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  1. #126
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Hell, I might as well add my two cents to this topic.

    Ideally I like to hear what highly successful people did for college. The common theme I have seen is that all of them went to college, but they saw better opportunities and dropped out. This is true for Bill Gates as well as other multi-millionaires. On the other hand, there is no shortage of CEOs who have gone to prestigious schools.

    A few of you have said whats 2 or 3 years? 2 or 3 years are everything. If Bill Gates would have waited three more years to start Microsoft, where would he be today? I'm sure he would be a millionaire, but I doubt he'd be a billionaire. Opportunity is today, if you wait for it you are going to miss it.

    I am in college right now and I work on my businesses full time. This leaves little time for anything else. Fortunately I have some help and enjoy what I'm doing.

    Some career options absolutely require college, others don't. As far as I can see this is the right answer to the question "How much does college matter?" Although honestly, if you are asking yourself this question right now I think you probably should go to college.

  2. #127
    SitePoint Member <div>'s Avatar
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    I have a college degree and I graduated in 97 as well but I learned more working freelance, internships and my first job then I did in my entire college career. The problem that I see and that I had with college was that it was such a broad edjucation and not speciallized enough. Sure it looks good on a resume but a solid portfolio tends to weigh a lot more. I still take classes, however these are focused programming courses that my employer now pays.

    I think that as far as design goes, a solid portfolio and the ability to explain your thought process behind the design can not be beat. However if you are trying to get a backend job (asp, coldfusion) degree's are always listed as a prerequisite expecially in the U.S.

  3. #128
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    its all up too u

    what are you going to do if you have a degree,will you put it to use, dont just say how important is it, its as important as you want it to be. a doctor or lawyer defintaly needs schooling and alot of it , but alot of entreprenuers wont need to go to college to be successful but thats not saying they all dont need it. Its worth going and finishing if your still confused on what you want to do. and even if your sure of it theres a good chance that school wont hurt,

  4. #129
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    Here's the context of my post:
    I am applying to International Relations Programs at UC Berkeley, Stanford and Amherst College.
    I'm 24, going back to college after leaving high school at 17.

    Not to be a web developer, but a Goldmun (of Narcissus and Goldmun, Hesse 1930). Basically to travel, meet women and be an activist of sorts. I ended up as a web developer through grit and determination, and I ended up running a small web dev company for 3 years.

    In those 3 years (and the 2 since), I can say that the best guys I ever hired were high school kids, or early twenties dropouts turned professionals. They were also safer bets. I think one reason is that if someone studies something in college, they often begin to become to pricey for work. Especially if they did it because they had no experience, and college is the "done" thing.

    Someone who has to scrap for recognition is working on learning, performing, growing all the time. They are also usually more humble.

    So why am I going back to college? Because the jobs I really want are not in IT which I can now confidently say I'm a professional at.

    For IT if you aren't getting into the real geeky Car-Melon, MIT ****, there is absolutely no need for a determined, intelligent, researching person with an internet connection to go to college. Most friends of mine, even those who went to school in my industry are unable to find jobs in it. I think there are 3 reasons for this:

    1. They don't know as much in regards to relevant skills in the industry. Fundamentatlly great, practically way behind.

    2. Networking. Whoever said college is great for your networking: I disagree wholeheartedly when it comes to IT. If you are getting work now, you can network now. College is great for networking, and one of my motivations for returning, but if you already have work, what's better? I have a dozen web dev houses who know me, swear by me, and call me in for all of their projects where ever I am in the world. I worked for those contacts, you can't just get them in college.

    3. Experience is King in a decentrialized industry such as web dev services. For Logic Chips, Mobile chip design and Encryption Cyphering, yeah, I'd go to college because as is said above, Gates didn't go to college, but that doesn't mean he'll hire your ***. But the crazy client with the 15K budget for an e-commerce /portal app will if you have 5-6 projects under your belt.


