“An Investment in Knowledge Pays the Best Interest.” – ~Benjamin Franklin
Most of us are working to provide for ourselves and our families. We go to a job every day, earning money that we use to pay our bills and, hopefully, enjoy our lives outside of work. Most of us should be saving for retirement as well, for the future when we might not be able to work, or we’ve reached that age where we want to slow down. Given the recent issues in our economies around the globe, perhaps we ought to be saving even more, and not just for retirement. The chances that any of us will be out of work at some point are going up and we might need that savings for that kind of rainy day.
The quote above is one that I saw years ago, and while I intuitively knew it was right, I’m not sure that it made the impact on me it should have. One of the reasons that it is important to save and invest now for your retirement is that your savings grow, compounding the interest over time to provide amazing growth. I might argue that the investments you make in your knowledge do the same thing.
If you learn to write better T-SQL now, you will write much better code in the future, making everything you build run a little faster. Learn to eliminate simple bugs, or avoid SQL Injection-able code, and your work will need less maintenance, or cause less issues. Over time you’re build the reputation, or brand, as someone that is worth hiring. You’ll be worth 50 average employees, and likely never on the market. If you do great work people will be looking to hire you, friends will recommend you, and your former bosses will call you whenever they need someone.
We can’t all be superstars, or be amazing programmers, but we can all improve our skills and the more we invest in ourselves, the more it’s likely to pay off for us in the future. Just remember that it’s not just hard skills like T-SQL, clustering, etc that matter. Those soft skills of communication, networking, and getting along with others are just as important.