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Technical College Degree

I have an associates degree from a technical school and haven't been able to get a programming position.  Is this because a tech school degree is worthless?  I mean only 6 people out of 35 in my class got jobs.  Is this normal?  Now I get mad when I see advertisements for like ITT tech claiming that you'll make big money and land a job after graduation.  The tech school isn't much help either.  Sure they post jobs, but it seems most employers won't even interview you if you have tech degree.  I had been programming for about 10 years as a hobby before going to school, so i think i'm pretty good as far programming goes, maybe not the business end of things, but you have to start somewhere.  Should i get a BS degree, will that help?  Or i am just totally out of luck?  You have to have experience to get in?

Also what's with all the repeat advertisements for jobs.  The same ad posted week after week?  I hate being used and I think that's what some companies and recruiters are doing.  Anyway, guess i'm done complaining.

SOB
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

"I mean only 6 people out of 35 in my class got jobs.  Is this normal?"

I don't know if you heard, but there's a recession going on right now.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I'm employed and have no degree.  I know people with Master's who can't find work. 

Your mileage may vary depending upon what demonstrable skills you have and where you live, etc.

The market is ridiculously tight right now, as I'm sure you're aware.  Having a BS probably would open up a few interviews, but you should absolutely not view it as a guarantee that you will be hired once you get it, especially if the current trend of a soft economy and rush to outsource programming jobs continues. 

All-in-all the standard wisdom still applies: Yes, you can still get a job doing software development with no degree or tech school training if you do have a lot of talent, but since the entire market has shrunk down to miniscule size compared to 98/99, the boost from having your BS could possibly be worth it.

Mister Fancypants
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Experience counts for every thing !!!! Not the degree.

Especially in IT.

If you are fresh out of college - odds are it will be tougher.

Also depends on what you studied - if it is HTML editing etc - it will be a lot tougher.

At the end of the day, doesn't matter what the degree is or isn't - if you have the right experience - that counts.

Try working on open source projects - that can build your portfolio.

Rangit Sangha
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

>>> I mean only 6 people out of 35 in my class got jobs.  Is this normal? <<<

What time period did it take for those people to get jobs?  I don't really know what is normal, but that sounds very good.  People with BS or MS degrees and years of experience are getting laid off and take months to get another job, if at all.

>>> Also what's with all the repeat advertisements for jobs. <<<

Some companies are just collecting resumes for work they might get in the future.

mackinac
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

" Is this because a tech school degree is worthless?"

Somewhat.  At many companies that have an HR department there is a "no four year degree no hire" policy in place.

"I mean only 6 people out of 35 in my class got jobs.  Is this normal?"

Imo, this is above normal (see above).

"Should i get a BS degree, will that help?"

Perhaps.  I would look into an internship position if you go this route.

"Also what's with all the repeat advertisements for jobs.  The same ad posted week after week?"

Those are probably consulting/staffing firm companies that are looking to collect resumes, trying to make it look like they are still growing, etc.

"hate being used and I think that's what some companies and recruiters are doing."
 
Welcome to the wonderful world of paid programming.

One Progrmmer's Opinion
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Most job postings for programmers are of the "BS or equivelent" level, at least the ones I've seen.  It's a product of the tight times where any job opening will attract a large stack of resumes.

To a certain extent, you have been had by your tech school. Programming is a form of engineering and a craft.  If you didn't have any experience in programming, went to tech school for 2 years, and then tried to program, you'd need a lot of training and mentoring to get going.  It's not the piece of paper that's important, it's the reputation of who's giving you the piece of paper.

There is hope, however.  If you have 10 years of prior programming experience, you can see about claiming "equivelent to BS" programming skills.  College dropouts have been able to get BS-level jobs by this collective loophole.  It's a hard and gutsy move.  It helps if you already have some work experience or do a lot of business networking.

Flamebait Sr.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

getting an entry level programming job is never a "hard and gutsy move".  please. no one is deciding whether or not to send the platoon into battle. we are talking about going to a job interview for a job where you sit on your ass in an office all day. 

basically all you can do is continue applying to jobs, and trying to figure out if you know someone who can get you a job. 

.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I got an Associates degree from a junior college. I got work-study and was able to work at the computer lab and media center.

