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Going to college worth it??


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#1 mute20

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 11:53 AM

I was wondering if going to college to get a bachelors/diploma is worth going for. Can you still get a job by learning programming by yourself with nothing. I have heard many conflicting programmers that say they don't even use most of what they learned in college. Also what is the best language to start out with cause I totally don't have a good idea what the market is looking for.

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#2 groovicus

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 12:27 PM

College is not just about learning your trade. It is also about learning how to communicate effectively, meeting deadlines, and building your critical thinking skills. For instance, just what are 'conflicting programmers'? Are they a couple of people yelling at each other, or are they just giving each other the hairy eyeball? What you probably really meant was 'conflicting statements from different programmers'. Being an effective programmer means being able to take a precise set of instructions, and create an application that fits those specifications.

You don't need to go to college, but during the job interview I might ask about database normalization, or about how to optimize some routine, and you won't know how to answer. Recursion, what's that? Given that there are so many graduates looking for work, employers are going to want someone that can at least show they were serious enough to commit to college. A degree also indicates at least some basic skillset. And college gives you the opportunity to engage in extra-curricular activities through which you can really make yourself stand out from the next person.

As far as your 'conflicting programmers', I call bullbleep. I would argue that every time they dealt with a spec doc, they used critical thinking skills to interpret the document. That usually comes from a composition class. Any time they have attended a stand-up to discuss what they were working on, they used skills practiced in speech class. And when something goes wrong, you can bet they used research skills honed while in college. I will probably never use Calculus in my current job, but it did help me learn to break down very complex problems into simple steps. Again, another critical skill for a programmer.

College is about more than just learning a skill set. You learn other skills that make you more effective at your job, and life in general.

#3 mute20

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 12:51 PM

What kind of degrees did you go for when you went to college just wondering? Open to anyone to reply fyi.

#4 groovicus

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 04:15 PM

Personally, I have a Major in Compute Science and a Minor in Mathematics. I also picked up a Criminal Justice degree on the way, and I am one credit short of my Master's.

#5 markr9

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 12:01 AM

a good college should also teach you why you should do certain things that a hands-on training may not do. I learned cobol and rpg as a trainee programmer in a large company, it did not help me with application design, database design or anything much beyond "this is how you code for a report, or online enquiry, or x.

You might be advised to check what courses can be combined with a view to design or business analysis.

#6 Rootkit Hunter

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 09:36 PM

I would highly recommend at least getting a BS, and use the time to learn as much as you can and program as much as you can. Yeah, you will likely learn things on the job that you didn't learn in college, and there's a ton of stuff that you'll learn in school that you won't use in your job, but that's not the point. The point of a college degree is to teach you to learn the fundamentals of your trade and develop critical thinking skills that you will use the rest of your life.

I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a MS in Computer Science.

Edited by Rootkit Hunter, 03 June 2011 - 09:37 PM.





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