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The Self Taught Movement

Sigma School
14/04/2022 03:51PM

We believe in the vision that with the right mindset, dedication and support, most skills can be self taught. The web has a plethora of free resources and tools for us to utilise & upskill ourselves.  
- The Hacker Collective

Well, What Exactly Does It Mean To Be Self-taught?


I have a mentor. Does that mean I'm not self-taught?

I browse Google, Youtube and MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses). I'm going through every resource I can find on the web to help strengthen my understanding in a particular domain. That means I'm not self-taught. Right?

These are the common questions we receive from people enquiring about our self-taught vision. About what it means to be self-taught.

Let's take a look at how Google and Wikipedia defines it.

having acquired knowledge or skill on one's own initiative rather than through formal instruction or training.

Definition from Google.

Individuals who choose the subject they will study, their studying material, and the studying rhythm and time. Autodidacts may or may not have formal education, and their study may be either a complement or an alternative to formal education

Definition from Wikipedia.

Autodidacts are lifelong learners, chances are if you're reading this post you can be considered as one of us. Everyone whom takes certain actions to become a better version of themselves in a certain subject or domain is an autodidact.

While there's no industry-standard to the definition of being self taught, here at The Hacker Collective we define it as a mindset. A problem solving mindset. We're trying to build a community of bright individuals  who are able to solve problems, and be independent on seeking solutions to any problems they face. Be it from the web, from interviewing those who made it in the industry, from getting a mentor to give you a direction on the journey to success. As long as your take your own initiative to pick up a new skill, we consider you self-taught.



Why You Should Give It A Try

It is empowering. The ability to rely on yourself to quench the thirst of knowledge, the genuine passion to learn.


  1. It is the future.

As humans we find ourselves increasingly contemplating lifelong learning as technological progress render our skills obsolete.

Big companies are starting to acknowledge the fact that for many positions a degree is no longer required. What matters more is the practical skills one possesses. This can be attributed to the fact that the technological landscape changes so fast, demands on the market is highly volatile and traditional education doesn't necessarily responds to the world's need in terms of employment. As such, we should learn how to learn, transfer one's skillset from one domain to another's and further tune this set of skills to the new challenge at hand.

Here's a good article to back it up.

Here's another.


2. You develop problem solving skills.

When you embark on the self-taught journey, you craft the adventure/roadmap for yourself. You pro-actively do the research. You solve your own problems. You're driven by your own motivation, your own thirst for knowledge and growth. In traditional educational institutions, the employed teaching methodology kills the attendees creativity due to a constant imposition of what and how to think. I'm sure we all know how it goes.


3. You are not constrained by time and space.

You can learn wherever and whenever you want.  You are not obliged to dress up, go through traffic congestion, spend 30 minutes to get parking, to sit in a boring lecture you could have watched from home, and then spend another 1 hour packing up and travelling home. You don't need to be physically present anywhere, it can be done from the comfort of your home, with a laptop and some good WiFi.


4. It is FREE.

Did someone say FREE?! Yes, exactly!

Why spend hundreds of thousands of $$ when you could learn it all on your own, for free?  Why spend tens of thousands of $$ for "gurus" who claim to bring make you a millionaire over a weekend? (lol)

Try it out. Be determined. Get an accountability partner.

Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP. The journey is never easy. It's not meant to be.



Some Of The Greatest Minds Are Self Taught


  • Nikola Tesla: Inventor extraordinaire, main contributor of the modern electricity supply system but also laid the foundations for wireless communication and power.
  • Leonardo da Vinci: Painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, botanist, and writer. Apart from the artsy-part, entirely self-taught and unsurprisingly considered by mane as one of the most diversely talented individuals ever to have lived.
  • Charles Darwin: Best known for his contributions to the science of Evolution. Founder of the insight that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors.
  • The Wright Brothers: Neither brother graduated high school. They made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered aircraft. Made a living selling bicycles, had as hobby studying aeronautics.
  • Antonie van Leeuwenhoek: Dutch business man and self-taught scientist, he developed the first microscopes and became the father of microbiology.
  • Henry Ford: A self-taught business magnate and the father of mass-production, coming from a humble background working as a farmer.
  • Galileo Galilei: Father of many things: Astronomy, Modern Physics and Science.

And the list goes on …



How Can I Find Out More About The Journeys Of Self-taught People Around Me?


The Weekly Self Taught Series is a 1-hour interview we are starting in June 2020. It is spearheaded by the founders of The Hacker Collective to  raise awareness on how many people who has been there, done that. And they all live among us. We're using this platform for them to share their journey, for us to grow the community, to inspire junior self-taught enthusiastes and start a new way of learning.

Check out our upcoming events here.

Hmm.. I'm sold! But self learning seems so lonely and difficult! Any tips to help make the journey a little less scary?


  1. Make Serious Efforts To Fall In Love With A Subject Before Learning It

If you love something, you will care about it. And when that happens, learning no longer remains a “task”; it becomes an adventure. No matter what adventure you choose to embark on, you will be faced by multiple challenging obstacles along the way. You may get demotivated and you may give up! But one thing that kept me really motivated to presevere through the challenging obstacles is knowing my WHY. Knowing why I love a particular subject before committing to loving it. This made me hungry to knowing more about it and gave methe energy to hunt for answers to all the doubts/challenges I faced.

Whenever you force yourself into learning something just for the sake of it, you create a very unsatisfying learning experience.

Working hard for something you are really excited about is passion but working hard for something that you don’t really care about is stress.

Doing so is likely to drive you into one of the following 3 situations —

  • Finding yourself unable to care about the subject and discontinuing midway
  • Completing a course, earning the certificate and that’s it
  • Getting stuck in the “tutorial purgatory”: doing an endless series of courses, watching lectures and tutorials without actually putting them to any use

None of these are desirable.


2. Join us at The Hacker Collective.

We create a learning environment that motivates you. We all admire self-motivated people, dont we? It’s like a superpower that makes them unstoppable.

But nobody is born with a self-motivating ability, right? So what gives them that “drive”? And more importantly, how can we cultivate that in ourselves?

Show me your five closest friends and I'll show you your future.

Here's what we provide:


  • Weekly Mentor-led Virtual Learning Group Meetup (3 hours)

Our vision is to create a self-taught community, who's able to help each other through their learning journeys! But often times, self-taught individuals get demotivated and give up due to the massive obstacles in self-learning and the loneliness in going through this adventure alone.

  • Monthly Townhall Sessions

This is where we meet up once each month, where individuals from our different learning groups come together to network, build projects and get to know each other! Our learning groups are currently focused on Full Stack Web Development, Data Science, Cybersecurity, Digital Marketing & Flutter Mobile App Development.
Each month, a selected topic will be chosen to present and share more with the rest of us on whatever they're working on!

We believe having a broad understanding of the tech landscape will help us see the bigger picture of how it all comes together.

  • Community

You can meet new, like-minded & genuinely interesting people by joining our weekly meetups and have a sense of belonging. Furthermore, your confidence will automatically boost by having or being a mentor.

There are other much more nuanced aspects one can take away such as the development of relations and interactions of a group of people. Throwback to the highschool days where you were boxed in a classroom full of strangers and how by the end of the year new friendships were formed.

Additionally, when sharing knowledge or particular skill happens in a group, new ways of thinking emerges which makes you develop a greater sense of self-awareness and appreciation for others' ideas and opinions. Resulting in a flourishing of creativity and imagination.

The ability to cooperate, to teach and to listen will naturally spill out of the classroom and seep more into your everyday life which I am sure would result in an increased quality of life, being and happiness. Most importantly, it will boost your ability to learn by apply or teaching your newly acquired knowledge to your peers!


So What Are You Waiting For?


Email us directly at!

Want to learn to find out more about what we do?

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