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Fair Competition?

By cheerstork ·
Is it fair for a person who has no degrees in computer science to compete with one who has it for the same job?
Is it fair, when there are those who persevered and toiled to earn a degree in CS, only to find that many of the CS positions are held by individuals who just ventured into the marked because they couldn't find jobs in their own professions or just because they were seeking better income. I would think it's fair, if it worked both ways.
Can you, as a holder of BSCS, apply for a psychology-related position? If not, then why was it OK for a person who majored in psychology to compete with you for a computer job--if not become your boss. Please, exclude exceptions, i.e. don't just focus in your reply on the cases in which the guy with no BSCS is doing a better job than you. I'm talking about the situation where you are just as good (if not much better, which is often the case.)
Shouldn't there be a criterion for computer positions--just as there are ones for most other professions?!
Can I, with no degree in Engineering, go and compete for a job against an engineer with a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering?
Well, why does it seem that anyone on earth with just 3 or 4 months of study of some certification can come and compete for the same job with someone who has spent at least 4 years of academic education for a Bachelor's degree and experience in computer science? In some instances, they might be working in the cubicle next yours and making MORE money than you do--let alone having your boss as someone who holds a degree in some arts or physical education; or no 4-year degree at all!!! This renders a Bachelor's in Computer Science truely worthless!!!
Often times, it's not really that the guy--or gal--in the cubicle next to oyu is doing a better job than you are that earns them the extra money or authority. How about favoritism, attraction, other preferences that are irrelevant to the job?!
If a degree in CS were a benchmark, then at least, you would be competing against peers in the profession.
Or maybe we should do away with degrees altogether, and one could go and apply for any sort of job as long as you demonstrate the willingness to do it and the enthusiasm to learn!
But then again, I should be allowed to open a car repair shop, without having to become a licensed mechanic; I should be able to be an electrician without needing a license to practice,... how about a doc?!

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Knowledge and skill should be the criteria

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Fair Competition?

All a degree does is say that you spent so many years be taught matters relevant to that subject and supposedly have a certain level of knowledge and skill to justify the issue of the degree. All the material that is taught in those classes is learnt from other people, mostly non degree people, recording what they have learnt in real life situations. Today most organisations recognise that years of experience can teach as much, if not more than, a degree.

Several years back I went for a job in a particular government dept working in a specialised financial administrative area. I had no degree or certificate saying that I knew this material - I was not granted an interview. All the people interviewed had recently finished uni degrees and also done a special course on that subject that another government dept ran. The head of the branch doing the employment refused to even read applications from people whe did not have relevant degrees.

I complained about not being interviewed. In the wash up after the affair that branch head did NOT get a peformance bonus that year. I had no degree or certs in the subject. I had only been the person to introduce it to the government sphere and make it work. Written the three government papers on how to do that work within the government financial structure and was a guest lecturer at the coiurse that certified people. 30 years experience and taught the stuff but, according to the branch head, no degree meant I was no good and knew nothing.

I got fed up with the 'require a degree' garbage in finance and admin and now do tech work where most people will accept knowing how to do the job is more important than framed wall paper.

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by cheerstork In reply to Knowledge and skill shoul ...

Ernest, I completely respect your opinion. From my vantage point, a college degree helps in forming your knowledge; in about 4 years, you learn about many things that will certainly help shape your personality and arm you with many skills, as you go on sailing in the seas of life! Also, if employers repected and valued a computer science degree, I think that computer programs would be more efficient and networks would be more reliable. The reason is, in my opinion, someone who spent years studying CS (generally, that is) would most likely possess broad and comprehensive and science-based knoledge that will render their work more integral and efficient.
I do have a bachelor's in computer science and about 7 years of work experience. Nevertheless, due to various reasons, my work experience is scattered in several areas of IT...programming, networking, databases, project management, security...It makes my resume seem very unfocused and makes it very difficult to get a job counting all of the years of experience!

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I think it is the universities that are to blame

by Deadly Ernest In reply to

in this issue not the employers. Here in Australia the CS degree has very little relevance to daily IT work but useful if you want to get into big time design work for people like Intel and AMD, research, etc. For normal work stuff you do the college courses.

