessible to nearly everyone, it is now possible to study and acquire knowledge on any subject without having to attend a college, or enrolling for a university course.

But as convenient as it may seem, can learning on your own really match or be even better than traditional education? In the following lines, we examine the advantages of both formal education as well as being self-educated.
Advantages of Self Education
Less Expensive
Perhaps the biggest advantage of being self-taught is that you are able to save a lot of money.
With each passing year, the cost of getting a degree is on the rise. Today, one has to shell out tens of thousands of dollars on college fees, books, room rentals, transportation, etc.

As a result, many students these days tend to graduate from college with a significant amount of debt. This makes it imperative for them to get a job as soon as possible, failing which a number of serious issues arise.
Being self-taught means that most of the above-mentioned expenses are automatically canceled out. You are only required to spend on important books and perhaps on subscription for on-line tutorials.

If your budget is very limited, you can put in extra effort to go through the numerous free articles, tutorials, and videos on the Internet, which are sure to provide you with all the knowledge you could hope to gain.
Less Time Required
Learning by oneself is quite likely to require a lot of time as compared to formal education where the curriculum is planned and teachers and other helpful resources are available to you. However, it is possible to learn faster on your own, by focusing on only those areas that you are interested in.
The curriculum in formal education is typically very generic, and therefore, will include a number of subjects which perhaps have no direct relation to the specific field that you wish to get into. But, since it is part of the course you have signed up for, you will have no choice but to learn these.
On the other hand, if you choose to be self-taught, you will be able to avoid unimportant subjects and instead focus only on those that you are interested in and which are necessary for the field which you want to get into.
Earn While You Learn
Smiling young student thinking to earn money with books
Another big advantage of being self taught is that you can earn while you are learning.
Unlike a formal education system, there are no set rules when you choose to self-educate. You aren't supposed to read a particular book, watch a video, take a test, etc., at particular times. This lets you manage your study time as per your own convenience.

You can thus work full-time and simultaneously learn part-time. The work could be something totally unrelated to the subject you are learning, or better yet, could be an entry-level job int the very field you are preparing yourself for.
Thus, by working and learning simultaneously, you will be able to generate income, as well as acquire valuable real-time work experience. This will better your job prospects in the future and also help you tailor and streamline your learning process according to actual industrial requirements.
More Confidence
Proud Math Student
Learning on your own can be a great confidence builder. Unlike formally educated students, you have nothing handed out to you. You have to struggle to gain knowledge but once you clear the basics on your own, you will find yourself become much more confident about your capabilities.
This proves to be very valuable in the working environment where one cannot expect to be spoon-fed. Being self-trained, you will be game for the challenge, and thanks to your previous self-training experience, you will know where to look and how to find the answers that you seek.
More Relevancy
Business or education concept of updating a system, personal kno
Today, technologies change like the moods of mother nature. It becomes important therefore for the student to keep his/her knowledge updated accordingly, which is more feasible if he is self-taught.
In case of formal education, the process of updating of curriculum and syllabus simply cannot keep pace with the technological changes. As such, once you enroll for a course, you are stuck with learning what is scheduled for your batch, even though the current technology might in the meantime, undergo a significant change.
On the other hand, a self-taught student reserves the flexibility of altering the subjects of his study at any given time as per the needs of the industry. This allows him to keep his knowledge updated and more relevant to the industrial requirements.
Advantages of Formal Education
Formal Degree
Mortar Board and Diploma
One of the biggest advantages of formal education is that you get a degree which is a mark of recognition that you have achieved a level of knowledge in that particular field. Having a college degree means that you have successfully completed the training as prescribed in the syllabus, which is viewed as a gauge of your academic achievement.
Many companies tend to prefer candidates who have a college degree. So, if you possess a degree, you automatically gain an edge over the competition while looking for a job.
Well-structured Learning
Though formal education lacks the convenience and flexibility of self-education, it offers the student much more in terms of the actual structure of the learning process.
College and university curriculum are designed to impart as complete a level of knowledge on the subject as possible. These curriculum are based on tried and tested methods, which ensure that you get to learn a subject in the best, efficient and the most complete manner.
Strong Fundamental Knowledge
As described above, with college education it is more than likely that by the time you graduate, the knowledge that you would have acquired will already be outdated by industrial standards. However, you will still be able to grasp the new technology quickly owing to your strong grip on the basic concepts.
College and university curriculum is designed by professionals. In it, emphasis is laid on covering all the fundamental aspects of the subject. Since the newer technologies always build on the older ones, having your fundamental concepts clear will put you in an advantageous position.
Better Guidance
Teacher and pupils in classroom
Being formally educated means that you will enroll into a college or other similar educational institution. There you will get the benefit of being taught and guided by learned teachers and other subject experts.

This will be a big boon as you will be able to take advantage of their experience and gain in-depth knowledge about the subject.
Placement Assistance
Another important advantage of being formally educated is that along with training, you are also typically provided assistance in landing a job. Most of the big companies usually visit prestigious and reputed institutes to hire talent fresh out of college. If you graduate from one of these, you get the chance to appear for the selection processes of these companies which would otherwise have been difficult to enter into.
Further you also stand a greater chance at being selected since knowing that you are a student of the prestigious institute, the companies will already be looking at you in a favorable light.
Thus, both formal education as well self-education have their own sets of distinct advantages. No one of these is better than the other. In the end, the choice between the two, comes down to individual preferences as well as personal situation.
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