Degree qualified?

Author
Discussion

272BHP

Original Poster:

1,463 posts

180 months

Sunday 23rd June
quotequote all
I don't have a degree.

I did plan on getting one when I left the military but by then it had all got a bit too expensive and the actual syllabus (Computer Science) would bore me to tears. In the end I decided it would be a better use of my time and money to get professional certifications instead.

Obviously you need a degree to be a doctor or lawyer but for technical and IT related roles is a degree really necessary in 2019?


randlemarcus

11,771 posts

175 months

Sunday 23rd June
quotequote all
No, but equivalent experience is. I know a few non-degree folks doing senior consultant roles, but they have got there the hard way. Paper tigers probably won't. Be aware it might bite harder later, once you need to go the long way round for that H1B visa.

272BHP

Original Poster:

1,463 posts

180 months

Sunday 23rd June
quotequote all
I had to look up what a H1B visa was.

I am in my 50s now so I don't think that particular problem will pop up.

LosingGrip

5,131 posts

103 months

Sunday 23rd June
quotequote all
Need one to join the police now...

Or you can do the Apprentice route and do a degree during your probation.

I'm not sure if it's a good idea.

C0ffin D0dger

3,108 posts

89 months

Monday 24th June
quotequote all
Depends on the level of expertise / intelligence needed I guess. I work for a large company designing & manufacturing electronic systems for aircraft (Boeing and Airbus), division I'm in is satellite communications. It's highly unlikely that a CV for someone without a relevant degree would even make it to my inbox unless they had a lot of experience in the area.

Edited by C0ffin D0dger on Monday 24th June 12:43

rog007

5,102 posts

168 months

Monday 24th June
quotequote all
Projecting your ability to do the job better than all the other applicants is what you’re striving to achieve via your CV and then subsequently at interview (if you get shortlisted).

Getting shortlisted is about showing in your CV that you have most of both the essential and desireable skills, experiences and qualifications.

If a role states that an academic qualification is either essential or desireable, then you’re clearly going to be at a disadvantage, particularly if others with similar skills and experiences do have one.

Are the roles you’re interested in asking for this?

bucksmanuk

1,204 posts

114 months

Monday 24th June
quotequote all
For technical – (read mechanical engineering – i.e. me)
I started my experience with an HND, and way back then (1986), that was more than enough. Within 5 years I was informed in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t. B.Sc. and M.Sc., it was then….
To start off today, sub 25 - you need a degree. Sad but true. In fact, most places are looking for M.Sc. and M. Eng today.
The more relevant experience you get, the less you need a degree- in most cases.
It’s the effect of HR, they need quick effective filters to reduce the applications they must sift through. No degree = end of application.
It depends upon how techy the work is, straight forward design, not required.
Doing calcs and analysis, in most places, you wouldn’t be expected to do the sums anyway without a degree. Again - sad but true.
Reading CVs today, it’s taken as read that you would have a degree.
I’ve seen/heard more than person go through a pile of CVs and just dump all the non-degree people immediately. As above, originally with an HND, this pains me quite a bit!

I’m currently sat in an office surrounded by CAD contractors - most of which don't have a degree, but they do have 25+ years of relevant experience. They take home considerably more than the staff senior engineers with PhD’s etc… (probably 75% more).

fat80b

846 posts

165 months

Monday 24th June
quotequote all
272BHP said:
the actual syllabus (Computer Science) would bore me to tears. In the end I decided it would be a better use of my time and money to get professional certifications instead.

Obviously you need a degree to be a doctor or lawyer but for technical and IT related roles is a degree really necessary in 2019?
It depends. Having a relevant degree definitely makes it easier to progress in 2019.

What exactly do you want to do? - You say Computer Science as a degree choice but then IT roles as a career choice.

I would say an IT role does not require a degree and in some ways CS would be way over qualified for a general IT role.
IT is also quite broad - an IT person can mean a tech support role with relatively little tech skills and knowledge (e.g. support desk) or it can mean a highly skilled expert in a particular area who spends most of their day writing lots of code / architechting a big project.

Someone who chooses CS is often someone who has been in and around computers and in particular programming as a hobby and would certainly not be bored to tears by it which to me suggests it might be worth a little bit more research into what exactly you want to do.


menguin

3,494 posts

165 months

Monday 24th June
quotequote all
LosingGrip said:
Need one to join the police now...

