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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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Uni or Not

by mary.williams In reply to 18 year old programmer... ...


You sound like one smart guy. Ten years from now you may not enjoy what you are doing today and, the work world will have changed. If you invest some time in yourself now ie education, you will not regret it later.
Education won't do everything for you, but it will open doors that may not otherwise be opened. Get the degree first. It's a big world out there and you only have yourself to live with or kick in the future.
Hope this helps.

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My 2 Cents of what you should do

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

I would personally say that it all depends on what kind of work you want to do. If you would like to be a consultant, it doesn't seem that a degree is as important. What is important as a consultant is paper to back up your knowledge... and believe me the knowledge is important... If you go this route don't fall into the paper trap, because you will get burned in the real world... make sure you really know the field you are certified in. On the other hand, if you want to excel in corporate America, i.e. a fortune 500 company, I would say a degree is a necessity. It still seems to hold more weight in the corporate world. Or you could just do what I did and go to school in your spare time and possibly even get your employer to help out with tuition. Just don't over do it... start with a light class schedule and move forward accordingly. Anyway, I hope this helps you in your quest. Good luck... Just make sure you do something to seperate yourself from your peers as there are a flood of people starting into the IT world.

Justin Graves, MCP

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Use your head.

by jmitchell722 In reply to 18 year old programmer... ...

Andy, For what it's worth... I think you'll do better in the long run if you get the degree. If you are taking a lot of classes (at least initially)that you may be able to teach, you can probably keep right on working freelance if you want to without a heavy homework load. At least part time. Talk to the people you're working for now - they are probably more than willing to work with you on this.

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by jcmcintyre In reply to Use your head.

Go to college. It's about more than a degree. The years you spend in college will never be regretted. You will also open more career options with an education. As for your present skill level, talk to someone in admissions, and ask about an advancedplacement. Good Luck

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Advance Placement

by twhaight In reply to

I don't know if they still do this, but also there is a program called College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the Dantes tests. The CLEP tests lets you take tests in the general subjects, and can earn you up to 30 hours (your first year of college), and would get you through stuff like english 101, math 101, etc. I took them right out of high school, and passed them. My basic training in the Air Force counted for the PE requirement.

the Dantes tests are subject tests, and if you have advanced knowledge on a subject, you can get credit for them as well. See your guidance counselor for details.

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Go to University!

by T. E. Walker In reply to 18 year old programmer... ...

The diploma is more important in more ways than you can imagine now. You may be getting paid the same as your co-workers now, but their upward career path will not have bumps yours might if you don't get the sheepskin. Remember that this is probably the only time in your life you will be able to go full time to school - and don't let this once-in-a-lifetime chance pass you by. Your r/l experience will be a plus when you take that degree and get a job after college - but it is no substitute to showing you really have what it takes to go through university and earn the degree, and that you have all the "core" knowledge necessary.

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I would do both if I were you

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

Check out the University of Phoenix Online. They offer many degrees that you can attain while attending online class in your spare time. It takes 2-4 years to graduate and was the best decision I ever made. I am the IS Director at my current company, I also do consulting on the side and I take classes at UOPHX. Good luck in whatever you do.

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18 and no degree

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

I currently have and Associates Degree and been working as a programmer and related fields for 18 years. The company I work for now bought out the company I hired on to and I was going places and had a future. With the new company I am stuck I need a higher degree. You never know what will happen!!! If I was younger I would get may degree!!! In fact in October I began that process.

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Similiar Situation

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

I'm also 18. And I'm also working in the IT field. Unfortunately I can't say that my experience is as pleasant as yours. I've been working at my company since August now, and while I've been doing the best I can I'm just about to step out and go get a degree. Most of what I've read in the replies is true. I am more support for the rest of the IT staff then I am a professional. I doubt that I would be able to find another job that was similiar. I've spoken with literally hundreds of people on this subject, and for the most part I have to think that getting a degree is the best option for myself. Since you already have the programming knowledge (not to mention the pay) you may want to stick in your current position and save up enoughmoney to go to college without busting the bank. But it really is an individual choice. I'd recommend getting a degree, if not now, within the next 6 years.

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Uni - the right choice for the long term

You should look at schooling in an university setting, as some have posted in this discussion. But remember a few points here:
1) you are only young once
2) IT will always be there for you
3) there are bigger and better things than what you are doing now

By going to Uni, you will expose yourself to new disciplines and learning that you would never see on the job. Plus, you will get the chance to have a good time with a bunch of people your same age and your same interests. Plus, youwill have a better opportunity to expose yourself to new technologies and ways of thinking.

It really is not such a difficult choice. Relax, have a good time, and go to uni.

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