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360 students

In my area there are 4 state universities and several private univisities along with 5-6 technical schools.  (In a 200 mile radius).  In fact there are probably more, I just don't know it.

A local paper ran articel stating the enrollment at one of the technical schools.  360 students in the computer programming program.  The school reports that 30 - 35+ people graduate per semester from the computer programming program.  1 or 2 find a job and 2 or 3 find an internship.  Remember this is just 1 school and a technical college at that.

Given that the area I am in has been hit hard by manufacturing layoffs, I would say that a lot of these are factory workers that thought they would go back to school to get a degree in computers because they probably think that is a hot area.

So 2 people get a job and 28 other people have a degree and no job, but actively pursue a job in computers.  Maybe another 1 or 2 are successfull in a year or so and the rest do something else.

Now let's think about this.  30 people graduate per semester, that's 60+ people per year.  Now what about the other 9 schools in the area.  They are graduating 20+ probably with the same employment rate.  So let's say that these schools are pumping out 2 - 300 new graduates per year.  All of these people are trained on the same thing.  How to program a computer. About 20 - 30 of the lucky ones get employed (per year maybe two) and the rest... well they do whatever it is they do.

I guess more than anything else I'm frustrated that:

1. I can't get a job programming in an environment that I would like (or any programming position for that matter).
2. I simply can't compete with all of the previous and current graduates that are themselves competing for any open position that comes along.
3. I'm not in a unique field.  I always thought computers to be a unique field, but not anymore.  My knowledge is not unique.  Look at how many other people share my knowledge.
4. There simply is not a need for this many computer graduates?  Is there?
5. Everyone needs to know how to use a computer.  This I agree on, but why can't I be one of the lucky one's who knows how to program a computer? (I know it's pitiful whining)

Maybe I can take comfort in the fact that not every one of those people graduating is a "proficient programmer" or one who "really studies and knows the art of programming".

You labeled me, I labeled you.
Friday, October 31, 2003

I would also like to add that the schools are really digging deep to find positions for the graduates.  I mean 1 internship comes up per semester and the school broadcasts it to all current and previous graduates, so you have 500 people competing for a damn internship.

They are also desparate to find real positions for the graduates.  Most of the school job posting are technical sales? I mean who wants to do that with a programming degree?

The school also wastes tax payer money by employing 4 - 5 current and previous graduates to work on websites and crap that nobody in the public even sees or has heard of or cares about.  This is probably to make their own statistics look better.  Do you know where your tax dollar is going.  It's going to pay some poor sap 30k a year to work at a school doing meaningless work.  Grats on my tax dollars.  Use them to feed your kids.

You labeled me, I labeled you.
Friday, October 31, 2003

As awful as that is for you and the 28 other students each semester, I have to say that it's probably good for the economy overall.  The majority of those people will drift into other fields, raising the level of computer knowledge in general.  I know that I'd love it if even a few people in each department really knew computers, so that I didn't get bothered with requests to show people how Excel formulas work or how to copy a file on the network.

Justin Johnson
Friday, October 31, 2003

The benefit to the economy I'm talking about is that, in my employer at least, the general lack of computer knowledge holds back a lot of departments from making better use of their computer systems, and occupies the IS department needlessly with trivial requests.  To the extent that's decreased, the company's efficiency should improve.

Justin Johnson
Friday, October 31, 2003

That's nice and probably an easy thing to say from someone who probably rests easy knowing that he has a position in an IT department. 

I invested my money in school to be a programmer, not to become someone who is less of a "burden" on an IT staff or to be someone who does Technical sales or someone who tells people how to setup their internet account for the first time.

So you're saying that 360 people enrolled in the computer programming program to get screwed and give their money away to teachers earning 60k salaries.  I don't think so.  I think every single one of them has the intention to become a programmer and when that chance fails them every single one of them is disappointed.

