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Degrees, Publishing, and Professionality

I've been reading the threads about getting a degree, and the discussion of whether the lack of a degree hurts one's chances of getting a job.  And it struck me:

This is very much like the writing business.

A lot of beginning writers bemoan the fact that it's so hard to get published these days, particularly short stories in magazines.  Most writers collect many rejection letters -- dozens, usually -- before their stories are published regularly.

However, magazine editors receive, literally, *hundreds* of manuscripts per month.  *Hundreds*.  And they have to choose six or so each month.  How do they do it?  They look for obvious flaws.  If the manuscript's not in the standard format, they'll reject it.  If there are obvious grammar or spelling mistakes, they'll reject it.  If the story fails to draw the reader in within a paragraph or two, they'll reject it.

Now, they'll still check the story to make sure they're not rejecting Shakespeare, but I'll tell you a secret:  They never do.

Why?  Because of professionality.  If the writer hasn't had the discipline to find and follow the standard manuscript format (which is available everywhere), that's a good sign that they won't be disciplined in other areas.  If they haven't bothered to learn the language well enough to use grammar well or spell properly, what are the odds they've bothered to make the plot interesting?  And so forth.

If you actually read these stories, this belief holds true, almost every time.  A story with poor grammar is almost always poor in general.  A story that doesn't follow the format is almost always lacking in other areas.

Are there exceptions?  Sure.  But they're extremely rare.  The belief holds true.

And that's the same attitude you'll find when a recruiter hefts a stack of fifty resumes and is looking to find the best person for the job.  They'll look for common indicators of professionality.  Having a university degree is one good indicator that you're a professional.

Is it the only indicator?  No.  But having no degree is a mark against you, and why operate with an automatic mark against you, if you can help it?

Now, this analogy isn't perfect; hiring an employee is not exactly the same as accepting a short story in a magazine, and getting a university degree requires way more work than reformatting a document.  But the attitudes are very similar.

And that's one of the reasons why having a university degree is important, in my opinion.

Brent P. Newhall
Friday, December 13, 2002

Of course you did not mean to imply otherwise, but having the degree might help in the short run, but won't do you any good in the long run if you have merely bought it.

So I'd say, get that degree if you need the leg up when applying for jobs, but make sure you've earned it.

Officially on weekend leave
Friday, December 13, 2002

Software is also like the publishing industry, in that, degreed or not, unless you write a best-seller, you'll eventually get paid the same wages as a writer.

water
Friday, December 13, 2002

A candidate  can lie about having a degree but cannot lie about having good grammer.  That is an important difference between looking a work product (like a short story) and looking for somebody to hire to produce a work product (like a computer programmer).

Anonymous Coward
Friday, December 13, 2002

Employers discard resumes of people without bachelors' degrees NOT because they're thinking, "Gee, so many resumes, I wonder how I can winnow them down -- I guess I will throw away the ones of people without bachelors' degrees."  It's not just an arbitrary way of thinning out the pile of resumes.

No, they throw them away because people who don't have bachelors' degrees are lacking something as employees.

You will not even get an interview where I work, if you don't have a bachelor's degree.  It doesn't matter what subject it is in, but if you don't have it, you are not eligible to work here.

You can say, "But in programming you don't need a degree -- you should be judged solely on your skills, which you might have acquired on the job -- so why would they have that rule?"

I suspect they require a degree because it shows you can orient yourself toward a goal, a goal that takes four years to accomplish, and stick with it -- taking courses that may not interest you, being disciplined about study, etc.  It shows you are mature enough to take your education seriously.

A relative who is director of human resources for a large (non-IT) company puts it well -- people without bachelors' degrees are "missing something" as employees.  Having earned a bachelor's degree definitely trains your intellect in ways you could not achieve in the workplace.

Please don't bring up the example of Bill Gates or Larry Ellison.  Sure, if you are headstrong and brilliant enough to start your own world-class software company, you don't need a degree.  But the number of people in the world who are like that could fit inside the cubicle where I sit now -- and chances are, you're not one of them.

programmer
Friday, December 13, 2002

Its actually very easy to publish an article in a technical journal.  They are hungry for useful stuff that is 3 pages in length and has source code.  I publshed 2 articles in Borland's C++ journal about 8(?) years ago.  Paid $800 each.  Not bad, and it gets your name out there, looks good on a resume.  Gotta pay taxes off that - income as 1099.  Its a good thing to do for those of you job hunting.

