Do we really need accrediated education to effectivly have the expected experience and/or knowledge in a chosen field? For instance can we learn more from doing a course in programming than we can from learning ourselves?

I see the benefits in both:

Accerdited course
- Have an experienced tutor
- Gain a piece of 5 cent A4 sized paper that says you have a degree

Learning from ourselves
- Learn at our own pace
- Learn what we want to learn not what we are told to learn
- Less expences in travel and course costs

Why are we only 'qualified' to work in a certian field if we only complete a particular qualification? Cant we gain just as much knowledge by learing on our own accord? Or is it just about the money?

No, it's not required to have it, but in most cases getting hired is much easier if you have it. HR needs to have some kind of proof that you can do the things you say you can do, whether that's legit or not. (At least in my experience.)

Isnt proof in the pudding? How does an employer know that you have the skills you do without hiring you first?

My point exactly, he doesn't.

So then it is about the money rather than 'quality of education'

Either that, or covering your ass. If you prove unqualified he can always say you had the certifications.

That's why a lot of places have probationary periods. A degree is not a guarantee of skills but a degree with a transcript showing your grades is a better guarantee than the word of the applicant that he/she has read a lot of books and learned the skills independently.

I've been on the hiring side for many years. I can tell you that there is no guarantee for anyone.

The degree is just one tool that I'd like to see in your toolbox but it's not the only one. I've hired many with and without degrees.

At the very minimum a degree or certification doesn't hurt. You have to look at your situation and determine whether pursuing a degree is worth the cost and time.

No one has a crystal ball. You do your best to prepare yourself and a formal education along with building a social network, experience, etc... only adds to your toolbox.

I'm starting to feel a small tug in employers towards looking at a programmers online software repository (github, codeplex, etc...). Anyone else knotice it?

commented: to add to the list , SO rep also counts in some places. Hopefully the tug's gonna get stronger over time. +0

I think this question will find its proper answer according to what exactly are you required to know for a certain job. It is a common misbehave in our seciety where a university diploma means you are actually good or know something to a good extent, while in the meanwhile you might have cheated or just paid(as it happens in some countries) for it.
I don't really have much experience on what exactly is required to get a job for lets say a software developper in java, but I'd assume the tendancy is whenever you apply you need to send a copy of a certificate or univesity papers with it(Perhaps some of you guys have already had a couple of jobs in this field and can cast light for us the newbies). But I also think that there are companies who hire just after a successfully passed interview because there will be no cheating on it and people who are hiring will see whether they are happy with what they'll get for the resources they are offering for it. In this case, home educated would fit very well

Why are we only 'qualified' to work in a certian field if we only complete a particular qualification? Cant we gain just as much knowledge by learing on our own accord? Or is it just about the money?

Since you propose this as a general question, let's consider a different field: Medicine.

For medicine (as with computer science) there are some skills/information that can't be learned without access to particular equipment but many that people could (and do) learn themselves from medical textbooks & practicing on themselves. Yet I suspect not one of you would want to get a diagnosis from a doctor without formal qualifications & accreditation.

This is because formal education & accreditation involves other experienced & qualified people checking that the potential doctor has the skills & knowledge required to be a good doctor. There could be people out there with an interest in medicine who have learnt all the stuff themselves and are just as able as the formally trained doctor but we don't trust other peoples' lives on their word -> we require independent verification of their skills.

Many other professions are in a similar situation, you can teach yourself civil & mechanical engineering from textbooks & tinkering in the garage but to be hired as a professional engineer you will need formal education (any volunteers to be the first person to drive over the bridge designed by a self-taught engineer?)

Formal education has other benefits as well. Formal education ensures a relatively universal vernacular and relatively consistent structuring of work so that a group of professionals can work together more efficiently (eg. universal standards for drawing blue-prints, consistent medical jargon).

If there wasn't such a shortage of software professionals, I think we would see much more emphasis on formal education and professionalization of the field. -> Think for a moment: your life depends on the software running various medical equipment, the software running your car's safety features, the software flying commercial jets, the software running on the computers in powerplants & controlling the powergrid, the software controlling the timing of traffic lights.

Do you trust some-one claiming to be a self-taught expert (like all the self-proclaimed 'experts' who claim homeopathy can cure cancer and that the world is only 4,000 years old) to write that code? or would you prefer someone where computer science professors/professionals have independently verified they have a certain amount of skill?

PS the degrading quality of degrees & diplomas is a separate issue. Just because a light bulb burns out doesn't mean internal lighting is a bad idea.

commented: correct +0
commented: Right on! +0

Wouldn't it be nice to have the leaders in Washington/London to have an accrediated education?

Too bad there seems to be an inverse relationship between level of education and odds of being elected...

Doing a course is better than to learn by ourselves as sometimes you require a mentor to teach you rather than to do it by your own.

degrees can either be really worth something or cna be worth nothing it depends on where you went to school at or what tutor you had. For instance my high school is not very good actually it's really bad so getting my diploma form here is really nothing. but day fine I went to a private school or even a different high school the diploma I would would actually be worth more than what I will recieve here at my current school. In some cases I feel it is better to teach yourself but for other areas of education it is far better to have an accredited education.

It is because the company need to know about qualification. If you qualification serticicate then they can believe your qualification or else how you can make them believe.

