Register to reply

Self-Taught vs. Academic?

by dijkarte
Tags: academic, selftaught
Share this thread:
alexmahone
#109
Apr18-12, 02:00 PM
P: 57
Quote Quote by dijkarte View Post
Now topic closed.
Says who? You're not even a mod.
dijkarte
#110
Apr18-12, 02:05 PM
P: 200
I say topic closed then it's. I'm the original poster so I decide. :)

Now time to sleep. Zzzzzzz...Zzz....
Pyrrhus
#111
Apr18-12, 02:43 PM
HW Helper
Pyrrhus's Avatar
P: 2,279
Ok, let's put it this way.

There are two paths: Go to graduate school, or spend years trying to do everything on your own while balancing a job to be able to subsist.

If you choose graduate school, you will be able to do research, and graduate with at least some publications. These publications may or may not be important. In addition, you will graduate with a network of researchers doing work in your area of interest, and you will have learned other useful skills to do research such as grant writing (or money to fund your research), and yes there is self-teaching, time management, and self-direction. Also, you will be collaborating with the authors of the textbooks, and journal articles YOU will be reading.

If you choose do it on your own, you will be able to spend years reading, and with luck publish one or two papers that may or may not have a significant contribution. Yes, there will be also a lot of self-teaching.

Now notice, that if you look up the credentials of the authors of the books you are studying from, of the journal articles, and other sources about 99% went to graduate school. Not to mention that those that went to graduate school likely to get a chance to work with the author of those books.

You choose. Will you rather spend 4-5 years to become a researcher under the supervision of people that are PROVEN as researchers (authors of the textbooks you want to self study from) or do it on your own with no experience or direction?

Graduate School -> Publications, Network, Skills required to succeed in research, Insider's information, contact with top researchers...

Self Taught Isolated -> Waiting for science to be put in books, no access to journal articles (the cutting edge is published there), and no contact with the authors (or their former students) of the book you are reading from.

For my case, the decision was simple. I have taught myself many skills such as programming, but I still went to graduate school, because it is CONVENIENT. My advisor is at the top of his field. I LEARNED ALOT from HIM, and also He put me in contact with other top researchers. I was able to do research abroad in Australia with other top researchers. I am now connected to the network He provided to me. In addition, I will be moving to do research after I graduate at other top places. I don't think I could have done as much as I have done without this agglomeration benefits.
Pyrrhus
#112
Apr18-12, 02:57 PM
HW Helper
Pyrrhus's Avatar
P: 2,279
Here is a suggestion for dijkarte.

You mentioned you have an undergraduate degree.

Apply for a Master's, but the RESEARCH option. Only accept if they provide funding, or you could do it part time. You mention you work, don't you?

The small benefit of spending a year (I am sure you can finish it in a year) to finish it will be to connect yourself to such a network, and also connect yourself to someone that knows the area you want to do research in. Furthermore, Learn of the current of state of research in your area.

After you graduate, you can still keep contact with your former advisor, and any other friends that you made during the program. That way you can keep up to date with regards to conferences, seminars, which means up to date with advancements to that area you want to work in.

Also a Master's should get you at least one publication, and basically a foot in your research area.
dijkarte
#113
Apr18-12, 03:05 PM
P: 200
Thanks you a lot Pyrrhus. I greatly appreciate your suggestion. I will consider this.
Robert1986
#114
Apr18-12, 04:27 PM
P: 828
That is a good suggestion and it is exactly what I am doing. However, I wouldn't try to finish it in a year. Most likely you will have to take about 10 classes, perhaps two or three can be research classes. But the ones you are going to take will be pretty hard. I would aim for doing it in 1.5 to two years.
victor.raum
#115
Apr18-12, 07:02 PM
P: 71
Quote Quote by twofish-quant
Quote Quote by victor.raum
Yet, I still can't force myself to give my academic life over to a school for 4 years to get a bachelors degree.
In that case you are hosed if you want to do academic research. If you want to be a professional reseacher, you will essentially have to give your *entire life* to the system..
The main point is that when doing professional research work you're at least getting paid to give yourself over to the system, which is perfectly fair in my opinion. The insane thing is that for an undergrad degree you're giving over your life just the same, but this time you're the one paying the system for the privilege, which doesn't make any sense at all in my view.

It was that realization that triggered my exit from my undergrad degree program, and my reentry into the more sensible working world.
noobilly
#116
Apr19-12, 12:56 AM
P: 23
Quote Quote by victor.raum View Post
The main point is that when doing professional research work you're at least getting paid to give yourself over to the system, which is perfectly fair in my opinion. The insane thing is that for an undergrad degree you're giving over your life just the same, but this time you're the one paying the system for the privilege, which doesn't make any sense at all in my view.