Nat Ersoz
Friday, December 13, 2002

"people without bachelors' degrees are "missing something" as employees.

yes, they are "missing" a bachelors' degree.

"Having earned a bachelor's degree definitely trains your intellect in ways you could not achieve in the workplace."

Did you attend the Sorbonne? Or perhaps tutorials at Oxford?  Trains your intellect? Give me a break. These threads are at best tedious and at worst, ridiculous. On another thread, someone else is posting that George Mason University is considered Ivy League.  I'm sure your mothers are very proud of you and your bachelor's degree, now get back to work, and finish paying off those student loans!

BS
Friday, December 13, 2002

I disagree with the notion that people without degrees are missing somethng as employees.  Much as I love my experience in EE eduaction, and perhaps will go back full time some day, I don't see it as a prerequesite to employment.  Neither do many tech firms, most notably MSFT.

Nat Ersoz
Friday, December 13, 2002

Well, BS hasn't got a clue either.  But that's a dead horse.

Nat Ersoz
Friday, December 13, 2002

Impersonation is the sincerest form of flattery or some such yammering...  I can only add Hoo YA!

Brad Siemens
Friday, December 13, 2002

Just so there's no confusion... I'm not BS although I have a pretty good idea who is.

Brad Siemens
Friday, December 13, 2002

My bad, maybe I am the clueless one.  I did happen to miss the big George Mason U vs. Yale game this year, because I was too hungover from the Harvard/Ohio State School of Nursing Mixer the week before. Certainly not one qualified to comment on the value of higher education.

BS
Friday, December 13, 2002

I appreciate "programmer"s points, though I don't agree.  A degree shows that someone had their stuff together from age 18-22.  Is this relevant to a 35 year old?  Yes, but it's really only ancidotal evidence.

People take different paths through life.  Just as an example, I dropped out of high school to take care of my mother, who was sick.  Started my own software business and operated it successfully for 6 years until she got better.  This isn't dedication?  Apperantly not enough for your company.

I'm not fond of the stereotyping that occurs on these boards.  A degree mean a button-up stuffed shirt with no creativity?  Give me a break.  No degree means 25 years old, read a couple "in 21 days" books and wants $100K?  Not necessarily.

People are much too complex to reduce to any one axis.  If there is positive coorelation between degree and competance, you're not losing by excluding the non-degreed.  More power to you.  I'm being sarcastic here, but why not exclude blacks, renters, old and fat people?  Statistical coorelations can be used to justify any of these.  My argument is that a company full of white, thin, young, homeowning, in shape people all with a degree isn't necessarily better than a company that hasn't applied arbitrary, unbending criteria.  Remember, my point is in jest, but you see the idea.

I see software development as primarily a human exercise.  Someone who has, by choice or accident, taken a non-standard path MAY bring valuable human experience to the table that isn't brought by someone who's life has been "paint by number".

Bill Carlson
Friday, December 13, 2002

You nailed it on the head Bill.

I, for example, don't have a degree. Not that I don't wish I had one, just for the sake of the university experience. I started out in the theatre and later the recording industry. Computers were just a hobby at the time. Though some odd set of circumstances I ended up writing an application to handle client booking at the studio and it just never ended. Once I realized that I was working 90% of the time on software, it was pretty obvious where my talents were. I've never looked back! ...much....

Some would say that this means I lack the "university experience" and therefore I am "missing something". They may be right, but then I don't know may grads who have had my experiences either. Who is to say which were better? I guess studying the intricacies of Roman politics is something I'll never have the opportunity to do, but I wouldn't trade in the experience of recording with Peter Wolf for it.

marc
Friday, December 13, 2002

been thinking about this latest instance of the endless (and endlessly recurring) debate re university vs no university...

Given:  two individuals, Joe College and Bob Didnotgo, who at this instant are equally capable of doing a given software engineering job. Joe College has a BS in Computer Science, Bob Didnotgo has no college.

Question:  Given that they are equally capable, which has demonstrated more drive and innate learning ability?