Speaking of teachers.  I have never seen teachers that are more high strung than IT profs.  OMGZ I am so l33t i know what a recordset is in VB and I'm teaching these peoplez. .\. l33t l33t l33t... Give me a break.  The only thing I learned at school that I didn't know before entering school was data access and relational database stuff.  Even that isn't rocket science.

You labeled me, I labeled you.
Friday, October 31, 2003

The vast majority of graduates are faking it and will never make it as programmers.  Unless you're faking it too, it shouldn't be too difficult to make yourself stand out from the crowd. 

State of the economy aside, I think programming is one of the easiest areas to break into.  Unlike most other occupations, you don't need to have a job before you can prove your ability.  One thing is for sure, sitting around waiting for a magical phone call is not going to lead anywhere. 

Get off your ass, develop a useful application or website and make some noise.  Prove you can program and finish projects.


Friday, October 31, 2003

"So you're saying that 360 people enrolled in the computer programming program to get screwed and give their money away to teachers earning 60k salaries.  I don't think so.  I think every single one of them has the intention to become a programmer and when that chance fails them every single one of them is disappointed."

Screwed? Post-secondary education is _never_, and has never been, a guarantee of a job in that field (just as having a job in that field doesn't guarantee a continued job in that field). Software development has leveled off (perhaps too much given that it's such a young field that there isn't the retirement attrition to fill), as _everyone_ expected it to, so deal with the reality.

I sympathize with your situation, but any righteous expectation that a job is a right is absolutely ridiculous.

Anonymizer
Friday, October 31, 2003

I am not saying that a job is a right.  Thank you very much.  I am saying the schools are taking advantage of people.  You can't tell me the school doesn't recognize the fact that those people aren't going to get jobs when they graduate.  Now maybe there are some graduates that are content with that, but most would probably like to be informed that IT is not a good choice at this point in time.

You labeled me, I labeled you.
Friday, October 31, 2003

"Now maybe there are some graduates that are content with that, but most would probably like to be informed that IT is not a good choice at this point in time"

Well, they could just read the newspaper, or watch television, or perhaps "surf the web" and they would easily get this information.

rz
Friday, October 31, 2003

==>I am not saying that a job is a right.  Thank you very much.  I am saying the schools are taking advantage of people.  You can't tell me the school doesn't recognize the fact that those people aren't going to get jobs when they graduate.  Now maybe there are some graduates that are content with that, but most would probably like to be informed that IT is not a good choice at this point in time. 

So, umm ... did you actually investigate the placement statistics from your school before you signed that big fat tuition check. Did you do any research on current and future trends in IT employment? Did you care enough to investigate the previous class(es) ? Talk to any recent grads?

If you're not prepared to take responsibility for your own decisions and actions, then what makes you think that the school should even care?

You're an adult. So are all the other students. The school can't protect you from making stupid decisions.

So I dubb thee 'Unforgiven' ...
Friday, October 31, 2003

You're right.  I'm just angry, ignorant and don't understand what I can do to better my situation.

You labeled me, I labeled you.
Friday, October 31, 2003

In his/her defense... people signing up for a CS college degree 4 years ago were looking at a very different job market (or at least the tail end of it).

I still hear the radio ads saying "500,000 IT jobs in the next year will go unfilled, so come on down to SuperTrainingCompany and get the hottest certification in the market today."

Guy Incognito
Friday, October 31, 2003

Just like all the people who started MBA programs in 2001, thinking they'd cash in on the big investment banking boom.  Meanwhile, IPO's are done, they're shashing headcount, and dealing with SEC lawsuits.  Quattrone is a media circus.  Same with mutual fund firms.  Those people looking for big money analyst/fund mgr jobs.  Assets under mgmt down, inflows down.  Number of funds must be decreasing too. 

Never follow the herd.  When the herd arrives, it will be too late.  Go against the grain until the end....

Go against the herd.  That's why plumbers make $200/hr.  B/c everyone else is busy getting 1/2 a dozen diplomas to hang on their wall, and wait for people to come beating down their door.    Rude awakening, for the PHD bartender. 

