A time machine helps, too.
> A degree is not enough
Indeed not. According to some recruitment agencies, 5 years experience in 3 year-old technologies is a must-have.
A degree is not enough to help hopeful youngsters drag themselves off the dole queue and into a plum tech job, according to a survey of IT bigwigs. The employment site CWJobs asked 500 top tech titans about what they were looking for in a new recruit. Some 60 per cent agreed with the statement that "degrees alone are not …
I dunno, some of us old timers still have a few tricks up out sleeves.
I remember a few years back we had a new graduate start at the office. He was a good programmer, but was always using the latest and greatest technology. For example he'd define classes when a record set would have been fine.
One day I heard him cursing, and asked what was wrong. He'd been generating some automatically for something or other, and had typo'ed the file extension, and was manually plodding his way through them on windows, renaming them.
I popped open a command prompt, type a quick rename command and then closed the command prompt.
He looked at me like I'd just performed some kind of witchcraft!
I honestly don't know what they teach them these days, but it doesn't seem to include basic command line stuff.
Needless to say, I was seen as some kind of geek god after that! lol!
Which was nice.
Wildcard rename as in *.xxx to *.yyy is unique to DOS, so anyone who cut their teeth in another environment would not know about it. UNIX geeks would expect to write a short shell script. The lazier and more general approach I'd take would be to paste the file list into a text editor and search+replace with regexps to create a list of rename commands.
General stuff like this is considered "how to use a computer" so wont feature in any degree course.
I once worked for a telephone company in Germany on a Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) project.
Ever since I have had calls from agents who assume I will be able to handle any and all Short Message Service work their clients might have.
Even when the difference is explained to them they try and push me forward - genuinely seeming to think I'd have a chance of getting the work and not being found out in the course of it. I am tempted to head along to some interviews just to prove them wrong and make them look bad. But what if they are not wrong?
"General stuff like this is considered "how to use a computer" so wont feature in any degree course."
That's the problem, perhaps it *should* feature in degree training.
A fair proportion of my job was doing exactly that, and sometimes automating it. You'll be surprised how often "general stuff like this" comes up. It's the grease that keeps the cogs (users, management, clients) quiet.
Specific skills are not enough and it is pointless for universities to try to teach skills in readiness for industry.
All that piece of paper says is "this person can learn techy stuff".
What is far more interesting to employers is demonstration of actual work done. Since universities are generally pretty contrived, that does not count.
What does count though is experience. Yes, you CAN get experience while at university. Just sign up with an open source project that grabs your fancy and contribute to that. It carries a lot of weight with employers.
"Wildcard rename as in *.xxx to *.yyy is unique to DOS..."
That turns out not to be the case. Drawing only on my own limited experience, I can cite VMS, RSX, and RSTS as counterexamples - all of which, incidentally, flourished before "MS-DOS" was ever written.
Experience suggests that, in IT, it's dangerous to make assertions of the form "X is unique" or "Y has never been accomplished". There are so many different subdomains of IT, not to mention things that happened before a given person was born.
Of course, if you really meant "... can't be done in Windows", that would be quite a different kettle of fish.
Posting anonymously as I am a coward.
As a final year student in Computer Science, we learn very little command line stuff and zilch MS.
Touched a bit of Java. As a final year student we've recently been taught how to create our "first" website for the third time. Yes, with Dreamweaver.
Upon arrival to Uni this morning I check my texts to find that my lectures had all been cancelled bar one at 2PM. Don't trust degrees, I won't trust mine when I graduate.
So you've been taught: did you learn?
The real skill to learn is to teach oneself how to learn.
'Learning is acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviours, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information.' - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning.
I'm still learning new bad habits. And still trying to unlearn old ones.
"Posting anonymously as I am a coward...."
Good employers are well aware of this. At Manchester we were essentially forced into using nothing but a Linux command line for the entirity of the degree (all courses were tailored for linux and the submission+marking systems required the command line). Again in contrast to your experience, "web" was effectively a swear word - with the totality of web experience for most students being told to develop a complete dynamic site for your first year team project. No teaching on html or php or js or css or any web technologies at all; it was simply expected that if you couldn't do that on your own by spending an hour a week with google you didn't deserve to be there.
The downside of course was truly awful tutors and staff, and an attrition rate that made the university pretty much actually cry. The upside is the top half of any graduating class is immediately picked up with golden hellos by the banks and the major consultancy shops.
Not all degrees are born equal.
...is convincing Pam in the HR dept who is filtering all the applicants purely by "has a degree? Yes or No" to begin with.
Kind of makes it difficult for all of us IT guys that are 40+ that were told to 'get a job' at 18, have a wealth of real useful experience but no degree. We have the certs/experience/been round the block etc. but no degree.
Really great idea to make a degree the modern standard equivalent of "Maths and English O level".
