no degree impedes climbing the ladder, was Re: mysql issue

Steve Alligood steve at
Thu Feb 9 09:22:36 MST 2012

On 2/8/12 5:03 PM, Jason Van Patten wrote:
> Sorry my knee jerk reaction is to assume i'm being criticized. Working
> this industry with no degree means i get paid crap relatively speaking
> and am constantly on the defensive. Can we just say i was giving you a
> good old southern "TESTIFY BROTHER!"?
> Jason

That's interesting.

You find that having no degree still impedes your rise up the ladder?

I find this topic fascinating, because I think it is entirely dependent 
on the shop, often to the shop's detriment.

I have been doing sysadmin work for 15 years now, and most of the shops 
I have worked for have ended up with several dozen admins, most of whom 
do not have degrees.  In fact, usually only about 10% have degrees, and 
those shops have paid fairly well to anyone with the skills and can-do 
attitude, and do not care about that not-quite-worthless paper.

I have also worked with several shops that think the degree is more 
important than the ability/experience of the admin.  They tend to be 
really large companies with really large bureaucracies, and usually have 
a very mediocre admin staff, with one or two good admins that carry the 

There are limited options in those shops.  As I see them, they are 1) go 
to your manager and have a frank discussion about what you need to do to 
get the raises, then do it.  Sometimes this even works, though usually 
at the 5% annual raises.  2) stay quiet and do what you currently do and 
stay at what you are at.  This is sometimes the best if you need 
specific benefits, or your skills are specific to the company you are 
at.  3) go looking and see if you can convince someone else that you are 
worth more.  It is a hard market right now for companies to find good 
talent, so it may be a good time to shop around.

All three options suck in their own way.  I wish you luck on whichever 
you choose.


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