Bella
Friday, October 31, 2003

I recently heard state-sponsored ads on the radio when I was out driving, touting student loans to get into "information technology". Like - "oh, gee, I just hadn't thought of that! What a great idea!"

I wonder if there isn't deliberate disinformation at work in our society. It seems like it's institutionalizing a lie to not put some sort of limit or quota on admissions to CS or IT programs.

The only other alternative I can imagine is that the "average dumbass" (sorry for the snotty elitism, but it's sincere :-) ) demands computer training as the #1 thing when he or she is laid off or between jobs. IOW, the person in the street believes that computer programming is an elite, esoteric field that nobody else thinks of.

Bored Bystander
Friday, October 31, 2003

"I guess more than anything else I'm frustrated that..."

The problem of finding (or keeping) a job in an industry where you have some knowledge/schooling is nothing new.  IOW, this problem is not something that is unique to the IT industry!

Not counting temporary work, most programming jobs are obtained through networking.  The advertised jobs you see listed in your local paper are either fake or the employer is looking for an exact match and won't settle for anything less.  So yes, if you are applying to "advertised positions only" you are going to encounter a lot of competition and a lot of rejection notices (or silence).

As far as schools accepting too many students, keep in mind that most schools exist to make a profit.  The major reason a college education is important is because most employers that pay well won't hire someone who doesn't have a four year degree.  Maybe a more generic degree (as opposed to a Computer Science degree) would have served you better?

Good luck and I hope you get the break you are looking for.

One Programmer's Opinion
Saturday, November 01, 2003

I think the problem is that there are just too many university graduates full stop these days.

Look at the number of jobs that require a university degree. Then look at the percentage of people going on to university. You've just got to conclude that a large proportion of people who start university are wasting their time.

It has largely been isolated from it due to the boom. Now reality sets in and we can see we've educated far too many people in the field for the jobs available. Thankfully it's somewhat self correcting - the number of applications to CS courses was way down this year, at least where I live.

That said, they'll take anyone who wants to attend, so expect that graduates will still vew churned out as fast as they can make them, assuming there's still an interest level in the field. Given the glut of people, plus the fact that being a relatively young field there aren't that many potential retirees, and you can see that new graduates are going to face a really difficult challenge.

My suggestion is while you're still in the swing of going to school, learn to do something else. It's so much harder to go back to school once you quit, so take advantage of that and skill yourself in another area while you can.

Sum Dum Gai
Saturday, November 01, 2003

I think it's hilarious that television here in New York shows ads for technical schools, and even non technical schools with added on technical programs, touting a "Hot new career in the expanding field of Technology" as if it was 1999.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (q.v.) has this to say about the prospects for computer programmers:

    *  Employment growth will be considerably slower than that of other computer specialists, due to the spread of pre-packaged software solutions. Three out of 5 computer programmers held at least a bachelor's degree in 2000.

    * Prospects should be best for college graduates with knowledge of a variety of programming languages and tools; those with less formal education or its equivalent in work experience should face strong competition for programming jobs.

On the other hand, "Systems Analysts, Computer Scientists, and Database Administrators" get this:

    *  As computer applications expand, systems analysts, computer scientists, and database administrators are projected to be the among the fastest growing occupations.

    * Relevant work experience and a bachelor's degree are prerequisites for many jobs; for more complex jobs, a graduate degree is preferred.

so it seems everything depends on what you specailize in.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, November 01, 2003

There is another thread about the demand for sysadmins. As Albert has pointed out the number of jobs is declining as the ratio of sysadmins to computers is going up from as low as twenty t one to as high as two or even three hundred to one.

As this is basically being acheived by working smarter there is likely to be a demand for guys who are both bright and with experience, and lay-offs at the semi-skilled end.  There will probably still be jobs at the low below A+ level, but they will be macjobs.