Head of IT for a medium sized organisation with 5000 staff here.
First don't ever lie on a CV about qualifications, HR (the automated systems that are used for recruitment nowadays) always ask for an official transcript before appointing. Second, when I do recruit I always say "degree or equivalent such as demonstrable progression within the field of work". THis allows my recruiting managers to be more interpretive of the evidence presented by the applicant. Finally, keep your skills current; IT is a rapidly changing and complex industry, working on the internet in the 90's and being a top dog with Perl, gopher, WAIS and the like is about a useful to me as a horse and cart. Doing a part time degree or post graduate course in your 40's will show commitment to your work related personal development and update your skills.
A head of IT who can confuse a currently popular and useful ( try searching for perl jobs) scripting language with some old internet stuff is in the wrong job. Although expecting a Head of IT to actually know anything is probably the optimist in me coming out.
You wouldn't be zaphod beeblebrox would you? As I don't believe it is possible to get that amount of stupidity into one head.
I'll also be assuming the up votes are from your minions / cronies / other SFB heads of IT
I would not recommend lies on a CV, particularly if you want to work in financial services - believe it or not they do do background checks! For example:
My wife was recently starting a contract - but to the jobsworths at the background checkers, a copy of a PhD certificate is not enough! She ended up having to send them pages from her thesis...
As for me - all employees here are asked to bring in evidence of their degrees on the day they start.
"As for me - all employees here are asked to bring in evidence of their degrees on the day they start."
Pointless unless you verify each certificate, or the most significant of them. Would you be able to tell a high quality edited scan and crafty reprint from an original? Or even a well got up "first principles" design?
A bad copy you'd spot. But if you were doing this, don't you think you could do something that would pass very close inspection? Heavyweight laid paper is no problem, very high quality borderless printing and scanning is cheap as chips, and any clown can drop their name onto a scan. The only real problem is if you wanted to try and copy a certificate with metallic ink finishes or custom embossing. So many certificates seem to be laser or ink jet printed onto cheap colour print blanks that making a credible copy would be about half an hours careful work.
Head of IT for a medium sized organisation with 5000 staff here.
First don't ever lie on a CV about qualifications, HR (the automated systems that are used for recruitment nowadays)
By the way, your automated systems are broken. They search for buzzwords, not actual knowledge. Good luck getting qualified help with that kind of half-arsed system between you and people who actually know what they're doing. Most of the people I know who really know what they're doing were too fucking busy to get a bunch of jerkwad "certifications', 90% of which are obsolete by the time you get it. Yet that's all your automated systems check for.
Bitter? Me? fucking right.
> HR (the automated systems that are used for recruitment nowadays) always ask for an official transcript before appointing.
Must be a European thing then. I've worked in all sorts of companies over the years including the kind that subject you to a month's worth of red tape before hire, and I doubt if one of them ever verified my credentials. I would know if they tried.
References are another matter though...
As others have said, probably depends on your locale. I'm in the UK and don't know of anyone verifying my degree after the first 5 years I'd passed it. If I was going to make one up and was of a certain age, I'd go for an ex-poly...
Slightly sideways on this topic, as a application support manager I used to look for MSc conversion students; they knew enough tech to ask the right questions but didn't want (or need to be) code monkeys and would generally have better problem solving skills. However that was in the days I could recruit in country.
"...despite having worked on the internet since the 90s...
Well, hurry up and finish it please!"
I thought it was finished - at least, the web, anyway. I've already read the whole thing twice.
Although I did notice that when I read it the second time, some things had changed.
You are doing the right thing though. Its a bitter pill to work through 4 years just to tick a box. But with out risk and investment its hard to get bigger rewards. Hopefully if you do have a bit of money after all that work, its significantly easier to survive the struggle of being a student.
I'm 25, an IT Analyst for TIS Web Services team and the only degree I have is a high school diploma. I am self taught in IT, been building PCs since I can remember, always do my own research and got in this field because I can learn complicated software quickly and support it. It took me 4 years to get to where I am at now from a lowly Physician Trainer training doctors on the art of using PowerChart, to a lowly call center rep within the same company to a full fledged tech.
While I do have most of the courses for my degree completed it was all review of stuff I had learned on my own in high school. People ask me all the time how I managed to get into such a hard field and I said, I put in the effort and was able to actually prove I know what i'm doing.
"Lie, be economical with the truth or be creative, take your pick"
Speaking as somebody with two degrees to my name, I don't recall any of the past three employers has asked for proof, or made checks, so making it up is perhaps the way to go. So long as you're happy to run the risk of being shown the door without a reference should your bluff be called. A distant family member in her late fifties pork pied about having past her maths O level almost forty years previously, for a civil service job that "required" this. After a good few months of doing the job competently, she was shown the door after they asked for proof and she couldn't provide it. As you would expect, there was no requirement for any maths ability in the job, and it was a requirement (I assume) merely as an easy screening criteria for the lazy HR drones.
