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Computer Engineer Vs Certified/s

Vikrama Sanjeeva
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 756
Where a Computer Engineer & the man who has lots of certifications like SCJP,SCJD,UML,XML,OCPS,SCWCD stands in Market.??
I mean a Computer Engineer having 4 yrs. studies with core computer courses like Automata Theory,Basic Compiler Designer,Robotics,Operating Systems & much more have more value the the man who is certified in SCJP,SCJD,UML,XML,OCPS,SCWCD etc in 2 yrs.?.
Bye.
Viki.
------------------
Count the flowers of ur garden,NOT the leafs which falls away!


Count the flowers of your garden, NOT the leafs which falls away!
Prepare IBM Exam 340 by joining http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IBM340Exam/
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Most employers would prefer a CS (or possibly EE) degree from an accredited 4 year college or university over someone no degree (or a degree in a different field, e.g. econ), and lots of certifications.
However, storng job experience can trump this. Someone with 5 years of strong programming experience, and a couple of certifications may look better than some kid form a small school with little experience, especially to HR.
--Mark
Bartholemu Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 08, 2001
Posts: 317
Got to agree with Mark on this one. Experience goes a long way but certain companies require you to have a minimum Bachelors Degree. Personally I think experience is much more valuable..even if it is doing a applied project in school. Just reading about languages, theories really doesn't mean much. You got to apply all that stuff and put it to work to show you can DO it!
Faisal
John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
Vikrama Sanjeeva:
I have to agree with Mark on this one.
The dilemna here is that US Colleges seem to focus more on theory (look at the courses you mentioned) versus "real world" programming skills like J2EE, XML, UML, Relational Databases.
I've taken classes at Penn State University, Univ of Pgh, and Lehigh University - and I can tell you that all three basically have the same theoretical programs. Once in a while you will bounce into a "real-world" class, but not often.
Yes, I do hold an MS-CS. And yes, it has helped opened the doors for me.
Amazingly, like Mark said, US Companies demand that you have that degree. On the other hand, I do think this has opened up the door for the H1B folks from overseas who have the "real-world" skills.
What I see at my job, is that the H1B folks are extremely good at what they do. They come in hitting the floor running. Meanwhile, I sit and struggle with basic JSP's and UML.
Such is life.
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)

[This message has been edited by John Coxey (edited November 07, 2001).]


John Coxey
Evansville, Indiana, USA
Vikrama Sanjeeva
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 756
This means that a 4 yr. BS degree in computer engr. is just a token for an interview call.And at the time of interview candidate show his skills via certifications.And offcourse after entering in job he shows his magic on the basis of certifications & not the BS courses which he learned in 4yrs.?
John:It's really interesting to know the exp. of a guy like U

What I see at my job, is that the H1B folks are extremely good at what they do. They come in hitting the floor running. Meanwhile, I sit and struggle with basic JSP's and UML.

Then what about the courses which u have learned in MS-CS??.Are they not helping u now?.Or they all were just wastage of time?.
Bye.
Viki.
------------------
Count the flowers of ur garden,NOT the leafs which falls away!
[This message has been edited by Vikrama Sanjeeva (edited November 08, 2001).]
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
This discussion is quite timely, tonight I'm going to be involved in a panel discussion at MIT called "Industry vs. Academia." :-)
John described the situation correctly, that most colleges teach computer science while most work is software engineering. I give a talk covering many of the things you need to know for software engineering, but don't learn in school.
However, whenever I've interviewed, or even hired, a person without a CS degree, I've had trouble. Take the standard algorithms course. I don't care if you know 6 different ways to sort a list. I do care that you know the difference between a binary tree and a hash table, and you know the difference between O(nlgn) and O(n^2). If you don't understand basic data structures, that's a big problem. Take the computer architecture course, I don't care that you know how to write assembly code for some processor. I do care that you understand concepts like registers, caching, and pipeline. It is possible to know this stuff without a CS degree, but those people are harder to find than those with a CS degree.

