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IT Career without degree
I studied Math and Computer Science extensively for like 2 years then I went to work as a Software Developer for 2 years. I was pretty successful, earning from $10/hr at the beginning and finishing with $20/hr when I was laid off because of lack of good projects for me. I tried to find a new job, but it was during that dot com boom, so I worked in warehouse for a while. Then people advised me to continue my education. I studied for 1 year, but my major GPA is like 2.0/4, while my GPA is 2.6/4, while the minimum for both is 2.5. So they dismissed me from Computer Science department and I decided to change my major to Math, because I like Math better. Actually I like Philosophy and Psychology better, but I have to study for them more and market for them is not good. All my relatives insist on Computer Science, so I decided to not continue my education and find job betting on my 2 year experience. I am tired of being always on probation in University. Maybe I will finish that Math degree, but I doubt. My parents press me to earn money and I cannot find a permanent evening job. And I will have to work like water or hotel cleaner, or McDonald's staff. I better try to find a permanent IT job or some office job and work without that degree that everyone told me to get. I may study on evenings. But I need an advice on how can I continue my career at this point. Since formal education for IT field failed, I wonder what you can advise me. I plan to find a job and educating myself by books, maybe getting certificates once in a while. I can try to finish my Math degree, because for some IT jobs it don't matter what major I was in. The funny part is that I was successful during that first 2 years, but something broke in me or something, because I got like 2.0 major GPA. I think it is because I was like a robot studying everything they gave to study, now I am thinking about whether I like it, and I realized that I like SOME parts of computer science, and I don't like all the details like they teach in colleges. I started to like sociological subjects more with time and I got all As and Bs for all those English, Philosophy, Sociology classes, while getting B-C-Ds at Computers Science. This helped my overall GPA, so they didn't can me from college, I can at least change major. Anyway, what you think about all this and what can you advise me on career improvement? What should I explain to recruiters about this funny experience? I will appreciate your input. Thanks.  

v, Thank you for your question.

I'm not sure what I can say that would help your situation. I've been out of work for almost four years, myself.

I believe that you might be able to find a job doing System Administration. You will have to learn Unix and Windows System Administration basics, which you might perhaps be able to do on your own, or via formal courses.

But this is just speculation. I haven't heard anyone say that they got a job in computers in the last few years.

I do agree that you don't seem cut out for the academic life.

Recruiters are probably interested in factors like these:

1. Is the applicant easy to get along with? (be agreeable)

2. Is the applicant energetic? (showing up depressed is a good way not to get a job)

3. Is the applicant intelligent? (show that you know what the company is doing)

4. Does the applicant have experience? (if you don't have any success to point to, be ready to explain how you can help the company)

I wish you the best of luck.

David Spector


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David Spector


Highly knowledgeable in the C++ language, Visual C++ (MSVC), Windows API, documentation and other quality-assurance techniques, and debugging. Knowledgeable in MFC, COM, GUI design, and object-oriented design.


I have been a software engineer since 1965. I have been published. My specializations have been: biomedical programming, compiler implementation, and many kinds of Windows programming. I don't do Databases or other business-oriented stuff.

Windows?/DOS Developer's Journal, ACM SIGPLAN Notices, and Computer Science Press.

ICCP Systems Programming Certification
Master's degree equivalent in Computer Science

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