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I am currently employed as a software developer.

I have been at uni for the last few years part time, studying computer science, in my old job (also software developer, but for a smaller agency) they were happy to let me duck out for quiz's and required tutorials, so uni was not much of a burden.

I was/am at uni because I wanted the degree to help in finding a better job as I got older and my career progressed.

My current position is mid level, the listing was for someone who both had a degree and at least 3 years industry experience, however I got the position anyway (although they did really make me prove myself)

I am considering dropping uni, mostly because I don't see the need so much right now, I am already well on my way in my career, I have the experience (and will have the experience required) for more senior roles in the future.

My fear is that I will drop uni, progress through the company I am at now but if I ever were to leave for another mid level - senior role I would not be considered because I wouldn't have a degree. Is this the reality? Or would my experience be enough to get in the door? I am confident in my skillset, however I don't want to be looked over due to company policy of requiring a degree.

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    How far are you with your degree? If you're like a year away from finishing, something could be said for just pushing through regardless of whether it would make a big difference for your career. Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 0:31
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    Company specific, some love degrees, some value experience more, degree is just for starters. Others, myself included value other qualifications more than a degree. Qualifications more specific to your role.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 0:37
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    Country specific too, worked in the UK as a developer without a degree for many years and had no issue. Moved to Europe and suddenly people were asking where my degree was. Very odd, had to go back to uni to get one to carry on doing my job I was doing. Can you add a country tag please?
    – Draken
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 7:00
  • @Draken In the German-speaking countries, I fully expect a reaction like that. Maybe in special places like Berlin, you might get away with not having a degree. Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 5:07

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The Workplace might not be the place to advise you what to do, but ultimately, you have to consider the financial positives of having a degree vs. not. As you've said, you got the job for a 3/yr experience with degree, but you had to prove yourself. Do you think you'll get the same results with 4/yr? 10/yr? x?

Also think about going up the management ladder, in some companies, having a degree is required, unless you own the company.

With this said, what is the cost of a degree to you in terms of time/money? If it is acceptable, then there isn't much to argue at this point. Then compare with projected earnings as a result of a degree. This takes care of the money aspect of it.

Sometimes you have to make a firm decision and accept that you can't have a foot in two boats.

There are ancillary values to a degree, exposure to people, new ideas, different organizations, a marketplace if you will of what society has to offer. Now it is difficult to numerically value such ancillary benefits, but often times entire careers are changed as a result of serendipity.

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  • A cost to the degree, which I should have mentioned, is that it may be difficult to progress internally while I am at uni - as the flexibility required (leaving intermittently, blocks of leave for exams etc) may not be possible in a more senior role. This is something I should ask HR about, however I am also aware that they may try to talk me out of uni because its the most convenient option for them (right now)
    – Jye Lewis
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 0:29
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    Calculate the cost (time/money) of completing a degree. Then compare with projected earnings as a result of a degree. This takes care of the money aspect of it. Sometimes you have to make a firm decision and accept that you can't have a foot in two boats. There is ancillary value to a degree, exposure to people, new ideas, different organizations, a marketplace if you will of what society has to offer. Now it is difficult to numerically value such ancillary benefits, but often times entire careers are changed as a result of serendipity.
    – Bluebird
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 0:42
  • +1 : Also think about going up the management ladder, in some companies, having a degree is required, unless you own the company
    – Vector
    Commented Feb 25 at 19:23
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As a rule of thumb, while a degree can be important for getting your foot in the door at a company, once you're in, it's unlikely to matter. You're judged on results, not qualifications on paper. (At better companies, anyway; as always, there will be exceptions.)

There's one important caveat: if you're planning on roles senior enough to take you overseas, it's often very difficult to get a working visa without a university degree.

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  • -1: At better companies, anyway... : 1-There are many large firms that are very 'good', but have rules about promotions and managerial positions, which may include degrees, particularly if they are not dedicated software shops. Many large firms, with good pay and benefits have IT departments that are subject to the general rules of the firm. 2- once you're in, it's unlikely to matter - in the same firm maybe, dependent on the firm and its policies. But if moving to another firm, a degree will often put you ahead of others, with equal experience but no degree.
    – Vector
    Commented Feb 25 at 19:22

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