in reply to Re: Formal Education Required?
in thread Formal Education Required?

I wholeheartadle agree with dragonchild on:

Does the fact I have a degree help me get a job?

Not only does the fact that I have a degree help me to get a job in the first place, but it also gets me a much higher income.

However, I can't say that I agree with:

Does what I learned when I "earned" my CS/Math degree help me do my current (or any) job?

I think this is somewhat subjective and I'll tell you why. If all I wanted to do was be a code-monkey (nothing against simply writing code), I could have left school after my first year. However, I really wanted to learn to design large software systems in addition and that is just what I did for the next few years of college. So, in my case, college was very useful for me. Granted, I didn't learn the details about what I'd be doing in my future job, but I did learn enough theory and developed the means to apply that theory to help me in my current job.

Just as dragonchild mentioned, I went from a job where I made $7.30/hr and now, without a great amount of change in the work that I'm doing, I make $25/hr.

If you really need to get away from where you are now, I think you can probably get a job doing programming or at least within the IT industry, but be prepared to be underpaid. Without a degree or some sort of certification, you're just not going to make as much money as you'd probably like to. But to this, I want you to ask yourself a question: If I have two employees, both apt individuals, and one has a degree in what I ask him/her to do and one does not, who do I pay more money? How would you answer that question?

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide.

- Sherlock

Skepticism is the source of knowledge as much as knowledge is the source of skepticism.

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Re: Re: Re: Formal Education Required?
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Jul 13, 2001 at 22:52 UTC
    In my defense, I should explain my assertion concerning the lack of school's applicability to real-world situations.

    Yes, general problem-solving skills are emphasized in school, and the exposure you get is invaluable. For that alone, I would reccomend going to school full-time between the ages of 18 to 22.

    However, I remember back to "Operating Systems", "File and Database", and similar courses. While the concepts were useful to come across, I don't use any of that as a programmer. Most of my practical OS knowledge comes from having my own Linux box, not what I learned in a classroom.

    Language courses are even worse. I learned 3 languages while at school. I don't use a single one. In fact, I have only ever used C (learned at an internship), JAM (learned on the job), and Perl (learned while working during a year off). I don't use PASCAL, QBasic, or the ASM flavor I learned while taking Assembler. *shrugs*

    Now, of course, learning all those languages helped me learn how to learn langauges.

    I guess the best way to put it is this:

    • If you're looking to school to teach you things you will use in the workforce, you'll be disappointed.
    • If you're looking to school to teach you how to learn what you will use in the workforce, you'll be pleased.
      I think dragonchild hit what I was getting at on the head. Going to college didn't necessarily teach me what I now do on my job (I learned a new language and a new architecture since I've gotten here), but it taught me how to learn these things. I think that's what most employers see in a college degree. Granted, you might be an awesome Perl programmer but what happens in 5 years if your company decides to change to a JSP architecture? Will you know how to learn that? IMO, many employers feel that they are buying that flexibility when they hire someone that has a degree over someone that doesn't.

      - Sherlock

      Skepticism is the source of knowledge as much as knowledge is the source of skepticism.