The reasons for the difference is deeply routed in the academic attitude to education and learning. About 20 years ago the Prime Minister of the day (Bob Hawke)organisd a big conference with employers, unions and educationalists to review the relevance of the modern education system. The outcomes from this were many and varied but centered around the concepts of competency based training and work related courses for higher education. The colleges (TAFEs here) went with it, the unis fought against it as it basically said the academics running the uni courses were out of touch with the workplace realities - they sure got that right. This has resulted in the gap widening in some areas, and in some unis revamping their courses - took them over 15 years to act. The best degrees here are those where a TAFE and uni have combined forces to offer a degree including studies at both - the local employers like it.

The daily reality is that most employers do not care about you ability to understand the basic physics and design new computer circuitry, what they want is your ability to diagnose a fault and set up systems, etc. And that is where your experience will outway the degree. The biggest pity about that is the people offering the CS degrees do NOT tell the prospective students this, otherwise they would have no students.

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Efficiency and reliability

by cheerstork In reply to I think it is the univers ...

Ernest, all that you have said is great makes much sense. However, will you get a more efficient "search" or "sort" algorithims from a programmer without math, data structures ... education or from the one who has that kind of knowledge?
Will you get a reliable network from someone with a Bachelor's in CS, who knows very well what a binary, hexadecimal, octal numbers are or someone who just skimmed through and got just the very bare minimum to pass some sort of a certification?
Will you have better, more formal and eloquent communication from an IT professional who studied college-level english literature, history, speech and psychology or from someone without that sort of education?

Can I be an apprentice for a Doc for 5 years, and then go on to open my own practice?

Better yet, I worked in an IT department, where one of my coworkers had a degree in business, one had a degree in psychology, one had it in physical education and another had a 2-year ed in some sort of thing related to manufacturing. Only 3 people had a Bachelor's in CS!
Now, could I go and compete with my psychology friend for a psychology-related job? How about the business one?
You see, I'm completely over it. I have been advising people to NEVER major in any computer stuff. Have fun with a degree in physical ed, and then take a course or two in computer stuff, if you want to work in the computer arena.

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Mostly true but such skills are not limited

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Efficiency and reliabilit ...

to a CS degree holder. A lot really depend upon the person, their attitude and their experience.

I prefer to work with hardware but have worked on code by CS graduates and found it to be as badly put together as you can get, ditto non grads, - lazy is lazy regardless of training level. I have seen brilliant code by non degree people and by degree people as well.

Personally I think the best approach to a job interview in the industry that I have seen was one where they had the test network done up with some faults and the candidates were given an hour to diagnose and identify the faults and then list what they would do to fix and then improve the system. Sorts the 'know its' from the 'know it alls'.

I now have a number of diplomas in IT but only after working in the sidelines of the industry for over a decade and doing my own and family stuff for 2 decades. Whilst studying for the diplomas I got to know most of the teaching staff well, being the oldest of the few mature age students they were intrigued by my inclusion in their classes. In the second year there one of the teachers asked me to help her out - she taught software programming and had to pinch hit for a hardware teacher who called in sick, I had to give her a run down on what the stuff on the lesson plan meant and even teach part of the lesson for her. I was able to do this because I had the experience, I had learnt the more traditional way.

All a degree does is state that you have been taught this knowledge, that same knowledge can be self taught or learnt on the job.

Hey you want a case of degree orientated stupidity - There are many people who think that any degree gives you an advantage over any non-degree, something about have had to learn discipline and research skills. I have worked in office environments with people who got degree level entry with their archealogical degree, I am still trying to find the relevance to the work since it was the department of immigration doing paperwork shuffling.

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I completely agree

by cubeslave In reply to Mostly true but such skil ...

I do not discount the worth of an IT degree, or college degrees in general. Until I had to drop out of college I got a lot out of my time there.

A circuitous chain of events led me to becoming a consultant specializing in adapting systems for blind and low vision users.

At no time did I not appreciate how much better a job I could do with a degree. On the other hand I was also getting job referrals from people with Masters degrees and PHDs in CS who said I was one of the best in the state.

When the state decided to phase out using consultants and hire people to do the job, all of the job descriptions that didn?t paid enough to keep a roof over my head all required a degree, any degree.

A Degree in Rehab engineering, CS or a related area was preferred, but not required. There was no "or equivelent job experience" phrase in the requirements.


So now I do something else.

