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College degree or not

Sorry this isn't directly concerning a programming language but I
wanted to reach real programmers. I am in college right now and am not
really interested in investing 3 more years of my life for a Bachelors
degree. I know that I can learn more about computer programming if I
spent the time over the next 3 years reading books and programming at
my own pace rather than an instructors pace, as well as not needing to
take so many electives, and courses unrelated to programming. I would
also save a ton of money and time. The benefits to not finishing
college and just learning myself a overwhelming, and there seems to be
only one problem.

Will I still be competitive in the job market without a degree? Would I
be less likely to succeed in the programming field without a degree,
even if I knew more than someone with a degree?

Can I please have your thoughts on this, Thank you

Shane

Oct 22 '06 #1
66 3894
stryfedll wrote:
Sorry this isn't directly concerning a programming language but I
wanted to reach real programmers. I am in college right now and am not
really interested in investing 3 more years of my life for a Bachelors
degree. I know that I can learn more about computer programming if I
spent the time over the next 3 years reading books and programming at
my own pace rather than an instructors pace, as well as not needing to
take so many electives, and courses unrelated to programming. I would
also save a ton of money and time. The benefits to not finishing
college and just learning myself a overwhelming, and there seems to be
only one problem.

Will I still be competitive in the job market without a degree? Would I
be less likely to succeed in the programming field without a degree,
even if I knew more than someone with a degree?
A degree is pretty much required for most job applications, and since
most companies hire through headhunters, you're going to get rejected
before even having a chance to be seen by the potential employer.

Another important thing that I think you're missing is that university
is supposed to teach you the theory, not the practical aspects.
University is more about learning what are NP completeness and
algorithm complexity than learning about web development. You're going
to have to learn the practical stuff on your own outside of classes
anyway.

Now, that doesn't make university useless. On the contrary, if I were
hiring and had a candidate that knows all the latest hype in technology
but didn't know about the theory I would thank them and move to the
next applicant. It's about laying the foundations for your continued
learning on the job.

Regards,
Bart.

Oct 22 '06 #2

stryfedll wrote:
Will I still be competitive in the job market without a degree?
Most jobs are open to those with a degree or "equivelent experience."
If you can get experience as a developer then yeah, you will still be
competative. Good luck doing that without a degree though.

Would I
be less likely to succeed in the programming field without a degree,
even if I knew more than someone with a degree?
You'll be lucky to get an interview.

Oct 22 '06 #3
stryfedll wrote:
Sorry this isn't directly concerning a programming language but I
wanted to reach real programmers. I am in college right now and am not
really interested in investing 3 more years of my life for a Bachelors
degree. I know that I can learn more about computer programming if I
spent the time over the next 3 years reading books and programming at
my own pace rather than an instructors pace, as well as not needing to
take so many electives, and courses unrelated to programming. I would
also save a ton of money and time. The benefits to not finishing
college and just learning myself a overwhelming, and there seems to be
only one problem.
I'm a potential employer. Your resume here says that you prefer working at
your own "pace", not a pace set by your organization. You also dislike
"domain" research - non-programming activities - because they are boring.
You dislike mentoring, and you seem oblivious to the idea that anyone older
than you - in school or on the job - could have anything to teach you.

You have a tendency to invest in options poorly, and you seem willing to
amortize your learning over making mistakes on the job. You would rather get
paid to learn things adventurously, than pay to learn them rigorously.

Further, you post off-topic because you don't want to do the research to
find real programmers on a generic programming forum (such as, maybe,
news:comp.progr amming ?). This makes me think that, on the job, you would
ask the cook how to structure the database, or ask the usability researcher
how to debug your memory corruption.

We'll let you know. ;-)

--
Phlip
http://www.greencheese.us/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!!
Oct 22 '06 #4
"stryfedll" <st*******@gmai l.comwrote:
Sorry this isn't directly concerning a programming language but I
wanted to reach real programmers. I am in college right now and am not
really interested in investing 3 more years of my life for a Bachelors
degree. I know that I can learn more about computer programming if I
spent the time over the next 3 years reading books and programming at
my own pace rather than an instructors pace, as well as not needing to
take so many electives, and courses unrelated to programming. I would
also save a ton of money and time. The benefits to not finishing
college and just learning myself a overwhelming, and there seems to be
only one problem.
I have to agree with you, when it comes to learning how to program,
college is a waste of time. The only graduates worth hiring are the kind
that would have done just as well studying on their own in the first
place.
Will I still be competitive in the job market without a degree?
You would have a hard time making any headway in the field. Look at it
from an employer's prospective, when he has 200-400 resumes for that one
job opening, the first thing he's going to do is come up with some
arbitrary criteria (like "has college degree") to cull out the stack.
Would I
be less likely to succeed in the programming field without a degree,
even if I knew more than someone with a degree?
Yes, you would be less likely to succeed. An employer cannot tell that
you know more than an applicant with a degree, so he is going to hedge
his bet.
Can I please have your thoughts on this, Thank you
One idea is to go to college while looking for a job. Once you get hired
and have proven yourself, you can quit college. Such a strategy would
have worked well in the 80s but I don't think it will work in today's
market... but it's an idea.