--Mark
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
I have to agree with Mark. While a CS program may be based mor ein theory than practice, I think this theory is really something fundamental every programmer should have in order to be most effective.
Once you learn the theory and can "speak the language", it is relatively easy to pick up individual technologies or languages, such as Java or Servlets. If you have a decent comp sci background you know in general what you need to do to translate your problem set into a piece of software, regardless of the language.
On the other hand, I think most would struggle heavily trying to learn all the theory on their own. You can go to a bookstore and pick up a book on C# and figure it out on your own with little difficulty. But go to the bookstore and pick up a book on automata, and that's not going to be as easy to digest, to say the least.
Raghav Mathur
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2001
Posts: 641
wow .... i wish i had all those certifications which you metioned above and let me tell you that not many can obtain that . I do agree on the fact that a person knowing to design a compiler would be any day prefered over the person just implementing it . Theory is as important as practicle implementation .
On the other hand i belive that certifications do not get you instant jobs but definately provide you with something that is so important , and that is provoking your own self -confidence.... and that's what i keep telling people at ranch . Not many of us are engineers ( i,am not ) rather some of us come from a completely different background .... certifications prove to be extremely benificial to them pshycologicaly and in terms of competition .
So being certified can be benificial to some and irrelevent to others ( who already hold degrees in computer science) .
Originally posted by Vikrama Sanjeeva:
Where a Computer Engineer & the man who has lots of certifications like SCJP,SCJD,UML,XML,OCPS,SCWCD stands in Market.??
I mean a Computer Engineer having 4 yrs. studies with core computer courses like Automata Theory,Basic Compiler Designer,Robotics,Operating Systems & much more have more value the the man who is certified in SCJP,SCJD,UML,XML,OCPS,SCWCD etc in 2 yrs.?.
Bye.
Viki.


Raghav.
ersin eser
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2001
Posts: 1072

I do care that you know the difference between a binary tree and a hash table, and you know the difference between O(nlgn) and O(n^2). If you don't understand basic data structures, that's a big problem. Take the computer architecture course, I don't care that you know how to write assembly code for some processor. I do care that you understand concepts like registers, caching, and pipeline

Hi Mark, What do you recommend to those who does not know these topics.What books &/or what classes from local colleges ? ( besides going back to college for CS degree )
What are your personal favorites?
Thanks
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by ersin eser:
Hi Mark, What do you recommend to those who does not know these topics.

I recommend sending me money. I find that very beneficial, for many problems. :-)

Originally posted by ersin eser:
What books &/or what classes from local colleges ? ( besides going back to college for CS degree )
What are your personal favorites?
Thanks

After you've sent the money, I would suggest the following. First, consider checking out some college websites (local ones and/or well known ones). They usually have public web pages for the classes and list the required reading.
There's no shortage of books out there on the subject. The one used at MIT is [u]Introduction to Algorithms[u] by Thomas H. H. Cormen, Ronald L. Rivest, Charles E. Leiserson, ISBN: 0262031418. (I don't know who Cormen is, but Rivest and Leiserson are both at MIT; Lesierson actually taugh the class. :-) BTW, these books don't go out of date, the algorithms are pretty fundamental. The book is very big, and very rigourous. All algorithms are in psuedo code. I hope you like math :-)
Another option is a book by Donald E. Knuth. I don't know what he's written on the subject, but I'm fairly certain he has a book on it. Obviously, I've never read it, but given his reputation, I'll bet it's a good one. His book would probably be in C or C++ (or maybe psuedo code), and will also involve heavy math.
BTW, algorithms courses usually assume some basic number theory and probability. So you should glance through the book and see if you can follow it and/or check the pre-reqs for the courses.
Information on MIT's course can be found at http://theory.lcs.mit.edu/classes/6.046/ MIT is working on making it's course materials public and free, so there's lots of related handouts, etc on the website.
--Mark
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
I think I used the Knuth book for my algorithms class. It used pseudo-code and was heavy on the math. All universities are different, but at mine, in order to take Algorithms (3cr), you would have first had to have taken the two gateway courses (Comp Sci I and II, basically C and C++, 4cr each), at least 2 semesters of Calculus (8cr total), Discrete Mathematics (3cr), and Data Structures (3cr). To also take the Computer Architecture (3cr) class Mark mentioned, you would also need Assembly Language (3cr) Computer Organization (3cr), and Linear Algebra (3cr). So after taking 31 credits of classes to get the two you wanted, which are an additional 6 credits for a total of 37 credits, hell at that point you may as well go for the degree.
Andrew Shafer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Posts: 338

