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Re: College degrees, knowledge gained and reputations enhanced

by ehdonhon (Curate)
on Nov 14, 2003 at 12:54 UTC ( #307033=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to College degrees, knowledge gained and reputations enhanced

I do have a degree. I had not not yet finished my degree when I obtained my present job.

I've found that the experiences that I gained in college have helped me develop my style as a programmer. At the school I attended, the Comp-Sci program was all about abstract concepts. We didn't write a single line of code until our second semester, and even then it was all theoreticcal languages like FP, turing machines, or pseudo machine-language. College wasn't about learning the latest shiny new language, it was about learning the building blocks of programming so that when that language isn't so shiny any more, you still had a marketable skill.

In real life, I've found that many (note use of word, "many" opposed to "all") self-taught people, while perhpas more skilled than I in their language of choice, lack those building blocks. They are slaves to following the example of other people's code. They know the "how" of implementing an algorithm, but don't have the "how" of coming up with the algorithm unless somebody gives it to them. I think that is just the nature of educational process that self-taught people go through (learning by example).

On the question of finding a job. I missed out on quite a few opportunities because I was one class short of my degree. I was told many times "when you get your degree, let us know, we'll hire you".

I still worked my way up the ladder to a comfortable position (one that allowed me to afford to go back and complete my degree), but I found that the climb up that ladder required many tiny steps that I probably could have bypassed fewer bigger steps if I had a degree. And always, climbing that ladder meant moving from one job to the next. I've found that when you don't have a degree, employers care much less about seeing you advance within their own company. So, I would start at company A, get a little experience and move on to company B, get some more and move on to company C, etc..

In conclusion, I do believe that having a degree makes a difference. I also believe that there are both valid and invalid reasons for this.


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