Or you can do the Apprentice route and do a degree during your probation.

I'm not sure if it's a good idea.
Are you serious? You need a degree to join the police?!

toon10

4,189 posts

101 months

Monday 24th June
quotequote all
In a word, no. I had to get a degree in computing as back in my day (when it were all fields round ere), you just didn't get an interview without one. Back then, the most exposure to computers we had were ZX Spectrums or BBC Micros. As time's gone by, home tech is so commonplace that kids are programming, making phone apps and generally learning IT from a young age. By the time they've left school, there's just no need for degrees.

In fact, I'm the only one in my department with a Uni education. There's guys here on more money, more senior roles and doing rather well for themselves and they're a good few years younger and have little to no certificates or qualifications behind them, just lots of good experience. There's also plenty of guys here with no qualifications who are completely useless too.

272BHP

Original Poster:

1,463 posts

180 months

Monday 24th June
quotequote all
rog007 said:
Projecting your ability to do the job better than all the other applicants is what you’re striving to achieve via your CV and then subsequently at interview (if you get shortlisted).

Getting shortlisted is about showing in your CV that you have most of both the essential and desireable skills, experiences and qualifications.

If a role states that an academic qualification is either essential or desireable, then you’re clearly going to be at a disadvantage, particularly if others with similar skills and experiences do have one.

Are the roles you’re interested in asking for this?
Some do yes, and I must admit I have never applied for one that explicitly stated it - I immediately write it off as a no go.

272BHP

Original Poster:

1,463 posts

180 months

Monday 24th June
quotequote all
fat80b said:
It depends. Having a relevant degree definitely makes it easier to progress in 2019.

What exactly do you want to do? - You say Computer Science as a degree choice but then IT roles as a career choice.

I would say an IT role does not require a degree and in some ways CS would be way over qualified for a general IT role.
IT is also quite broad - an IT person can mean a tech support role with relatively little tech skills and knowledge (e.g. support desk) or it can mean a highly skilled expert in a particular area who spends most of their day writing lots of code / architechting a big project.

Someone who chooses CS is often someone who has been in and around computers and in particular programming as a hobby and would certainly not be bored to tears by it which to me suggests it might be worth a little bit more research into what exactly you want to do.
The syllabus put me off as a good percentage of it appeared to be at a much easier level than I was expecting and I simply would have been bored. I was doing linked-list and search algorithms 30 years ago. I used to be a fairly decent programmer in the 80s and was mentored by very beardy old gentlemen who would bash me over the head with a copy of Edsger Dijkstra if I ever pushed out sloppy code.

I came to the conclusion I would be doing the course for a line on a cv and nothing more. I am sure I would have learnt some things but the cost/benefit ratio would surely have been appalling, especially as I am nearing the twilight of my working life.

Arranguez

134 posts

17 months

Monday 24th June
quotequote all
I’ve not got a degree. I’m early 40s and have only had three jobs since leaving uni for my first one. I’m still a bit nervous when applying for jobs (enterprise IT account management) but it hasn’t held me back so far, the companies (good vendors, top of their game) have been more interested in my experience and have never even bothered asking. Most of the time I tell them as an early disclosure and it doesn’t even register. I just had zero interest in my subject at degree level (Maths) and lasted 2 out of 3 years whereas at work I work hard and enjoy it. I wonder what the likes of Accenture might say if I ever apply there.

dundarach

2,053 posts

172 months

Monday 24th June
quotequote all
Never valued my degree until it was an entry requirement for something in my 30's....

Was pleased I had it then, especially as another chap didn't!

randlemarcus

11,771 posts

175 months

Monday 24th June
quotequote all
Arranguez said:
I wonder what the likes of Accenture might say if I ever apply there.
Yes.

Or at least it's not an automated no. It's the decades of relevant experience that works on your favour. No shortcuts.

drmcw

119 posts

36 months

Tuesday 25th June
quotequote all
I'm a bit confused - roughly how old is OP? I thought relatively young until he said coding in the 80's so I'm thinking he's a good bit older now.

