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Lifelong Learning and the Importance of Continuous Development

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Lifelong learning is something I feel is necessary to start with defining. You see, lifelong learning is rather self-explanatory but going by its actual definition wouldn’t fit my purposes. For instance, I like random trivia so if I learned a new piece of trivia would that qualify as lifelong learning? Yes, but not in any meaningful capacity. Then would it be a desire to continue to strive to have a better understanding of my field of interest? No, I am simply not one to pursue knowledge for the sake of bettering myself. Lifelong learning, to me, is the ability to continually adapt to whatever the work environment I find myself in as life progresses. Instead of it being a desire to learn it is more a need to learn to be able to cope with any challenge that is presented to me, whether that be in a professional environment, or a personal one. Seeing as this paper is for my future in the professional circles, we will focus on that. 

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My view of lifelong learning for the workplace stems from laziness. I have no intention of learning how to be more apt at any given task for the sake of being better. I’m perfectly content to just do it without learning anything new if I can get away with it, so why bother learning anything new at all, why does lifelong learning apply to me in any way? Because, technology is a rapidly changing field. Conventions established today can be replaced tomorrow. Things that once were discarded can be brought back. For instance, goto statements used to be so common place the mere thought of not using them was seen as ludicrous, and now most no one uses goto statements in code. There is no real stagnancy when it comes to software design. It is an ever-changing field that needs an ever-evolving workforce. If you have no ability to keep up with the pace of change in software and technology then you’ll probably find yourself replaced fairly quickly.

It is this reason lifelong learning will always apply to me. So long as there is a new technology or language or coding practice I need to learn so that I can keep myself relevant to my field then I will do so. Maybe a field full of rapid change wasn’t the best choice for someone who seeks only to learn if necessary but I enjoy the work too, so I’m content with the choice I made, and I am determined to learn whenever necessary. If a job I’m at requires me to learn a new language such as C#, Ruby, or Swift, then I’ll learn as much as I need to complete the task. I’m sure many projects will involve being able to understand the inner workings of preexisting applications and software, so if I’m going to accomplish the task I need to be able to learn everything I can about said software. 

Basically, so long as you chose to work in a computer-related field, whether voluntarily or out of necessity, you will be committing to spending a lifetime of learning brand-new skills and techniques to be able to operate in the workforce. For instance, I plan on working in cyber security, so new obfuscation techniques will be developed all the time, new attacks will need to analyzed constantly, I’ll never be able to stop learning more assembly or new ways to manipulate Linux, as new tools will always be made that will be to be taken advantage of, and I’ll even need to be able to learn how old problems could potentially affect new or upcoming areas. Because attackers always evolve, defenses must evolve, so I must evolve, which means learning so the concept of lifelong learning is always going to be an important part of my life.

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