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Diploma VS Degree for software engineering

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 16th, 2019 11:09 pm
[OP]
Newbie
May 27, 2019
4 posts

Diploma VS Degree for software engineering

I recently graduated from Sheridan College's 2 year Software Engineering program. I don't have any previous work experience in software and only minor personal projects (a few bots and a mobile game). I'm having a hard time getting calls returned to me for openings i've applied for and am starting to get discouraged. Am I better off going to university for 3 years and getting a bachelors in Computer Science or just keep up with the job hunt? If I decide to go to university, is it possible to find my own internship/coop, or do the employers only get the benefits when its done through the school? If anyone has any other suggestions, let me know.
16 replies
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
15936 posts
8801 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
There's generally a hierarchy when it comes to this type of thing -

University degree > Diploma > program certificate

Meaning that most employers, if given a choice, will hire the applicant with a degree over a diploma and a diploma over a certificate in a given field of work.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
8674 posts
1622 upvotes
You should be speaking with headhunters/recruiters as well as employers. This is where I had the most success with my career.
Help an animal charity or sanctuary out today. Become a volunteer, advocate, foster a pet, or donate. They need you as much as you need them!
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
5956 posts
2040 upvotes
Ottawa
You should be able to find a job BUT as mentioned, your education does make a difference for some employers and not having a higher degree could hurt you. That said, IMO (I have a 4 year B. Sc in Comp Sci and have been working in IT for over 20 years), most of what you'll learn for your work, you'll learn it on the job so many individuals can be very successful without a degree.
Deal Addict
Jan 1, 2013
1797 posts
977 upvotes
Durham
Take it from one of my few regrets because I swore off of debt. Take on the debt and go to University to enhance your career. It will be worth it in the long run once you have the drive and initiative. I started out in a time where no post secondary can land you a good job and you just build your way up, then a college degree would be fine (which I have). Now a lot of jobs are demanding a University bachelors, even for entry level.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
35227 posts
21211 upvotes
Center of Universe
Degree program also has co-op, which gives you a head start right off the bat.
[OP]
Newbie
May 27, 2019
4 posts
divx wrote: diploma gets you a technologist title.
Wow you actually showed up. I have been seeing you on threads spanning years when searching on google (CS topics).
Kkhan15 wrote: Take it from one of my few regrets because I swore off of debt. Take on the debt and go to University to enhance your career. It will be worth it in the long run once you have the drive and initiative. I started out in a time where no post secondary can land you a good job and you just build your way up, then a college degree would be fine (which I have). Now a lot of jobs are demanding a University bachelors, even for entry level.
This resonates with me. I have a feeling I will end up regretting not going to University.
Newbie
Apr 26, 2014
37 posts
3 upvotes
Toronto, Ontario
It depends what kind of positions you are applying for and at which firms.

Pure tech companies will give preference to uni grads vs college. However you may be able to land a job in a small to midsize non-tech firm.

Regardless if you apply to tech or non-tech firms, you will not get an interview unless you are doing some SOLID side projects.
Newbie
Jul 30, 2018
26 posts
28 upvotes
For the tech industry, you don't really need to go to university to be a programmer. You might need to if you want to be a good architect but like every industry, motivated people will find ways to learn. If you have no work experience, do side projects and link to them on your resume. You could buy a domain and create your own website. You have to show employers that you have the skills they are looking for.
Deal Addict
Dec 23, 2010
1849 posts
909 upvotes
Moon
mdlfng wrote: For the tech industry, you don't really need to go to university to be a programmer. You might need to if you want to be a good architect but like every industry, motivated people will find ways to learn. If you have no work experience, do side projects and link to them on your resume. You could buy a domain and create your own website. You have to show employers that you have the skills they are looking for.
It is extremely difficult to get your foot in the door without a degree. Software has become very copmetitive and there are plenty of people with degrees. As an applicant without a formal education you simply won't be taken seriously. Your side projects are nothing compared to someone who has been studying the field for 4-5 years.

Secondly your lack of a degree will be used against you for the rest of your life regardless if you get your foot in the door or not.

Finally without a degree any US opportunities will be closed to you even if a company wants to hire you since both a TN visa and H1B visa requires a degree.