I switched to IT from Lecturing maths 30 years ago and went self employed probably doing what OP fancies. It was made easier by having a PhD in maths - being Dr drmcw got me in front of people. So no CS degree but no employer either. That was in the early 90's as I recall. Some cheeky devil suggested I sit some sort of test - I got up, apologised and walked out. However, my son when needing programming employment underwent telephone interviews, technical grilling and a coding challenge. I think if you could do this then a degree is an irrelevance.

Talking to a couple of younger IT guys who do remarkable things with microprocessors in industry they said they felt their 3 years at university was wasted and relevant industrial experience would have been time better spent. Both clever, in and around 30, very good jobs, very good coders. They had to be as they were writing complex machine code in 32k of RAM and no storage.

Their code was tight and efficient. But in general just how good is coding these days? From what I see not awfully but it does the job and if it runs slow then throw a bigger processor at it, more RAM and it's been like that for years. I'm not sure efficient code is a requirement now - what is required is to get the job done so the users are happy.

From experience there is some appalling code behind apps and web sites but they run well, look great and everyone is happy. System constraints don't really exist like they did in the 80's, server farms eliminate that need. I doubt that anyone is hit over the head by aged beardies for sloppy sort algorithms. It seems vastly more important you can locate a good library with efficient tools that cover sorts and layout etc. Indeed having a good hipster beard might be more important than a degree smile

Finally, if a degree is really needed I have heard some people can obtain them cheaply from some institutions at remarkably short notice.

I have rambled. Forgive me.

Mike


boxst

3,014 posts

89 months

Tuesday 25th June
quotequote all
randlemarcus said:
Arranguez said:
I wonder what the likes of Accenture might say if I ever apply there.
Yes.

Or at least it's not an automated no. It's the decades of relevant experience that works on your favour. No shortcuts.
If you have the relvant experience then Accenture seem not to mind. But the key to everything said here is that you need experience and it is quite difficult to get that initial job.

I do not have a degree and am doing well, but I'm old and in IT and (directly opposite to one the statements above) could demonstrate I could code having written games and software at home on an Atari 800. I then had the relevant experience and the lack of degree became irrelevant.

Apart from being a teacher. I wanted to semi-retire and quite fancied just teaching IT at a local school but couldn't as I didn't have a degree. It didn't matter if my degree was in Surf Science (that exists) I just had to tick the box.

Baby Shark doo doo doo doo

11,517 posts

113 months

Tuesday 25th June
quotequote all
Degree has become the new A-level. Unfortunately it’s just a standard qualification that many expect you to have done. They can’t reason why you should have it, but in some cases you have to have it. Ridiculous really.

When hiring staff in engineering, a degree didn’t bother me. I’d look at the quality of the CV, experience etc and get the potential employees to demonstrate their skills/abilities/knowledge. I imagine it’d be similar for a lot of IT companies that aren’t run by unemployable HRM cretins?

272BHP

Original Poster:

1,463 posts

180 months

Tuesday 25th June
quotequote all
drmcw said:
I'm a bit confused - roughly how old is OP? I thought relatively young until he said coding in the 80's so I'm thinking he's a good bit older now.

I switched to IT from Lecturing maths 30 years ago and went self employed probably doing what OP fancies. It was made easier by having a PhD in maths - being Dr drmcw got me in front of people. So no CS degree but no employer either. That was in the early 90's as I recall. Some cheeky devil suggested I sit some sort of test - I got up, apologised and walked out. However, my son when needing programming employment underwent telephone interviews, technical grilling and a coding challenge. I think if you could do this then a degree is an irrelevance.
I am 54 now so no spring chicken that's for sure.

I have no problem with the technical grilling and the coding challenges. I am fully employed and always have been so I have no trouble finding gainful employment in this domain. My issue is that there are a few roles that I thought I would have be perfect for until I scroll to the must haves and it cites a degree in CS or a related discipline.


OMITN

300 posts

36 months

Tuesday 25th June
quotequote all
272BHP said:
I don't have a degree.

I did plan on getting one when I left the military but by then it had all got a bit too expensive and the actual syllabus (Computer Science) would bore me to tears. In the end I decided it would be a better use of my time and money to get professional certifications instead.

Obviously you need a degree to be a doctor or lawyer but for technical and IT related roles is a degree really necessary in 2019?
I’m a lawyer. I have a degree. Just not a law degree....

Maybe that explains something :wink: