The WSJ had an interesting headline today
Welders Make $150,000? Bring Back Shop Class
The story is about skills that companies can't find in the US, hard hands on skills like welding and how we are not really teaching those skills anymore. The story is a good read, but I want to look at this from a different perspective.
Even if you are not going into those fields, lots of those skills are just good to have, even if you don't ever use them professionally or even around the house.
For example, when I was a kid, I built a couple of Heathkit kits, from these I learned some basic electronics and circuits (stuff I always had an interest in) as well as learned soldering. Outside of some stuff I do in ham radio once in a while I really don't use those skills. But I still have them. Since then I have learned some basic wood turning and have small lathe in my basement.
But neither woodturning nor electronics assembly feed my family. But the feeling I had as a kid and get as an adult of truly building some physical has a lot of value. Learning how to build physical things is a positive no matter what you want to do in life.
As much as the app revolution is nice, I have to say the personal satisfaction I got and get building physical things is very different and in general is better than the satisfaction I get when building a system, database, etc.
Right now on my desk I have a pen I turned, it only took an hour and it isn't a complex process but I can hold it, look at it and feel a real pride in it.
I am not saying give up the history major to become a welder, what I am saying I think everyone could do with some shopclass.
Full disclosure, both of my kids have taken shop class in middle school.