I didn't forget about you Jason, I just ran out of fingers to stick in the dike.
Here are some good helpful links.
A quick explanation of O(n^2)
You can learn a lot of nifty things crawling around on this site.
http://hissa.nist.gov/dads/HTML/bigOnotation.html
I think these little applets are a nifty demo.
http://java.sun.com/applets/jdk/1.0/demo/SortDemo/example1.html
For general compu-sci, if you have the time and inclination, oh yeah, and love math.
http://aduni.org/


!_I_Know_Kung_Fu_!
John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
Vikrama Sanjeeva:
Regarding the MS-CS degree. I would say that 90% of the curriculum was totally theoretical. What the MS-CS degree did though, was open the door for me to make the transition from procedural COBOL/PASCAL programming over to the OO programming world. In particular, the Java programming world.
What really helped me - was a year long internship project that I did throught the university for Osh-Kosh children's clothing. In addition, I also taught a 3 credit Java class at the university. But, I basically self-taught myself. The pressure of preparing for class and the project - kept me motivated and forced me to keep learning.
Now that I am working on J2EE projects, I find myself spending about 2 hours a day outside of work hitting up the books. Once I master J2EE - if such a thing is possible. I guess that the next move would be to the .NET world.
I am also getting crushed on my current project with Oracle databases and stored procedures. And this is where the H1B folks on the project are kicking butt.
And thus my gripe about US-College curriculum - and why I feel it needs to be more real-world focused.

John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)
[This message has been edited by John Coxey (edited November 09, 2001).]
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Andrew Shafer:
I didn't forget about you Jason, I just ran out of fingers to stick in the dike.

That's okay, obviously you have seen the light and acknowledge that my position has been the correct one all along.
Vikrama Sanjeeva
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 756
Hi my dear friends.After a long long time i am replying to the self initiated post.Actually i am busy with my engineering examz.And replying this thread in my exam gap .Coz the discussion is really interesting as we have different pplz. with different positions & experience in IT.OK...bThanks to John Coxey, Mark Herschberg & Jason Menard
As Mark said
This discussion is quite timely

So when ever i think to reply this post it seems to me that it will take as much time as it is interesting.Therefore guyz i am late.
Well will try to continue this post.LETS JOIN HANDS TOGETHER!
Bye.
Viki
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Count the flowers of ur garden,NOT the leafs which falls away!
Vikrama Sanjeeva
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 756
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg
This discussion is quite timely, tonight I'm going to be involved in a panel discussion at MIT called "Industry vs. Academia." :-)

Mark ur discussion at this moment is really a worth 4 us and specially at MIT.So plz. do inform us dat what the MIT is thinking abt "Industry vs. Academia.".
Originally posted by Jason Menard:
Once you learn the theory and can "speak the language", it is relatively easy to pick up individual technologies or languages, such as Java or Servlets.

Well i do agree with u.That after going through the CS course a boy becomes language independent.But on the other hand it is difficult 4 him to make a full fledged application in Java or C#.And i think this is the point when one need certification.
Originally posted by Jason Menard:
But go to the bookstore and pick up a book on automata, and that's not going to be as easy to digest, to say the least.
OH!!!...I am having automata theory in my next semester.So can u suggest me what should i do in this regard.Coz. my instructors are not PhD. or not specialize of corse so i hope i have to do automata at my own.So plz. suggest me some thing so that i can digest automata at my own(almost)
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
MIT is working on making it's course materials public and free, so there's lots of related handouts, etc on the website.
I heard that MIT is going to start a free lectuires/notes/handout centre on the web.Is this correct.If then how long will it take.?
Well, in my engr. i haven't learn the course of Descrete Mathematics(DM).But now i have decided to go through this course in my semester break.I do have a instructor(infact my friend) who can teach me.But can u suggest me a complete course or atleast course of DM which a S/W Engr. should know.

------------------
Count the flowers of ur garden,NOT the leafs which falls away!
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Well i do agree with u.That after going through the CS course a boy becomes language independent.But on the other
hand it is difficult 4 him to make a full fledged application in Java or C#.And i think this is the point when one need
certification.

