Whether you’ve attended Sixth Form or College, you’re left with the opportunity to get into work or to attend university. This blog will explain the advantages and disadvantages of heading straight into work. I’ve personally took the path of becoming a Trainee Engineer at Forfusion and will therefore be based from my perspective.
I had studied for my CCNA with the help of Forfusion and before I’d even officially started to work here, they provided me with plenty of information and knowledge. This dramatically improved the way I was able to learn and in turn aided the passing of the CCNA exam.
I was surrounded by Forfusion’s team of experienced engineers and I would listen in on them discussing potential solutions and technologies. Admittedly, in the beginning I was left wondering what they were talking about! But sure enough, as I embarked upon the CCNA certification and began to study, it all started to come together. I was able to understand parts of conversations, but with relentless exposure to this whole environment, it didn’t take long to grasp the majority of what was going on, I now even have the ability to contribute useful suggestions and ideas.
It’s this everyday involvement which just can’t be matched when compared to the lectures provided at university. Unlike at university where you go to learn about a particular subject and may or may not continue to study in your own time. When you’re at work and you need to study something, it’s for a reason. It will not be wasted.
Everything I’ve learnt about at Forfusion is relevant, it has had a purpose, and this will benefit the business at one point or another. Whether that be working with a customer to meet their requirements or to just have that knowledge stored for whenever may be deemed appropriate. It’s far less likely that you’ll forget the information which you’ve acquired, as it’ll be useful in day to day tasks. The everyday involvement means you’re constantly working with the technologies you’ve learned. Meaning your skills are not likely to lapse.
What I’ve found to be beneficial from coming to work at Forfusion is the exposure to the real world. Being able to physically go to customer sites and be an asset to the company provides a sense of achievement; while also gaining knowledge about how technologies act in ‘the wild’, compared to the scenarios you may come across in books and videos.
Being a Trainee Engineer at Forfusion has given me the ability to keep up with new developments. For example, as we’re heavily involved with Cisco, it’s vital to keep up-to-date with their new releases of equipment etc. The newer releases may be ideal for a solution to a new customer. When attending university, it seems that you learn from a set programme which isn’t capable of being current. Therefore you have the possibility of studying for years, coming into the real world of work, with no experience, where it’s all different to what you expected. I like to think I’m ahead when compared to someone of a similar age who’s attending university.
Then there’s the obvious benefit of working – money! The ability to constantly gain knowledge while also gaining an income is a very nice position to be in. In contrast to the university scenario, which I feel is the reverse of my position; you pay to learn. I feel as though this provides a major head start, you begin life in the way you want to, rather than carrying around thousands of pounds of debt for numerous years.
There’s also the argument of having a degree obtained from university. After all this is the reason you’d go to university in the first place; believing that employers look for this. But if they were to compare someone with a degree, and someone with three years real experience, with directly related certifications (e.g. Cisco and Microsoft), I know which I’d choose. By no means is a degree worthless, but it’s whether it can be justified in these modern times, as mentioned, does the thousands of pounds of investment verify the degree?
Others may argue that university isn’t just about getting a degree, but the whole concept of being totally independent and gaining life experience. Such as having the ability to move out and live your own life. But this is the same scenario if you were to head straight into work, except it’s the money you’ve earned that you have to manage. In my opinion, in both situations you’re able to gain valuable life experience. But for a student it’s still just a replication of what life may be like, whereas you can’t get any more real than heading into work and supporting yourself.
The social aspect of university is also a strong point, lots of people use this as a deciding factor. It’s true that it’s more than likely that you’re going to be surrounded by friends for the majority of time. But that doesn’t mean when you’re working, that you just go to work, go home and repeat, there’s always life outside of work. I personally have noticed no difference with regards to the social aspect of life. Just like university, you meet new people.
In the end, the decision is up to the individual and they need to decide which option would be more beneficial to them. Some people may prefer the academic, classroom style of learning provided by university. Others, like myself, will prefer the idea of working, learning and earning.