It was that realization that triggered my exit from my undergrad degree program, and my reentry into the more sensible working world.
Well you are compensated for "giving over your life to the system and paying for it", the compensation is better career prospects and, to some extent, more social respect. It makes sense to me at least.
dijkarte
#117
Apr19-12, 01:09 AM
P: 200
How much do they get paid on average? And I don't mean scientists or the quite few geniuses working in research facilities. I think here we should distinguish between someone whose main interest in life is writing research papers and teach in academia, or someone whose goal is to learn. Lets leave writing research papers alone and focus on the goal of pure learning, then we cannot argue that going to college does make someone more educated about the subject than another person who did not took the same path, but decided to teach themselves. The opposite is also true, it could be that academic person is more professional and knowledgeable about their subject of study. Thus someone can decide either paths based on experience, confidence about teaching themselves, base knowledge (some other related degree maybe), and available and accessible resources.
I have an undergraduate degree in theoretical physics, what prevents me from learning, at least to undergraduate level, computer science, for example?
Another person got a Masters of Biology, they want to learn more math which is required by their work nature, and they find themselves they need more of math probably subjects covered in higher graduate courses, but they cannot afford time for uni then then do it yourself. My job does not involve writing academic literatures, this is not how I make living neither I intend to, out of interest, until I discover something or solve an unsolved problem and need to publish my work then if whatever I found even worths it and going to add to the subject significantly, it will get to the world no matter how and who writes it. My point is about pure knowledge and ideas.

"Social respect", "Titles", "Career success" are not the goals or advantages I'm talking about here. These are irrelevant to pure knowledge and innovation, and to $$$ as well.
Mépris
#118
Apr19-12, 01:29 AM
P: 830
You're in Europe, yes? Things are a little different there. France has the M1 and M2, which together, results in a Master's degree, according to the Bologna process. Germany just has a two year master's, where the second year is research only. The Master's by Research degrees are more common in the UK - often called MRes or MPhil. These would require paying tuition fees though!
Robert1986
#119
Apr19-12, 03:54 AM
P: 828
Quote Quote by dijkarte View Post
How much do they get paid on average? And I don't mean scientists or the quite few geniuses working in research facilities. I think here we should distinguish between someone whose main interest in life is writing research papers and teach in academia, or someone whose goal is to learn. Lets leave writing research papers alone and focus on the goal of pure learning, then we cannot argue that going to college does make someone more educated about the subject than another person who did not took the same path, but decided to teach themselves. The opposite is also true, it could be that academic person is more professional and knowledgeable about their subject of study. Thus someone can decide either paths based on experience, confidence about teaching themselves, base knowledge (some other related degree maybe), and available and accessible resources.
I have an undergraduate degree in theoretical physics, what prevents me from learning, at least to undergraduate level, computer science, for example?
Another person got a Masters of Biology, they want to learn more math which is required by their work nature, and they find themselves they need more of math probably subjects covered in higher graduate courses, but they cannot afford time for uni then then do it yourself. My job does not involve writing academic literatures, this is not how I make living neither I intend to, out of interest, until I discover something or solve an unsolved problem and need to publish my work then if whatever I found even worths it and going to add to the subject significantly, it will get to the world no matter how and who writes it. My point is about pure knowledge and ideas.

"Social respect", "Titles", "Career success" are not the goals or advantages I'm talking about here. These are irrelevant to pure knowledge and innovation, and to $$$ as well.
If you can learn about a topic as an undergrad, then you can probably learn it by yourself, especially with the internet. Really, you should "self-teach" most of the stuff you learn as an undergrad in the first place; the lectures are just there to clarify things and to give you a chance to ask questions. So, if you just want to learn more, and you don't care about the other things, then it would be crazy for you to go back to school.

But, I was under the impression that your ultimate goal was to do a lot of research; is this incorrect? If it is indeed the case that you want to do pure research, my argument is that it seems much easier to do research if you work at a university where you are essentially getting paid to do research.
dcpo
#120
Apr19-12, 04:48 AM
P: 95
Quote Quote by Mépris View Post
The Master's by Research degrees are more common in the UK - often called MRes or MPhil. These would require paying tuition fees though!
Just a note about the MPhil. Most if not all Ph.D courses in the UK begin as an MPhil., the student takes an oral exam at some point around the two year mark to transfer to the full Ph.D. If the student fails this exam, or chooses not to transfer they are able to submit material for an MPhil degree instead. As a result of this many people technically doing MPhils are funded and have their fees waved.
dkotschessaa
#121
Apr19-12, 06:46 AM
dkotschessaa's Avatar
P: 588
Quote Quote by dijkarte View Post
Probably you need to work on your inter-personal and social skills first. This will help you a lot understanding mathematics better :)
I'm being blunt with you because you are making wild inferences and acting irrationally.

-DaveK
twofish-quant
#122
Apr19-12, 09:05 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by dijkarte View Post
I think here we should distinguish between someone whose main interest in life is writing research papers and teach in academia, or someone whose goal is to learn.
Those aren't exclusive. Learning becomes a lot more interesting when it you end up learning stuff that no one is teaching.