I have a personal bias here, but my intent (in case I've failed in doing so) is to pose this situation and question in a completely unbiased manner.

ok, so let the fur fly...

anonQAguy
Friday, December 13, 2002

  I'm not sure if anyone here has actually GONE through a bunch of resumes lately...I have, so I'll enlighten you:  No one puts their education at the top, or even on the first page, unless they're fresh out of college.  No, this isn't a generalization, this is after sifting through hundreds of resumes looking for a new J2EE architect.  I agree with what everyone said about how a degree shows someone is mature, etc... but honestly, when I was going through the resumes, I didn't even care.  I looked at their experience, they're knowledge, how they rated themselves, etc. 
    Now, I'm pretty sure all you guys saying "my company doesn't hire somoene without a degree" would make an excuse when they're desperate to fill a vital position.  Your honestly telling me that if you found that one candidate who fits your position you'd throw him out soley because he didn't have a degree? I don't think so.  Good people are hard to find.  Good companies hire them when they find em.

Vincent Marquez
Friday, December 13, 2002

Imo, Corporate America's hiring practices (i.e. metrics) are currently (and have been for some time) in disarray.  If a company needs young people who are capable of being
productive right out of the gate then don't make a four-year college degree (or higher) a mandatory hiring policy for every open job position!  Imo, a two-year degree is more than sufficient for most IT technical positions.

Now having said this, there is nothing wrong with wanting to hire someone who has a Bachelor degree, an MBA, a Ph.D, etc. if the degree complements the position a particular company is looking to fill.

If a company truly needs someone who has a background in engineering or scientific software development then so be it.  However, if the job candidate is expected to build and maintain business applications, then they shouldn't be
looking for an engineer or an academic.  These individuals may or may not be very book smart, but that doesn't guarantee they have any practical work skills.  What it typically guarantees is the feeling by the new hire of being underemployed.

Somone who used the nickname Not Joel Spolsky mentioned in the thread "Breaking into development without a degree" that his Comp. Sci. professor told him he was there to learn about computer science not computer programming.

Imo, most four-year colleges (in any country) do a terrible job of preparing students for work in the "real world".  Many college professors seem to agree with my opinion.
Why do I say this?  Because many don't believe people should be taking their classes for this reason (to get a job). Trade schools, technical colleges, etc. tend to do a much better job of preparing their students for work in the "real world".

one programmer's opinion
Friday, December 13, 2002

Not having majored in computer science, I'm curious what that course of studies entails.

Do Comp Sci majors mainly focus on learning languages, like Basic, Pascal, Fortran, C, C++, Java?

Or do they study how computers work, and the theory behind computer programming, equipping them to perhaps create a new language?

Or a little of both?

programmer
Friday, December 13, 2002

A good Computer Science program does not focus on languages; it focuses on various programming concepts that will enable you to learn new languages quickly and effectively.  The programming languages used were mainly for application of the concepts.

At the school I went to, in about half the classes students could even choose which language they wanted, using in different languages for different assignments.

The courses I took included:


- Object Oriented programming and design.

- Computer graphics.

- Algorithms and Data Structures.

- Hardware architecture, including logic circuits.  Assignments included writing microcode.

- Assembly language programming.

- Software engineering, in which 'real world' problems such as estimation and requirements management were studied.

When I did the object oriented class, the language they focused on was C++.  Today, the focus of that same class is Java.  Because of the concepts learned and practised in that class, I was able to pick up designing and programming in Java very rapidly compared to co-workers who never had any training (neither classroom, self, or on the job) in object-oriented fundamentals.

T. Norman
Friday, December 13, 2002

As far as programming is concerned, people without bachelor's degrees in Computer Science or something close *are* missing something ... if they didn't take the initiative to learn that 'something' outside of a degree program.

Bill Gates doesn't have a CS degree, but he has enough knowledge of the field that he could easily pass just about any exam or assignment given in a CS bachelor's degree program.  Michael Jackson doesn't have a music degree, but with his knowledge and experience of singing and songwriting, he would wipe the floor with any music major who challenged him.  Ted Turner doesn't have a business degree, but knows enough about business that he could teach classes in an MBA program.  The VP of the company I worked for when I first graduated from college didn't have a CS degree, but over the years he had taken courses, read books, and written programs professionally and experimentally that he had more than the equivalent of a CS degree.

So while the degree itself is not so important, the knowledge associated with it is very important. Those who are successful without the degree are usually those who have made the effort to acquire the degree knowledge by other means. That is the main reason why the degree is important; it provides a way that people can have some level of trust that you do know what you say you know.  In this tight economy where there are several equally experienced applicants *with* degrees for every applicant without one, you can't really blame employers for not choosing those without degrees.