"Maybe just write the word 'Degree' on your CV, on it's own on a visible part of it."
Scarily, it would probably work, very few that actually READ CVs to verify something like this.
I recall one repair job I was at, testing a landline modem at the time (yes, back in the day when they were still around), and the only number I could recall off the top of my head was my own BBS.
Supervisor looks over my shoulder, point to screen and says "what's that?"
"It's my BBS, I'm just testing this modem".
"Oh, you run a BBS?" Supervisor sounding surprised.
"Er, yes, it was in my CV, you would have known about it".
"Arg, there was a stack of CVs this high, we're not going to read all of them!" He explains.
"Ah yes, but *I* got the job"...
Earlier, upper manager said I got the job because of my technical skills, though, couldn't name one of them...
It was an odd place, great fun, but odd.
> merely as an easy screening criteria
The problem is when you have 1 vacancy and you get 200 applicants for it. What do you do?
It is impractical to diligently read each CV - I once got one of 40 pages (instant rejection, BTW) - so you need some way to come up with a list of "possibles", then a list of "probables" which you interview.
Also, for better or for worse, HR insist that any selection criteria must be non-discriminatory - which is a lovely idea, but very subjective (oh yes, and must be within the skill-set of HR's newest trainee). So a first pass: that has to be quick, objective, legal and relevant is to search for academic qualifications. (Another: that's based on spelling and typo's on the application is possible - but so many HR-types have such poor spelling & grammar that "LOL" and smilies would probably pass their filter).
After that, once you have got down to 10-20, you can start to actually read the CVs. Just bear in mind that you also have real work to do, in addition to recruitment duties. So detailed analysis of what the candidates (as they now are, as opposed to merely applicants) have to say is still a long way off.
Yes, it's largely random. Sure, some gems will slip through, Time consuming it certainly is. However it's still better than one proposal a colleague suggested: throw all the CVs into the air. If one of them sticks to the ceiling, that's the one to hire - since luck is as good as excellence (esp. if you're Napoleon and you are recruiting generals). However, the "lucky" ones might be the ones who don't get to work for you.
> total random selection would be just as good a selection method,
You may well be correct. However the very first time your randomly-selected candidate screws up, the blame-balls will start flying. Sooner or later someone will ask two questions: was this person qualified? and who hired this idiot?
Now, it may be that if you're hiring CEOs for The Co-Op Bank people won't ask - but for any normal organisation you don't want anyone putting your name up to answer those questions. At that time it's no good saying "Well I saw an article on Wikipedia that said random selection was just as reliable as academic selection", as you could soon be finding out, personally, that the recruitment process is much more arduous and deeper probing than that. As for the competency point: yes, nobody can assess whether a recruit will be able to do a particular job. However since the name of the game is CYA (or "indemnity" as professionals call it), if you can point to some objective criteria - no matter how irrelevant - and say that this person scored better than others, you stand some chance of still sitting at the same desk tomorrow. The worst that will happen is some jobsworth will set up a process review and witter on about "continuous improvement" and "learning lessons" - the lesson to learn is to avoid these people.
Finally, there's the perennial issue about HR. While they don't care about whether a person can do a particular job, they do care that the organisation (or more properly: they) doesn't get accused of unfair hiring practices. Therefore a process must be in place. It must have been approved and there must be documentary evidence to show it's been followed. If that all sounds a bit "ITIL-y" or "ISO-y", then I agree. However it's one of the hoops you have to jump through.
The Civil Service had the requirement of Maths, English and at least one other O Level 30 years ago when I joined, my job offer was conditional on passing English O Level (I already had Maths + 5 others) - they also wanted see the certificates.
Funny enough my current employer checked my degree where previous one didn't, but I think more to check I was being honest than anything else.
I'm 25, and was recently turned down for a development job because I wasn't going to have a degree within the next year (it's in progress at the moment). Regardless of my existing coding skills.
I'm stuck in a support role because I have no 'prior experience' working in an alternate role, and need a degree to get anywhere - despite the fact I know I'm better in some jobs than people who are in there with their 'fresh out of uni degree' already.
So as stated, catch 22; can't get a job without experience, can't get experience because the HR drones don't see you as intelligent enough. Fix this, and you'll actually get hold of some very skilled people.
...that's no excuse dude. Get some experience by starting your own online service for something or other. It doesn't have to be commercial .. something easy like online unix utilities .. converting from Unix timestamp to real time and date, for example. Or some photo manipulation tool .. whatever. Anything really.
I know a guy who wrote a small program for learning Japanese characters and uploaded it to sourceforge. Ended up with a development jobs in localization at a major bank with an outlandish salary at a very young age. If you have nothing to do, you might as well work on something.
don't worry I came out of University in 2008 when shit hit the fan, and tried of all places to get into IT within Finance, it really is a catch 22, stick with it, I was desktop support, and 5 years later I am Infrastructure Architecting solutions.
