I'm an incredibly lame blogger of late, I know. Let's just say
I'm taking a little "break." I think every blogger is entitled to
a break every now and then. :)
But anyway ...
An interesting conversation going on in the comments section of Microsoft's JobsBlog
got me thinking about that age-old communication gap between jobseekers
and employers ... this being JobSyntax's (whose mission it is to bridge
that gap) 1 year anniversary and all!
In Why I Wish I had Studied Computer Science/IT/Technology in College,
Janelle discusses the decline in computer science college
enrollment . She lists a few assumptions - don't need a
degree to get a job; your major isn't important; the
material is too outdated and irrelevant - and asks readers why they
think the decline exists. This is a topic that I'm also very
passionate about, and I have to say I've just always assumed the
decline existed because people who may be interested are too gun-shy of
the technology industry. They think opportunities will
dwindle and/or be off-shored - so there isn't a strong future in the
field. Certainly, those reasons were mentioned, but they
weren't the majority.
While the blogosphere hardly serves as scientific research, it does
provide good data points. And the data points here tell me that
there's yet another disconnect between what jobseekers think and what
employers think. A large share of the responses mirrored this
A formal degree in Computer Science is not really essential to
get into the Software/IT industry. What is more important is having
passion for what you are do.
Now, I'm all for passion, and I'm not here to kill the
dream, kids. (And to be fair, the person who wrote this specific
comment has an advanced degree in CS.) I have seen many people
have great careers in the technology industry without degrees.
But I was just really surprised to hear that same reasoning echoed over
and over again. It NEVER occurred to me people may not be
majoring in CS because they don't think they need to.
In my experience working as a technical recruiter, I have
encountered maybe 2 or 3 hiring managers who have said a CS or related
degree is not a requirement ... or least a very, very, very strong
"nice to have." (And those hiring managers were usually ones
who didn't have degrees themselves.) As a recruiter, education is
usually the first thing my eyes notice. And back in the day when
I'd mined resume databases or job boards, "computer sci*" OR "computer
eng*" were always in my search string.
I'm not arguing that you aren't qualified if you don't have a degree ... but I am arguing that you will be perceived
as unqualified if you don't have one. The standards and
requirements will only continue to increase - and those without degrees
(and lacking experience to back it up) will only find it more
difficult to break into the field with a good job. You may find a
job - but you also may find that those 4 years of time and tuition
costs were more than worth it in the end.
Like I said, just an interesting response. "I don't
need a CS degree" was something I never expected to hear. In
1999? Sure. In 2007? No way!
Am I off-base?