--
There are two things that simply cannot be doubted, logic and perception.
Doubt those, and you no longer*have anyone to discuss your doubts with,
nor any ability to discuss them.
Oct 22 '06 #5
First off, I have a college degree in Comp Sci, but I had to respond to your
response...

comments inlined...

"Phlip" <ph******@yahoo .comwrote in message
news:yf******** ********@newssv r27.news.prodig y.net...
stryfedll wrote:
>Sorry this isn't directly concerning a programming language but I
wanted to reach real programmers. I am in college right now and am not
really interested in investing 3 more years of my life for a Bachelors
degree. I know that I can learn more about computer programming if I
spent the time over the next 3 years reading books and programming at
my own pace rather than an instructors pace, as well as not needing to
take so many electives, and courses unrelated to programming. I would
also save a ton of money and time. The benefits to not finishing
college and just learning myself a overwhelming, and there seems to be
only one problem.

I'm a potential employer. Your resume here says that you prefer working at
your own "pace", not a pace set by your organization. You also dislike
"domain" research - non-programming activities - because they are boring.
You dislike mentoring, and you seem oblivious to the idea that anyone
older than you - in school or on the job - could have anything to teach
you.
If I wanted to learn art history, or economics, etc. I would be in those
fields. As a college graduate from a well known, highly regarded university
in my area... I learned almost ZIP about real world programming in college.
Everything I learned about real world programming was umm... out in the real
world, or on projects I gave myself...

Yeah, I know how to write my own linked list class with zero reference
material, but thats not practical knowledge since every single class library
has a bunch of collection classes already written. Just an example, but with
C# and .Net nowadays, people don't really have to know how to program...
sad, but true.

What does liking or disliking mentoring have to do with being able to write
code? I'm a senior developer with 12yrs experience, and I have "mentored" at
least 3 or 4 people. In each one of those cases, said people ended up asking
me questions "every 5 minutes".
You have a tendency to invest in options poorly, and you seem willing to
amortize your learning over making mistakes on the job. You would rather
get paid to learn things adventurously, than pay to learn them rigorously.
I don't even know how to respond to this...
Further, you post off-topic because you don't want to do the research to
find real programmers on a generic programming forum (such as, maybe,
news:comp.progr amming ?). This makes me think that, on the job, you would
ask the cook how to structure the database, or ask the usability
researcher how to debug your memory corruption.
Isn't your response off-topic as well, Mr. Netcop? This tells me you are one
of those types of people that walk around the office policeing everybody
when its not even your job. You'll turn in Bob from accounting because you
saw him surfing the net for 10 minutes during work hours, you'll turn in
Alice in marketing because you saw her come in 5 minutes late, you'll bash
your team mate Steve because he puts in a solid 8 hrs vs. your "solid" 10hrs
which really isn't solid since half your day is spent being the office
police.
We'll let you know. ;-)
If you were really my prospective employer, I'd probably pass on your
position after 10 minutes of talking to you. You come off like an arrogant
manager who'd micromanage me, never let me come up with my own ideas, expect
me to put in long hours on a regular basis, and make snide comments about my
"work ethic" when I don't kiss your ass. You'll also require that for every
design I come up with 3 solutions and compare & contrast them to you and
defend the one I pick. Then you'll pick a different solution and require me
to do it your way.

I'll let you know. ;-)

That being said, I have co-workers with degrees and without degrees. The
more reputable companies will require degrees "just for whatever reason"...
I guess it shows ability of commitment.

You might want to apply to my previous company though. They didn't require
degrees at all, and were more then happy to serve alcohol during work hours.
If you are a party person, you'll get along great with the 24yr CEO who
didn't even graduate highschool. They also offer drug infested company
parties and sex mingling...

Hey, did I mention they went from 150 employees to 30 employees in short
order?
Oct 22 '06 #6
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

stryfedll :
Sorry this isn't directly concerning a programming language but I
wanted to reach real programmers. I am in college right now and am not
really interested in investing 3 more years of my life for a Bachelors
degree. I know that I can learn more about computer programming if I
spent the time over the next 3 years reading books and programming at
my own pace rather than an instructors pace, as well as not needing to
take so many electives, and courses unrelated to programming. I would
also save a ton of money and time. The benefits to not finishing
college and just learning myself a overwhelming, and there seems to be
only one problem.

Will I still be competitive in the job market without a degree? Would I
be less likely to succeed in the programming field without a degree,
even if I knew more than someone with a degree?

Can I please have your thoughts on this, Thank you

Shane
I am a Chinese student who face the same situation like you .

I don't think I can learn more if I go out the school . If I
go to some software company , I need to work hard to accomplish
the task everyday so that I can't do whatever I like .

I choose to give myself three more years to do what I like , to learn
what I am interested in . And I am also not certain whether my decision
is right ?

There are many classmates talking to me and advise me to leave school
to get a job . They said ," Hi , resortting to your good skill , you can
get a good job easily . But if you decide to go on study for a Bachelor
degree , three years later , the people who are worse than you now will
catch up to you , and then what advantage you have ? Another three years
maybe good for those who has no priority now , but not for you !"

