People and Culture

Do we stop learning when we start working?

4 minutes to read
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Find out why education and work should go hand in hand and the benefits this has for your career and personal life.

Pour some coffee, put on some relaxing music and join us for the thirteenth episode of The Hüb, where Marko Ivanović, Lead Software Architect at Zühlke, reveals useful techniques and tricks to keep your brain open to new information. 

What is education?

To understand the concept of education, we need to start with the traditional kind of education that comes before employment. In primary and secondary school, they teach us various concepts, how to study, think and examine our interests. On this basis, we decide how to continue our studies. We determine our interests and choose a specific faculty. We start to position ourselves on the market, to prepare for a job that interests us and to study purposefully for such a job.

But that is merely the beginning. When we start working, we don't stop learning. We start gaining work experience, which is a learning process that consists of three phases:

  1. Applying the knowledge we have acquired so far
  2. Verifying that knowledge and checking whether it is good enough
  3. Applying feedback from practice, where practice gives us additional information based on which we learn further.

Why your brain loves learning

Two aspects affect the drive to learn: The psychological and the biological.

The psychological aspect arises when we begin to develop critical thinking. I think this faculty helps a lot, that learning at higher levels also helps, where we start to think, and we begin to be critical of the things we learn. We are not taking everything for granted now, as we may have done in primary or secondary school, but we are starting to develop our own opinion and attitude.

And that is followed by the biological aspect. It is interesting that, besides physical activity, learning is one of the known triggers for the secretion of 3 hormones that make us happy: dopamine, serotonin and endorphin.

The part of the brain that consolidates the information we receive and incorporates it into short-term and long-term memory, spatial memory and so on, is the hippocampus. It tells us whether what our brain interprets through memories and information corresponds to what we receive through our senses. When we learn something or improve, the pleasure hormones begin to be secreted, which pushes us to continue doing what we do.

The best things you can do to study more efficiently

In our industry, it all comes down to finding the best way to absorb various information.

That is why it is good practice to do a retrospective of our education – to re-examine the ways we have learned so far, to find the techniques we like best: What is the easiest way to read a book? How can I memorize information easily?

This is not just learning about the subject but also learning about myself - what does it take for me to reach that knowledge? Could it be interesting for me to just watch video tutorials and have a great time, or do I have to read books and combine different media, go to lectures and training, and so on?

Perhaps the best technique is to set goals for ourselves that draw us further towards education when we start working. One way this is done is mind mapping. It is a system in which we answer some three or four essential questions, about what we want to do, what is the goal we want to achieve, and then it starts from a central idea that branches to various options – How are we going to accomplish that goal?; By when do we want to achieve it? Which approach do we want to use?

We must also reserve the time for learning, and it is helpful if the company supports you and gives you space and resources for learning and development. It could even specifically show you what to study, to force you by offering training and certification. The effect is much stronger when people are allowed to develop further as part of their work responsibilities, to incorporate education into their work.

There is a fun way to train your brain

Get a hobby. When you learn something new and exciting, you train your brain in different ways, you teach it to use new approaches, to remember as much as it can. So, don't worry if you start to be interested in other things that are not directly related to the job.

Unfortunately, because of our capacity and ultimately the obligations we have in life, we need to be smart and strike a balance between these things. There should be a tendency to learn things that interest us, whether they’re job-related or not, things that just fulfill us. In that way, we become more aware, and richer in knowledge, our curiosity grows, critical thinking develops, and we feel more satisfied because we know more about the world we participate in. And the more satisfied we are with ourselves, the better we will reflect on any other sphere – especially business.

Contact person for Serbia

Marko Ivanović

Lead Software Architect

Marko Ivanović was born in April 1986. He studied at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, Department of Information systems and technologies, University of Belgrade, and has Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.

Marko started working at Zühlke in April 2015, and with more than 10 years of experience in the IT industry, has worked on a range of projects with different technologies and frameworks as a Java developer, Tech Lead, Team Lead and Architect.

His main focus is education at work, for both himself and others.

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