I wounld tend to disagree just a little bit. I have never taken a "Java" class in college, although I had learned some of the very basics of it (really very little). I have taken C++ and some others though. My previous work background had been doing CGI programming with Perl, as well as HTML and Javascript. When I took my current job, the first assignment I received was a project using Java servlets, and I was the only programmer on the project, picking up where others had left off. Basically I just had to use what I knew about OO from academic experience, along with my prior work experience designing web apps in Perl, and figure out the rest for myself. I made some mistakes along the way, but one and a half years and a couple of projects later I am now considered one of the "senior" Java developers in my office. So at least in my case, I would have to argue that you don't need certification (although it would have helped) in order to be productive, even if you are learning the technology as you go.
OH!!!...I am having automata theory in my next semester.So can u suggest me what should i do in this regard.Coz. my
instructors are not PhD. or not specialize of corse so i hope i have to do automata at my own.So plz. suggest me some
thing so that i can digest automata at my own(almost)

I was just using that as an example. I have no specific recommendations for you.
Well, in my engr. i haven't learn the course of Descrete Mathematics(DM).But now i have decided to go through this course
in my semester break.

Good luck with discrete. I thought it was kind of fun, well, as fun as math can be I guess. I had it awhile ago, but thinking back on it, I seem to remember it as a course that taught a little about a lot of different things, things that often constitute their own higher-level math classes. As I remember it there was some set theory, combinatorics, some graph theory, some number theory, boolean algebra, proof methods like indirect and inductive, summations, recurrences, and probably some other stuff too. Really you learn just enough about each topic to get you through most of your other classes. It's a good class. As discrete is offered as a math course in some places, and a comp sci class in others, probably any text on the subject should be sufficient.
John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
Jason:
Listening to you discussion regarding Discrete Mathematics sure brings back the memories. I had the professor from hell for this class.
I think the hardest - most time consuming question I ever had on an exam came from this class. It involved tracing through a recursion tree about 12 levels deep and then working my way back out of the tree to get a final answer.
Took like 5 sheets of paper and about 3 hours to solve.
----
One of the interesting parts of the class was to see how trees were constructed to parse dictionaries and spell checkers. Also, how you could use such trees to devise code patterns as a steady stream of individual sequences of 0's and 1's - yet the sequences would each be unique and you could use them to represent letters/etc.
The recursion part comes in when you are trying to search through a tree. I remember the depth first versus breadth first discussions we use to have about tree traversals.
Definitely a good class - but it does take a bit of effort.
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)
[This message has been edited by John Coxey (edited November 16, 2001).]
Carlisia Campos
sanitation engineer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 22, 2001
Posts: 135
I am glad to hear discrete math can be fun. I will be taking it in January at Boston University as I get the pre-requisites out of the way for my Masters degree in CS. Yes, I'm going for it. Although I have a SCPJP it has been hard to find anything entry level in Boston. At this point I am looking for an internship. Does anyone know of anything in the area? I am authorized to work in the US.
--Carlisia


Carlisia Campos<br />--------------------------------<br />i blog here: carlisia.com
chris kirby
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 08, 2001
Posts: 7

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well, in my engr. i haven't learn the course of Descrete Mathematics(DM).But now i have decided to go through this course in my semester break.I do have a instructor(infact my friend) who can teach me.But can u suggest me a complete course or atleast course of DM which a S/W Engr. should know.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I would recommend a discrete math book that I have just started reading: "Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications" by Kenneth H. Rosen, published by McGraw-Hill.

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Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Vikrama Sanjeeva:

Mark ur discussion at this moment is really a worth 4 us and specially at MIT.So plz. do inform us dat what the MIT is thinking abt "Industry vs. Academia.".

Well, it was just a talk for grad students on choices between going into industry or pursuing an academic career, or trying to do some of both. Most of it probably isn't too relevant for people here.
Originally posted by Vikrama Sanjeeva:

Well i do agree with u.That after going through the CS course a boy becomes language independent.But on the other hand it is difficult 4 him to make a full fledged application in Java or C#.And i think this is the point when one need certification.

I disagree. Well, of course, those who have seen my other postings here know I don't put to much stock in the certifications. Most of the people I have known and worked with have CS degrees but not any certification, and we've made plenty of full fledged applications.
Originally posted by Vikrama Sanjeeva:

OH!!!...I am having automata theory in my next semester.So can u suggest me what should i do in this regard.Coz. my instructors are not PhD. or not specialize of corse so i hope i have to do automata at my own.So plz. suggest me some thing so that i can digest automata at my own(almost)

{shameless plug} I recommend Michael Sipser's book, which you can find at http://www-math.mit.edu/~sipser/book.html I say this because 1) it's based on his course notes, and was the class I took. 2) He's a very good teacher and the book is well written. 3) I helped review it :-) {/shameless plug}
Originally posted by Vikrama Sanjeeva:

I heard that MIT is going to start a free lectuires/notes/handout centre on the web.Is this correct.If then how long will it take.?

