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Re: Formal Education Required?

by adamsj (Hermit)
on Jul 14, 2001 at 17:36 UTC ( #96735=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Formal Education Required?

Well, I'm uniquely qualified to comment on this, as I've gone to college off and on for twenty years and still don't even have a high school diploma.

(Okay, I changed majors, from math to electrical engineering to English and back to math again, so it isn't quite as awful as it sounds.)

What I learned about algorithms, complexity, the dreaded big-O, the relational database model, compression, error correction, set theory--all that remains very helpful.

Very little of it was directly applicable--few techniques--but the ways I learned to think about things still serves me well.

However, I find that I'm also very well served by my good command of the written language. My ability to communicate clearly distinguishes me from other technical people and makes me very, very valuable. It might be that my time as an English major was more valuable than my math and CS courses.

Now, as far as money is concerned, I've always done alright--I had to spend fifteen months as a Kelly Girl going from $6.50 an hour (on a help desk, answering phones) to $10 an hour (doing remote support), but at the end of it, I was hired into the job I'd been doing at a much higher rate of pay--more than I really needed--and I've been getting much more every time I make a change.

Really, though, if I were primarily interested in money, I'd be in sales--there's where the cash is. I spent all that time in school learning and doing things that interested me and enriched my life. I still spend as much time as possible doing just exactly that.

The habits of thought that will serve you well are taught in school, among other places. The techniques you use on the job are mostly learned on the job. The degree will help you, but its lack won't cripple you--if it did, I'd finish those three incomplete courses and take my BS.


They laughed at Joan of Arc, but she went right ahead and built it. --Gracie Allen

P.S. Oh, yeah--certs are a joke, unless you want the money they pay you for having them--but it isn't that different from wearing a tie now and then, now, is it?

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