T. Norman
Friday, December 13, 2002

My experience is that the window closed for software R&D jobs without a degree sometime in the early 80's. I have no idea about IT, thats a foreign world to me. It seems pointless to argue about whether a 4 year degree really matters, what is the incentive for an employer to take the extra risk of hiring someone without one nowadays?

I'm curious where the author(s) of the threads about the benefits of getting a degree lives. 

Eric Moore
Friday, December 13, 2002

If you think that not having a degree requires creativity, then why complain?  College is mainly about sex (whatever your gender) and seeing new perspectives which are normally censored by 'respectable people.'  Creativity is something else -- and I don't think that undergrad is conducive to creativity.  Most often, people who muddle through a degree learn how to follow in peoples' footsteps.

So degreeless people of the world -- never complain about needing to be creative.  It's the creative person's burden.

Tj
Friday, December 13, 2002

I've got a B.S. in Comp Sci and some recruiter convinced me to submit my resume to Manugistics (Redwood City, CA).  But, apparently, they want most of their programmers to have Ph.D.s.  So, some companies have really stringent educational requirements (or are very narrow-minded if you look at it that way).

Anonymous Coward
Friday, December 13, 2002

Maybe I should drop out of high school?  I'm a pretty good asp programmer now, and I don't want my creativity to suffer any more!


Friday, December 13, 2002

Don't patronize me.  During highschool I took classes at two highly respected universities that you've definitely heard of.  Highschool classes were fucking boring, and it's just a place where you learn to live with a dysfunctional family.  Fun seasoning.  But I respect some of those who drop out, because of all the fake history books that are bought because of politics, and the difficulty of seeing where it will all lead.

No, I don't advocate dropping out.  Instead sleep through class.  I literally did that, and it worked out.

Tj
Friday, December 13, 2002

Sorry.  Bad day at work.  I'll shut up fer a while. ;)

Tj
Friday, December 13, 2002

Brent, you're saying that a degree is equivalent for indicating a programmer's capability as the actual writing is for assessing a writer. I would say it's not.

It's much harder to assess software developers, and the factors that need to be considered are represented only to a small part by a degree. Some of the dumbest morons I've ever seen have had degrees. Getting a degree is not hard.

As to companies that restrict their hiring to degree holders, I have seen many companies drop that restriction because their HR departments were rejecting top candidates.

echidna
Saturday, December 14, 2002

Also, the example you use, the publishing industry, and writing in particular, actually contradicts your theme.

Writers excel based almost entirely on their capability, with almost no reference to "degrees." Even though there are many media studies courses and media studies graduates, media companies such as newspapers take a dim view of such courses. They hire directly on talent.

echidna
Sunday, December 15, 2002

I think the real benefits of education in computing is that you do get exposed to many types of things that you will not know. Things that can take years.

A great example is the use of linked-lists and pointer type data. If you just start coding away in C++ it is un-likey you will think of using a linked-list to solve many common data storage problems. Since one does not know about a linked list, then the solution used by a programmer is to insert the hunk of data somewhere in the middle, and then force all the rest of the data to be moved down. This can be a huge waste of resources. With a linked list, this huge problem of moving/shifting data down to make a hole for the data is eliminated if you use a linked list (we are talking about inserting data in some sort order here). If the developer don’t know how, or has never used linked lists, it is unlikely that a linked list type of solution will be used.

Also, you tend to get exposed a lot of classic, or common computing problems that can take a developer years to learn, or discover.

A great example of this was some years ago we had two data files. We needed to merge the two data files into a 3rd data file. The resulting file had to be in the correct sorted order also. It also turns out that the two original files where also sorted in the correct order. I was amazed, since none of programmers on the team realized that no sorting is required to merge the two data files into a 3rd SORTED file. We had learned how to do this in one of my CS classes. In fact, one of the developers bet me that it was not a easy task. I said this is trivial…since I seen this concept before.

Of course, many people who did not attend University would also find the above problem trivial. However, I knew exactly how to solve this problem. It is one of the classic problems that most CS students learn. I stress the word classic!!

The same goes for learning concepts like assembler. Assembler is not that important, but a good understanding of how a processor executes instructions, and concepts like what a register is also enables one to make additional insights about how software works.