  5. #130
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    2. Networking. Whoever said college is great for your networking: I disagree wholeheartedly when it comes to IT. If you are getting work now, you can network now. College is great for networking, and one of my motivations for returning, but if you already have work, what's better? I have a dozen web dev houses who know me, swear by me, and call me in for all of their projects where ever I am in the world. I worked for those contacts, you can't just get them in college.
    It is not about networking in your field. It is about having a network in many things, all over the place. I can go to cali and have places to stay and leads for jobs? Why, considering I have lived on the east coast and went to college down south? Becaus I went to a good national university and have connections working on making it into high places all over. That is the kind of networking I am talking about. The other kind happens almost by default if you pursue your chosen field with any sort of vigor.

  6. #131
    SitePoint Wizard dethfire's Avatar
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    I didn't have to enter college. I did and the experiences I got I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. Simple as that, don't grow up too soon. You got 40 years to work 9-5.
    Free Science Homework Help
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  7. #132
    SitePoint Enthusiast chairman's Avatar
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    the experiance. People I know who went to college have a different outlook and philospohy with life. Like Dethfire said, work will come soon enough. I think that going to college also gives a person a degree of respectablitiy. Not just with programmers and techies but with the business community. It really does matter what you want to do.
    Still it came passing by
    The pieces weaved together rose the sun
    And fooled me with another day
    The knocking message called for my life

  8. #133
    Non-Member redhits's Avatar
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    I am in Romania, and I got a problem like that
    it in my last year of college , when i wanted to work for a company , and they refused me because I didn't graduated the college, even if I told them that I got good marks, and I am in the last year
    now ... that they refused me, I am earning 15-20 times more money,every month that I had working for them

  9. #134
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    Another bit to add:

    - College graduates are paid 75% more than those who graduated from just high school

    That's a solid fact.

    College, from my experience, has helped me to greatly grow as a person (moreso by living on campus, you don't get the same effect commuting). Living with many different people my first year in a dorm, and now 3 very different people in my oncampus apartment, I have learned a lot about myself through their perception of me that I wouldn't have otherwise noted. Quirks, weaknesses, strengths, positive attributes--I'm more socially aware of myself, and as a result my communication skills have continued to thrive. Companies primarily look for communication skills as the first thing when interviewing a prospective candidate for a job, and college helps you to grow exponentially in that area. You don't need to be a Harvard grad to experience this by any means, but college is your last bastion against the real world. As someone else pointed out, you have the next fourty years of your life to work 9 to 5...

    You learn a lot more in college than your discipline.

  10. #135
    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    College = the way to avoid taking on adult responsibilities for 4 more years .

  11. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannov
    College, from my experience, has helped me to greatly grow as a person
    I feel the same way. I wouldn't trade what I've learned in college (and I'm not talking about academic knowledge) for anything else.

  12. #137
    SitePoint Zealot RogueOnTheNet's Avatar
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    Just to add my thoughts on the topic...

    It depends a lot on the job market. Where I currently reside, in Tulsa (and go to school), they won't hire IT workers without degrees or the appropriate professional certifications. I've met long-time programmers at school pursuing a degree because their company told them get a degree or we have to let you go. Some tech companies have even left town because of a lack of degreed professional IT workers...they simply refuse to have management that doesn't hold up in comparison to that in companies in any other part of the country, which means they want professionals with degrees who have a broad understanding of business and leadership...not just core IT skills.

    I'm pursuing a degree in eBusiness Marketing, and will probably snag a few others over the next few years. I've freelanced as a designer, webmaster, consultant, and PC tech; I have worked for a company as a tech as well (networking/cabling also). I have military (my first profession of about 8 years) experience and training in security operations, communications, technical intelligence, and as an instructor. I've done inside sales in two industries, HAZMAT certified, and my thoughts and experience all tell me to suggest to everyone: get a college degree if you can, as soon as you can--the payoff will be more than worth it.

    I've got tons more experience than a lot of web designers, webmasters, PC techs and probably know as much about marketing as I'll learn in my degree program...however: it's a piece of paper that matters to many employers, both to help HR personell justify their hire, and to cover their butts, as it is to show you have basic skills such as communication, workflow, project management and basic research and other such basics, as well as a knowledge of management or supervisory theory. Consider that yes, you may have a great job now, but what if you need to change jobs? Or careers? While all your web development skills might pay off nicely now, they won't do jack for you if you want to go into business management for a change. A degree, however, will make you a candidate for such a position if it's even remotely relevant.

