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I began college in computer engineering in 2016 and dropped out in 2019, that is almost in my final year. Put it simply the reasons are there are a lot of lessons that don't align with my interest, grade inflation in my faculty which I don't feel right to get the degree when you can get good grades by your attendances, my social situation, and because I want to be a web/software engineer.

Therefore I'm joining a bootcamp. In my college years I've been learning what computer science learn by myself, my guide is the computer science curriculum syllabus. I also have an internship experience as a DevOps in a startup.

What do you think should I say when I'm asked this question in an interview? Should i just unmentioned my dropped out college education?

  • @JoeStrazzere How do you think I should mention my degree in cv? like this (2016-2019), or like this (2016-2019 unfinished/onleave) or i shouldnt mention it at all? – t0pp4 Oct 19 at 15:34
  • @JoeStrazzere so i should just not write my college education in cv, and rather explain that i'm a college dropout only when they realized that there is a gap between my highschool and current year? – t0pp4 Oct 19 at 15:41
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    It isn't an answer to your question, but have you absolutely decided already to go the 'bootcamp' route or are you still making up your mind and asking as a hypothetical? You have got 3 years of college/university experience so even though it didn't result in a degree (and of course you can't claim it did) it should contribute something positive. Also for background what country/region is this? You put "cv" in a comment (rather than resume) so I am thinking it's somewhere other than the US. – seventyeightist Oct 19 at 18:13
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    Go back and finish college. Seriously, you will regret this in 10 years. – Gaius Oct 20 at 14:49
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    Finish the degree. It doesn't sound like it's too much work for you, just that you can't be bothered because you feel that it's below you. Do a bootcamp coding mill if you feel you need to after the degree. Otherwise, your resume (no matter how you word it) reads "Degree. Dropped out. Bootcamp. Passed" - makes it look like a bootcamp is easier than a degree (and in some ways, it is) – PeteCon Oct 21 at 14:26
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Put it simply the reasons are there are a lot of lessons that don't align with my interest... and because i want to be a web/software engineer.

An engineering education is much more about understanding what code you should not write, than it is about learning to write code that "works" in the near term.

If you just want to build things, that's what your pending bootcamp education is supposed to teach, and fortunately for you there is a segment of businesses with a similar philosophy - for example, many startups in their earlier years.

If you want to pursue a path there, find a company with leadership showing a similar attitude of impatience and play up how you switched to a bootcamp path because you wanted to practice your craft rather than "squander" time on unrelated things - you could for example cite how Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to pursue the potential he saw in integrated circuit microprocessors turning the corner to affordability.

But note that having skipped out on the formal track will probably follow you for your career - practically even if you manage to build a reputation which overcomes the missing resume entry. There will be a lot you haven't learned about considering the broader situation where whatever you are constructing needs to operate. Some of those things are not purely technical - for example, your posting here shows serious problems with written communication skills. And in terms of reputation, you will find many doors at larger organizations likely shut to you - Microsoft might have been started by a dropout, but you probably would not get a developer job (at least not a good one) there today with only a bootcamp as formal training.

If you want to follow the path you are on, you can - it will have difficulties, but life usually has room for one set of difficulties, it is when challenges compound that things become a serious issue. Perhaps in a couple of years your perspective on everything will change and you will want to return to college, seeing a purpose where you previously saw none, or even to study something entirely different. Perhaps you'll be the lucky dropout with the right attitude at the right time to found a billion dollar corporation. Perhaps you will regret the current decision for the rest of your life. No one can really know.

But it sounds like dropping out is something that has already happened, not a decision yet to be made, so for the moment, you work with that. And with what you have, which sounds to be a bootcamp education and a desire to get to work. See if there are any further possibilities with the company at which you interned, or any that people there know of. Pursue whatever placement opportunities your bootcamp offers. Find a company led by those with a similar philosophy, small enough that the technical leadership is doing the hiring personally rather than via recruiters or an HR department with a checklist. Play up what you are choosing to do and your desire to get to work doing it, not what you are avoiding.

