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What's the best degree for a career in IT?

By debuggist Staff ·
I know CS seems like the obvious choice, although I'm sure others have chosen other majors and done well in IT.

Do others major in Mathematics or both CS and Math (that's what I did)?

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I think the answer boils down to this: "It depends."

by jmgarvin In reply to What's the best degree fo ...

While CS is the typical choice, we are seeing more schools offering degrees in IT, IS, and various other IT related fields. While I don't know if this is the perfect choice, I do think that CS does NOT prepare you for IT. CS makes you a scientist and a thinker, but you haven't a clue how to setup a router or develop a good security policy.

I've also seen CS degrees with a focus in IT or some such.

Me? I'm a CS guy that learned IT as I chugged along. While I wish I could have had a class that focused more on the practical aspects of something like networking, I'm glad I have a very good understanding of the theory and protocols. ****, I'm glad I wrote a protocol wrapper, just to see if I understood what was going on. However, I didn't know how to setup a router until one was thrown in my lap.

Looking at jobs on monster I've also noticed that certification requirements aren't listed very often. It seems a degree is worth FAR more than certs now and that a BS in CS, IT, IS, or "technology" is typically required for most of the job postings I saw.

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IT & IS degrees

by debuggist Staff In reply to I think the answer boils ...

I'm not familiar with these kinds of degrees. It used to be CS covered a wide gamut of IT careers. Now universities are providing more specialized degree programs.

I was just curious, since I've been out of the academic arena for more than a decade.

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Compare courses to job reqts

by Dr Dij In reply to IT & IS degrees

I read a book on offshoring that was explaining that US colleges don't prepare kids for what companies looking for. Colleges teach 'knowledge' and 'how to think', companies want 'know-how' or how to do something specific instantly, even if they could hire someone smart and train them.

They want a degree just to show you plugged away for 4 years at something vaguely related, but then have humongous list of specific reqts whipped up by HR people who don't know much about IT.

One real-life example: An engineer I knew visited a hiring fair in Long Beach. He went to one company's booth where the person was asking for 5 years experience with 68000 chip assembly. He got up to the person, and they asked him this. Engineer told them loudly that the chip had only been out 3 years (at that time), and left!

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Similar experience

by jmgarvin In reply to Compare courses to job re ...

I applied for a job that (total) required 97 years of experience in various areas. Apparently HR couldn't add very well...

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Re : Compare courses to job reqts

by Raja B In reply to Compare courses to job re ...

During the recession time you would see many such requirements. The companies had to come to the hiring fairs but they were instructed not to hire. They would make outrageous requirements.

I went to this job fair in 2002 ( Dallas TX) where they were looking for 10 yrs+ in Java. I am not sure if the inventors of Java would qualify :)

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It's a combination of 3 things

by dave.schutz In reply to I think the answer boils ...

I've been working in IT for 7 years and technology for almost 30 years. I'm a MSCE, MOS and currently working on my BS in IT. Most employers I've listened look at 3 things: degree, certifications, and experience. A degree just means you can pass some college classes. Certifications mean you can pass tests. Experience shows what you can do. When you combine these 3 things you are much more valuable.

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B.S. in IT is just that (BS, that is).

by GoDaves In reply to What's the best degree fo ...

By far, the better software developers I've worked with don't have any IT related degree. In fact, when I look for people to hire it has actually become a strike against them in my book. I look for people who sincerely like their work and are "passionate" about doing the job right (and come recommended by someone else) and the degree is always secondary by a long shot. People with an IT related major seem to have this entitlement mentality coming into interviews and, later, even into projects. This is not a ploy on my part to find an excuse to pay people less either.. I recommend paying people an amount that keeps them satisfied in their work, and not worried about personal finances so much, because they are far more productive that way, and in turn, the software they develop is that much more productive. It's time for IT organizations to shed this old "Industrial Age" mentatility regarding hiring people based on college degrees and less on ability, at least for software development, which is still, after all, as much an art as a science.

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by Lumbergh77 In reply to B.S. in IT is just that ( ...

Can't argue with ya.

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I'll tell you what's BS

by samson06 In reply to B.S. in IT is just that ( ...

An IT degree is a strike against someone? You gotta be kidding.

There are many computer science/IT grads that were interested in the field, and busted their butts to get themselves through school to reach their goals. They knew exactly what they wanted to do and didn't study an easy subject like psych or history so they could party hard for 4 years. And you stereotype IT grads as feeling "entitled" to a job? It's no worse than your attitude, where you seem to think you're "entitled" to cheap labor.

In your world, success should be about who you know, not what you're good at or interested in. It's managers with that mentality that run companies into the ground.

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Well while I wouldn't say

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to I'll tell you what's BS

that a degree is a strike against one, I'm not in the group that says not having one is either. A good job really, because I don't have one.

Any one who feels they can employ me because I'm cheaper than a grad is also in for a very rude awakening. LOL
In fact I now find it's the other way round I've been pipped for many positions by a wet behind the ears grad because they were cheaper, ?ks cheaper in fact. That's even when they advertised for someone with my level of experience.
Once I got asked to re-apply for a position six months after the person they chose instead of me failed due to lack of experience, I told them to stuff it.

However the real point is anyone who picks candidates based simply on a preference for a bit of paper or against it will fail to choose the right one more often than not. Interestingly though if you aren't judging on someone else's recomendation you must have some other way of doing it like assessing their skill yourself.

Lets face it getting a degree, is not about making you better at the job, it's not about proving enthusiasm or dedication, It's about giving yourself a chance to get an inteview. Because when they are sorting out candidates, no experience and no qualifications will always get your carefully crafted cv heading straight to the waste bin.

Lack of respect for a qualification of any sort is not the the person who qualified for it's fault. It's for those who set the standard of qualification, if you hand them out like advertising fliers, they are going to have exactly the same value.

You worked your *** off to get your degree, I worked my *** to cope with the fact that I hadn't got one. Which one of us showed more dedication, enthuiasm and ability is impossible to quantify.

You have to admit though there are far more employers out there who would give you the opportunity to be taken on before me. So exactly what criteria are they judging on. Not the ones you are talking about that's for sure.

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