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Does your education depend on how much money you make as a computer scientist?

#computer #money #information-technology

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Telmo’s Answer

Education defines your ability to learn and perform certain tasks. Sure if you have shown good work during your college years, chances are you may start a bit above average, however that alone will not be a marker as worker.
Salary is based on your ability to work as an individual, team, across teams, and unfortunately today, the ability of showing you do those things.
The skill of being visible is as important as the skills needed to perform your job
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Tony’s Answer

I would say that education is certainly an aspect of your ability to get ahead and, therefore, increase your salary.

For my answer, let's take one piece, acknowledge it, and then move it aside. Knowing the subject matter is certainly important. Without that, you are lost and so is your team. However, how you get that info really doesn't matter. Schooling, learning with a mentor at your elbow, or self-taught all work. I remember State Farm brought in a bunch of out of work 'civilians' and taught them Java.

As someone who has taught in college, I think what the advanced education gives you is the ability to dream. A high level view of what is possible. Ana's answer about experience rings true. Together, you build success upon success and your confidence will make you ready to move up when the opportunity.

Amit's point is what I would focus on. His point is one I have always told my students. Completed, positive projects behind you help you as in confidence and you have a body of work behind you. I would add the following points that I see as critical to getting ahead and making the move up the ladder of your industry.

Tony recommends the following next steps:

Start simple. Create something from nothing based on directions from someone else. Have that person critique your work. Make it as perfect as you can. Progress to something more challenging.
Work on your interpersonal skills. Find situations that have you working with other people - doesn't have to be work related - so you can point to your ability to work with others.
Take courses, internships, or work situations that expand your expertise.
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Archived’s Answer

Education is important but how much money you get is going to be a consequence of multiple aspects including your knowledge on existing and new technologies, the experience you have, your ability to learn fast, the contacts/network you have and the opportunities that you have.
The practical experience has an important role in the computer science area so only having the formal education is not enough.
But the education offers you opportunities for working as trainee, intern and that is a good way for you to enter into the practical world.
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Andrew’s Answer

This is a tough question. You don't need a degree to do IT. In my long career, I have worked with people with no degree who fell into IT from another field and people with a PhD. As a general rule, what you can do is much more relevant than what certificates you have. Personally, I started working in IT without a degree and got my degree while working. Lets break it down a bit...

*Interviews*

Interviews are definitely easier with a degree. This is especially true early in your career when you have less track record to back you up. The risk is that you'll get a job that doesn't have as much opportunity if you don't have as good a resume. A counterpoint to that is if you have three or four more years of relevant experience, you may be ahead if you went straight to the workforce. Also, some roles are easier to demonstrate what you can do, rather than just talking about it.

*Background Knowledge and Theoretical Understanding*

I have found the theoretical understanding of things like Networks and Operating Systems and DBMSes very helpful. When new technologies emerge it is easier to grasp what they are doing if you know the theory. People with no formal education in IT struggle with topics like the inner workings of the Linux scheduler. I never learnt that at University, but I could figure it out based on OS theory I had learnt. These kind of topics don't come up often.

*Consulting and other High Powered Roles*

Getting into some roles requires you to be able to present in a very polished way, look, knowledge, verbal and presentation skills etc. Some of those roles require a degree to be able to show that you know what you are talking about. More of a first impressions kind of thing.

*Executive Roles*

If you want to get into very senior roles in a large corporate, you'll probably want an MBA. You may struggle to get into an MBA program without a Bachelors in something.

*Current Skills*

Staying up to date is essential and a degree doesn't help much. Many of the things you learn in a degree are out of date by the time you graduate. You do need to read about and try out new technologies to keep current.

*Career Longevity*

This is a difficult area. In Australia where I work, a lot of roles have been off-shored. There are a variety of reasons that the people who are still doing what they do are still doing it. At some level its because someone things they are valuable. That means different things, good with customers, good with solving problems, very knowledgeable, etc.

One key to Career Longevity is being able to move from one role to another as the demand changes. People without degrees tend to have siloed knowledge. Whatever they have done, they are often very good at those things, but not great at things outside their experience. A degree gives you some background on everything, so it is easier to take an interest in things outside your role, which makes it easier to switch job roles if you need to because your role is going offshore, your role is being automated by hardware or software or what was a premium role with good pay in high demand has been flooded by many candidates attracted by the attention the role has.

You can't make good money if your skills get superseded by changes in the industry and a degree will help with jumping roles. I've done eight completely different roles since 1989.
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Amit’s Answer

Your education will help guide your ability to get a particular job. It is not a definitive guarantee however. In software development, a large aspect that interviewers are looking for are individuals who take initiative and build things on the side. Many people have the misconception that side projects need to be new and innovative or that they must all be successful. In reality side projects can be recreating your favorite app or building a game like minesweeper and most side projects will never be successful because people get busy or they get stuck. The goal of a side project is to just try and learn something new. By showing that initiative you can get better internships which lead to higher paying jobs. Your education may help you get your foot in the door but it does not guarantee you a higher paying job and there are ways to get around it.

Your pay as an engineer will also vary widely on what technologies you have expertise in. Checkout https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2019

It'll also depend on where you live/experience so checkout https://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm to play around with that.

Amit recommends the following next steps:

Look at stackoverflow insights
look at glassdoor
Try to work on a side project!
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