Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

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#1 LowWaterMark  Icon User is offline

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Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Post icon  Posted 02 August 2008 - 05:40 AM

I'm a guy pondering a radical shift. I'm a physician (M.D.) and I'm unhappy. Suffice to say the reasons I went into medicine are becoming progressively marginalized.

I'll spare you the why of why programming. Call it instinct. I'm just toying with an embryonic idea. Yes, I know I'd be looking at a pay-cut and that's OK. I may find a way to integrate the two. God knows there's a shrieking need for creative folk from inside the profession of medicine to drag medical computer science out of the 1980s.

Anyway, I digress. In the real world do employers/headhunters give a rip about degrees or certificates in programming?

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Replies To: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

#2 Moonbat  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 02 August 2008 - 06:15 AM

From what I've heard around here and other forums, a 4-year degree is very good to have, but certs aren't very important.
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#3 Amadeus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 02 August 2008 - 06:57 AM

Degrees are becoming progressively more important in the industry. 20 years ago, degrees were not a necessity at all (they themselves were in their infancy), but as the industry has grown, credentials like that are becoming the standard.

Like many things, a degree does not indicate talent per se, but some of the foundations taught in that degree program (proper design and engineering principles as an example) can be important.
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#4 NickDMax  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 02 August 2008 - 08:52 AM

Quote

I'm a physician (M.D.) and I'm unhappy.
One of the odd things about the world is that it does not always matter what your degree is in. Now you will often find phrases like, "Bachelor of Science in computer science or a related field." -- from what I have seen the definition of "related field" is very loose.

I would recommend the CS degree but I would imagine that you will find that the PhD gets more attention. (though it may result in comments like, "You are really over qualified" -- meaning, "We can't really afford a Dr...")
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#5 DeCompile  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 02 August 2008 - 03:41 PM

From what I've noticed about the industry.

A bachelors degree in programming teaches you the basics of programming. How and why to build and use structures.

Whereas, a certification proves you've got special skills with a certain programming language.

A human resource person will look at both and compare them to their clients needs. Whereas a headhunter wants you, not your qualifications.
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#6 OliveOyl3471  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 02 August 2008 - 08:48 PM

Almost all the programming jobs I find listed want you to have a BS at least, and a lot of them want years of experience, too. Not so many ask for certificates, though they may be good to have.

edit--I can only speak from the experience of having searched for a programming job, not actually having one.

This post has been edited by OliveOyl3471: 02 August 2008 - 08:50 PM

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#7 DeCompile  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 02 August 2008 - 10:15 PM

My experience is totally different as I'm not actually a programmer but have been on the selection board for hiring new programmers.

Usually when they're writing requirements for a newbie, they want to shoot for the stars (find the most qualified) and filter the rest out from there. Although there will still be some concrete requirements for freshmen, eg. Similar programming language.
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#8 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 02 August 2008 - 11:19 PM

View PostDeCompile, on 2 Aug, 2008 - 10:15 PM, said:

My experience is totally different as I'm not actually a programmer but have been on the selection board for hiring new programmers.

Usually when they're writing requirements for a newbie, they want to shoot for the stars (find the most qualified) and filter the rest out from there. Although there will still be some concrete requirements for freshmen, eg. Similar programming language.



I am glad you said this because this is the EXACT thing I have been complaining about from companies for awhile. I hate it when a company writes down a wish list and throws in everything but the kitchen sink into their requests for a new employee.

Learn what you want first, then ask for the two or three major specific things you want. Don't ask for everything you think you may want and try to find applicants that match as much of the wish list as possible. This leads to applicants saying they have skills they don't just to match as much of what you are looking for as they can.

As they say a jack of all trades is a master in none of them.
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#9 DeCompile  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 02 August 2008 - 11:26 PM

Oh, without a doubt.

We've had 'programmers' here that couldn't string a 'FizzBuzz' program together, even though they've got a masters degree in programming.

