I've never been to school for programming (other than some very preliminary VB5 classes in a Data Processing course). The company I now work for taught me what I needed to know about VB6 and database design. I then taught myself C++ and some minor DirectX programming and think that I'm a very quick learner.;) But if for some reason I left this job, what's more important: having a Computer Science degree, or 5 or 6 years of experience being on software devlopment project and developing apps for well-known companies of a very large scale? I was thinking about going back to school ( I only have an Associate in Liberal Studies - no real major), but was wondering if it would make a big difference if I have loads of experience already. Thanks for your comments and suggestions!!:mrgreen:

ajelliott commented: Thank you for feedback and support. +4

You could a thousand times better than somebody with a degree but they would still be hired over you... in most cases. It really does depend on the employer but basically, you need some hard copy qualifications nowadays (My dad used to work for Jobs Australia lol, a compan0 that deals with finding people jobs and now I'm working for Golden West, which is also does the same thing). For the most part, an employer will choose a kid with a degree rather than somebody with a mere bit of experience under their belt. I work with two highly qualified programmers, and they hold 8 degrees between them, trust me when I say they get jobs easily. Anyway, so yeah, I'd say go for the degree.

Slade (hope I was helpful)

yes, you were helpful. But the projects I've worked on so far are VERY large scale applications for well-known national companies that I'm sure you probably see one of them every day (I'm not at liberty at this time to say who that is).

ah ok, in that case you should be fine :)

Get the degree. You are gonna kick yourself in the ass if you don't have it one day when you really need it.

commented: I totally agree, TY for your post +4

yeah, I've been turned down for 2 6 digit jobs because I was lacking a BS *pun intended* degree. If I were you I would go for the degree. I will actually be starting mine sometime this/next year.

:lol: :twisted:

ah ok, in that case you should be fine :)

:twisted: :lol:

from my experience the degree does not help anymore. I got a degree and cannot find a job to save my life. Everyone wants experience, no one wants to train anymore. I know VB, C++, and Java, I consider myself to be at an intermediate level with all 3.

Experience is key. For example, two of my cousins, around the same age, are both big geeks. Really smart dudes. They both started college the same year, one went to Devry, the other went to Arizona State. The one who went to Arizona State dropped out after his first semester, the other went to graduate magna cum ladi (sp?) at the advanced Devry class.

With the other was going to school, the drop out went and did an internship with a data recovery / backup shop. By the time the college guy graduated (three years later) the drop out was moved to San Diego by his company which got bought out by cisco, and now he makes 120k a year doing next to nothing. The graduate struggled to find a job for over a year, and eventually became a network admin making probably around 50k a year.

I have a degree, and huge student loans, but now I work for myself so I don't need the paper, but I am very proud to be a college grad. Who knows, one day it might come in handy.

Despite the content oof this message, I am still a huge advocate of getting a degree. If you are considering it, you should probably do it. I'm sure the combination of a degree and solid experience will get you exactly where you want to go.

commented: Great feed back and support, Thank you! +4

I am inspired to respond to your question for several reasons. First of all, if you are a quick learner you will probably love going to school. I went to DeVry in Pomona, California and got hired to work for Hewlett Packard right out of school. HP moved me to Seattle and I loved working there.

My degree is in CIS but as it turned out I did not feel I learned enough about programming to be a programmer. I excelled more in database design and applications. I have an art background and love working with designing business processes. I went on to excel in business management. DeVry is great for giving you an overall business education.

Those students that were good learners took what we studied and beyond and became great programmers. I had a very in depth discussion about it one day with one of my professors and friend of mine who was top of our class seemly without effort. Our professor said “DeVry will teach you enough to make you dangerous, but the real education is what you take home with you to continue your studies in the areas that interest you.

My friend and I both graduated with honors, his much higher then mine because he is bloody brilliant. He went out to work as a programmer for a good company, and I went on to work as a CE for HP in Enterprise support services. He and I did our senior projects together and even though I moved off to Seattle we kept in contact through networking.

Any way, three years later due to office politics he got fired. Working for a company now, I am sure you are aware of how uncomfortable office politics can be. Working at HP, I have seen stuff that makes no sense at all. My point here is beware, no matter how brilliant you are, with a degree or not, when working for a big company, you will be subject to company politics that are stupefying.

I agree with i686, you may regret in the future not having the degree. I was 30 when I went back to school. I went back mostly because I was tired of working for individuals whom I could do their job better, but they had the degree and I didn’t. It was hard work getting the degree completed, as well as it putting me in debt, but I enjoy learning, and the education never stops.

Arizona is right experience is key. With the skills I have, and my degree, I am confident I can get work anytime, anywhere. Going on to complete your degree combined with your experience will be very empowering.

This would be good material for the Careers Forum. Off it goes.

commented: Thank you for your suggestions and support. +4


this is based on my experiences in the UK, but may help.

I graduated with a BSc in Management 5 years ago, and then went and worked for an IT company. I ended up doing Systems Design after a couple of years.

I decided to do an MSc in IT after that because I felt that there were a lot of things that I needed to learn. I'm just coming to the end of the course and would recommend doing something similar to other people.

In my experience there are some major problems with going down the self taught route, and similar issues with company taught skills (unless you are very lucky!).

The biggest problem is that you only learn the things that you need to learn. OK, that may sound sensible at first, but you often don't know what you need to know in a project. That was the biggest reason I decided to go back to University. There were some fantastic programmers in the company I worked for, but they knew almost nothing about the whole design side. It led to very inefficient projects. Other areas which were missing was things like ethics and legal responsibilities regarding data protection.

Basically, a degree will give you a very good grounding in a wide range of areas that are important in IT, but often get overlooked unless you go out looking for them.

sure is a toughie. I had a degree and no experience until i finally got work.I am now a junior programmer, entry level. Gotta work on up!!I would say, for you GO get the degree, it will open up a lot of possibilities!!

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