The recruiters do not care about you they just see the $$ comission. End of day you are more qualified then the recruiters so who are they to say what jobs you can or cannot apply for...
> I'm stuck in a support role because I have no 'prior experience' working in an alternate role, and need a degree to get anywhere
You might consider looking for a job in testing as a change. It's still a stop-gap until you get your degree, but easier to get into without a degree (any firm that demands a degree for a tester is not one you want to work for) and shows your willingness to learn about more than one role in the industry.
40+ , with 20 years of experience, you shouldn't be depending on Pam in HR to be making or breaking your career. If you are not utilizing the modern equivalent of a rolodex, like Linkedin. Or have other real world contacts, the decisions you have made in the past has ended up working yourself into a corner.
Before you think this is a negative criticism, I have done the same thing to myself. I burned one or two lucrative bridges prematurely. Or procrastinated on a few things sufficiently long enough it has had negative impact.
That being said, I picked a good time in my life to go into contracting. It has paid off significantly, I feel I have more job security as so many people can't take the risk, there is more demand than supply. I am not apart of the corporate head count, so where there are mass redundancies, you are not apart of the head count, but approved project budgets stay on.
I have no personal investment in development for the company or image. That being said I have gone from a day rate of 250 to 325 in the space of a year, because I have skills in other domains and I requested a readjustment to reflect extra responsibilities. I finish on time every day and don't get negative reviews for it. And I never take a call nor is one expected after work. My stress levels in work are non existent as there is no disparity between expectations and deliverables.
Its up to you to shape your career. Everybody knows that a degree is bullshit, I even went as far as getting a masters. Which I regret because I do honestly feel real world experience in the industry I am in would of paid of significantly. We all know the rules of the crappy game. If its a degree that ticks the box and can help you make a return on your time investment. There is the OU, pick the utter easiest engineering topic and apply the skills you learned through "been round the block" and fly though it. I sit beside many people who are doing that. I have to do shit I don't like all the time, like VMware certs that cost 3k. But that 3k probably brought me in an extra 20 over a few years.
"Degree is bullshit, but necessary bullshit to get through the door as an employee..."
A presence of a degree can be hazzardous to employer's health. Or it could be a good thing - you still have to do the legwork.
I remember one time when one (software) degreed guy, assisted by an "in the process" half degreed guy, were trying to install a CDROM drive into a PC, and they asked what DOS drivers were needed (back in the day). I offered to do it, it was barely a 15 minute job, but they wanted to.
They did it. Finally. After a solid hour and a half, and, smoke came out of the PC at one stage.
At another place, had our Novell Certified Engineer bork a setting then piss off to a meeting retreat with other degreed guys. (No idea what they were doing, but they were gone for two days, and were not contactable). The result was, an entire department were locked out, with rights to all their server shares disabled. The only people with admin rights, had the passwords with them, and were tied up at the "meeting". Manager asks if I could do anything about it, I said I could have the department working in 15 minutes, but need physical access to the server room (he had keys), and had to use a "less than officially-Novell-authorised" technique to reset the password.
He declined (understandably didn't want his arse chewed when they came back from their "meeting". The affected department went home, while doing their best at hiding their dissapoinment...
" I even went as far as getting a masters. Which I regret because I do honestly feel real world experience in the industry I am in would of paid of significantly."
Sort of agree: I don't recommend anyone do an engineering Masters if it's about getting a pay off (monetary or otherwie) at the end of it. You have to really love and be interested in your field to do a post graduate degree.
But as a CompSci guy, my view on this is blinkered. I understand that medical, architectural, business and finance post graduate degrees are somewhat more required to enable workign onthe more interestign aspects of those professions.
Why I think these people are clearly a bunch of morons, or indeed why this post is AC? If some of these major companies actually paid their taxes in the UK, I might concede there should be a "providing them with trained staff" element in the British education system. As it stands, they're a bunch of free-loaders with a colossal sense of entitlement.
Well they do pay lots of taxes, just not much corporation tax, they pay vat, business rates and, employers contributions for a start.
Plus they spend a lot of money on things, which in turn generate more revenue, then they pay employees who pay tax and spend money. It's all one big chain of paying and being paid.
I'd sooner be employed then living in a soviet style slum because there were no corporations left in the country to buy, sell and employ.
"Well they do pay lots of taxes, just not much corporation tax, they pay vat, business rates and, employers contributions for a start." COMPANIES DO NOT PAY VAT, VAT IS A TAX ON CONSUMERS!!!!! COMPANIES COLLECT VAT FROM CONSUMERS FOR THE GOVT, HOW MANY TIMES.
Thank you for your time, if not your brain.