I have no idea. Years I would imagine. I think they're just finishing selecteding the first few courses for the pilot. Information on this should be available on the MIT web site.

--Mark
Raghav Mathur
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2001
Posts: 641
mark :
Since there had been a lot of discussion of what to study and what not to , i would like to ask you something on the level of mathematics in a CS , BS and MS programmes . I guess there are defficiency courses available to those from a diff background . So what all has to be studied as far as mathematics is concerned ( as a prerequsite ) . Obviously if one hasn't studied all that , then it would become diff at the time when the course starts . One should know beforehand , what has to be studied by him / her so that he / she can start with the actual course after completing the deficiency course prescribed .
Raghav Mathur
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2001
Posts: 641
i,am still for your reply mark .
thanks in advance
raghav mathur
Tom Hennigan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 25, 2001
Posts: 71
With a non-CS degree from an accredited university and lots of dedication, I managed to leverage the shortage of Java skills to steer my career exactly where I wanted to go 5 years ago --- middleware-developer. I think that the key ingredient that this discussion misses on is the dedication aspect to this field.
HR has a really tough task in IT since skills cannot be measured exactly, and the technologies (skills) needed have spread rapidly in past, say 7 years. Of course, some hedge their bet by choosing only experience, whether degreed or not. This works well for rapid hole-filling. Given lead-time, however, I think that most large-firm HR always prefer rigorous degree or C.S. degree, with some experience, even if only internship.
Certifications alone do not matter. Any degree and some certification works well, though. A bit of experience, and better, an ability to communicate some period of dedicated self-study, can win a spot, particularly if you can land an interview with your ultimate manager. I do think that certifications work well to focus your studying while working the 45-65 hour weeks typical in this industry.
The benefit to formal educational background is the exposure to "the big picture" which contains most of the new areas that new technologies push into over any given 2-3 year period.
And, it is also worth mentioning a healthy balance of recreation. I know once successful, dedicated, degreed, Sun-certified Java programmer who reviews his grasp of OO by casting fly objects to interact with fish objects, over and over.
Oh, and I also feel that the dedication necessary to succeed in this industry is grossly underpaid. Heck, I study more now than I ever did while in college. More than many of my college friends who earned masters and PHDs.
So, the ideal plan would be to work your way through a C.S. degree as a programmer on a larger team that can allow you to learn as you earn. I have worked with a few of these lucky souls, so I know that the situation exists, albeit rare.

------------------
Tom Hennigan
Sun Certified Java 2 Platform Programmer


Tom Hennigan<P>Sun Certified Java 2 Platform Programmer
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by raghav mathur:

Since there had been a lot of discussion of what to study and what not to , i would like to ask you something on the level of mathematics in a CS , BS and MS programmes ... One should know beforehand , what has to be studied by him / her so that he / she can start with the actual course after completing the deficiency course prescribed .

I'm not quite sure what you're asking. At a minimum, you should know Discrete Mathematics as well as an algorithms course; the latter is either taught by the math or CS dept. Some schools also require differential equations and/or linear algebra.

--Mark

[This message has been edited by Mark Herschberg (edited November 26, 2001).]
Raghav Mathur
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2001
Posts: 641
ok .... i think my post was a bit confusing for you . i'll try to make my point more clear to you . I've searched a lot through the university catalogs and official cirriculam. The prereqisits for a cs , BS , MS degree besides GRE are much more. Those who do not come from a computer science background are reqired to complete a " deficiency course " , comprising of a bit of math , algoritms , OS etc.
I,am not very sure about the courses in math in these deficiency courses . The point is that these deficiency courses are not a part of the MS degree but a requirement to start on with the actual course . Since i do not have a cs background , even i have to go through these courses which is why i,am asking you about the level of mathematics in a deficiency course , so that if i have to go through a deficiency course , i should know what does it comprises of , so that i,am able to finish it off without much prob and start on with my actual course content .
Obviously you must be knowing more about it since you have been indulging in campus recriutments .
I hope i,am a bit clear this time .
thanks in advance
raghav mathur ...
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
I'm not quite sure what you're asking. At a minimum, you should know Discrete Mathematics as well as an algorithms course; the latter is either taught by the math or CS dept. Some schools also require differential equations and/or linear algebra.

