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18 year old programmer... Uni or work

By andymaule ·
I'm 18 and I'm currently employed as an ASP and general web programmer. At the moment my future career hangs on a decision on whether to go straight into employment or go to Uni.

I work in a programming team with two software engineering graduates, both who got top grades. I work a very similar level as my collegues, and I get paid a very similar wage. If I decide to go to University I'll do AI or software engineering, and if I go to work I'll probably do something similar to what I'm doing now.

I'm going to be working until september anyway, but will it be better for me to do a computing degree which will start off covering a lot of things which I already can do, or should I go into work either as a contractor or with a large firm...

I would appreciate some opinions of people who would be responsible for hiring people such as myself or other IT professionals. I'd like to think that I'm quite good at what I do, and I enjoy doing it, but the road ahead is very puzzling.


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title on paper

by petronil In reply to 18 year old programmer... ...

If you don't have still a certification and a degree, consider now taking any related course to your job. Managers prefer in hiring those people with knowledge and papers than those with knowledge alone.

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Go to School

by rrewini In reply to title on paper

I've been in the IT business for the last 14 years. And am currently enrolled in a university getting my MBA in Computer Science. One thing I've learned, even with all my experience it will not open some doors that a degree will. Several of my frends have found that to be true also. Get you education while your young, you will never regret it.


Bob Wininger

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Experience counts over papers.

by wizbeysmugfarter In reply to title on paper

TRUST me, thats how i got my job as a senior apps and web developer. I have bugger all quals just experience.

I know this because i know more about programming than most uni students do on graduation. (ALTHOUGH it would be good to have the quals:)

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Sometimes, not always

by pkust In reply to Experience counts over pa ...

While experience is always an excellent teacher, it is not the only teacher, nor is it always the best teacher.

There are areas where the theoretical background of a subject that can only be acquired in an academic environment is invaluable. If one is writing financial software, for example, a thorough understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) is vital; that understanding is acquired through college-level study, NOT work experience.

Programming itself--meaning the actual writing of code--is a vocational skill, and is best learned on the job; of that there can be little doubt. However, other aspects of software development, such as application design, do require conceptual knowledge that is best acquired through some form of college degree.

Trust ME--experience is good, but education is invaluable. I do not recommend people go to college to learn programming, but I do heartily recommend that people go to college.


Peter Nayland Kust
TekMedia Communications

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Expand own outlook through university!

by tatarinov_mike In reply to title on paper

Expand the outlook through university,
it will develop your abilities to the further self-education, - it is not important than you will be engaged further.
My answer - once again, - university!

Mike Tatarinov, Russia.

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Go to the University

by Vanderlay In reply to 18 year old programmer... ...

I have interviewed many people in my life and I must say that I will look on a resume to see where they went to school and what degree they obtained. If you ever hope to rise to a level of responsibility in some of the Fortune 500 companies then you must obtain the degree. They will probably not openly admit it but rest assured it is required. Smaller companies will be more open to hire those with lots of experience but no degree. I hope that I don't sound snobish about it. I know some extremely talented developers that don't a degree. But most of them seem to always have to prove them self whenever they are in meetings with degreed people. I am not saying this is right but merely how I think it is.

Second AND MOST IMPORTANT. You are 18. The college years will be quite possibly the best years of your life. You will meet new people. Try and budget money. Do your laundry. Study, study, study. And then have time to have some fun. These are lessons that build character and prepare you for life. You have the rest of your life to run in the rat race. Besides you can work summers as a co-op and maybe even consult during school if you so feel the urge. Will you have to take some classes in college that you feel don'tapply to what you will do in your professional career? YES YES YES..... but so what. It is all a growing experience (doing things well that you don't want to). Trust me, you will look back on those years and wish you didn't study so hard and maybe had a little more fun....although some people get this reversed. Don't you! :-)

Good Luck


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YOu sure need a University Degree

by AcOAdA In reply to Go to the University

It is quite true that be that as it may...You know it all already at eighteen.
Nice...Very nice I must say..It must have been a hardwork.
I see that you've got a lot ahead of you and you should not be confused with what you're being paid now.
University sure has a way of enlightening you and making you a better society.
Personally,I went to a University to study a course I did not bargain for,but that is not the issue..The issue is that I have passed through the walls of a university and I am presently going through a college to complete a course in Networking and Internet.
Well,it's a personal decision but you will soar higher with a degree.Goodluck and all the best.

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Co-op'ing is a good route

by DavidAndGoliath In reply to Go to the University

I wouldn't trade the memories I have from college for anything in the world. I studied hard early on, then played alot my last couple of years. I co-op'ed and it was great experience. It allowed me to pay my own way through school without having loans. It showed me how different the real world was from the classroom, and what I found interesting. Vanderlay is right, it might not seem like it now, but there will be plenty of years to be in the rat race.

My father-in-law works 20 hour days to meet his deadlines and is the best in his field. He left school to start working fulltime and never finished his degree. His company has used the fact that he doesn't have a degree as a reason to pass him by for promotions. Sure, it's only a piece of paper, but it can be an important one at times.

Go to school and have fun!

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by fasohail In reply to 18 year old programmer... ...

I think better thing for you to do a computing degree then go into work either as a contractor or with a large firm....
Because these things are changing constantly.
Than you.

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Do Both!

by donq In reply to 18 year old programmer... ...

If you enjoy programming (or building ASP) you will learn more and learn faster staying where you are.

EVERYONE should have college in the US to insure employment security as well. Why not study Accounting, Business Administration, Chemistry, orsomething you are interested in academically other than computer science.

If your employer already hired two degreed programmers I'm sure you recognize the value of their degrees to your employer. Why not discuss your future plans with someone in personnel where you work to see if they will allow you to start school locally during the day and keep your job afternoons and/or week-ends. What could you loose? - nothing. What might you gain - A degree + computer expertise + company $ assistance + employer respect + dual qualification for your work assignments.

I am a retired Aerospace Technology grad (from Apollo days) with a PE in Electrical Engineering. I never had one Computer Science class in school however my last 20 working years found me programming database business software for accounting, than e-commerce business applications. I loved it and was good at it too.

Above all talk to your employer honestly (+ the programmers you work with) once you know what you want

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