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john towns

Joined: Jun 15, 2001
Posts: 11
Heres my situation, presently I'm in my 2nd year of 4 year Computer Engineering degree in one of highest repute uni in australia. Well, I'm not a newborn in the IT area, got 3 years part-time experience. I am a SCJP (94%, May 2000) and an aussie.
Currently I�m doing a part time job as Network Admin (<10 hrs/week). I have started to sense that my uni degree isn't so helpful & practical to the industry-rapidity.. that uni is 5 years behind in the technology. I now am considering of dropping uni!.. also I think uni courses are much more harder than certifications (i.e., SCJP)....any suggestions...?
I was looking for a job in the software development area, but unable to find one as the aussie market is very dull (besides I've only tried few part-time jobs & got rejected!). But I was offered a job in the US, but couldn't get a h1b visa.. cause i didn�t have a degree then....but in future I wanna move outa to US seeing that its the best for computing & rocking!
I really confused & puzzled with all this ..By the side of now I got few options: (1) degree!! (2) full-time work (3) degree+part-time work.... any suggestions r most welcome.... . Thanks in advance!

[This message has been edited by john towns (edited June 16, 2001).]
[This message has been edited by john towns (edited June 16, 2001).]
[This message has been edited by john towns (edited June 16, 2001).]
Raghav Mathur
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2001
Posts: 641
i would suggest you to earn the degree and keep working as a parttime programmer .....

you might feel that the degree doesn't help but it does in the long run and the exp .

John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
John Towns:
It is absolutely imperative that you get your degree.
In the USA - most companies will not even talk to you unless you have the college degree under your belt. Granted, the coursework is about 90% bull dung - but it's the fact that you put up with the b.s. for 4 or 5 years that separates you from the general crowd.
I can't state the importance of getting your college degree.
Don't think these 18 month HTML schools are going to do it for you. Also, the MSCE program is so saturated that it is totally rediculous. The SCJP program by itself (with no degree) will NOT get you a job. At least not a job that you want.
Employers want and demand to see that college degree - at least here in the USA.
John Coxey

John Coxey
Evansville, Indiana, USA
john towns

Joined: Jun 15, 2001
Posts: 11
ok.. i consider that i need to finish my degree.. but what are the consequences of not having a degree in the long-term.
Moreover, do I need a 4 year or 3 year CS degree? And does the GPA matters to the employers?
but real the problem is that, when I graduate 2 years later (2003).. the IT market will not be as hot as it is now! I guess employers sees experience more valueable than degree.. right? if so then, if I discontinue my CS degree and continue a full-time job.. I will gain the experience and skills!
I'm still totally confused! I was offered a job as java developer
($70k!, Feb, 2001) with a start-up company, but I rejected cause I was in full-time study..
I really don't understand, why CS is important to US employers..? When u never learn anything helpful related to the IT market.. and all the garbage of Compiler design, micro-kernel progamming, vector-based graphics in hard C/C++, Fourier Analysis, Transform Analysis...bla..And tell me more.. how Fourier analysis important to software development??? I've found almost nothing is related!
Why 45% of world softwares never got delivered.. and this is a much lower success rate any than other engineering disciplines... cause the CS degree professionals still fails to find out effective techniques for the production of software systems.
Software project success rates:
45% never delivered
25% delivered but didn't work
18% delivered but not used
12% delivered and used
Note: the situation had not improved significantly by the late-90's
Raghav Mathur
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2001
Posts: 641
It seem to me that you are right now concerned about your job prospects ....right .
Everybody want to earn good bucks , even i want to ... there is nothing wrong in thinking that way .
But the roadmap you have created for yourself will not do any justice to you .
1) you think a CS degree will be a waste as compared to experience .
2) You want to quit your degree and continue woking .
3) You think the contents of the degree are outdated .
4) IN GENERAL YOU ARE CONFUSED .................right !
OK let us take the first point ....... you think the CS/BS/MS will be a waste as compared to experience .
Let me tell you , my friend that you might get 70 , 000 $ per annum but are you qualified enough to reach the
your dream destination ??..............think .
SECONDLY You want to quit your present degree .....right ........... my friend , you r just not able to understand the importance of a degree.
I've been a literature student for the last 3 years , so i just hold a diploma computer engineering.
I want to to earn a masters degree(computer science) and so for that i,am willing to leave my country and family. I know it will be difficult but still i want to .
YOu think i,am being crazy running after a mere piece of paper ..... no , its much more than that my friend .
I,am sorry to say friend , you doesn't seem to be a true professional ( think about it john)....are you?
Even i want to earn quick bucks by working because i know that my Experience will speak for me rather than the degree.
But Just earning a scjp doesn't make me a professional ..... do you think so .
IF you are a professional ..... then why are you not willing to learn .
These degree courses might be outdated for you but let me tell you that target to improve your basic .....a compiler designing would definately make a you a good programmer ...... what do you say .
I just have one more thing to say ........what ever you learn never goes waste , its gonna help life long ..... believe me !

IF you are still not convinced ,.... tell me !