Oh , too many advice , but I just choose to three years more study
without to consider whether this is right or not !

Choose and Do , don't think too much , I advice !

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iD8DBQFFPCJp7tZ p58UCwyMRAm9ZAK C/1NvBiVpRrZffnXw x0UXq28CC9wCgwV AZ
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Oct 23 '06 #7
Noah Roberts wrote:
Most jobs are open to those with a degree or "equivelent experience."
Yeah. And then they'l take someone with a semester of C# over 20 years of
experience in everything else!

;-)

--
Phlip
http://www.greencheese.us/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!!
Oct 23 '06 #8

"Phlip" <ph******@yahoo .comwrote in message
news:Da******** *********@newss vr21.news.prodi gy.com...
Noah Roberts wrote:
>Most jobs are open to those with a degree or "equivelent experience."

Yeah. And then they'l take someone with a semester of C# over 20 years of
experience in everything else!

;-)
Actually, they'll take someone with C#, ASP.NET & SQL over an experienced
C++ programmer any day of the week. This I know from a recent job search.
Oct 23 '06 #9
Nobody wrote:
If I wanted to learn art history, or economics, etc. I would be in those
fields.
Then I agree with every reason college degrees impose those odious things.
They make you a better programmer, period.

And part of programming is communicating with other programmers. What we are
trying to do here. You know - English comprehension and such. Including
distinguishing what someone wrote from what you want to think they wrote...
As a college graduate from a well known, highly regarded university in my
area... I learned almost ZIP about real world programming in college.
And that's a separate issue. College degrees for "computer science" are in
their Stone Age these days. Specifically, the overriding topic of this
newsgroup is "software engineering" - how to put technology to work.
"Computer Science" is advanced research, and almost nobody needs that. Our
industry currently has a tremendous gulf between the leading edge of its
science, and the puny subset that we have actually put online as useful
technology. So you should have obtained a "Software Engineering" degree
instead.
Everything I learned about real world programming was umm... out in the
real world, or on projects I gave myself...
In theory (;-) an engineering degree would have simulated real life. Big
projects, stupid bosses, sick bugs, good and bad process, the works.
Graduating should have felt like stuff got simpler, not harder.

And this leads to the reason the OP asked his or her question. Because the
Real World Gap is so great, they are asking if they should simply jump the
gap now. And the ultimate issue here is the schools simply are not teaching
that Real World stuff.
Yeah, I know how to write my own linked list class with zero reference
material, but thats not practical knowledge since every single class
library has a bunch of collection classes already written. Just an
example, but with C# and .Net nowadays, people don't really have to know
how to program... sad, but true.
That helps. Sometimes you have objects with pointers to their own types, and
you might treat that as a list or not. And when things get hard, you need to
draw on more mental resources than just one language's syntax and libraries.
What does liking or disliking mentoring have to do with being able to
write code?
I was seeking ways to flame the OP. ;-)

Specifically, they did not appear willing to learn things which their school
_could_ teach, regardless of those things' utility. The ability to be taught
is very important, and should be exercised.
I'm a senior developer with 12yrs experience, and I have "mentored" at
least 3 or 4 people.
Uh, averaging 1 person every 3 years? Maybe you shouldn't work alone for
long periods - that's bad for the team.
In each one of those cases, said people ended up asking me questions
"every 5 minutes".
Case in point: Either you were Pair Programming (hah!), or they hadn't
practiced "being mentored" like the OP should.

If you were to mentor me, I promise that you wouldn't even notice. ;-)
>You have a tendency to invest in options poorly, and you seem willing to
amortize your learning over making mistakes on the job. You would rather
get paid to learn things adventurously, than pay to learn them
rigorously.

I don't even know how to respond to this...
Are you the OP? The question whether to invest in school is an _option_, a
financial decision with an expected return.
>Further, you post off-topic because you don't want to do the research to
find real programmers on a generic programming forum (such as, maybe,
news:comp.prog ramming ?). This makes me think that, on the job, you would
ask the cook how to structure the database, or ask the usability
researcher how to debug your memory corruption.

Isn't your response off-topic as well, Mr. Netcop?
Yes. This is called "irony" - one of those literary techniques you
dismissed.
This tells me you are one of those types of people that walk around the
office policeing everybody when its not even your job.
No. I was pointing out the OP was not being specifically resourceful. (While
assuring the real netcops around here that I know we are at marginal
topicality...)

Now I'm sure that one little paragraph has "told you so much about me" that
you know everything now, regardless what I have to say, right?
You'll turn in Bob from accounting because you saw him surfing the net for
10 minutes during work hours, you'll turn in Alice in marketing because
you saw her come in 5 minutes late, you'll bash your team mate Steve
because he puts in a solid 8 hrs vs. your "solid" 10hrs which really isn't
solid since half your day is spent being the office police.
No, I will force them to read my online comics each morning.

You, however, seem to have a chip on your shoulder about something. I
decline to guess what, but it ain't me.

Remaining drivel snipped, unread.

--
Phlip
http://www.greencheese.us/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!!
Oct 23 '06 #10

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