They don't pay any VAT, just like any other business that is VAT registered (flat rate excepted) . They only pass on the VAT that we pay.
Employers contributions are almost negligible when the majority of the workforce are barely above the minimum wage (an employee has to work approximately 19 hours per week at the minimum wage before Employer contributions would kick in).
And they probably got a decent business rate concession from the local council in order to bring "jobs" to the local economy, and it wouldn't surprise me if they got a grant from local gov. to help with the cost of building the warehouse.
> If some of these major companies actually paid their taxes in the UK
So if these mega-corps are required to pay extra taxes, where will the money come from? They won't raise their prices and hurt their market share and they're already squeezing their suppliers dry - so the only viable source of money to give to the government is from the pay (and numbers) of the employees.
It might be nice for a few idealists to say "oooh look, we made these companies pay their fair share of taxes". But what about the wage cuts and redundancies that are imposed to move that money from being in employees pockets, to being in government coffers?
What would yo say to a freshly-sacked employee, then?
Reduction of staff is a straw man argument. A business needs a certain number of employees to perform the tasks necessary to provide their product or service. They can't reduce their headcount below that level. They can offshore labor, but that comes with other costs. (loss of business knowledge, remote workforce, different culture, gov't or customer pushback). If they have excess staff, those jobs would be on the chopping block anyway the next time executive management wanted to improve fiscal numbers for a quarter to boost stock price.
Problem is that they don't bother looking at you if you don't have a degree of some form. I also know that a number of larger companies will fast track you into a larger role if you have a relevant degree.
I personally am a recent graduate with a 2:1 in Computing with a year of industry experience (plus OS experience in my personal time) and walked into a reasonable job without any issues.
We used to call then ACGD's.
Accelerated Career Graduate Dipsh*ts
"Hello! I'm your new boss. I'm 24 years old, left Uni 6 months ago with no work experience, never met a customer or worked in IT but I have a third rate degree in Philosophy! Pleased to meet you!"
Yayyyy we're saved!
Chip? Shoulder? Much? Damn right!
When I had left college I had a CCNA qualification in my pocket, but could not get a job because of lack of experience. Where do you get the experience if no one is willing to give you the chance?
It's yet more "You need X more than you need Y", but no way of telling the people who need the jobs, who are getting turned down at every opportunity. Furthermore, the social welfare system in the UK isn't geared towards giving the IT person help or grounding or even advice about how to get the job they need. No, they give you a month or two, then send you off for training to become another chicken in a call centre.
Quite a few of us stumbled into IT by accident. My first degree is in archaeology as was my career, but as technology developed I found myself learning CAD, then 3D CAD, then web design/editing and eLearning. Since I could use one of those new-fangled Babbage engines, I involuntarily ended up doing unofficial support, network design, etc, etc. Then I found out that the salaries in IT were double what I was earning as a senior(ish) archaeologist, so switched careers so fast I left scorch marks on the exit .
I've since met a whole bunch of folk in various roles and positions in IT with degrees in everything else but computing - most learned on the job or as a hobby. I did later do an MSc in It, but it wasn't sufficiently advanced to really bother with, it was hard to create curricula to keep up with the advances being made in the 90s.
Indeed. I have a four-year degree in Political Science while being a server/network IT engineer/supervisor, but hey, it's a degree, and it checks the box. Similarly, no one in my (20-some person) office has a degree that is actually related to the job and career path they're in.
For what it is worth, the US military has a similar mindset - they (typically) require 4yr degrees for commissioned officers, but they don't distinguish between electronic engineering and basket-weaving as far as how it affects one's military service career (other than legal/medical specialties and such).
Some ability to do sums without having to count on your fingers may be useful.
It used to be said the most dangerous thing in the army was a 2nd lieutenant with a compass.
It's now probably a 2nd lieutenant with a GPS attempting to call in an airstrike at a grid position not equal to the one they are currently occupying.
I went to uni because the only way to break into software development was to have a degree, and experience. So I worked for free for a while at a small family business as well and it paid off, I am happy doing what I enjoy.
However I did try to do an apprenticeship but they wanted someone who already knew everything before starting which seemed a bit daft (none of the schools I went to could teach any usable IT) and there were few places. Also this was the same time that every TV advert was about quitting your job and getting into one of these really well paid IT jobs.
Of the various college/uni classes I could see at most a handful who were interested in IT at all in any way. Most didnt want to get a job so a student loan didnt matter (and they often debated how to get out of paying it back). The rest had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives so did IT because it was the advertised job. One guy had the idea that he would just do course after course taking endless student loans. Instead he just failed one out of three modules per semester to avoid getting a real job. After my degree I took a yr out (to work) and went back for my masters and he was still doing the degree we started when I finished.
When people comment at how we dont have enough skilled people I think back to my experience at uni and remember why.
