College or Job Experience, which one wins?

Discussion in 'Vintage Topic Archive (Sept - 2009)' started by 47_MasoN_47, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. 47_MasoN_47

    47_MasoN_47 You know who I am Member

    Here's the deal. There's nothing I've ran across so far in my 11 years of working with computers that I haven't been able to at least figure out. I've setup some fairly complex networks from scratch, configured different types of servers as well as an unfathomable amount of stuff with standard workstations.

    I have one problem though... computers are all that I can do. [EDIT] I take that back, I am pretty good with firearms and have some pretty crazy game console modding skills, but neither or those are very useful in the job market.

    My grades are teh suxx0r. I've phailed 3 classes on an epic scale and had to drop 3 or 4 more. It's looking like this semester I'm either going to fail or have to drop another 2 classes, one of which I've already previously failed. My GPA is about 2.2, but it's declined every semester I've taken (6 so far). It's looking like I might not even make it to graduation because all the classes I have left are so dang hard.

    So here's my question, I already have a good job right now as a Network/Systems Administrator so I'm not worried so much about getting one now, but if something happens and the building explodes or we otherwise shut down, if I have to go look for another job do you guys think that my 11 years of extensive experience will make up for my severely sucky college career?

    Yay for modding Xboxes!
  2. Silicon Wolverine

    Silicon Wolverine Well-Known Member

    In-field expierence will trump college almost every time. Otherwise why is it you see college grads flipping burgers? No expierence=no job. I never went ot day of college in my life and i have a top tier job at a SD lottery operator doind route work and electronics tech/repair. I got the job simply because i had worked at another job doing electronics work. Simply go to your interview and simply tell them, "I did X for X company. It ivolved doing X with electronics and my record is there for you to view." 99 times out of 100 that will land you a job. I was hired because of what i was capable of doing, not what kind of paper i had hung on my wall. Any employer that takes paper over field expierence is stupid and not worth working for.


  3. My friend never went to college; even spent a little time in jail. He's had no problem when it came to computer work. The piece of paper is nice to hang on the office wall but there's something to be said about years of experience. Odds are you'll be able to do things that college grads cannot and they can justify not paying you as much because you don't have the degree.
  4. 47_MasoN_47

    47_MasoN_47 You know who I am Member

    I thought that the experience would win out, but my parents see it differently. They are all about the college stuff and it makes them angry that I can't do it. I'm a bit different from them though, neither of them had any experience other than little minimum wage jobs until they graduated. The first job I ever had paid 25 bucks an hour, and that was when I was 9 years old hahaha.
    That sucks.
  5. Take it from me that a degree backed up by experience is the best combo. I think it's good to get real world experience as you are going to school, or maybe even before you start school. Get in with a good company and work your way up with them. That's what I'm trying to do right now. By the time I get my degree in a few years, I'll have plenty of experience in my field, and be ready to move up either where I'm at, or to a different company if that's what it comes to.

    Can you make it in life without a degree? Yes. Will you get as far without it? Probably not, but it does happen. Does a degree itself = instant "awesome" job? Nope.

    That's just my 2 cents anyway :)
  6. 47_MasoN_47

    47_MasoN_47 You know who I am Member

    Thanks for the replies guys. My parents make it sound like if I can't get this stupid degree my life will just end and I'll be stuck working at McDonalds or something.

    Keep the opinions coming I'm interested in what you guys have to say.
  7. jason865

    jason865 Guest

    It depends on the Market in your area. I have a ton of computer certs, but need one quarter lfet for my degree. I have a pretty good paying job for my area now, but if I want to move up in to an IT director type of position I would almost have to have a degree. I would recomend having both, that way you dont rely on one or the other in order to secure your future.
  8. AGuyNamedMike

    AGuyNamedMike Lifetime Supporter

    Yep. I'm one of those 40-year-olds with no degree and 20+ years of experience. I can walk right into a good job in my field (network engineer) just about anywhere, but I can't break into management without the sheepskin (not that I have any desire to, I like working directly with the technology). If you want to be a career ladder climber, knuckle down and get studying.
  9. +1 with eqfan592. I always asked my daughter, "Who would you like working for you: a person with 4 years of college or a person with 4 years of experience?" She said what most people would say, "Four years of experience because they already know the job." But... the real answer is: a person with BOTH! (trick question) Y'see, a person with 4 years of education, after four years, will have both; but, a person with 4 years of experience, after four years, will not have both (only more experience). What does a piece of paper do? It allows you to compete with other people that have a piece of paper. If you don't have one, you can't compete with them. It doesn't mean anything else.
  10. squeak_D

    squeak_D Guest

    Man, that's a door that swings both ways. It really can depend on the job your're looking at. College isn't for everyone, but times have changed though. Today many employers are looking for college grads.