The advantage of being a sysadmin is that you are not going to be outsourced to somewhere cheaper - though you may be outsourced to somebody better.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, November 01, 2003

If you viewed the money and time you "invested" in getting your degree as being a step to getting more money from a job as a computer programmer, then you've made a pretty dumb investment - if you've got any more money left over I know of a couple of bridges for sale, and I also do a nice line in tulips.

The reason to go to college is to learn something you're interested in. So you've enjoyed it, and if you get a job at the end of it, then that's just an added bonus. Also, those who enjoy the studies normally do best at it and are the ones that land the jobs, while those that just go to college as if it was the queue for a meal-ticket are often the ones that never get the jobs.

You haven't given us enough details (did you go to a tech college or a university?) but you seem to have made some pretty daft decisions, and are not going to get too much sympathy. You found most of the stuff too easy? Didn't you check out the syllabus berorehand, ask other graduates? Don't they put a lot of material on the internet? If you found it was too easy after you started why didn't you change to a more demanding institution?

Stephen Jones
Saturday, November 01, 2003

>> "If you viewed the money and time you "invested" in getting your degree as being a step to getting more money from a job as a computer programmer, then you've made a pretty dumb investment"

This is one of the most foolish statements I have read on this board.  Are you telling me that people no longer go to college to obtain degrees so they can better themselves.  Are you saying a degree no longer holds the promise of a better salary?  Isn't it right for people with a degree to expect a higher salary than the 7-Eleven clerk?  Come on Stephen think before you talk.  Did you, Stephen, go to school just for the hell of it?  I don't think so.  You went so you could put yourself in a position above the rest, so you could demand a higher salary.  If there were no benefit in going to school why would anyone attend?

Hi, my name is Stephen Jones and I attended school because I thought it was fun.


Saturday, November 01, 2003

people who finish college often should expect less than a 7-11 clerk, because at least a 7-11 clerk would at least know how to make cofee and mop floors, while most college grads are completely useless and lack any work related skill at all.

I went to UC Davis not a McSchool at all (history major) and when I graduated I was pretty darn useless (I got hired as an admin, and didn't do so well).

On my own I picked up computer programming (first access/vb then java, (plus all the vb,html,sql etc stuff) and this was my first real job skill.

my point: useful things learned in college : 0 (although I learned plenty of useless stuff). Everything useful I learned: outside college.

Now you may say ... "but you were a history major", and that is true this is not the most practical field of study, but I submit that most of the CS majors I have since interviewed are pretty useless too.
 

the artist formerly known as prince
Saturday, November 01, 2003

Recently I've seen articles about a "subindustry" I didn't even know about: the tenure-track system for PhDs. Their worklives are typically brutal, the pay is crap, and they have to piece together a fulltime career from several part time teaching gigs.

A job at 7-11 or Home Depot might pay *more* than the lot faced by many doctoral graduates trying to break into teaching at the university level.

Curiously enough.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, November 01, 2003

--"Hi, my name is Stephen Jones and I attended school because I thought it was fun."

Exactly

Stephen Jones
Saturday, November 01, 2003

Stephen, I'll go against your premise in one important respect. 

Technical school is being quite heavily marketed as a *product* with *benefits*. Technical school is merely vocational education, NOT liberal education that removes the scales from one's eyes and gives the students that warm glow of enlightenment in ivy shrouded campuses.  CS courses are parallel to learning how to drive a truck or style hair in terms of the marketing.

Thus - I think it's a ripoff, and fraudulent, plain and simple, for technical school in the IT area to be marketed so heavily.

Those students attend in order to get a benefit. The benefit is JOBS, not enlightenment or pleasure.

Good for you that you attended college for your betterment. So did I. For most people, that's not accessible. That's WAY up on the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs pyramid for most folks, who are trying to figure out a way to get out from under the cardboard they may be sleeping under...

Bored Bystander
Saturday, November 01, 2003

It's still not clear whether the guy went to technical school or not. But if he knew nearly everythng he was taught, as he claims, then why waste his time there.

