Daniel Lemire's blog

, 9 min read

Will I get a job with this degree?

8 thoughts on “Will I get a job with this degree?”

  1. So does this mean you favor apprenticeship or some other alternative method to “getting a job” vs the path through college? What would that look like? And if that is the case and you think the function of job training should take place outside of the university, what remains at the university level and what value does it provide?

    I would answer your question about how to find a job in the post industrial economy the same way I advise students who want to work for me or in a similar field: Take it up as a hobby. There are far too many people doing much of the same thing (in my case, electrical engineering) to stand out in the marketplace, even with a degree from MIT or Stanford. And for all the students who say they don’t want to take it up as a hobby? I ask them why in the heck they’re in that field in the first place.

  2. @Chris

    I advise students who want to work for me or in a similar field: Take it up as a hobby.

    This seems like good advice.

  3. Itman says:

    I guess if one starts to learn programming in the 5th-7th grade (as many of teenagers do now), when you obtain a bachelors degree that would be several years of experience. I do believe that education helps greatly to become a better programmer.

    Does education requires decent knowledge of math? Absolutely, but not a very deep one: some basic calculus, algebra, statistics will do.

    Does education requires a college? Not necessarily. Especially now, when we have online courses. However, HR people often do.

  4. The UK Government has adopted a policy over the last decade or so of trying to get 50% of school leavers through university to come out with a degree, and student-loan debt. This seems to have lowered the quality of some degrees so that more can pass else there’s no point going, cheapened the value of some degrees as more end up having them, and increased the number of `fluff’ degrees in topics that didn’t used to exist.

    To a school leaver it may seem like three years of fun away from home but an increasing number here are seeing the poor job market and the debt their older peers are saddled with and instead deciding to enter industry at 18 to earn for those same years whilst learning on the job.

    Twenty years ago a lot of the bigger software employers here, e.g. defence industry, would take on school leavers, have them code four days a week alongside skilled comparative old-timers, and on the fifth day they’d attend local college (not uni) for a HND or similar in SW Eng after a few years. They compared very well to their degree-earning peers because of their coal-face battle-scarred experience. However, as jobs became more flexible employers stopped this because they easily lost the talent they trained; it was how to climb the salary ladder.

  5. Mike Stiber says:

    Come now; if you get a CS degree these days, you’re pretty much guaranteed a job upon graduation. The number of CS grads produced each year is just a tiny fraction of the number of new job openings. See http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/download/presskits/citizenship/MSNTS.pdf

  6. “Free” education is a funny idea. As long as it costs money to pay professors and run universities, that is indirectly campaigning for higher income taxes. Which, needless to say, is a sore point for every tax-payer everywhere.

    That said, a small anecdote: In India, at least till the 1960s, better-off individuals took responsibility to educate poor youngsters. It was thought of as a social duty (as opposed to a social tax). For example, my great-grandfather funded the entire education of one student and provided him with residence in his own home. His family would also invite poor students home for meals. To give you an idea of the value of this practice in those times, the students would be served food before the rest of the family, as honoured guests. They supported about two or three students each year this way. What they demanded in return was for the students to perform well in their studies. Several students made their way through high schools and diplomas owing to this system of “Madhukari” http://vedabase.net/cc/madhya/20/81/

    Society, and so I, will have to provide one way or the other for my “free” education. What matters is whether we feel happy and fulfilled doing it. Otherwise, there’s frankly no point to it.

  7. Daniel wrote… Effectively, I predict that the effectiveness of higher education as a tool for social mobility will weaken.

    … especially when more people begin to see clearly, that there really are other ways. And there is one old, tried and tested way in particular that we don’t remember or understand fully any more. Yet it is a “way” that can scale biologically[1] across society, purely on the power of the idea becoming socially acceptable – and indeed, valued – again. Mastery By Apprenticeship. At least some folks in Computer Science & Engineering are trying to revive it.

    I’m betting on it personally – I am going to be attending http://www.StartupSchool.in for three months next month. Also, I’m building a collection of Software Apprenticeship links at my fancy blog post “The Jedi Protocol”, or the way of the apprentice: http://adityaathalye.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/the-jedi-protocol/

    [1] If you ask Alan Kay, he will show you how nothing of human creation, except the WWW (and maybe religion), approaches the scaling power of biological processes. To put that last bit in perspective, all living things are really processes and not “things” at all. A human individual is a process that exchanges all its atoms – not cells or molecules, but atoms – with the Universe over every 7 to 10 years. A virus individual may do it in seconds and a species, in a million years. See Alan’s keynote talk at SRII 2011: http://vimeo.com/22463791

  8. Itman says:

    Come now; if you get a CS degree these days, you’re pretty much guaranteed a job upon graduation.

    This may not be true even in the nearest future! Outsourcing, dot-com collapse and similar events did happen in the past. They will also happen in the future! You should also consider what kind of job you can get after graduation. Most programming jobs are outright shitty, so may not want such a job, at least in the long run.