    As to changing careers, I've learned (in college) that the current statistics are that the number of career fields most people will have (in the US at least) during their lifetime, is now 7! Not jobs...but careers! If you at all have the smallest desire to do something other than your immediate job, you'd better have a degree if you don't want to always end up on the lowest rung of the ladder.

    Networking is another valuable asset, as are the opportunity to participate in various groups and organizations. I know a lot of long-time workers in many industries who are highly skilled...but simply don't know how to write a report, give a presentation, speak in public, lead a team, manage a project, understand workflow or basic business principles, etc. I know grads who aren't working in a field related to what they studied--including some who got their current job only because they had a degree that got them a foot in the door. And yes, I know some grads who are complete friggin morons. It's what YOU put into it, and what YOU get out of it that matters most. After that, it's what matters to a potential employer.


    Just my two cents worth. (Which will be worth approximately at least ten cents when my degree is complete!)

    Sean

  13. #138
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    Hi Liz,

    Looks like I did find some activity from you recently after all.

    Well, you already have what seems to be a good job, so the original point of the thread might be moot, at least for you. But what the heck, I feel like posting....

    A college degree can open some doors. These doors are usually attached to large buildings owned by large companies. And in the large companies, the rule tends to be the rule, without exception. Even when it comes to promotion once you're in. Get to a certain level, and if you don't have a degree, that's as far as you can get.

    From a purely practical level, there are pros and cons to each path. Work straight out of high school and you get a street smarts sense of what's important and what isn't. However, college also serves as a finishing school, usually making those who graduate more polished and comfortable moving in the 'right' circles.

    You've got one of the best eyes for design that I've seen, and seem to be able to capture the essence of things very well graphically. Clearly you're a bright person, and I think the lack of a degree will only hinder you when trying to jam your foot into the door of the large companies. Stick with smaller employers, where the prez/CEO is likely a bootstrapper himself (or herself), and you'll always do fine.

    Hope the new job is going well.

    Jeff

  14. #139
    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by platinum
    We had a graphic designer type person send his resume in, degree in multimedia, well written letter, but the fact was the examples of work he sent in was what you'd see if you bought frontpage and used a 'create website wizard' combined with MS paint graphics.
    I've seen plenty of work like that from non-graduates too
    Hello World

  15. #140
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    Well i didnt finsih my courrse at college, i thought it was boring the teachers were rubbish and i didnt learn much at all.

  16. #141
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    My main concern with college in this career field, is that you can learn wayyyyy more for free on the internet. College in most cases costs a pretty penny (or 2). I cant afford college nor can any member of the family help, but is it worth paying large interest loans in the long run???

    Is it really worth going and spending alot of the money on a college that would only teach you so much when you can really learn all this on your own. I can understand college for a business degree so you can run your own self learned webdesign business. If i was an employer, Id look for people who have a good portfolio showing lots of evidence of good *steady* work. than a new college grad with a piece of paper stating that they have earned a assoc/ba/masters.. and so on. I hear some employers would also send you to school again to train you in what they want you to know, or get someone in the company to train.

    Thats my 2 cents for ya. Just to let all who read this know.. I am an 18 yr old Sr. In high school still trying to work out what I wanna do as far as extended education. Based off what I read, heard and so on.. college isn't all its baked to be, especially in this field (webdesign)-(medical field/aviation..ect is different). Then again that is my opinon, and please feel free to add your knowlege and thoughts to this so that even i may broaden my understanding. As it currently stands for me - No college is needed for webdesign/graphics. - but could work out for the business ethics portion if you plan to freelance/own your own firm.