Apprenticeships are making a comeback in British IT. Capgemini took full advantage of the (re?)launch of higher apprenticeships when the government changed, and now have a battery of ~500 guys and gals in various stages of the process. They take them at 18(ish), put them through three months of intensive training. Five years later they come out the other side with every cert an HR drone could wish for, a degree and no debt. Oh, and five years working on real world, live projects for top-name clients.
They've found, in terms of progress reviews (i.e. objective reviews of output), that despite being 2-3 years younger and with so much less on-paper experience, it takes the higher apprentices a mere 9 months to catch up to the graduates, and all indications seem to be that over time those that started in the apprenticeship scheme will greatly outpace their graduate cousins.
They're also a fantastically cheap source of labour, which is nice for them.
Last time I checked in with that little community the rumblings were Atos and Accenture were both planning to lift the form of the scheme verbatim. The problem is most degrees are fucking shite - you end up spending the better part of a year teaching your graduates how to do basic tasks while paying them £30k for the privilege and before you've got anything productive out of them you've got someone probably pushing 25 and wanting to make the jump to management at a competitor.
IT, as an industry, isn't *that* stupid - they are finally waking up to the realities that getting people younger and crafting them in their own image is better.
what counts mostly in computing is ability, not experience. I will agree that all other things being equal a wide range of experience is a plus, but counting the number of years' experience in a particular subject area is very overrated.
I'm sure we've all met with people who've been doing the same job for 20 years but still don't really have a clue, whereas a keen newbie with talent can pick things up quickly and learn on the job and overtake their "superiors" within a few months. I'd choose a fresh grad who knew how to program over a "lifer" who'd lost all drive any day.
Totally agree, we have old veteran people (reasonably good at their job), but stuck in their ways. A fresh grad or someone who constantly checks out new technologies is the person you want. Concepts and ability to understand concepts are more important than 20 years experience in x, y and z. Programming languages are easy to pick up.
On a different note, we need to distinguish 'I work in IT' vs 'I work as software developer/designer/architect that requires me use my brain a lot', helpdesk roles, (some) networking etc roles are not really high level IT; they can replaced quite easily by outsourcing. Those in higher level IT roles get paid decently.
Also despite having the chance to choose any degree I wanted (I had the grades), I chose CS and I'm glad. Sure being a lawyer, doctor, accountant would have paid more, but there would be limit. In CS however the sky is the limit, if you are good build your own successful company and get bought out for a billion dollars, can't quite do the same thing with being a doctor, lawyer or accountant.
And here is a prime example of AC trolling.
And why is he an AC? Probably because if any of the brainless hardware techies where he worked saw the post they would stop popping up every morning to turn his computer on for him :D
So answer me this, if you coders are so great and us support techs are so dumb why are most of the problems we encounter software related?
"How do you get a job in recruitment instead, because it appears you do not require any intelligence at all.
Can't be that hard can it?"
You know when the economy went tits up and all the sales people from various different retail places lost their jobs? Well they went in to recruitment.
The results are hardly surprising. However, before you get to those techies you need to get past HR who have their own ideas and boxes to tick. In short no degree = slim chance of getting past HR = even slimmer chance of getting job.
Then even if you do get a job there are still a number of larger companies who won't promote you above a given level if you don't have a degree no matter how much experience you have or how long you have worked for them.
And the problem is you get the annoying graduates who think they know everything because they have a degree and the people with loads of 'experience' who think they know everything because they have done the same job maintaining 1 network for 20 years. What you need is someone who understands they don't and won't know everything straight away and who show a balanced view on the world (if you ahve been a student what stuff have you done at home for example for fun, if an older person what new technologies have you been using recently). In the last 18 months I employed one person with a Masters and one without any form of degree for very similar jobs and for very similar pay and they are both good, Although I prefer a degree (for more technical or managerial roles anyway) a good CV can get you the job if you can prove that you have been in the appropriate field and are actively keeping up to date. Equally if you only have a few GCSEs but can prove you have a keen interest I might still get you for that 1st line support job and you can work up with pretty much no experience necessary.
Even with a bachelor's degree in computer science in the early 90's the best I could manage was entry level data entry. Took on more responsibilities and moved up into a proper, mind-numbing, soul-sucking corporate IT job years later but it has been experience that's been highlighted at every interview not education or my vintage 90's tech certifications.
The only thing that's keeping me from an IT tech job is me. I like having a life. I like being treated like a human being. I like having a glass of beer in my hand on a Friday afternoon, not a cup of strong coffee because it's going to be another long weekend at work with all the changes we've got lined up for our network infrastructure. I like not having to get a new certification du-jour every six months that I have to pay for just to keep my job as a consultant. I also like not having to train a new co-worker every month because the last one burned out or left for a supposedly better job.
Wide-eyed college graduates: Can't find an IT job? Count your blessings.