I actually agree with you tnat there is much too much stress placed on "education" or "training" as the way towards financial advancement. To make things worse, "government" is often years behind the times. In Canada they are still subsidizing IT and CS training. I get a steady drizzle of job applications from Canadian (and to a lesser extent) US computer grads looking for a job teaching English abroad because their degree got them nowhere.

Incidentally doesn't the fact that there are still vast numbers of people wanting to get into IT somewhat contradict your position in the other thread on "Folkways".

And going back to topic, isn't it normally those who aren't thinking about the job at the end of the learning process that most often do end up with the job, and nearly always do best at it?

Stephen Jones
Saturday, November 01, 2003

Interesting thread, it's not often I see someone go against the grain on the educational system and our deeply held beleifs about it.

So many people, including the "Millionaire Next Door" people (I think, it's been a while since I read that book) preach that delayed gratification is an essential financial skill, and this includes going to school.

While many people love to learn, love to party, and the social pressure to go is enormous, few people would elect to go to college if it didn't promise a better financial future. If Stephen Jones won the lottery at age 16, do you think he would've gone to college?

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, November 01, 2003

--" If Stephen Jones won the lottery at age 16, do you think he would've gone to college? "--

The question is would he have been allive at 18 to go to college :) There were some nice chemicals going around when I was 16.

I think the answer would probably have been yes, though whether I would have got the grades to get in is a different matter. After all most millionaires kids go to college.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, November 01, 2003

Dear Bored,
                  The problem is that if you think college or learning of any kind is solely to get a job at the end you are putting all your eggs in one basket, and worse, are quite likely to learn little of use for a job anyway.

                  I teach in a Technical college and those who place the greatest emphasis on "I don't need this for my job", are those who learn least, and often have the most difficulty getting jobs (luckily for their employers!).

                  In any IT field it's even more true because you really have little idea about what exactly you are going to need for the job in five years time. We're supposed to be starting a branch of the college that will fill the factory operators and welding type jobs (the present college is targeted at providing staff for foremen and lower level administration). When I found out that they were designing an IT section I called the guy in charge of the new college and asked him what he had in mind. I particularly expressed my worry that there might not be any jobs for these people. His initial answer was that there were loads of jobs in shops taken by Indians and Bangladeshis assembling computers and doing routine repair work. I told him that I reckoned 80% of those jobs wouldn't exist in three years time, as everything was now either on the motherboard or attached externally by USB, and hardware was getting so cheap you would simply throw away instead of replace. Now there are other jobs (most are intended for factories anyway) but I can't really say what exactly companies will be wanting in four years time (which is when the first lot will come out). Possibly because of my pressure the design of the syllabus has been postponed until later, but I suppose we will follow something based on A+ "de faute de mieux". However, as I have said in another post, the most likely scenario I see is one of a much smaller number of highly qualifed (and intellectually versatile) sysadmins, helped out by workers just above janitorial level.

One thing is clear to me, and that is that if the workers aren't prepared to ask why and question things, then they aren't going to be much use.

Those who claim I'm being elitist, and what is good enough for a liberal arts education, is not needed for mere technical, or even semi-skilled workers, are doing those people a disfavour. Thinking  and asking why something is done is necessary at any intellectual level.

Being practical is wholly impractical in fast moving fields; think how people soldering things on to circuit boards long joined thatchers and fullers in the list of extinct trades, or how you could make a very good living installing sound cards and other peripherals only four or five years ago. And there must be plenty of guys skilled in setting up ATM switches who are going to be waiting a long time for Marconi to recover from bankruptcy.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, November 01, 2003

Stephen,

Two things:

1) On the zenlike nature of the goal receding the more one tries to force the outcome, and the merits of liberally educating people rather than training them to be application-oriented droids - I could not agree more with you. And kudos for "subverting" your school's plans.

