I’m proud of my degree. It makes me happy that I have one and that I can consider myself worth more to people in the business world because I have it. But I’m a programmer, and my degree, well, let’s just say that it has something to do with a language and that’s where the similarities stop.
I have a Bachelor of Arts in English. English lit., English language? I don’t know. It doesn’t specify. It’s just English. Yet, all this time (for nearly 6 years, at least), I’ve been a Web application programmer in some sort of professional capacity.
During the dot com boom, degrees didn’t matter at all. If you could program, you were hired. If you had experience, even better, but, now, it seems that a degree is becoming more important to weed out potential candidates for a position. After all, programmers—especially Web programmers—are a dime a dozen.
Pair that together with the folks in India who are willing to accept your outsourced programming jobs for quotes as low as USD 5.00 an hour (and even lower), and you can see that the job market is getting stiffer all the time.
So, when I was asked to submit my resume to what would become my new job, it didn’t surprise me in the least that they had a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science listed in their job requirements. What did surprise me were the types of questions I was later asked in a sort of quiz to know my strengths and weaknesses.
I was asked about Fibonacci numbers, tries, parity, and more, questions that are basic knowledge to a CS 101 student, no doubt, but to a mere PHP programmer and student of English literature, I was unfamiliar with the terms.
Well, needless to say, I got the job, but the questions and the nature of the IT industry got me thinking. Do I really need a computer science degree to continue in this line of work? No doubt, it wouldn’t hurt.
What do you think? And, if you say “yes,” what’s the best way to go about obtaining it? On-line or through classes at a traditional school?