'cept yours truly of course, has degrees of some standard in IT.
me being the black sheep has diddly and squat. That said, none of them really use the degree part since we have lots of push for the vocational training mcse ccna cissp etc so in that regard it is meaningless.
I have heard so many people say of late ( because we have offspring in that college attending age brackets) that you do not have to know what you go to college for, you find that out while you are there, and that most people do not end up working in the area they went to college for, just get the degree.
In my mind that diminishes the point of the degree, and also seems like a really expensive gamble ( especially these days) but while employers are dumb enough to think that someone with any degree is better then someone without any, but experience, it is unfortunately the way to go. Personally having thousands in debt and a liberal arts degree is a waste, those types of degrees should be the type you do in retirement or on the side for personal betterment, they type you pay for up front per credit hour, NOT get in 40+k of debt to achieve.
On another note, why is it that they think the only IT jobs these days are to do with programming? the artcle says that they want more programming in secondary education, OK I understand there will be a need for programmers, but what about all the other aspects of IT not everyone who works in IT is a programmer and not every programmer is a full on sysadmin type, to me it seems this is less about IT and more about training a new gen of code monkeys
The last time I was searching for a new job I felt like a second class citizen at interviews because I didn't have a degree. It was normally the first thing they asked about! I got fed up of answering the question "why do you not have a degree?" the only answer was my parents could not afford to pay for me to drink for 3 years.
After that I gave up for a year and started a OU degree in Computing and Information. Even with a hint that I was doing a degree in my own time I got much further than I did before and manage to land a job I actually wanted.
Still finishing the degree but do have a FD now which has also lead to more offers from recruiters. Only 2 years to go!
...... if you apply for positions higher than a helldesk role straight away. I had no degree and no experience of IT in a work environment (but over 10 years personal) yet still managed to land a job in 1st line. No matter what aspect of the industry you want to end up in if you don't 'know' someone you have to pay your dues somewhere on the bottom rung. Also a plus is that a lot of 1st line positions are just under the threshold required for paying back your student loans so you get the industry experience you need while delaying the money worries.
If with your degree you think you should not have to start from the bottom then I have no pity for the troubles you face, IT is now a full service industry, which means in the company hierarchy you are at the bottom of the pile.
...given that pretty much no large employer wants to train anyone to do anything any more, unless your skill set and employment history reads exactly like the job spec they won't touch you - even if it means they have a hundred applicants and nobody matches it. There's zero risk taking any more.
It always was hard to get into IT, but the problem today is that the low level jobs most of us started in to get a foot in the door no longer exist in the UK - they've all been offshored or replaced by (more) technology.
UK based IT is now a 100% skilled and experienced, mid to high level job market but once we all are worked to death or retire (LOL assuming our pensions are worth jack shit!) , I can see it won't exist at all.
Here's my advice kids, use your university education to become anything else than a IT bod.
>And the rest, more like £44,000.
I didn't realize it cost so much. I've just put my two offspring though university not only living away from home but out of the country so you can add flights and moving costs to that. I've been an IT bod for 30+ years so if you want to fund your own kids college without breaking a sweat get a proper degree from a real university and get yer head down.
BTW - Both of them walked straight into jobs and one of the little beggars started on more than I'm getting now so for those complaining, don't come to me with excuses such as there aren't good jobs available for people with no real life work experience or a degree is a waste of time. While you're complaining someone else with a more positive attitude has taken that job.
Assuming you get your MCSE/CCIE/SAP whatever qualification, who in their right mind is going to give you a job with zero real world experience?
At one point in the 90's we went through a period of people applying for jobs that had self-paid for certification bootcamps - but having "done" a Microsoft cert in 2 weeks without ever touching a real environment.... we didn't hire any of them.
I don't have a degree but do have just over 20 years experience in the IT industry, as a result of what I've seen over the years I will take someone who learns off their own back and doesn't sit and wait to be trained but takes an active interest over a degree every time.
In terms of profession qualifications they are a nice to have but in many cases tick a box for partner certification levels etc, again nice to have but having someone who is really interested in what they do and keen to learn (and understand you will never stop learning in IT) is really key.
Have met plenty of people with degrees or professional qualifications who were next to useless against someone with neither who is very skilled at what they do, generalizing of course here but there are so many bootcamps etc professional quali's get de-valued, I make sure every person coming in is tested prior to a physical interview, if they don't make the grade on the test they don't get interviewed.
I don't do interview tests, never have never will, they don't prove anything. You've asked me in based on my CV, we go through it, you should be able to tell that what I've written is truthful, we have a chat and if we like each other you take me on. Ask me stupid questions or to take a test or play the pregnant pause game and I'll walk, I know it'll be your loss.
I was quite pleased when I found out my daughter was being taught BASIC ( Alright it's MS Small Basic, brainwashing them into .Net and C#, I know! ) in her last year at Junior School. It's nothing spectacular but at least learning simple programmatic constructs in BASIC is better than the usual school ICT bollocks that IT = MS Office!
