One of my all-time favourite quotes is by the famous American Baseball coach Yogi Berra, which goes,
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is. That summarizes my reason to take a break from school and all the textbook knowledge to go build, learn and understand how things work in practice. I have been in school for too long (~5 years), I believe; it’s time to go and look at what’s out there in the industry and the problems software companies face every day and how we can solve them.
I could have gone the Ph.D. route and spent more time finding a problem and then looking for a solution for 5 more years to write up a thesis that probably nobody other than my supervisor and examiners will ever read. I did not want to do that. It would just give me a title without having learnt much at the end. I remember Nazim telling me that one should not do the Ph.D. in Software Engineering for the sake of doing it but rather to solve a problem at hand. Something that makes the lives of Software Engineers or any other stakeholders in the software business easier. To put it simply, place Practice above theory and do theory once you have gained a solid understanding in practice.