I started working in IT during the previous recession. I couldn't move to a programming position right away, so I made a plan on how to get there.

I started doing help desk for a small software company. That got my foot in the door. Next I got into a technical support position where I learned all I could about networking. I leveraged that knowledge to get into a network admin position. I leveraged that knowledge to get into a position where it was half support, half programming. Been programming 5 years since that job.

Maybe you should try something different from programming, but still computer related. Even technical support beats working in food, hospitality, or landscaping fields.

Hector
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Brad , there is no recession. The recession as defined by better people than me is 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth and it officially ended sometime in 2001.

19th floor
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Is getting a BS degree even a possibility for you? Considering the time and money it takes?

Many will tell you that degrees don't count for anything, yada yada yada.

But the fact remains that many companies simply use a BS degree as an easy way to sort the resumes. Bitch, moan, hate it, whatever..That's just the way the world works.  I see people spout all kinds of reasons that companies shouldn't do this, but the reality of the situation is that many do. And many of those companies are good companies worth working for. They just need a way to separate the dross.

I'll agree that working on Open Source projects can be a way to show experience, but the problem is that your resume may be discarded once they see a lack of degree.

My advice is keep looking..Take a lower paying job, maybe even take a job you aren't nuts about as long as it gives you some experience.

And consider working towards that BS degree once you get a job.

Mark Hoffman
Thursday, August 21, 2003

>>> , there is no recession. <<<

This might be technically correct, but is not of much interest for this thread.  Some news reports refer to the current economic condition as a "jobless recovery".  The important point for the new graduate is that unemployment for technical people is very high and they are still being laid off.

mackinac
Thursday, August 21, 2003

A lot of it depends on what salary you are expecting to make.

I'm hiring form a junior position right now for example. I'm specifically looking for recent graduates and those with little experience, simply because the job pays < 40k.

While I would consider 38k right out of college to be pretty good (in this climate anyway), I'm finding 21 year old grads asking for 60k a year. Part of this might be that they entered school during the bubble and were told about "80k starting salaries" or maybe they are just being lied to by their school. Maybe it is a little of both.

Regardless, if you are willing to work for less you will find it easier to find a job. With budgets so tight, being a great value (i.e. more bang for less buck) will help a lot.

YellowPill
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Surely you aren't surprised that employers prefer those with degrees from univerisities.  Who would you rather hire, those who went the easier route of a 2-year school with no entrance requirements or those who were accepted to and completed a 4-year degree program at a good university?

I know full well that some of the associate's degree folks are just as good or better than some of the BS folks, but in an interview situation, who has time to make those determinations?  As an employer, I have to make educated guesses about your abilities and the main source of those guesses is your educational background.  Are you the kind of person who chose the easy way or the hard way?

I know it's not always fair and there may be excellent reasons why you chose the 2-year school, but that's just the way it is.

You'll probably have to do what someone suggested above - the technical equivalent of starting in the mail room.  Get an IT job and try to move up to programming from there.

David
Thursday, August 21, 2003

I should have said "a" main source, not "the."  Obviously, work history is at least as important.

David
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Get a job programming windows.  That's the future.  At least that's what the people here think

Not me
Thursday, August 21, 2003

If your goal is to be a "software engineer" then the BS (and possibly even an MS) will be necessary. Education is no substitute for experience, but I would never hire a senior person without a BS either. If you must go the non-BS route, then you *must* prove what you can do. Show them an awesome program or slick web site that you developed (not just HTML obviously).

However, the long term prospects for engineers are very bleak. Consider taking additional classes in a field that you also love and combinining these interests. Program systems for the local zoo, design web sites for a local charity, etc.

StickyWicket
Thursday, August 21, 2003

The bar has been raised for programmers. You are competing against people with technical degrees and/or years of experience.  Without experience, a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Mathematics or another technical field is practically a must in today's environment.

T. Norman
Saturday, August 23, 2003

I have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, and more than 15 years of experience working as a Programmer/Analyst (Unix, Oracle, C/Pro*C).  I had been working as a contractor.  My last contract ended in 2001.  Since then I have been unable to land a job.  I have been looking for either permanent or temporary one.  I responded and applied more than a thousand times, and got only a few phone calls.  I am confused.

Milan
Thursday, March 04, 2004

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