The Learning Journey, Part I


Temet Nosce,

Visitors would read that in awe when entering Apollo’s temple in Greece to visit the Delphi´s Oracle. Neo would face the same phrase – over the door – when visiting the Oracle in the Matrix – 1999, Warner Brothers movie. They were completely different epochs and visitors, but all of them had something in common, though they were looking for answers.

Funny thing, that quote It’s all you were going to get from the so called “Oracle”.

Let’s face it, going to someone else to find answers about one-self can be pretty deceiving. They could only give you a reflected image of yourself, and very likely, a distorted one – most of the time based upon our social masks. Now it’s truer than ever because, in the age of Instagram, we are just showing our good and happy side in an endless stream of funny pictures – before the CV19 anyway – and mindfulness quotes.

MGM, Public Domain Image

It’s US who should have all the answers, not some Oracle in some temple, a look-alike NY´s kitchen  😉

Is the Oracle a scam?

Ask Dorothy and their friends in “The Wizard of Oz”, Victor Fleming 1939, movie.

After a long journey travelling through the magical Land of Oz and meeting the Wizard – Oracle – they learned he had no answers for them because he was just “the man behind the curtain”, making the magical world go round. He was just a tool, a device, to create the discovery journey – or creating the Matrix, if you will. It is a mirror character to the Architect in the Matrix movie, even though the latter has many more gnostic overtones than the Wizard.

The Oracle is just an archetype, which is there to reflect the self, help them with introspection, not to give out the actual answers. The process of knowing one-self is obviously, personal and unique.

The Cloud Journey

That’s a concept I read about all the time on Linkedin, and probably some of you are familiar with it as well. I’m often being asked about my “journey” to the Cloud, how to get a job in the industry, or, similarly, my preparation to achieve one specific certification. That’s a new phenomenon brought by social media, something that we could call effectively collaboratory learning or mentoring.

It’s accurate to describe the learning process as “a journey”, though. Because learning should be an adventure, exploring unknown territory that could eventually take you out of the comfort zone. It will allow us to discover things about the self or Temet Nosce – the journey of self-discovery.

Maybe after all that time working on Development, you are now discovering that you are enjoying working on Machine Learning or Analytics. And that’s something that usually one wouldn’t learn in the day job – rarely happens to have that kind of opportunities. In fact, you need to make those opportunities happen, and a good way to do this is embarking on the “learning journey”.

Taking the first steps into the unknown

In the “Cloud Journey”, many people are giving the first steps using professional certifications. That’s a new phenomenon as well. Certifications are a good way to validate, up-to-date or enhance the professional experience. But I’ve never seen that neophyte people take them as the first steps to access an Industry at this scale.

Another way related to the former is taking one of the hundreds of pre-packaged video courses available on the different online learning platforms. They have been around for a long time now, but it’s only in the last few years that they have become so ubiquitous as a cheap way to self-learning and, in many cases, as shortcuts to achieve certifications. That defeats, in part, the journey of self-learning or discovery, as you are taking a fast highway instead of a secondary road. Certainly, driving on a highway is faster and safer, but you will learn much more about transiting on a secondary road. It’s tiresome, sure, but your driving skills will skyrocket.

Ideally, those courses should not be used as your main source truth and learning, but as a complement to your own learning path.