Fortunately, I don't have to worry about that, I just give my opinion (not like anyone cares about it though) lol
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#10 LowWaterMark  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 03 August 2008 - 04:25 AM

I appreciate everyone's replies. I'm in a weird career space. I just want to enjoy the rest of my life, freelancing new 3-D CT Scan programs from a beach in Belize. Or something like that. I don't need a million bucks to be happy (though I wouldn't laugh it off) but the beach part is the key concept of my last sentence.

Thanks for the guidance and the humor. The people on this forum are funnier than doctors. I know y'all aren't here to sort out my existential dilemma for me but in a sideways manner, you are helping. :^:

This post has been edited by LowWaterMatk: 03 August 2008 - 04:33 AM

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#11 sharkyvk  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 03 August 2008 - 06:41 AM

View PostLowWaterMatk, on 3 Aug, 2008 - 04:25 AM, said:

I appreciate everyone's replies. I'm in a weird career space. I just want to enjoy the rest of my life, freelancing new 3-D CT Scan programs from a beach in Belize. Or something like that. I don't need a million bucks to be happy (though I wouldn't laugh it off) but the beach part is the key concept of my last sentence.

Thanks for the guidance and the humor. The people on this forum are funnier than doctors. I know y'all aren't here to sort out my existential dilemma for me but in a sideways manner, you are helping. :^:



Hi All,

I'm almost in the same situation as you are lowwatermatk. I find the courses and schools very expensive. therefore my search for lastminutes courses (save 50% or more) has started. They give the saving just to fill the classes. In the meantime I started with a dvd lessons program. For me this works.
As soon as I have the right amount of experience I'll put a portfolio online and try to start freelancing. Ofcourse I'll start off with minor jobs. At the end (aprox 2 years from now) I would like to start a company of my own, see my introduction.
For my own company I would like to have an official certification from Adobe and Autodesk.
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#12 NickDMax  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 03 August 2008 - 09:41 AM

Just a piece of advice... If you are a programmer but find yourself involved in another field then it identify problems within that field and then identify and put together solutions to those problems. You would be surprised at how much money you can make.

I had a friend who started out and payed for his education by going into companies in his neighborhood and asking them if there was anything they needed program wise. Granted he had to sell the software for far less than he could have if the organizations were LOOKING to hire a programmer, but he was definitely living the good life for a student.

Another friend of mine was a psychologist but found that he enjoyed life better when he was writing programs to use around his office, and then found that he could sell these programs to his colleagues, and they had ideas and before he knew it he was no longer working at his practice but was programming full time. He did go back to school and get a MS degree in software architecture.

Now I am not saying that what these people did was easy, and I think it would be even harder in todays markets where organizations want some kind of guarantee of support. BUT... an understanding of a niche can be invaluable.
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#13 perfectly.insane  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 03 August 2008 - 03:11 PM

As far as degrees are concerned, it depends on the employer. But getting away from that, I will say that having an education is beneficial, though the term "education" in this case should be taken to not necessarily mean in the formalized sense. There are some that will always be looking for an official "icon", but many in programming are self-educated, especially inherently skilled programmers. It's not to dissimilar from hiring artists (though programming has more similarities with architecture).

In terms of certificates, I think it is uncommon to recognize such in software development. That's more important in systems administration, especially as those are more knowledge and less art/craft.
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#14 OliveOyl3471  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 03 August 2008 - 05:14 PM

View PostLowWaterMatk, on 3 Aug, 2008 - 06:25 AM, said:

Thanks for the guidance and the humor. The people on this forum are funnier than doctors. I know y'all aren't here to sort out my existential dilemma for me but in a sideways manner, you are helping. :^:


Dream In Code--Funnier than doctors.
B)

I think I'd prefer "Smarter than doctors," or "Richer than doctors," but funnier is ok, too. :P
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#15 DeCompile  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are certifcates and degrees laughed at?

Posted 03 August 2008 - 07:51 PM

As I was reading this thread I just thought of a great nick for you.

Don't take any offense to this at all, it just 'popped' into my head.

Doctor DIC.

I wonder how many patients you'd get then. I wonder if he's spending his lunchtimes at the surgery on this forum :)

Or puts off a surgery for 5 minutes to finish checking the new posts. :P
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