(Non)Degreed and insulted!!

Subject: (Non)Degreed and insulted!!
From: "Arlen P. Walker" <arlen -dot- walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 10:53:49 -0500

I do both software development and writing. I've not jumped in on
discussions about how badly programmers write, because for the most part
it's true. Most prrammers treat english as a second language. It happens I

But I have to come on this discussion because although I do both (and do
them passably well, IMNSHO) I have no college degree. Personally, I've
always felt that the piece of paper colleges hand out in exchange for a lot
of money and staying alive for four years to be vastly overrated. There's
nothing in their curriculum which anyone with a little desire cannot learn
on their own, and probably faster, and I get a little twitchy when someone
suggests that because they sat in a classroom for four years their skills
are by definition superior to someone who has not. But that's a subject for
another list.

Having said that (and alienated all of the degreed people in the audience)
let me say that it seems very few HR types agree. It's hard to find a job
in those fields without it, and once in a job it's still difficult to get
promotions without those pieces of paper, even when my boss recommends it
in writing. Programmers coming in to my company are sometimes offered
starting salaries as high (low?) as my own, even though my skills are
better than theirs. In fact, I'm sometimes put in charge of training them!

Im my experience, the sheepskin is used by HR types to winnow the number of
applications for a given position. In fact, our own HR department once told
me that the area the degree was in was not as relevant as simply having the
degree (I believe the phrase she used was "It could be in underwater basket

The posting from the person who evaluates applicants by writing samples was
refreshingly realistic. After all, your degree credits aren't attached to
the documents you produce. All that really matters should be if (and how
well) you can do the job, not how many years it took you to learn how.

Have Fun,

arlen -dot- walker -at- jci -dot- com
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