(That said, if you haven't yet actually enrolled in the bootcamp, it's probably worthwhile to research placement rates and outcomes from independent or verifiable channels before investing money in that. Anyone can rent some classroom space and give lectures for a couple of months, having employers actually lined up to utilize useful skills imparted is what marks a good implementation of the practical job training idea that is a bootcamp)

  • Note that OP was in a Computer Engineering program, which is not about code. – jcm Oct 20 at 7:32
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    @jcm that was literally the first sentence of this answer. But it appears that the asker wishes to receive job training and start cranking out code rather than pursue any sort of actual engineering education. It's not an issue of having been in a computer science, vs. computer engineering, vs. electrical engineering program (any quality versions of which have heavy overlap) but rather that an actual engineering education is about the enduring issues, not about the immediate practicalities of the code one will actually write or boards one will actually design in the first job. – Chris Stratton Oct 20 at 10:27
  • Sure, I get the the point about an engineering education being about solving issues while balancing constraints. It's just that the first sentence seems to espouse the (common) misconception that computer engineering is about code. – jcm Oct 21 at 2:17
  • @ChrisStratton what do you think about me going back to college at 22? – t0pp4 Oct 23 at 15:45
  • @t0pp4 that would be quite normal, socially you'd even still be fully in the age group of your fellow students. If you feel like college is going to be a fit now in a way it was not before, it could make a lot of sense. But there's far more to that decision than fits in a full SE question, let alone the comments attached to one. – Chris Stratton Oct 23 at 15:48
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You'll be fine. I went to a coding bootcamp straight out of high school instead of going to college, and I'm now working for Google. I've been performing we'll and certainly don't feel like I have a huge disadvantage compared to college graduates. Coding bootcamp grads aren't only for start-ups in the early years. Plenty larger, well established companies will also hire bootcamp grads. I can definitely say Google does.

The job market just isn't in a state where companies can be super choosey. Software engineers are in high enough demand that many companies will be happy just to get someone with a competence in programming and a willingness to learn.

The job search will be harder without a degree no doubt, but its still very doable. I'd just be honest and say that you feel a coding bootcamp was a better use of your time than finishing your degree. Some companies will take issue with that, but in my experience most companies don't care what your background is as long as you show competence in the technical interviews (something a good coding bootcamp will prepare you well for).

Remember, you only need one yes. Well, preferably a few because I advise doing your best to get multiple offers before pulling the trigger on accepting one. But the point is, if 200 companies reject you and three make an offer, it really doesn't matter how many times you were rejected. You'd still be in a great spot. That said, it can take six months (sometimes more) for bootcamp grads to find a job. Be prepared for that.

Most companies I've seen will readily accept experience in the place of a degree. So your lack of a degree is really only going to hurt you for your first job search.

Oh and yeah, do your research on the coding bootcamps. They vary wildly in their quality. Stick to one of the well known ones. Preferably one with transparent and we'll defined placement statistics.

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I had a similar experience. Started university off by studying electrical and computer engineering before switching to comp sci. A series of health issues forced me to drop out of university, return home, and take a smattering of computer classes at one of the local community colleges. One of the classes wasn't even a "class" per se. In order to receive credit, you had to complete an internship in your field. I decided to take this class earlier than normal with permission from my instructors. Eventually, this led to me being offered a full-time job. I weighed my options and decided to drop out of college and accept the full-time offer and proceeded to stay there for about 4 years.

I began a job search at the start of this year and ran into a bit of trouble regarding my academic experience. Several companies turned me away immediately, but I can't say with any certainty that it had to do with my education level. When I was eventually offered a position a month or so later, they finalized the process by letting me know that they were going to validate my credentials by contacting my former employer and my school. Worried that they had misinterpreted by resume (which stated I attended college but made no mention of a degree earned or an end date), I let them know that I didn't actually have a degree. It ended up working out as my employer didn't care, they just wanted to make sure I wasn't lying.

All that being said, from my experience and especially in the IT world, it's far less important for you to have an actual degree than it is for you to have real world experience. The way I've viewed it, the schooling can only teach you the basics: logic, problem solving, collaborating, the building blocks of a programming language, etc. After that, the IT world moves so quickly that any knowledge you gain specific to a programming language could be defunct the next time a patch rolls around. Having a track record of being a reliable employee, working well with others, and delivering quality code is really what an employer wants. If you don't have any significant experience as a professional developer and you or the recruiters struggle to place you in an entry-level developer role, you may want to consider paid internships (which can lead directly to job placement) or doing some programming at home to build a portfolio of sorts. Something you can show a recruiter or employer to let them know you that you have the knowledge and skills necessary.

As others stated, not having an actual degree with likely give you some grief as you go forward, but it won't stop you from getting a job. A good interviewer will know that the degree doesn't make the man, but some folks (or resume scanners) can't see past it.

Just a side-note in case it hasn't been stressed enough: Employers usually don't want "God's gift to programming" or "the world's best coder". They want a good employee. Soft skills are absolutely critical: written communication, verbal communication, empathy, understanding, problem solving, patience, the ability to be collaborative. You may have dropped out because you feel you have the skills and weren't learning enough from your classes, but now you're in a position where your soft skills likely won't be used or receive any training. You won't get a job if you don't interview well and if you can't communicate professionally.

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