    You can however substitute in some cases "experience" in place of the degree. However, that door swings both ways. Many employers are now allowing college grads to substitute college degrees for experience. My wife's an excellent example. She works for the government. The position she has requires several years of experience coming off the streets just entering. However, if you don't have the years experience a BA can be substituted. My wife was able to substitute a BA and an Associates degree for the several years experience needed for her job, and with her degrees she's open for good promotions.

    Employers today are also seeking those with a degree in any field as well. They're just wanting you to have a degree. You could have a BA in basket weaving, and still land a decent job that requires a degree.

    I personally hated college till the very end, but stuck with it because I knew how many doors it would open up for me. I wasn't the smartest person in school, and didn't have a full Presidential Scholarship like my wife (freakin nerd!), but I finished with a GPA of 3.25 (it wasn't easy). I say if you can..., stick to it. It's a pain in the ass, but imagine having the years experience you have, and then throw in a college degree on top of that. Just imagine how marketable you'll be after that.

  11. Both is the best answer but some companies dont see it that way. Remember, often you need some sort of degree for them to just open the door.... if you cant even get in to interview.... how are you gona get the job.

    Also, "college students flipping burger" yeah, maybe if your a liberal arts major (no offence to Neo).

    I can tell you from personal experience that I've learned more in 8 years after college than in the 5.5 that I spent there. But everysingle job I got since I left college has been becuse I got "that useless piece of paper", which in turn does not make it that useless.

    My recomendation 47_MasoN_47, change your lifestile and focus on the clases. Hire a tutor, go to study groups, only tanke 2 classes per semester, take the classes at a cominutity college (usually easier and a whole lot cheaper) do what ever you need to do to get that degree. After that, go get your experience.
  12. +1 to what Bushman said. And any time you need help with a class, feel free to ask around on here. There's a lot of smart people here and one of us may be able to help you :)
  13. 47_MasoN_47

    47_MasoN_47 You know who I am Member

    Well I definitely have no desire to climb the ladder. I like working directly with the tech and avoiding people as much as possible. Talking to them through email is just fine. They tell me what's broke and I go fix it, having to tell other people what to do doesn't work for me. I'm a follower, not a leader.

    I think like an IT person. Evaluate the problem, then T&E it until it's not a problem anymore. Unfortunately that doesn't work in class. If you miss the question, you can't try again. I've already failed literature 232 once and I'm on my way to another F. I don't get that sh*t. I don't get math either, or science, or management, f*** I don't get anything else. I've tried tutors to no avail. I just can't do that crap. Put me in front of a toasted motherboard with a soldering iron and I'll have that sucker going, give me a test on what to do with your employees in xxx situation, sh*t if I know.
  14. If you dont mind me asking 47_MasoN_47, how old are you?

    You sound like your only getting strarted in your carrer and thats the same thoughts that went trough my head.... " I want to be a desing engineer, I want to be in the trenches, designing, building, getting my hands dirty on prototypes"..... trust me, that feeling doesnt last long. After you see how bad you bosses screw stuff up and how you will be the first one to receive blame you get tired of it right quick.

    I want to take my bosses job, I want to do right what he does wrong, I want to improve myself... eventually, after I learn enough, I want to break out and do my own thing. All this takes time... and with a little education its often alot easier.

    Now, conversly, there are alot of people that just aren't meant for college. People that learn alot easier by doing rather than reading. I'm a little that way. I can do something once and its in me for life, I can go to a lecture and hear or see a presentation and its recorded for ever.... but hand me a book or manual and ask me to lear a system, or a new software or programing language.... I'm screwed.

    Simply put, college may not be for you. Get yourself a technical certification or associates degree.
  15. neothespian

    neothespian Member

    Many times, a degree represents something far more than just an education. Let me explain:

    What DOES college entail? 2 to 8 years of your life, a substantial amount of money invested in tuition, books, equipment and such, a dedication to an organization for an extended period of time, and the endorsement to a field of study and the statement that you have a grasp of the knowledge of all that is covered in that field.

    What does that college experience mean to those in the professional world?

    The Employer:

    -This kid can stick in there for years with a group.
    -He's willing to make an investment for the long term
    -He's willing to put his name to something and has the proof on paper to back it up
    -He's experienced and operated within a corporate structure (college life) and was able to function to the standards of that organization.

    All aspects that look VERY good to a potential employer. When a company hires someone, they will ALWAYS have to invest money and time in training, equipment supply, re-education if the company is involved in a new industry, and indoctoination into a new structure of behaviour and protocol. It's a pricey task to employ someone above the poverbial "burger flipper". So, a smart company, no matter who they are, will try to look for the best potential investment (i.e. the most qualified person) to ensure that their investment will produce financial result. Bonus if that employee ends up becoming skilled enough to start training new employees or develop new processes that streamline the company's operations.

    Experience is ALWAYS a must. Unless you want to invest MORE into training, you will always try to find the best qualified on the collegiate/administrative front while balancing it with someone who can say "I've seen this before, back in Buffalo. But, here's how we handled the problem, not like that...because this will happen..." But, training alone might not get you to where you need to be.

