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in reply to how hard is it to find a job without a degree?

Actually, the OP’s question is well on its way to becoming “the new normal,” at least in the United States.   When I obtained a B.S.C.S. degree from a public University more than 30 years ago, the out-of-pocket total cost (paid by a scholarship) was about $11,000.00.   Today, one semester at that same public institution costs considerably more.   The cost of the same degree, today, is about $137,000.00.   A degree at a local community college costs nearly as much per semester.

And millions of families have decided that, like it or not, their kids cannot go to college.   Their white-collar jobs are gone.   Maybe they got injured in their new warehouse job, and they “owe their soul to” the for-profit hospital (which bought-up or closed-down the former community hospital), for bills that their for-profit insurance company declined to pay.

Millions more (yes, millions ...) of kids are taking matters into their own hands.   They are deciding that there is no possible return-on-investment for debts (which cannot be discharged in bankruptcy) that will never be repaid, especially since they will not have access to the jobs that their degrees prepared them for.

And, they’re right.   Any professional that the United States wants can be imported for up to six years on the H-1B and other non-immigrant visa programs, and used like the perfect capitalist horse:   “rode hard and put up wet.”   They say they come complete with college degrees:   nobody asks.   But for computer jobs it’s even worse:   under the L-1 visa program, which has no quotas at all, a programmer (say ...) from Bangladesh can be brought in by a Bangladesh company operating on American soil, paid Bangladesh wages by that company, and worked day and night because s/he is wholly dependent upon the company (in conditions of peonage).   They dress in nice business attire:   you would never know.

Now, you might call that a political rant ... especially if you are, as I am, a beneficiary of the remnants of the GI Bill, which created educational opportunity at a time when Dwight D. Eisenhower could confidently refer to a “fine, well-equipped hospital” without dreaming that no one today can go inside one without facing bankruptcy.   I understand.   But we are faced with the harsh realities of “America, today,” and so are young people who are making “sensible business decisions” that we don’t like.

My very frank advice is this:   forget computer programming altogether, and become a truck driver.   You must have a license to do it, and you can make $60,000 a year to start with no student-loan debt of any kind.   You will drive from the Port of Los Angeles to virtually every spot in America, and you will be able to afford a house and a car.   (Earnest attempts to replace you with Mexican drivers driving Mexican trucks were unsuccessful:   the Mexicans weren’t having it.)

The United States of our generation was college-educated and (declining) middle-class.   The United States of the present generation has a high-school education diploma and will not better itself.   Thus, the frank answer to the OP’s question is this:   “yes, you might qualify for a Perl-programmer position, with or without a degree, but you won’t get it.   Do not “aim high.”   Aim, simply, for gainful employment.   If the USA needs computer programmers, doctors, engineers, professionals of any sort, it will import them from an inexhaustible supply ... elsewhere.   You’re stuck with an American Passport, not a Visa.

And I say once more:   this is not “a political rant.”   I wish it were.   But when you walk into the casino where you must play, you must fairly regard the cards that are being dealt to you now.   The present generation is doing just that.

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Re^2: how hard is it to find a job without a degree?
by jeffa (Bishop) on Aug 24, 2015 at 17:11 UTC

    "My very frank advice is this: forget computer programming altogether, and become a truck driver.

    This is by far and large, THE WORST ADVICE i have seen you post yet! My good friend is a truck driver. He did not start off at $60K and barely makes that after 10 years of busting his butt, loading and unloading crap from the trucks. It is NOT the same industry. Obtaining the license may not be hard, but losing your license for ever is even easier. My friend recently suffered a hernia and not only is his employer not helping, he receives no compensation for time off while he heals. My friend is quite envious of my career, as a computer programmer who has travelled more than he has and makes more than twice as much with half the risk. I too have a degree, but it was perhaps unnecessary, although i did enjoy the education. :)

    jeffa

    L-LL-L--L-LL-L--L-LL-L--
    -R--R-RR-R--R-RR-R--R-RR
    B--B--B--B--B--B--B--B--
    H---H---H---H---H---H---
    (the triplet paradiddle with high-hat)