18
TwiN
3y

!rant

Is a bachelor's degree worth it?

Context:
Up until yesterday, I was planning on not getting a Bacherlor's degree related to programming. I'm currently an intern and I believe that they'll want to keep me afterwards. Even it they don't, my old boss has a junior developer position opening soon and he asked me if I was interested.

I think I'm a good programmer, but I'm not here to boast, but rather, I want to know your opinion:
Is getting a bachelor's degree in software engineering worth it?

I know this topic is not new and has been asked in many forums, but I noticed a repetitive trend: people who have the degree say it's worth it and people who don't say it's not.

TL;DR:
Is getting a bachelor's degree in software engineering worth it? Why?

Comments
  • 0
  • 1
    For learning probably not. You can pick up the same stuff and more by yourself if you have enough motivation.

    For career prospects it depends on some factors, might or might not be worth it. I'd say relevant experience + own projects are significantly more valuable in reality (in terms of learning+skills), but there are still lots of companies that value or put career prospect thresholds in terms of educational background
  • 3
    It really depends of what your aspirations are. I will explain:

    Having a degree in programming won't get you a good job, but experience will. As you know the best way to become good at something is practice.

    Going to university is a lot more than getting a degree. For me it was one in a life time experience that I will never forget. Did it make me a better web dev? - yes and no. If I wasn't willing to put the hours to learn and do cool projects I would of been stuck with a peace of paper ( a lot of people did).

    If you are a social person looking for adventures and want to move out from your parents house - go to uni.

    If you are happy in your social situation and money you might be okay doing the job.
  • 0
  • 1
    I'm doing my MSc thesis atm, and will be applying for PhD this autumn.

    Is it worth it? Not for job prospects, that's sure.
    But for everything else it is worth. Plus if you want to go into research or academic career, you will need a degree.
  • 1
    I'm my (albeit) small experience with recruitment in the industry, degrees or lack thereof are often used as a filter for applications. I've been told this can be particularly true in larger businesses where they may need to narrow down 1000s of applications.

    Personally I did a degree because I struggle to self motivate, but can easily motivate myself in university and at work.
  • 2
    Personally I think it's worth it. There's like a 10 year gap between high school and when I got my bachelors. I can promise you that during college I learned absolutely nothing and it was a cruise control of handing in projects while doing self learning via sites like safaribooksonline even during class..

    Prior I had a ridiculously hard time even getting a response. Post diploma, I get offers roughly twice a week right now, even though I'm marked as employed finally. It's ridiculous what that piece of paper can do imo
  • 0
  • 0
    Yeah it really depends on where you live too. Here as all education including universities are free everybody does it, so it sort of starts to lose value. The government actually pays you monthly for studying.

    So my friends usually spend 7-8 years in the uni, some past 10 now. Lots of people do multiple degrees too.
  • 1
    Here in England, especially London you’re expected to have at least an Undergraduate degree. It’s only really used to kick start your career
  • 1
    Its hard to say without having experienced both, which would be impossible. I will say this. I enjoyed the college experience. It wasn’t easy, but it was an experience I would do again. You learn a lot of things you might not have ever pursued otherwise. You also make a ton of friends and business connections. My first job was actually at my college.

    Student loans suck though.
  • 2
    @Bitwise not if you don't know how to program and have nothing to show other than the paper :p
  • 0
  • 0
    At this point in time, a ton of companies care more about your experience than what your degree is, so short answer: most likely not.
    However, there still are a lot of consultant companies or whatever, who simply are that big, that they couldn't be arsed to hire people without a masters degree, if you're into that sort of thing. Although, I consider that to be too snobbish, so I'd rather not bother applying for those. But I'm as of now, doing a bachelors myself, just to have something to show and something to fall back to is everything goes to shit.
  • 2
    @Bitwise I disagree.

    There are architects and carpenters. I say this without judgement: The craft of a master carpenter reserves just as much respect as the skill of drafting blueprints.

    We often prefer people without degree when hiring. Depends on a lot of factors, but we've found that university schooled devs are often not a great fit for our company (oh god I sound like a recruiter).

    Academic thinkers can be dogmatic, time spent in college is not spent crafting and experiencing real products.

    1. Do you want to work at a tech giant, or in-house software development of a large company? A degree will probably help.

    2. Do you want to work at much faster moving startups? They're building crafted products quickly, and need people who can build solidly from intuition and muscle memory rather than research papers and UML diagrams.

    Life as a dev without a degree is likely quite chaotic, but also more agile and productive. There are also more carpenters needed than architects...
  • 1
    @Bitwise I think this is very dependent on area and sector though... I rarely see degree requirements here in the "startup-belt" of Europe (Amsterdam/Eindhoven/Frankfurt/Berlin).

    I went to London and Brussels a bunch of times both looking at dev positions and developers to hire, and noticed the market was very different there... more formal, higher educational requirements, older companies.

    I wouldn't dive in blindly -- even if the degree was free, time isn't.

    I think a degree holds value if you like well-organized technological development, if you want to work on product infrastructure, protocol development, language design, security, etc.

    If you like rapidly prototyping products, working on the chaotic development of a web platform, staying close to the actual usable product, then a github profile, portfolio and practical knowledge will probably be worth more.
  • 1
    Update: I decided to go to university next year. I didn't want to give too much details, but there are other factors that were in favor of me not going to university. But despite all of them, I still decided that I shouldget a bachelor's.

    You might be wondering why I changed my mind, so unlike Stackoverflow OPs who don't always answer after they found out, I'll tell you:

    I called my teacher and he basically called me, of all people, an idiot for not wanting to go to university.
    If I don't go, it will limit my future maximum salary, make it harder for me to climb up to higher positions, and it will also make working for some big companies like Google significantly harder.

    I evaluated my maximum salary without a degree to hit a max of approximately 80k, and if I have kids by the time I decide to go back to school, then it will probably be much more complicated.

    This is my situation, not "the" situation. There is no wrong answers, but having a degree is better than not.
  • 0
    @TwiN Yup. Wise choice. Better regret having it(you won't) than not.
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