--Mark
[This message has been edited by Mark Herschberg (edited November 26, 2001).]


[This message has been edited by raghav mathur (edited November 27, 2001).]
Chin Loong
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 19, 2001
Posts: 45
Originally posted by Tom Hennigan:
Oh, and I also feel that the dedication necessary to succeed in this industry is grossly underpaid. Heck, I study more now than I ever did while in college. More than many of my college friends who earned masters and PHDs.

definitely agree! i study so so much more now than during my uni years.. i still remember the era of starcraft, utopia and network gaming in my hostel every night until dawn.. now, it's all books, learning and online discussions oh.. of course, other than working, which is.. basically learning
Originally posted by John Coxey:
And thus my gripe about US-College curriculum - and why I feel it needs to be more real-world focused.

well, what i can say is that it's even worse here in my country. in our country, most people (or well, probably most of the people i know) looks up on US curriculum at how flexible and conducive it is to learning, than what we have here, which *only* focuses on passing that exam at the end of the year/term. they say it's exam-based studying here, rather than learning-based.
[This message has been edited by Chin Loong (edited November 27, 2001).]
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by raghav mathur:
ok .... i think my post was a bit confusing for you . i'll try to make my point more clear to you . I've searched a lot through the university catalogs and official cirriculam. The prereqisits for a cs , BS , MS degree besides GRE are much more. Those who do come from a computer science background are reqired to complete a " deficiency course " , comprising of a bit of math , algoritms , OS etc.

OK, I understand now. I've never seen or taken such deficiency course. I would assume it would cover the core of what's in the CS undergraduate program. Most likely just discrete math and algorithms.

--Mark
John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
Mark/Raghav:

- Lots of stuff - long post as I am procrastinating at work.
- You both mention the mathematics requirements. I believe that you need 2 or 3 semesters of Calculus. Also, 1 course in Linear Algebra, and 1 course in Discrete Mathematics.
- With a BS-CS and BS=Applied Math, I had the math requirements. However, when I went for my Master's Degree, the university made me take a 3 credit intro to EE class, which was a total waste of time. I have never had to design circuit diagrams ever in my career.
One note. I was able to talk my way out of the EE class (which was a total nightmare) into another Artificial Intelligence with Prolog class (a whole lot more interesting). So once you are into a program, you can find exceptions to the rule. Again, talk to your professors.
I really do think that at some colleges, there is a form called the "mother of all forms" that every professor has access too. This sacred form is used to get all kinds of goodies without having to go through a whole lot of red tape.
Back to the topic...
- In addition to the Mathematics requirements. You may need to take 1 or 2 Physics classes, and an advanced English Composition class. Also, you may need to pick up some undergraduate CS classes if you major was not in IT or CS. And for good measure, you may need to take a foreign language. Again, check with the admissions folks at the college's you are applying to.
- Regarding what Tom Hennigan said in an earlier message, I too study more now than I ever did while in college - especially more than what I had to for the Master's Degree.