John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
John Towns:
I was in the same situation you are currently debating.
You ask - "what are the consequences of not finishing a computer science degree?"
My response - you need all the tools possible to be able to jump from one job to the next. Yesterday's $70K/yr Java job may or may not be here tomorrow or next week. A college degree is a MUST in this current job market/environment.
You will also be able to use the college degree to your advantage in case you have to jump out of the IT industry. Let's say you are trying to feed a family - you have a wife and two kids. You can't find an IT job within 2 or 3 months. So what do you do?
You could jump over into the retail market business. The college degree will help you land a store-manager type position. Granted, the $$ will be pathetic compared to IT - but at least you can feed/clothe/house your family until something better comes along.
I have used my degrees in the security guard business to get bumped up to what they call a "floater site Seargant". This means instead of getting minimum wage - I got around US$15/hour to travel from site to site doing inspections/etc. Lots of overtime, which kicked the salary to US$23/hour. Sure, it was tough working 60 to 80 hours a week. But, I made lots of $$ in a short period of time - which is what I needed to do.
I needed the job to pay for a semester at Lehigh and to pay for 6 week fishing trip to Montana. The college degree(s) separated me from the "loosers" and I was able to turn a normally pathetic minimum wage job into a money making opportunity.
You ask, "with all the b.s in college - why is it so important"
In the USA, Corporate America DEMANDS that you have a college degree. Preferrably a technical degree. It is the mindset that has been ingrained into our corporate culture. And neither you nor I will change it - at least not at this point in our careers. So you might as well get used to it and go along with the flow.
Granted, there are exceptions. But, every stinking company I have ever interviewed with wanted/demanded/expected that I have that piece of paper.
It's like the old addage: "No one ever got fired for buying IBM."
So why?
I think a college degree shows that you can be dedicated to completing something. Meaning, you can deal with the emotional high's and low's and the associated b.s. - while remaining focused at the task at hand.
It also lumps you in the "winner" category in the mindset of corporate America.
You ask - "three or four year BS degree"?
In USA - most (if not all) BS-Computer Science programs require approximately 120-130 credits (around 40 to 45 classes). Whether you can do this in less than 4 years is up to you.
A junior level college program - which you can do in 2 years - and is called an "associates degree" - is totally worthless in the USA. It's just preparatory work for a real 4 year college.
The QPA is somewhat important at first - but after 3 years in the game - no one asks me about it. If you have a 3.0 out of 4.0 --- which is a B average - then you have nothing to worry about.
Other notes:
Your income will be severely limited (in the long run) if you do not get the college degree.
You will kick yourself in the rear-end (after a few years) if you do not complete your degree.
The market may be hot now where you live. But it WILL cool off in a few months/years. You WILL get laid off or have to tranfer within the company sometime in the next 5 to 10 years. And you will need everything in your arsenal to get the next gig.
You say, "Market will not be hot in 2003?"
I say:
Who the hell knows/cares? You cannot time a job market. If you have the skills/degrees then you hammer the streets until you find something. Attitude is 90% of the job search game.
So, if you quit college? Are you going to quit your first IT job when the going get's rough?
I can tell you that I study as much or more now than when I did when going for college degrees. I work an 8 to 10 hour day - then put in another 2 or 3 studying.
Currently have been getting ready for SCJP - on and off the last year.
The college degree(s) also give you peace of mind. There is no such thing as "job security" anymore. If you have been following the posts here the past year or so, you will notice I have been through 2 layoffs.
My attitude, "so what --- let's get the next gig". I actually, took a year off and went fly fishing every day last year - BECAUSE I WANTED TO. I entered the job market WHEN I WANTED TO - not when the job market said I had to.
And you know what happened? I relocated 1500 miles to Denver, CO and got laid off again, after 12 weeks.
And you know what happened? I didn't give a rats ass about the layoff. I took my good old time (8 weeks) and slammed a new gig that pays over US$90K/yr plus a new car every year.
And you know what? If I get laid off from this job - I'll hit the market up again. I personally don't give a crap about what the market indicators say. And I do not loose one wink of sleep worrying about whether I will get fired / laid off / or just plain get pissed off and walk out the door.
If I want to work, I put my hat in the ring.
My friend, that attitude of knowing you can get a job WHEN YOU WANT TO, is a powerful ally. For both salary negotiations as well as peace of mind.
If you are truly a professional in this game, you will get your degree and do the same.
John Coxey

[This message has been edited by John Coxey (edited June 17, 2001).]
john towns

Joined: Jun 15, 2001
Posts: 11
Thanks for all of your responses. I am now 98% convinced on degree and its faith and loyalty.
Basically I miss out classes when I perform IT work, and try to cram before the exams!! This works very well for me, (well HSC (97%), 2 scholarhsips under my belt!!) If I get a part-time job now of say $70k as java programmer, and when I graduate 2 years later. Will I start from the graduate salary of $40k or my previous salary(70k)?
And is my current experience (Net Admin) useful/worthwhile at all in the future job hunt??
And which is degree better, Computer Science OR Computer Enginnering??? Does employers look them very differently. And does anybody know how good is University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia?� any body ever heard of this uni?� what is this uni�s world ranking.. any world class repute!! Well, its great in CS(AI) and Commerce�. And how is Australian degrees valued to US employers?
Anyhow, presently I�m only doing my undergrad degree, so why should I do certifications??? I did SCJP to get a job, but unable to find a part-time job (nevertheless, there are many full-time and contracting jobs available, but I need to stop my study to do work!!)�SO, should I do certifications while I do my degree or after I finish my degree..??
I�m stuck IN �reformatory� to acquire my DEGREE!! Any quick way out? NOPE. Oh well.. I probably have to go through this soreness�
[This message has been edited by john towns (edited June 17, 2001).]
subject: suggestions..?