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Ability to learn

by Kreeseis In reply to Mostly true but such skil ...

One thing that a degree does is verify that a person has the ability to learn information, process it and apply it in some form. Also, it verifies that a person can accomplish a goal...actually finish something.

This doesn't mean that the grad is smarter or even a better candidate than the non-grad. It simply covers the basics.

In theory, you would think that a person with a degree was trained correctly, is well versed in the "basics" and is well rounded. This isn't always the case, but what measuring stick do you have for a person without the education?

HR is always a crap shot, so employers always try to hedge their bets.

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I've got all of those things and more probably.

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Efficiency and reliabilit ...

Set theory and number bases I was doing in maths at at 12 - 13 years old. Boolean algebra, Karnaugh mapping at fourteen . I've studied predicate calculus, group theory, matrices, iteration, 2 & 3D geometry, still without a degree.

All a degree in CS dies is say you've achieved a particular standard of education. That standard can vary massively, you can buy the standard from a diploma mill. In the UK the standard has gone down badly, so schools can validate themselves with a high pass rate.
Even if none of that was true, a degree still doesn't say you can apply those skills, seven years in IT does though.

Do you want to specialise ?
You could say I have as a coder, but as part of my job I've designed and implement databases, networks and web sites.
It's a matter of emphasis, going for a developer spot, I concentrate on the development aspects and mention admin.

Another tip my cv says C since 1992 and then I list things I've done with it in various employments as a grand total it probably comes to about two years.

Don't do yourself down because your experience is spread about, emphasise it.

I built four Db servers a web server, implemented a network, socket interfaced to a vms based system with fortran at one end and delphi at another, ftp interfaced to a HP3000, DDE interaced to eight PLCs, designed ther SQL server databases including triggers and cursors, set up an IIS intranet static pages with CSS pumped from a delphi client server service, interrogation pages via ISAPI dlls written in delphi, ending up with a 24/7 manuafacturing interface system for a business with a turnover in the hundreds of millions by myself. That was 96 - 99 by the way, and it's still working, and the basic design is still in place.

Is that worth something, bet your ***, how many specialists and how much management would you have needed to do that with separate bodies.

Is it the best solution possible, almost certainly not, but when, in the real world does the best technical solution happen ?

It's not master of none, but competent in all !

No degree and five turned up for the courses.

As for the last paragraph, so it's your fault is it?. Did you inherit that responsibility off your dad, I've been sweeping up after that sort of bunny since 1985, and I'm getting really tired of it, so pack it in.

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No different in the US

by RknRlKid In reply to I think it is the univers ...

From almost everywhere I have been "in the trenches" a degree in Computer Science is about worthless anyway. At the local state university here, you are still required to learn COBOL and FORTRAN. Why? The class that covers Windows and Windows applications is a freshman level class that is merely a quick overview. If I ran a computer company, I would be leary of anyone with a degree in Computer Science. The only relevant degree I have seen is the Management Information Systems degree, because at least it partially adresses what could happen in the real world. (This discrepancy is also why someone with an Associates degree in Applied Science in Network Technology is a hotter commodity than someone with a BS in Computer Science.)

I heard an anecdotal story at the university, which to me sums up the insanity of college/university mentality:

A man taught at a local college as an adjunct professor in Criminal Justice. A former policeman, he had written the textbook which was the defacto standard for a particular subject. The university wanted to hire him to be a full time instructor, but couldnt because he didnt have a PhD! The compromise was that he could be hired if he had a master's degree. While working on his master's, he had to take a class where the textbook was the book he personally had written.

The instructor, while looking over the class roster, noticed his name and the similarity of it to the textbook author. "Are you related to the author?" he asked.

My point? Life isn't fair, be flexible. This is true for just about every career field. What I have discovered is that while life owes everyone a living, its incredibly stingy with its money. :)

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Oh yeah...one other thing....

by RknRlKid In reply to No different in the US

Many jobs dealing with computers have nothing to do with computers!

There was a posting on the Microsoft jobs site for Human Interface Developer. What was the requirement? Masters degree in Behavioral Science! Computer knowledge was minimal. Why? Because designing a graphical user interface has nothing to do with computers, it has to do with behavioral science. So the guy with the degree in psychology actually does have an edge over the computer science guys!

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