To give you an example. HP has me working out of Fort Collins, CO. I study at hotel 6AM-7:30AM. Work 8AM-Noon. Work 1PM to 7PM and Study 8PM-9:30PM. On the weekends (if I am in CO), I drive up to Cheyenne, WY and study and watch trains at the same time. Found a 24 hour restaurant that will let you use their tables for 3 or 4 hours at a stretch after 9PM - and it's right next to the Union Pacific mainline.
- Company has me doing documentation (YUCK!!!) this week. I have no idea why the project manager had the javadoc comments removed from our source code.
So, after being on vacation (went fishing in Utah & Colorado of course), I have to come back to the joy of hacking though everyone elses code and writing up docs. And I still can't get Oracle and HP's App Server to work together.
On top of this is the threat of another layoff looming sometime in the next few weeks.
----
Regarding pay. I think that the current salaries being offered at US$60K with a BS/MS and 2 yrs experience is MUCH too low. Take away another US$10K and I would seriously consider going back to trucking for a year or so.
If I get laid off, I may just do that. Would be a nice break.
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)
jason whiteis
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 27, 2001
Posts: 5
Hello All,
Long time visitor, first time contributor.
It seems to me a distinction must be made between ability and sale-ability. It is always easier for HR to play the odds based on commonly held assumptions. Where do they get their assumptions? My guess is the latest seminar they attended and what the hiring manager said s/he was looking for. If the hiring manager just had a degree-ed guy who did not work out (or the HM came up through the ranks himself) he may have experience as his top priority. I�ve been keeping up with job ads and they seem to break about 70/30 with degree vs experience being the emphasis. Certification is usually a plus in either category. Some of the folks looking for degree-ed people saying that experience plus certification would be comparable with degree.
I�d like to add that neither degree nor certification or experience will tell the whole story about a candidate.
To illustrate let me tell you the success story of a friend of mine:
This friend didn�t much care for high school and skipped a large part of it. He did manage to pass and got a surprisingly high score on the math section of the SAT. He went out and got a job at a plastic molding and injection plant. He soon became the night shift supervisor. He had always enjoyed tinkering with machines and kept the night shift running with a very minimal support staff. He did his job well, the company was successful and the owner received an offer to sell. The owner sold and stayed on in a consulting capacity. The new management came in and determined that an engineer should be in my friends position. Over the old owners advice they fired my friend and hired someone with an engineering degree. The new hire was not successful. They went through two or three more engineers - all of whom quit or where fired saying that the night shift needed to go to a larger staff if it was to be a success. When they tried to throw a rope back around the young kid with glasses who had run it successfully he said that he was too busy at school to take on a full time job. He graduated from Georgia Tech with credentials that matched his ability and is now a very valued member of a software development team.
Moral : All the ability in the world can be ignored without credentials to back it. All the credentials in the world do not guarantee ability but it is the way most folks bet.
I am very interested in this topic because I am currently seeking employment. After spending three years being treated like a god for my ability with programming and computers in general the market has returned me to just a man looking for a job. I have a degree in fine art with a minor in computer science. I am a very good java developer and am hoping that certification gives my resume wider visibility and credibility. Based on what I�ve seen advertised I am thinking about pursuing Oracle�s PL/SQL certification after I tackle the SCJP and as soon as I am working regularly I�ll be pursuing a masters degree.
I wish you all the best in your endeavors. I welcome any advice or comments for me in mine.
Jason Whiteis
Scott Hajer
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 26, 2001
Posts: 29
The employer's preference for a degree generally relates
to a desire for well-roundedness. Oftentimes people who
have only certifications (and no degree or experience) are
like one-trick ponies--they don't have exposure to a broad
variety of concepts.
Of course on the other hand, a CS degree program tends to
create a jack of all trades/master of none situation.
From an entry-level perspective, I would rather see a degree
but that's because as an employer we expect to train people
in the technologies on which we want them to focus. Now, a
degree plus a certification is good but a degree plus one or
two strong internships is better.
Once someone has a few years of experience, I don't see what
difference having a degree makes. Your skills can be quantified
in a technical interview and your experience can be qualified
in a personal interview.
Scott


Scott Hajer<br />Manager<br />Pariveda Solutions<br /> <br /><a href="http://www.parivedasolutions.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">www.aquent-it-solutions.com</a><br /><a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/scotthajer" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">My LinkedIn Profile</a><br /> <br />
Raghav Mathur
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2001
Posts: 641
Is it possible to attain an MS degree without having a cs background ?
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
I'm not quite sure what you're asking. At a minimum, you should know Discrete Mathematics as well as an algorithms course; the latter is either taught by the math or CS dept. Some schools also require differential equations and/or linear algebra.

--Mark
[This message has been edited by Mark Herschberg (edited November 26, 2001).]

Sylvester Saloon
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 31, 2001
Posts: 24
I have a background in engineering (not CS) -- and well, the engineering population in our university somehow considered the CS people intellectually less endowed. CS pumpkins(as they were fondly called) had less math, less physics, less chemistry ...; but the pumpkins actually enrolled in no-brainer courses like BASIC and COBOL -- which at that time looked like typing 101.
Now in the corporate world, I have met too many a CS graduate. Some are intelligent, while others can't even seem to grasp basic algebra(although not from our univ.) -- much less data struc and algorithms. A few can code, but others just don't seem to have what it takes to be a good developer. Many claim they know OOAD, but their classes look like bloated bullfrogs and their logic like baked lasagna.
The reality is CS people like Mark, Jason, and John, etc. are 1 in a million.
Peace.
Sylver S.
MENSA my ass
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Computer Engineer Vs Certified/s