Just get your damn degree.
Deal Addict
Jan 8, 2006
1488 posts
683 upvotes
WeebRonin wrote: I recently graduated from Sheridan College's 2 year Software Engineering program. I don't have any previous work experience in software and only minor personal projects (a few bots and a mobile game). I'm having a hard time getting calls returned to me for openings i've applied for and am starting to get discouraged. Am I better off going to university for 3 years and getting a bachelors in Computer Science or just keep up with the job hunt? If I decide to go to university, is it possible to find my own internship/coop, or do the employers only get the benefits when its done through the school? If anyone has any other suggestions, let me know.
First of you need to call back and follow up. It will increase your chance of interview it sucks but you gotta do it. Check out reddit post :I raised the response rate to my applications from 14% to 50% just by sending follow-up emails


Use sites like LeetCode/HackerRank to improve your whiteboard problem solving there is no way out

Tailor your cover letter for each job application

Find local tech meet up and go there and connect with people : https://www.meetup.com/

Don't thing it's Diploma vs Degree it's juicy resume (showing more programming skills, meaty projects, github repo) vs dull resume (list bunch of technology and school project)

This is the best time to graduate and a nice field to be in.

At end of everyweek ask youself following questions:

1)Did I apply at least 5 jobs everyday?
2)Did I follow up with 5 comapnies everyday?
3)Did I solve 1 LeetCode style question everyday?
4)Did I go for 20 minutes walk/run everyday?
Jr. Member
May 29, 2017
161 posts
102 upvotes
Always go degree if you can get it. Especially in a tech field. You get more opportunities...shoot employers go to you.

Remember in college how they give you the impression you will be making roughly 60-80k? Lol yeah humber did that a lot. I feel because we only have a diploma we see thr world starting 35-40k where degree you start 50k+ at least I never met anyone who took engineering at a uni that started lower than that.



Because you have the diploma (2yrs is worse) you will be treated as if you're green and really dont know much. I would seriously do what you can to get experience. That's really the door to success. Dont think too much and stay in your bubble as in " I'm a X developer" be open to work different languages.
Deal Guru
Feb 29, 2008
13863 posts
10125 upvotes
Having a degree opens more doors for sure, but in the tech world it’s all about experience and competencies. A lot of companies either don’t have the cycles or patience to train. Someone with proven experience in a number of languages will always be appealing whether they have a degree or diploma. If you want top dollar or move up then you willl need additional education. If you want to just stay as a developer I’d say get as much experience as you can. Learn the right languages (ie:Java) and you can be quite successful. Just remember that if your resume is meh and you’re competing with an applicant with a degree who has th same meh resume, they’re going to hire the kid with the degree. Try to gain as much working knowledge as you can. If you decide to go to school, get into a program with co-op. This is a must IMO.
Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
2463 posts
1367 upvotes
Its hit or miss and quite random in the software sector. There's very good programmers with degrees who can't find jobs. And then there's crappy programmers with no degrees who get into a niche with a company, and actually do very well.

Co-ops, sure, great if you get one with an employer who can actually hire you. But a disaster if you get one with an employer who, for whatever reason, can't hire you when you're done. Which can be anything from the economy being bad, to your actual skills relative to their demands. A co-op with employer "X" generally doesn't have much value with employer "Y". And if your co-op is with, say, a big brand name firm on the west coast, it will be awfully difficult to be credible retention-wise if you apply for a job closer to home.

Quite frankly, with how low the salaries are, there's probably better occupations for bright minds to go. Most software work is going offshore anyways, or they'll bring in offshore people.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 20, 2004
5351 posts
1536 upvotes
Toronto
It makes no difference if you have a degree or diploma, or which university or college you went to. I realize that students and younger people think otherwise, but I assure you this is not true. When hiring, I at most glance at the education section for a fraction of a second, and so does everyone else hiring.

Going back to school for 3 years will just put you back in the same situation. Show some initiative - start some development projects of your own.. go out to tech events in your community and make some connections, and reach out to people in your own social network.
Member
Apr 21, 2019
210 posts
143 upvotes
Where I work, your education is pretty irrelevant, it's all about your skills and abilities which are tested thoroughly in the interview -- if you pass the screener programming question and get invited for an interview. So I agree with the above poster, take some initiative to develop skills or you likely will not do well, regardless of your education. Only go to university if you intend to work hard and believe that's the best way for you to become an expert. It would be much cheaper to buy the text books and learn yourself at home, if you have the motivation and can learn that way.

In my experience the quality of work coming from India is often quite poor, but nonetheless a lot of work is being offshored to India. We have done more laying off than hiring over the last 5 years.

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