The same goes for stuff like Virtual Memory, and also demand paged systems. Again, both of these technologies can have a great effect on how your software will work, or even what designs should be used. Again, virtual memory, or demand paged systems is not a huge concept but it helps to understand what they do. It can make you change your designs dramatically.  Especially the order in which you process your data tables.

I often run into people who cannot understand the difference between a file shared database system like list ms-access (JET), and a true client-server database.
I am CONSTANTLY hearing from people that the difference in the products is that ms-access (JET) grabs the whole table across the network, and the true Client/Server system does not. This is 100% wrong!!! JET does not suck the whole table across the network, yet I hear this on a daily basis. If these people took some time to understand systems and architecture, you would NEVER hear people claim this.

I am in not saying that a person needs to attend university to learn the above things. In fact, many people know the above. Hence, attending school is just a organized learning environment. However, when you work at a job on a daily basis, many times it can be months before you are presented with a new problem that is difficult to solve. In school, each day you are being given problems to solve, and these problems often don’t come up for years in the real world. (for sure the reverse can be true. The real world problems are much different then many you will see in school).

Would you not all love to have a teacher explain all the classic problems you will encounter when writing software? Of course you can learn about stacks (LIFO, FILO) etc from a book. However, condensing all these problems, and feeding them to the students is a very good thing. Same goes for using a tree structure to parse a expression like:

(65 + 2 * 3 + 5 + 2^3)

If you have not been exposed to tree structures, then most programmers will not be able to write code to parse the above expression. Any CS grad will easily write you some code to parse the above, and they will use  tree structure to do this!

I OFTEN rely on techniques and concepts I learned in school.

So, I only posted in this thread, because someone asked why, and what kinds of things you learn in school, and how do they help you.

Nothing says the above stuff can’t be learned from a book…but I can certainly tell you that every CS grad I know can solve the above problems, because they seen them already.

That is the kind of things you learn at school.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Sunday, December 15, 2002

Albert, I'm curious what algorithm is used to merge the two text files. I'm a junior in a CS program, and nothing immediately comes to mind for solving this problem. If it's in the CLRS algorithms book, just tell me the name and I'll look it up myself. Thanks

glenn
Sunday, December 15, 2002

On second thought, is a complex algorithm even needed? Do you just merge one line (if that's how the files are sorted) at a time? Start with the first line of one text file, compare it to the first line of the second file, and insert into the new file? Just go back and forth this way, and it only takes one iteration over each file to make the new merged file? Or have a missed a complexity here

glenn
Sunday, December 15, 2002

Glenn, you have it 100% right.

Assume You have both files open, and are to merge to a 3rd file. You simply compare the values of records from the two open files, and take which ever one is less of a value, and output that to the new file. You continue this process until you are done.

It is not a hard concept, but as mentioned, I was in a room with 3 other programmers, and this approach was not readily apparent to them. I am sure if they sat down and thought about it for a little bit, then they would have realize this.

It is clear that even you just thinking about this realized that the problem is very simple.

It is just a example of the many things that you can learn in school. It turned out that in this merge problem that in fact each of the data files (they were from a mailing company, and were being read from tape backups) did in fact have several records that COULD BE out of order. However, on a list of 100,000 records from a tape, only about 3 – 5 records could be out of order in the list. Those names are special key names that the mailing house inserts to prevent fraud etc. So, I was still able to use the simple merge method, but I had to place two stack structures right before the routine that writes out the data. (hey, again the concept of using a stack to solve a problem came up).

Even more interesting is perhaps the two programmers did realize the solution, but the fact of those special “control” names in the list eliminated the idea from their solutions. However, perhaps they were not aware of simply placing a stack structure (really a buffer) that allowed up to 10 values to be “stacked” from each file to solve this. After that, the whole process is again that simple merge.

In fact, I am positive that the issue of “control” names in the data was NOT the issue, since we only found out about that AFTER we had written the software (I just remembered  as I write this!!). As a result, I did resort to a making a stack “buffer” of 10 for each file. (I just bubbled each name down to their correct position, and then popped a value off of the simple stack)

Again, using stacks can be a solution to common every day problems. That lecture on stacks, and assignment on some software to solve problems using stacks also helped me here.

