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Diversity of Knowledge is Key

“People would do better if they knew better.” -Jim Rohn

Let’s imagine for a moment you haven’t yet figured out in life your professional inclinations. Wouldn't it be valuable if you knew since you were a child, what you exactly needed to achieve your dreams?

I have no children myself, but I highly recommend that parents expose their children to different activities or introduction to professions and let them explore something they might enjoy later in life. They will thank you later, I’ll guarantee that.

Some parents might argue that “Don’t steal their childhood! Let them play!” and I can understand that, but I found out that I regret not having known certain professions I’d have chosen for myself from an early age.

I’m glad and grateful that I was exposed to software development in my early childhood. I once asked my mom about how I could create my first program: “There’s this software called Clipper” she replied. I was about 7 or 8 years old, and I was truly happy I had my first gold nugget about it. Later in life, when I was 11 years old I got the opportunity to start buying a correspondence course called “Curso IBM de Programación en 32 bits” by Multimedia Ediciones. I got the first 9 installments, then the Venezuelan general strike of 2002-2003 hit and I couldn’t buy the entire collection (56 installments). If you missed any installment, it wouldn’t allow you to install a further installment. Nonetheless, the first 7 installments included the entire Delphi 2 IDE (and the other 2 just included SoftQuad’s HoTMetaL WYSIWYG editor) and that was enough to get me started during my teenage years into toy programs.

During my teenage years, all I’d develop were Hello World programs with Delphi, and when I became 18 years old, I had my first freelance job doing a custom small business software for a customer that had special business rules to implement and other competing software didn’t cover. This became my golden age of programming because my code could be useful. I used Delphi 7 Enterprise for that endeavor, and proved pretty solid. The sky was the limit. By my own inexperience, that deal turned out bad as I couldn’t deliver much of the business rules needed, but I knew my ways around Borland Database Engine (I should have used ADODB, I know), Connection Strings, SQL queries into DBase tables, populating DB Grids, my usage of Nevrona Rave Reports and so on and so forth.

However, the whole point of this article is that I’d have not been able to buy my first computer when I turned out 18 years old with my own hard-earned money if I wasn’t exposed to the skills needed. Had I not been shown the path, I’d have had to learn Programming in the Institute, with mediocrity. I could tackle the opportunity because I was years ahead. For sure, not every profession is prone to be learned through installments of a weekly correspondence course, but at least your children will be happy to be aware that they can at least read about it on the Internet.

It’s also true that some professions require that the person receiving it must have some background knowledge, otherwise they will not be able to understand properly the information they are about to receive. Back in 2009, I tried to pick up Java as a 2nd programming language, with all its toys: Java ME, Java SE, Java EE, Apache Tomcat, Glassfish, among other related technologies, but I wasn’t able to kickstart anything about it. I just wasn’t ready. My mind back then didn’t have the required knowledge nor the patience to really sit down and think things through.

So, please at least make your children aware of current and future professions, this helps to stimulate the thought process of career advancement in the future. Take them to career advice sessions if that’s what it takes. And don’t forget that some professions and sports are better taken from early childhood if they want to become world champions (Formula 1 Racer is one of these!), you don’t want your children to regret the past if they missed the opportunity window.

Some professions I’d have like to be aware of its existence during my teenage years:

  • Business Administration: I’d have studied this before Computer Science if I truly knew what it was about. Since I was a kid, I always wanted my own company. I’m particularly still interested in my own company operation. I once enrolled in the University again as an attempt to have my fix at this, but I couldn’t keep up with the pace, since I already had things going on with my life.
  • Financial Trader: I came to know about the existence of Financial Markets thanks to Bitcoin back then in 2012. MtGox back then sort of imploded, I didn’t have any money to trade any of these assets, but I was happy to have seen candlestick charts, learning about indicators, and understanding how certain markets work and can be manipulated.
  • Musician: I was aware of the profession, but I never put myself through proper training and courses. This one is my fault. I totally admit it and take 100% of the responsibility for it.

Expose yourself to a diversity of knowledge. I recommend starting with News Y Combinator.

I truly hope my words don’t fall on deaf ears. Your future self will be grateful for your actions today.

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