I wouldn't believe anyone who presented me with a serticicate.

commented: Sertainly knot. +0

Sorry! I meant "If you have qualification certificate then they can believe about your qualification"

A point I wanted to make on the transcript is that even that is not a true depiction of one's ability. It doesn't take into account a whole bunch of factors, only the final grade point. For example, my GPA is low, not because I'm dumb or because I do not know what I'm doing. Its low because I suffer from extreme anxiety at exam time. My assignments were all A assignments but my exams, which are weighted high in ACS, really dragged me down.

Granted, a certificate does not always reflect one's true ability. In your case, exam anxiety dragged your GPA down. In other cases a person may do well on tests but not in real life (may not work well with others, for example). However, a certificate is at least some measure of one's level of education and is certainly better than no certificate at all. I think that in the majority of cases it is a valid measure. Arguing against certification is like arguing against the efficacy of seatbelts because one person in a thousand may be the worse for having worn them.

I don't argue against verification and am proud of my education. However, I get nervous if an employer (like Hydro) requires a the transcript.

I think looking at a transcript is a bit of a waist of time, especially if you're hiring people who've been out of school for 10-20 years, etc...

I'd look into their work history, ask to look at some historic projects that the've worked on and I would take degree's into consideration. I might ask applicants to do a small assingment at home (this ended up working very well). In the interview, I'd ask them what they've thought of the assignment and there thinking (to get to know how they think, as oppossed to asking them trivia and using that to compair applicants).

I don't argue against verification and am proud of my education. However, I get nervous if an employer (like Hydro) requires a the transcript.

If I were interviewing you right out of school and you explained to me that your GPA suffered because you had "exam anxiety" why shouldn't I conclude that you choke under pressure?

I can't really answer that RJ, except to say that the pressures of work and the pressures of an exam are two entirely different situations. I do just fine with deadlines but having to regurgitate a term's worth of information was difficult for me. In the end, being so rigid about a GPA can make you miss good people and as you said, trial periods are where you learn about people.

On the same vein, an IT guy at Hydro told me about a fellow employee there that had a GPA of just over 2 and he pinned it to his cubicle for everyone to see as sort of an FU to those that cared about such things. He was/is respected for his IT intelligence by his peers.

Just sayin.

I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm just trying to see it from the interviewer's point of view. When I took my degree there was a HUGE emphasis on math and number theory. I always had difficulty vomiting up proofs and such at exam time. In real life, most people would just look up a formula when needed. As for writing code on an exam, in real life you use code snippets and debug. Nobody expects perfect code off the top of your head in a two hour exam. I think it's more important to know where to find things when needed and to be able to learn new stuff quickly.

another aspect of a certificate or diploma is what kind of classes were taken to recieve this certificate or diploma. in the case of a certificate more than likely you received that certificate for a specific field which would require you to take certain classes which gave you little or no choice to in the decision of what classes u want. in the case of a high school diploma there is a lot more freedom in deciding what classes you want to take. This leaves the possibility that the non required classes you got to pick were easy "A",s. this devalues your diploma.

my 5c a4 papers involve making things explode, lots of fun, not appropriate to the business of business
many accept the existance of an unrelated degree, as evidence of competence, I do not know why.
In reality I like blowing things up.
it still opens doors, that I wouldn't think it should

which gave you little or no choice to in the decision of what classes u want

Actually, I had a great deal of latitude in what courses I took. Of course, there was a core set of required courses but there were a lot of optionals.

Then there are programs where there are essentially no exams. Mine was essentially al project driven. We had a basic quiz each week for many classes, but not all. They were open book, but in the end compromised a very small percent of our overall grade.
The degree is like a CPR certification, at that time you were capable of succefully demonastrating a certain skill level of the the current technology. In CPR it is an attest to on the day it was issued that you were able to successfully demonstrate your skills. It is no guarentee of future performance.
I've found over the years that many employers don't look at a degree in terms of your abilities or qualifications, but rather weigh it more in terms of your work eithic.
Personally, I have 2 bachelors and a masters degree (only one is in a computer field). There are still some major gaps in my knowledge when it comes to my knowledge of website design which my degree is in website design with an emphasis in graphic design, and because of where I went even though I completed the requirements for a minor in programming it is not reflected on my degree. Thus I have a skill set that is not expected in just looking at my degree.
When I was completing my degree our final term we had a 9 credit class on creating a portfilio and a 3 credit class on reviewing and maintaining our portfilio. The emphasis was that it is our portfolio that is going to demonstrate to an employer what we are capable of. In webdesign and graphic design this is easier done than in programming.
A friend of mine just expanded his computer repair business and hired someone to build him a website. Thought he was in good hands because the guy had a degree in web design. He got burned and fired the guy. Flat out he told me, next time he personally doesn't care, he wants to see proof up front. Being able to provide examples is far more valuable.
Large employers especially, have to create a set of minimum requirements. Having a degree helps weed out people that may be less self driven or independant workers. May not even care if it's in nonrelated field if you have a portfilio that supports the job you are applying for.
That's just my experience. In and out of the computer field, personally and watching others for more than 30 years. A time when a degree in computer science was considered unrelated because it was not in software, or hardware, or web design, or networking, or programming, that he was applying for, but when he got his degree non of those specalities existed.

Actually, I had a great deal of latitude in what courses I took. Of course, there was a core set of required courses but there were a lot of optionals.

What I mean is that a certificate that is earned in a specific field means that there was probably not a lot of latitude of what courses you could choose from. which mean you couldn't choose "easy" classes, whereas in the terms of an high school diploma it's different. a high diploma is a general education type thing, which gives you lots more latitude and variety of classes. this gives ten option of choosing "easy" classes besides the required classes of course.