Stuff you learn in theory does on a daily bases get put into real world practice. As you can see, in that simple example, I used two of my lectures to solve the problem.


Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Sunday, December 15, 2002

I think the actual technical term for this operation is the 'merge-sort', though I've always called it 'the zipper'.

Sarain H.
Sunday, December 15, 2002

In an inexperienced candidate, there is certainly a benefit to having a degree. I don't have one, but when I interview junior programmers who don't have a degree, I always ask them why they chose to forgoe university.

However, in a candidate with five or more years of professional experience, a degree has a very low correlation with the candidate's ability to write software.

If you have trouble believing this, just look around any mediocre software team and count the degrees.

--
Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
http://www.braithwaite-lee.com

Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
Monday, December 16, 2002

Albert, anyone who can't work out how to merge two sorted files together should be in another job. Same with the other examples you mentioned.


Monday, December 16, 2002

I actually mentioned that if you do think about the problem, it is not hard.

However, my example of parsing out the following :

(65 + 2 * 3 + 5 + 2^3)

Now that is a good example. Lets see, you will need an understand of stacks, tree structures, and in fact the routine will most certainly use recursion. Especially if the routine to parse the above is going to allow parentheses to set the operation order. Now that is good problem, since a understanding of a good many computing concepts such as tree structures and recursion does apply.

Again, I am not claming that you need to go to school to use recursion. But it is nice to get a bunch of assignments on recursion, and thus start one down the path as to when recursion is a good solution. Many developers don’t use recursion as part of their tool kit. I recently wrote some code to traverse a directory structure on a pc..it was recursive, and as a result MUCH less code then traditional approaches.

I am only saying that it is a good idea to learn the basic concepts of computing. Those classic things like stacks and recursion. You certainly don’t need school for that. However, school sure is a great environment to learn this stuff under.

While I am sure that any developer would instantly see the answer to the file sort problem…they will not to writing some code to parse, and evaluate the expression example. Any CS grad will easily solve that problem too.

Perahps the average programmer does know how to write code parse out that expression. Regarless, you have to learn this stuff somewhere.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Monday, December 16, 2002

"Professionality"???
Please stop making up words. The word is "professionalism".

Lexical fascist
Monday, December 16, 2002

That's spurvious and you know it!

Brad Siemens
Monday, December 16, 2002

"Brent, you're saying that a degree is equivalent for indicating a programmer's capability as the actual writing is for assessing a writer."

No, I'm not.

I'm saying that a degree is a common indicator of a programmer's professionalism, just as various common aspects of a short story (adherence to a formatting standard, etc.) are common indicators of a writer's professionalism.  They're not equivalent; they're just used in similar contexts.

Lemons and chocolate chips are both used in cooking, but they're not equivalent.

"Also, the example you use, the publishing industry, and writing in particular, actually contradicts your theme."

I think that this takes my analogy further than I intended.  I merely meant that submitting a short story for publication is similar to submitting one's resume to a company *in certain ways*.  I can see how that's unclear, and I apologize for that.

(BTW, "Lexical fascist" is correct in stating that professionality isn't a word...I wish I could go back and change it to "professionalism."  Oh well.)

Thank you for the discussion, everyone.  You've made me re-think my position.  I'm not quite sure what I think on this issue now. :-)

Brent P. Newhall
Monday, December 16, 2002


But surely the point of the publishing analogy is this: candidates submitting an article are assessed ON THEIR WORK, not on having a degree.

Likewise, thanks for the discussion.


Tuesday, December 17, 2002

This whole thread reminds me of a discussion I was having with somebody a week or so ago, about the "value" of BAs. (I don't know what the US equivalent is, but in the UK they're degrees for things like art, history, geography, English etc).

He argued that these degrees have no value whatsoever as you're never going to use the content of the degree in real life.

I counter-argued, suggesting that of all the things I learned in my degree, the only one I have ever practically used was programming in C.

However, in both cases, the value you do have is that you have demonstrated the discipline to learn things and understand the theory behind how they work in the real world.

Now, you can get that experience without a degree, but if your CV doesn't mention it, you'll certainly have to explain your way out of it in an interview. Which, if you think you're smart and can get things done, despite the lack of degree, shouldn't be a problem!

From what I've seen, candidates with degrees are given preference when the person recruiting has got one...

Ritchie Swann
Tuesday, December 17, 2002

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