    Case in point: I worked with a Tech Director at a theater a few years ago who'd been working shows back when they still used Hemp Rope and the lightboard was literally a panel of mechanical blade switches with screw in fuses on the panel. He had been doing his thing for over 40 years, and still fitted flats with hand chisels. The director wanted a set that could be taken apart and taken to several different venues, one of which was a highschool and the other a city unity event. I suggested a steel and mixed alloy skeleton set with cable tensioners, much like a huge transformer set. That way, there would be very little bolting together, and the weight would be far less. Face it with plastic instead of wood panels and you could set it up with 3 stage hands. The Director and producer loved the idea, and instantly wanted the Tech Director to build it. He said "I don't work with metal like that. It's not the way we do things". When asked if he could perhaps brush up on some steel techniques by the end of the season (by taking some clinicals at the local University for example), he refused saying that his experience meant that he didn't need to go back to school. College was for young people who don't know how to apply themselves to a trade, he said.

    The result? They went and hired a guy out of California who had worked in the Film industry for 32 years building sets out of ...get this....fiberglass and steel! AND, he learned from the pros back in the 70's at UCLA, AND he went BACK to school in 1996. They ended up hiring him and to this day he's been the TD and now makes more than the old TD did, and that was within 5 years. The old TD had tenure and experience, but when it came down to it, the other guy was hired because he had experience and had the ability to re-educate when the time called for it.

    Experience counts quite a bit in the field, but the ability to combine it with the tools that college provides shows diversity, adaptability and the ability to apply yourself to something for a long term without the immediate return in order to complete the bigger picture.
  16. 47_MasoN_47

    47_MasoN_47 You know who I am Member

    @ Bushman:

    I'm 20. I've been working as a Network/Systems Admin for about 7 years and so far I love it. Sure it gets stressful sometimes, but I love working with computers. I have 3 desktops, a server, 2 laptops and a PDA at my house that I am always working on.

    I'm definitely the type of person that learns by doing something rather than reading or hearing about it. I'm a very visual person, that's why I like having pictures/screen shots to go along with instructions and manuals. I made it through high school with an A mostly because it was easy stuff.

    I do plan on getting the MSCP and A+ certifications eventually, but it'll be a few years.

    @ Neo:

    That sounds like what my parents tell me :p It coming from another person does help give it a bit more standing though.

    I'm definitely no well-rounded individual, unless you count knowing Wind0ze and Linux, knowing my way around the internals of computers, Xbox/360, Playstation, N64, etc. as well as a few programming languages. But it's basically all tech oriented. I'll be the first to admit I don't know crap about anything else. I guess college helps make it look like I know some other well...maybe anyway. But I generally just scrape around as much as I can and hope for a D.
  17. neothespian

    neothespian Member

    Starting with the certificates is a great way to diversify the resume!

    As for me:

    I majored in Theater, then specified to Theatrical Engineering. It's one of those fields that have TONS of programs at various prestigious universities that help you get into those limited interviews at prestigious and avante garde production companies. But, when you get into the door, the first words they ask are "So, where's your CV and Mourge?"

    Without experience in my field, you just won't get anywhere. And, you can't get the experience without the production company hiring you! Alot of it is pretty simple: You can't learn how to create art from a book or a lecture. You can learn the skills to write well, to build sets, to find the most effective lighting plot and how to sew the best fitting costumes. But, you can't learn what is GOOD and what is BAD until you put it on stage, and refine your art. Unless you have successful shows that make either money or press, you won't get the next gig. And, you don't get the first gigs without the education.

    And it only took me 14 years to get to the point where I can *almost* pay the bills in the arts :roll:
  18. 47_MasoN_47

    47_MasoN_47 You know who I am Member

    Good grief that sounds like a lot of effort. You know I think you are the only arty person I know that likes guns. All of em I've ran across at my college are the anti-gun, anti-war, anti-everything crowd.
  19. neothespian

    neothespian Member

    There are MANY in the arts who are also avid shooters. Alot of the problem with the "anti-gun" arts image is that many people already have a preconceived image of what an "artists" is. Yet, one of the biggest advocates of the sport, Charleton Heston, is probably one of the most influential American actors of the 20th century. Also, just think of all of those cool guns you saw in the movies when you were a kid and made you interested in shooting...

    ....Yep. Made by guys like me :D And, did you know: Adam Savage (The hyper one from the TV show "Mythbusters") actually started working for Jayme Heineman's company M5 by designing a series of pistols and rifles for a Sci-Fi production contract.

    Not bad for a bunch of artsy guys with guns :p

    Oh, and just as a matter of record, I tend to be anti-war on alot of stuff, but that's because I've had my fill of war. But, at the same time, I know that conflict does need to be negated in order for a society to function, hence the need for a trained, qualified military force is a utility that many take for granted but don't fully understand it's full contribution to peace.
  20. 47_MasoN_47

    47_MasoN_47 You know who I am Member

    Wow, congratulations for bringing some enlightenment into my views. I have a newfound respect for you guys now haha.