Linked by snydeq on Thu 15th Jul 2010 18:31 UTC
General Development Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister asks whether the need for advanced development expertise is on the decline in an era in which tools grow increasingly more advanced, and coding increasingly moves offshore. 'Few companies share Google's zeal for academic credentials when hiring new developers. Many are willing to accept self-taught programmers, particularly if they have other skills relevant to the business.'
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Great Discussion Here
by yoursecretninja on Fri 16th Jul 2010 16:03 UTC
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There has been a lot of great discussion in this thread! This really is an interesting topic of discussion and I can't help but contribute my opinion on the subject.

At the end of the day, I believe there are multiple routes to success and greatness. This topic could be argued for a long time and I'd be willing to bet that people on both sides could carry on providing examples to prove their point or disprove the other.

The value of a CS (or related degree) is directly proportional to how much one values formal study. By that I mean, that people have different learning styles and this is well studied. Some people thrive in a structured learning environment while others suffocate. If you learn well through formal instruction, and are passionate about the subject, then a CS degree will probably help bring out the best of your abilities. If you are a more hands on or independent learning, and are also passionate about the subject, then you're probably best served by independent learning.

For this reason, I believe it is unfair to make judgements about one's depth of knowledge and quality of work based on whether or not one has a degree in the subject. If you are a good at what you do, passionate about it, and driven to succeed, others will notice, regardless of if, when, or where you went to school or what you studied.

Statistics that show that university grads are more successful (measured in terms of earnings) are difficult to qualify. There are likely certain mental aptitudes, behaviours, and socioeconomic circumstances that post-secondary graduates share that may be different from non-post-secondary graduates and these factors may influence career success or earning potential more or less than one's education, qualifications or experience. This I'd be interested in learning more about and would love to read some studies on it.

In my own case, I value both informal and formal instruction. My original degree was in business. The whole time I was formally studying business, I was teaching myself CS. I then went on to work as a programmer for the next five years and have recently returned to school to study CS. I am enjoying studying CS but I can't say if it's making me a better programmer. I believe it is making me a better person though. What I value about post-secondary education is not hard skills - I develop those better on my own through hard work and dedication... What I value is the life experience and perspective. You are forced to learn things that may not interest you... to study things outside your field... and I feel this added perspective and new experience makes me a better person, which to me is more important than being a better programmer or whatever else. But that's the way I learn and that's the value I, as an individual, place on formal instruction. I would never extrapolate my experiences on to others and assume this was true for all and that everyone should or should not go to university or get some other type of vocational training.


Edited 2010-07-16 16:11 UTC

Reply Score: 1