However, the US culture is one of forcing an outcome and of being extremely literal-minded and pragmatic. This is true at all levels, from worker bee to management. There is a tremendous built-in inertia toward "specifics".

If people can't see an obvious connection between subject matter and job, they won't bite.  What I'm saying is that a liberal education would NOT sell to the same extent as a highly applied curriculum, because it wouldn't be tied to one particular industry and thus would not be salable. The most "successful" (highest student growth) programs are those that stress the rote applications: a few years ago it was CNE, now it's MS certifications, Java programming, etc.

2) The proletariat's perception that IT is a hot destination isn't in contradiction with my folkways thread at all. I was describing in the other thread how people already "in" our industry choose to live and to describe themselves in context with the occupation. The widespread belief in the press and in popular thought that IT is still desirable and is paved with gold is a common faulty misperception. Just because "everyone" thinks something is true does not make it so... Wait til any of those people get their DeVry or RETS Tech degree and see just how much demand there is for an entry level Java developer.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, November 01, 2003

www.MarkTAW.com wrote: “Database Administrators … Relevant work experience and a bachelor's degree are prerequisites for many jobs; for more complex jobs, a graduate degree is preferred.”

I have always found it curious why on earth would a DBA need a college degree? I mean DB work is so specialized and the DBA’s work is perhaps the most constant specialty over the past ten years in the computer world. Lets see, Oracle 58 is coming out, I need to read their 50 page update guide, take about a week to get familiar with the new features, which nobody will probably use, oh and maybe learn where they put that damn “drop database” button on the new version of the GUI tools (and do all of this only if I want to be in the top 10% of DBA’s). That’s it! I am good for another few years. Good thing I have that degree to help me read a manual and typing all those papers was useful to increase my typing speed so I can really pound out those SQL commands when I get risqué.

m
Sunday, November 02, 2003

Dear Bored,
                  I am not suggesting we have a "liberal" education for IT, though in another thread somebody did mention that the best programmers in his company were those with a degree in philosophy.

                  What I am saying is that something tied too closely to the specifics is not a good idea in a field where the specifics can change rapidly  There are some things that don't change too quickly; a welding or metal working workshop is unlikely to find its technologies completely out of date before its students enter the company but in IT this is not inconceivable - thing of token ring technology, or ATM technology (the latter was the hottest thing in 1999 when our college commissioned its network, but now Marconi is recovering from bankruptcy and Gigabit ethernet is taking its place everywhere).

                    Let's give you a simple example of how  just knowing exactly what to do doesn't work. When I set up the network at the small language school I worked at in 1999 I asked the janitor to set up the network cables, and crimp all the wires (not as daft as it seems since in his day job he worked with telephone wiring). I printed out various diagrams from the internet on how to join CAT5 cabling for a TBase10 network and gave him them, but he said that he would ask a friend at work to show him exactly how since he would learn better when somebody showed him to his face how to do it.

                    For the next month I was plagued with dropped connections, and strange inabilities to do things that ought to have been trivial. Eventually I clicked, and took off one of the RJ45's and looked at the connetions. He had connected all the wires straight through,  one to one through to eight to eight. When I challenged him and showed him the nice color coded drawing we had taken from the Internet he told me that he had done it exaclty the way his friend had told him, and that "the whole Royal Commission is connected that way anyway" (which considering the downtime there seems to be on their network is quite possible). He was not very happy when I insisted that he recrimp all twenty-two machines (after all they connected and worked) and did it grumbling all the time that the problem was with my software.

Now this problem doesn't happen if you have a theoretical background. You know that UTP works because its Unsheiled TWISTED Pair, and that at least one pair must be twisted so that the interferences cancel each other out. But that requires more explanation than simply showing somebody how to join cables, and you still have to show them the practical way as well.

Basically there is always a trade-off, but too specific in IT is a little like Russian Roullette - if the technology changes overnight, and it does, then you can find yourself high and dry.

