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Importance of degrees

Hussein Baghdadi
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Joined: Nov 08, 2003
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Hi.
In our field (computer industry), do you think that a degree from the university is necessary (Master, Ph.D)?
I currently hold an associate degree in computer engineering.
I have been thinking about my future recently.
Because I don't hold a high degree in computer engineering, after 10 years, where I will be?
Same as I am now (a programmer)? will I be got promoted to a project manager or even a manager?
Thanks.
Theodore Casser
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Joined: Mar 14, 2001
Posts: 1902

I don't know that there's any hard-and-fast rule about how far you're going to get without a degree. I do know that it's certainly harder, though after a given amount of time - and that's a fairly subjective amount at that - folks will start looking at experience with more weight than education. But that's going to largely depend on what course one's career's taken through the companies one has worked for. Some without degrees will rise into management positions, and some will remain anchored to their desks as programmers. All depends on the person.

I know that's not helpful, but that's unfortunately how it goes...


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steve souza
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Joined: Jun 26, 2002
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The hardest part of not having a degree is getting a job at a new company. Many places won't even consider hiring you if you don't have a degree. Certainly that is true in higher end positions like research, google and the like.

However, I think once you are working for a company it becomes less important. Of course the downside to this is your current performance will have to be high enough that they forget about the lack of degree. But, in many if not all places talent and hard work still are more important than education.

Also, remember to let your managers be aware of your intended career direction and help them get you there. It is surprising how far you can go just by more actively managing your career and making sure your successes aren't just known to you. Even if they say you need the degree at least you know where you stand.

My experience is in the US. I can't speak for other places.
[ July 22, 2008: Message edited by: steve souza ]

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Hussein Baghdadi
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Originally posted by steve souza:
The hardest part of not having a degree is getting a job at a new company. Many places won't even consider hiring you if you don't have a degree. Certainly that is true in higher end positions like research, google and the like.

Actually last month I had an interview with one of those companies, but I didn't got the job.
I don't think it is the degree right? because if it was so, they won't call me in the first place, right?
steve souza
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Joined: Jun 26, 2002
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Actually last month I had an interview with one of those companies, but I didn't got the job.
I don't think it is the degree right? because if it was so, they won't call me in the first place, right?

It is very hard to tell why a company doesn't hire you. In this case being as they saw your resume and asked you to come in that means they were ok with the fact that you didn't have a degree.

Certainly don't ever be hard on yourself for not getting the offer. In many cases it has little to do with you. For example someones best friend may have also interviewed for the job. Or your perception of why you didn't get the job may have more to do with your insecurities than fact (for example 'I didn't get the position because i don't have a degree'). Also, when numerous people are qualified who gets the offer comes down to the quirks of the interviewer.

[ July 22, 2008: Message edited by: steve souza ]
[ July 22, 2008: Message edited by: steve souza ]
Tim Holloway
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Joined: Jun 25, 2001
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  19

A Bachelor's degree is useful to have. Some day, I might finish mine. I'd worry, more, but the no-degree/no-hire shops locally are places I don't want to work anyway.

Conventional wisdom is that a higher degree may actually be counter-productive in the US for a developer's job and that if you're aiming higher, an MBA will probably serve better than a Master's in IT.

This isn't true in all cases - academically-oriented and research organizations will value degrees. Ordinary business figures that you'll just want more pay and they're already resentful of what they pay people with lesser credentials.


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arulk pillai
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Joined: May 31, 2007
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I don't think there are any rules as such. It varies from emplyer to employer. But the best thing you can do is promote yourself as a well ronded candidate. Check for useful resources with lots of examples at my site.


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Maneesh Godbole
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Joined: Jul 26, 2007
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    8

Degree might be useful at entry point. After that it all depends on how smart you are. Not having a degree is not stopping you from learning new things everyday nor having a degree means you know how to apply knowledge. If you maintain the attitude of learning something new every time, you will go places.

I am not a graduate myself and do not hold any degree as such.Sure I got rejected in the beginning. Sometimes I got rejected after clearing 3 rounds of interviews because that was when those guys found out I was not a graduate (a fact which is explicitly mentioned in my resume and the HR guys were graduates).

But even then I am still here (I work as a Product Development Manager) and I thoroughly enjoy my work and happy with it

A quote by Mark Twain which I think sums it all:
I never let schooling interfere with my education.
[ July 23, 2008: Message edited by: Maneesh Godbole ]

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