Lets leave writing research papers alone and focus on the goal of pure learning, then we cannot argue that going to college does make someone more educated about the subject than another person who did not took the same path, but decided to teach themselves.
First of all, I don't think that there is such a thing as "pure learning." All learning takes place in a social environment. Second, it doesn't make sense to talk about "teaching yourself." When you are reading a book, the book had an author. If you literally mean "teaching yourself" you'll be in an empty room doing nothing.

Second, the important bits of college are *cultural*. It's possible to learn those things in other places, i.e. the military or the work place. But the important thing about college is that if you have a good program, you learn to teach yourself stuff. If you have a library, but you can't read the language the books are written in, the library is useless. So there are some basic literacy skills, that I think the teachers should focus on, and once you have them then you are on your own.

I have an undergraduate degree in theoretical physics, what prevents me from learning, at least to undergraduate level, computer science, for example?
Well you need a computer, and you need people to answer your questions about said computer. You need books.

My point is about pure knowledge and ideas.
I don't think that pure knowledge and ideas exist.

"Social respect", "Titles", "Career success" are not the goals or advantages I'm talking about here. These are irrelevant to pure knowledge and innovation, and to $$$ as well.
They actually are quite important. Social respect gets you money, which you an use to learn stuff that will get you more social respect. If you have a new idea, that's totally useless. What you need is the ability to sell your idea, and use the system to your advantage.
dkotschessaa
#123
Apr19-12, 09:20 AM
dkotschessaa's Avatar
P: 588
Quote Quote by dijkarte View Post
I say topic closed then it's. I'm the original poster so I decide. :)

Now time to sleep. Zzzzzzz...Zzz....
Well, you don't. But I think this thread is getting to it's inevitable circular non-conclusion, since we're repeating ourselves and you are repeating yourself.

If the Mods have mercy on us mortals, perhaps they will grant your wish. :)
dijkarte
#124
Apr19-12, 10:13 AM
P: 200
Well, you don't. But I think this thread is getting to it's inevitable circular non-conclusion, since we're repeating ourselves and you are repeating yourself.
It's an interesting topic indeed, and it's going very well regardless of any heated arguments.
And as long as we exchange points of views without insults, then the thread should be kept active.


Those aren't exclusive. Learning becomes a lot more interesting when it you end up learning stuff that no one is teaching.
You are mixing discovery with learning. You cannot learn something that does not exist, but you can discover new things.

First of all, I don't think that there is such a thing as "pure learning." All learning takes place in a social environment.
As I already mentioned, some people are better learners in a group, and others are more independent in this regard. Otherwise I will have to attend a class for everything I need to learn in daily life, which does not make sense.

When you are reading a book, the book had an author. If you literally mean "teaching yourself" you'll be in an empty room doing nothing.
Yes a book as one or more authors. But if I'm teaching myself, how can I be "doing nothing?" Have you ever heard the term: self-taught? Does not this contradict with:

But the important thing about college is that if you have a good program, you learn to teach yourself stuff.?
Well you need a computer, and you need people to answer your questions about said computer.
Yes I do need a computer, and other resources, which I did mention already accessibility to learning resources. I may need people to answer my questions yeah if I'm a instruction- based learner, they might be available, but in case not, there're countless online resources, forums???

I don't think that pure knowledge and ideas exist.
Explain please?

They actually are quite important.
Completely relative and depends on a person's self-esteem. Some people do care much about how others see them, others don't.

Social respect gets you money, which you an use to learn stuff that will get you more social respect.
Never :) What does social respect have to do with how much someone makes? I wish that was the case, the higher your degree the more your skills appreciated and paid for.

If you have a new idea, that's totally useless. What you need is the ability to sell your idea, and use the system to your advantage.
If you have a new idea, that's totally useless. What you need is the ability to sell your idea, and use the system to your advantage.
Ideas that require marketing! :)
What about this, I make a new discovery, theory, idea, and then sell it in a usable product, and market that product instead will definitely bring more money :D
At least it will be accessible to non academia world and at the same time will hit the academia since it's proven usable.
Ideas that are proven and based on strong scientific merits, or at least shown to be applicable and can be utilized, need no selling and pushing.
CDTOE
#125
Apr19-12, 01:32 PM
P: 45
As an undergraduate electrical engineering student, most of my learning since I joined the university was done by me in home. I rarely interact with professors and that only happens when I really can't grasp something or stuck in an exercise problem. I don't know if I would be able to continue on this trend, because there maybe some higher courses that I would need to interact with a professor in order to understand, but I hope that doesn't happen.
dijkarte
#126
Apr19-12, 02:04 PM
P: 200
I ended up not attending any of these graduate courses after the first few lectures.

Your best teacher is a book, pen and paper. If you have access to internet then that's great. :D :D :D


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Physicist: Academic career or Science (Non-Academic)? Career Guidance 1
Something that I've never been taught... General Math 6
How should physics be taught? Academic Guidance 58
Self Taught? General Math 16
Can Morality be taught? General Discussion 42