With regard to MSCE's they were of course developed for people with experience in the field; but people latched on to the fact that there was an IT shortage, and so you got the phenomenum of boot camps and paper MCSE's. Now some people do seem to have the ability to learn vast amounts of stuff by rote, which seems to me to be the only explanation of how so many managed to get MCSE qualification, but stick them in a job and they would tank. And when the bubble burst, and they found themselves jobless, and several thousand dollars the poorer, they were often not in a position to buld on their previous knowledge                              because they could not fit it in the big picture.

Possibly comments about studying for fun annoy those who, in their undergraduate days,  got badlybitten by exceptionally relcaltriant algorithms and scratched clambering around the branches of thorny trees, but the superiority of intrinsic motivation versus extrinsic motivation still stands.

And again, I must go against the idea that thinking is only for the elite. Three months back I was trying to explain to my Sri Lankan houseboy why my lawyer got $400 a day whilst a mason's assistant such as himself only got $4 a day. "Just for sitting and talking?" he said. "No," I said, "he gets paid that money for thinking." "And don't you think that a mason's assistant has to think all the time?" he spat back. And of course he was right.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, November 02, 2003

>> "You haven't given us enough details (did you go to a tech college or a university?) but you seem to have made some pretty daft decisions, and are not going to get too much sympathy."

I went to a technical college for two years starting in 1999.  I don't think my decisions were at all daft.  I made well informed decisions based on recommendations from friends who had graduated (before me) and had themselves obtained jobs in IT.  In fact the number of people finding work in the 1999 graduate statistics for the college in the IT programming field was over half.

Keep in mind that I didn't just jump on the "I wanna be a programmer to make tons of money band wagon."  I had been programming since I was a freshman in high school (1991) (When i taught myself C) and continue to program for fun today. ( I also wanted to use my GI Bill to go to school to be a programmer, which is why I signed up for the service to begin with. 1994)

Most of the classes I was ahead of everyone in the class, except the few people from the industry who were up to date on the things I hadn't learned on my own.  I tested out of the C++ classes and flew threw the Internet programming and VB programming courses (Hadn't ever seen or touched VB until school).  I also took AS/400 RPG classes along with numerous Relational Database and Operating Sysmem course.  Mind you, this was a technical college that offered hands on learning.  Contrary to my prior statement, I did in fact learn a lot about things that I didn't bother to learn on my own (SQL, relational databases), and of course I picked up on that stuff faster than most people in the class.

At any rate all of my credits (72) do transfer to the state university system and several private schools.  Though I'm not going to pursue it any further, I could get a bachelors degree (or masters etc) with no repercussions from going to the technical school.

You labeled me, I labeled you
Sunday, November 02, 2003

It's not at all uncommon to know a lot more than most people in the class in IT.

Your decision was perfectly rational; had you known nothing abour programming, then it might have been more a case of the herd mentality.

You can hardly blame the college though for failing to guess what you didn't guess either in 1999. Heck, most of the Mutual Fund Managers in two or three continents didn't either, which explains why you'll be spenindng the  next twenty-five competing for jobs with all those who lost their pension funds in the dot.com boom :)

If it's just another year to get the bachelors then I would go ahead and do it when you get the time and can afford it. As I pointed out in a post higher up there are many fall-back jobs that you need a degree for, or get paid considerably more for having one.

Entering college in a field where there are a load of jobs available and coming out to find them all filled is not limited to IT. When I went to college it happened with accountancy.

As for not having a "programming" job at the moment, I would check out other threads. The best way is to try and get one through the side door. Get a job in the company, in technical sales or whatever, and then wait till they find out how useful you are in your field of study. But I wouldn't be too upbeat about a "proigramming" job. Grunt programming is easy to outsource and more and more businesses are interested in tailoring off the shelf solutions to their needs. A combination of sysadmin/occasional programmer is likely to be needed for a long time though, and you seem to be developing the right kind of skills. Best of luck!

Stephen Jones
Sunday, November 02, 2003

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