Yes that was the primary purpose of Basic - a first educational programming language that was designed to be interpreted. It was and is irritating that MS decided to use the Basic brand to create a much more sophisticated language (VB) which they controlled. But then they did similar with C# ...
There was something flying around my company a couple of months ago about a lack of good new engineers (we make a lot of shiny stuff) coming into the company, but then they appear to be totally unwilling to invest in its staff anyway....you can't have it both ways.
But then this is a company that'd rather repeatedly spend £500p/d, with repeated 6 month contract extensions getting some mercenary in to do a job than try to train someone internally to do it for £30k a year.
... I went through Employment Training and asked a local IT Support company if they would take me on as part of the Employment Training scheme. I gained experience and a reference, they got a bench engineer (A post that did not exist before 'We' created it at the company), at least 6 months of stuff being fixed and the Government paying my 'wage'.
They liked me, they kept me and I became senior field service engineer within 2 years.
Now nearly 18 years later I've had a great and varied career and now manage an IT department and am considering starting up on my own.
Sometimes you have to be a little creative to get in there, and use whatever the current system is in place to your favour.
Bit tounge in cheek but this is how I've always seen recruiters and employers looking at people:
Young (under 21) - no skills or experience but very cheap. Get them in doing crap nobody else enjoys.
Young-mid (21 - 30) - some skills and experience. Salary requirement to skill ratio is about as good as it'll get for an employer. We like these people best.
Mid (30 - 40) - uh, oh. Starting to think "society owes me a living". Bit of a risk. Have a lot of skill and experience but starting to think learning and keeping skills up to date isn't important.
Mid - old (40 - 50). Jesus, these people want £900 an hour, but hey they have 20003423904 hours experience. Massive dilemma. Should we take them for half an hour and see if they can fix all our problems?
Old (50 - 60). Ok, you should have retired if you've done well so far. It's either the scrapheap (no interview) or "how can we afford this person????". Too risky. Avoid.
Agree with the statement about "no degree, not a chance of an interview"
Had it when applying to a local college for a "CNC training instructor" to teach fresh faced bored young 18-21 yr olds in the joys of getting a robot to go on a killing rampage.. oops getting a robot to make a widget.
Was rudely told that I was not qualified in the business of CNC stuff since I did not have a degree.
Rudely explained back that with 20 yrs plus experience in making aerospace and nuclear widgets on multiple axis machines, training apprentices/machine operators, plus writing the DNC software we use to link the machines to the PC I guess she was right.
Oh and for Wattsy, dont tell people you're doing an OU degree because your parents could not afford to send you to a university based drinking course for 3 years.... In my experience that always annoys
And the worst answer I got when mentioning the OU "Well... you wont stay here long once you've qualified"
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I used to know someone who had a section at the bottom of their CV listing items they were not able to do.
They listed a number of things that were not relevant to their work but were often trawled for. I think a degree was one of them so a line like "I have an HND in Civil Engineering and not a BSc in Computing" may get you past the 'bots and HR types.
Having bumming about for years, I started a Software Engineering degree in my early 30s and graduated in 2008. My first job lasted about 3 years until I decided to go contracting. In the last 2 years I have billed over £250,000. My honest opinion is that it's not a difficult industry to get into or to excel with the right attitude and a bit of a swagger.
The suits can't do it and, not for the want of trying, they still haven't worked out the proper management processes to lob our nuts off using off-shore labour. They have no choice but to put up with paying us a relative fortune for sullying their pristine business environment with our jeans and tee-shirts, all the while making their permy staff resentful of the amount of money we get paid to bitch and moan half the day.
If you want to get into software Dev, create or contribute to an open source project.
If I get a CV that has a link to a project that I will take the effort to go and have a snoop around your contributions and that will be the deciding factor in you getting an interview. Just make sure
a) Your code is good!
b) You put all the other necessary BS on then CV to get it past the pimps\agents\salesmen
Your university should help with the introductions for the application process, but after that it is down to you to impress!
It pretty much set me up for life! If you go for one of the big companies and get into it then it is entirely possible that not only will you get some serious inspiration (and expert advice) for your dissertation - you will also get offered to be fast-tracked through the graduate process after your degree, that way you get Training, Qualifications and Experience on top of your degree and with a decent company name behind you people will even notice and ask you about it 10 years on giving you a solid start for any interview!
re: "Wildcard rename as in *.xxx to *.yyy is unique to DOS, so anyone who cut their teeth in another environment would not know about it."
I rarely plug commercial software but I'll make an exception for Explorer 2 (pronounced Explorer Squared) which I've been using (as a replacement for Windoze Explorer) without a glitch for about 10 years now. (http://www.zabkat.com/)
Wildcard replacement is one of their more trivial features and it's done within their GUI.
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