    Sorry for the lengthy post, hope it helps
    -Ben

  17. #142
    Xbox why have you forsaken me? moospot's Avatar
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    When you teach yourself, you might be teaching yourself bad habits. Having a mentor or teacher can point out your weak points and give you perspective. You can learn a lot by yourself, but I feel you can learn far more with the right people around you. While it is true that you don't need college to succeed, most people use a degree as a barometer to guage knowledge. Sad as it is, perceptions of techies by non-technical people are grossly inaccurate. Does an HR manager really know that you don't need college to know what you know? You have to think about the person who is hiring. It's most likely not a tech person.

  18. #143
    + platinum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougBTX
    I've seen plenty of work like that from non-graduates too
    That's kind of my point, you'd expect if someone had done a 3-4 year course they would be good at it.

  19. #144
    SitePoint Guru hurtdidit's Avatar
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    It seems to me the real point isn't whether or not to go to college; it's what you choose to do to educate yourself, either alongside formal schooling or while working.

    From my own experience, I wouldn't trade an MBA for the hands-on work experience I gleaned even from a young age. I grew up on my family's farm (not a fun hobby farm, but a working, cows-and-wheat operation) and was shoveling grain and working calves when I was 9 or 10. I was operating heavy machinery on a regular basis by 12, and basically forced to make basic operating decisions for myself on a daily basis. I'm sure my parents bent a few child-labor laws along the way! LOL (I jest; in the U.S., children are legally allowed to work on a family farm under terms much different from other industries).

    What does any of this have to do with entrepreneurship? Well, if you are planning on running your own business, you really cannot appreciate the amount of work and dedication that's needed to make an operation a successful one, through college classes. The theories and tests professors have to offer can't teach you how to put in long hours or work for months without a salary. I've yet to find any college professors who have any clue when it comes to what it takes to run a startup business--99% of college business (indeed IT as well) classes are geared towards enterprise-level employment, where you are just one very small cog on a much greater corporate wheel.

    So, whether or not you decide college is worthwhile (for the record, I believe a degree is worthwhile if you are intending on being an employee, but worth significantly less if you are going to be self-employed), I think the real track to success is to WORK. Even if it's not directly within your field of choice, there is no education like hands-on work experience.

    (Sorry for the lengthy post!)

    "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world.
    Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Mead

  20. #145
    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hurtdidit
    (Sorry for the lengthy post!)
    Go for it, it was a good post
    Hello World

  21. #146
    SitePoint Guru hurtdidit's Avatar
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    LOL, thanks Doug! Sometimes I get carried away though, so I have to watch myself lest I accidentally write a manifesto.

    "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world.
    Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Mead

  22. #147
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    Totally depends on where you want to work, and in what capacity. I can only speak for myself. I dropped out halfway through my 2nd year, and decided to start my own business.

    In spite of dropping out, I can speak for both sides of the coin. If you are hell bent on self employment of some sort (and some people are...myself included), then you shouldn't worry about college. I don't think it will do all that much for you. Real life experience counts 100 fold more.

    However, if you want to get a well paying job...then stay in school. Get the best degree you can, and try to learn as much as you can outside of school, so you have both the degree and the experience. This is really the safest bet if you are looking for a good job.

  23. #148
    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alorainc
    If you are hell bent on self employment of some sort (and some people are...myself included), then you shouldn't worry about college. I don't think it will do all that much for you. Real life experience counts 100 fold more.
    I agree with you when talking about degrees which try to replicate real experience - I feel they work much better when they are a compliment rather than a replacement.

    The thing is, on my course, I'm learning things that no one will teach you outside in the "real world". Once phrase: "The difference between a scientist and someone interested in science is that the former does science, the latter just reads about it." If you want to do something like that, you really need to go to Uni. The financial arguments for it having to "apply" directly to making money later probably apply more in the US than here, where Uni fees are 10 to 20 to more times higher.

    Hay, Google started out as a Uni paper

    "it is crucial to have a competitive search engine that is transparent and in the academic realm" ... I wonder if they still think that post-IPO?

    Douglas
    Hello World

  24. #149
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    degree is an advantage, but not a prerequisite! for being self-employed or having own business, college degree is not neccessary. but, for beingan employee degree [with experience, of course] is a big plus.

    generally... all posts got something true.


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