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

Tod Hansmann at
Fri Feb 10 08:02:32 MST 2012

On 2/10/2012 7:40 AM, Aaron Toponce wrote:
> There is no substitute for experience, but credentials, such as degrees or
> certifications, add a great deal of value to many potential employers. When
> any employer looks at job candidates, credentials are a a common way to
> sift through the candidates, and determine if they should come in for an
> interview. Someone who is CCNA certified will likely get the Cisco network
> administration job over the guy who doesn't.
> Lastly, I learned a great deal finishing my education. It was more than
> just jumping through hoops. I learned some fascinating abstract principles
> that have become very valuable in my career, such as lambda calculus,
> tautology and graph theory. I approach problems different now, than I did
> before I finished school. It's clear to me that I spend more time thinking
> about the problem, than just brute forcing it, looking for a solution. For
> me, even if it does nothing for me financially, it has done a great deal
> for me mentally. YMMV.
I think the value of degrees and certifications is something one must 
factor into their decisions about how to market themselves.  That said, 
it should be factored in with the appropriate eye.  Degrees and 
certifications are one of many things that can go on your resume and 
will mean something to readers of your resume, but like having "Eagle 
Scout" on your resume, will not necessarily impress the audience you're 
going for.  I personally have found networking and building professional 
relationships with people to be far more valuable than pieces of paper, 
but that's not something that applies to all situations.

It also depends on your field.  For instance, in software development, 
degrees get you hired at entry level far more prolifically, but at 
higher rungs on the "ladder" so to speak, I find that experience is 
valued far more in many shops than degrees, and if you have successfully 
shipping products in the industry, you are sought after.  Getting a job 
is hardly ever easy, and should be addressed as the many nuanced sales 
dance that it is.  Depending on your field, different things matter to 
different people, and there is no silver bullet to all employers.

Aaron makes an excellent point about education, though, and it's the 
only reason I've ever considered going back to school.  I don't think 
there's a reason to think it will instantly get me more credibility 
anywhere I'm particularly interested, but I'd really like to learn some 
specific stuff and I don't think my home study is getting very far with 
the distractions home life brings.  As he said, your mileage may vary.

-Tod Hansmann

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