Education or Work Experience?

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#1 jumptrooper  Icon User is offline

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Education or Work Experience?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:28 AM

A good education and relevant work experience are both very important. Which one is more important when applying for a programming job? If your answer depends on the type of programming, please specify.

My 2 cents:
I think experience is more important.
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#2 Kilorn  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:32 AM

Experience is definitely more important than education in my opinion. Especially if you're looking into game programming. Programming is an industry that was born in basements and small workspaces. A lot of places want you to have at least a bachelor's degree nowadays, but if you have the necessary experience and quality work to show your abilities, then the degree isn't as much of a necessity.
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#3 Somyagupta  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:39 AM

You cannot underestimate education but Experience is definately more important than education as You learn way more things through experience than you do just with education.
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#4 jumptrooper  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:56 AM

I'm curious if there are fields that might consider education more important than experience... For instance, at my job, a lot of our work is done in an obscure language that's not widely used and it would be very difficult for the company to find someone with the relevant background in the language so they hired me with the intention of putting a lot of training into me.
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#5 Nikitin  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 11:23 AM

Education is more important.

Experience without proper education is pretty useless (a codemonkey working for 10 years is still a codemonkey). Proper education will already include a great deal of applied experience.
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#6 jumptrooper  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 01:32 PM

View PostNikitin, on 10 September 2010 - 10:23 AM, said:

Experience without proper education is pretty useless (a codemonkey working for 10 years is still a codemonkey).


True...if you want to progress you need to know what you're going (i.e. be properly educated), but couldn't experience be a form of education? Is it really possible to call something "experience" if you didn't learn from it?

Would it be safe to say that "education" is an indicator of "potential usefulness" whereas "experience" is an indicator of "demonstrated usefulness"?
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#7 raziel_  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 03:36 PM

And the HR department love to see "demonstrated usefulness".
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#8 enigmamoirai  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 05:56 PM

As a recent grad, at this point I would say experience. Any job anymore, even some that are more entry and junior level, require 2-3 years of experience. A lot of companies won't considered work done as part of your education as experience either. I don't know whether or not it is because of the economy... but right now, without experience you aren't getting far.
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#9 bonyjoe  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 06:19 PM

This leads me to believe education

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10506798

but with so many people going to university these days I'm guessing it will start trending towards experience
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#10 jumptrooper  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 07:12 PM

View Postbonyjoe, on 10 September 2010 - 05:19 PM, said:

This leads me to believe education

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10506798

but with so many people going to university these days I'm guessing it will start trending towards experience


That's a good article in support of your comment! It would seem then, that given a tough job market, better educational degrees act as key buzzwords to help employers sift through their towering stack of resumes. Do you think this is true for just bad economic times, or generally true of all times?

View Postenigmamoirai, on 10 September 2010 - 04:56 PM, said:

As a recent grad, at this point I would say experience. Any job anymore, even some that are more entry and junior level, require 2-3 years of experience. A lot of companies won't considered work done as part of your education as experience either. I don't know whether or not it is because of the economy... but right now, without experience you aren't getting far.


Of course, this also seems true...Most job postings I've seen over the last year have asked for at least a few years of related experience... Could the US and UK markets favor things differently?

**Side Question for the Brits**
I'm not familiar with the various degree levels offered in the UK. The boyjoe's article referenced 2:1 level degrees and 2:2 level degrees and I'm not familiar with those. I gathered that 2:1 is a higher degree. Is that right?
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#11 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 10 September 2010 - 07:24 PM

I'm going to say both are equally important, but in different ways. Education gives you the opportunity to cover some CS theory (advanced data structures and algorithms, AI, advanced Graphics work, etc.) and advanced math (Calculus, Discrete, Linear Algebra, etc.) that is extremely helpful in various aspects of programming. Plus, education impresses HR/manager people who frankly aren't always the most knowledgeable about our field and dictate our position and pay often times.

That being said, not all Computer Science curricula hit hard on coding and real-world experience. Getting out in the real world is its own animal and cannot be duplicated in the school. It gives you the chance to experience real deadlines, the development process emphasis on team development and design/development models (agile, waterfall, etc.). One thing at my internship I worked with was component integration with someone who knew what they were doing. At school, I simply don't get that, albeit I'm in high school. I was also exposed to the Android platform, and became proficient with it in a couple months, so being exposed to and learning new technologies for real-world projects is another plus of experience.
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#12 bonyjoe  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 11 September 2010 - 03:38 AM

View Postjumptrooper, on 10 September 2010 - 06:12 PM, said:

That's a good article in support of your comment! It would seem then, that given a tough job market, better educational degrees act as key buzzwords to help employers sift through their towering stack of resumes. Do you think this is true for just bad economic times, or generally true of all times?


I think that the higher level degrees are a good way of reducing the amount of applicants they have as it is easier to see the words 1st class degree or upper second class degree and move it to one side, than it is to read through the relevant experience a person has had.

View Postjumptrooper, on 10 September 2010 - 06:12 PM, said:

**Side Question for the Brits**
I'm not familiar with the various degree levels offered in the UK. The boyjoe's article referenced 2:1 level degrees and 2:2 level degrees and I'm not familiar with those. I gathered that 2:1 is a higher degree. Is that right?


The degree class system in Britain is:

First Class - 1st
Upper Second Class - 2:1
Lower Second Class - 2:2
Third Class - 3rd
General Pass

They are essentially grades just like A, B, C etc

Generally they would be accompanied by whatever course and level the degree was e.g. 1st Class BSc Hons in Software Engineering
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#13 Nakor  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 20 July 2011 - 05:21 AM

There's a reason that most job listings you'll find state "or relevant experience" on them. I've also seen very few job ads that said "no experience necessary", at least in the programming positions I've looked at, and that's because employer's prefer experience to education. However, if they're comparing two people with seemingly identical skills and experience then they will most likely go with the one with more education.
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#14 NickDMax  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 20 July 2011 - 08:42 AM

Education may be a check box on the requirements to get an interview but experience is king.

This is why I always recommend to keep a log/notes of projects you work on (especially in school) because these are experience and add a good bit of heft to a resume that might be light on listing previous job titles.
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#15 Nakor  Icon User is offline

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Re: Education or Work Experience?

Posted 20 July 2011 - 02:11 PM

I could probably use myself as an example for this since I got the programming job I have now with only a GED (high school equivalency). However, I have a couple of courses in programming subjects from a local junior college which, I'm assuming, was enough to get me in for an interview. When I went for the interview I had an organized portfolio with code samples from projects I had worked on that were pertinent to the position I was applying for. I think the display of experience went a lot further than the display of (or lack of) education.
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