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Educational IT Jobs Thread, Who would you prefer for a technical role? in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; I'd very much agree with jcollings - I think I'd rate people skills and experience pretty much equal first and ...
  1. #16

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    I'd very much agree with jcollings - I think I'd rate people skills and experience pretty much equal first and qualifications some way behind (degree, GNVQ, MCSE, whatever)

    That's not to say quals aren't important but they tell me different things - eg if you have a degree then it shows that you can do a reasonable amount of work under some pressure and stick at it for 3 years (I know there are exceptions but that's generally going to be true). If you've done a GNVQ in the evenings then that also tells me something about you as a person.

    I think the best person I ever took on came with no real IT experience (he was the guy in the office that people turned to for IT help but it wasn't his job) and no qualifications other than a degree in something completely irrelevant. He turned out to be one of those people who just learned stuff; was excellent at troubleshooting and had brilliant people skills!

  2. #17

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    I would echo the views of many others; people skills with experience count more than qualifications here at my school too.

    On the last three occasions when we needed to fill IT technician vacancies, when it came to it the decision to appoint was based upon the 'person', their qualifications were irrelevant.

    Part of our interview process includes getting candidates to work with a teacher & class of students for part of a lesson & we solicit feedback from the students & well as staff. In almost every aspect, the views of the staff, students & interview panel were perfectly aligned.

    Sadly for the school, some of these people we appointed have now moved on to better things, but they were certainly the right people for us at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by irsprint84 View Post
    I wouldnt touch anyone from uni with a barge pole, when I was at uni I m surprised if the people who got 1st degree's could even turn a PC on! All my knowledge came from experience.
    To me that comment is very short sighted.

    My current team consists of myself, a Computer Science graduate about to finish a part-time masters degree, a computing grad, one member of staff who started at uni, but never finished and somebody who didnt go to uni. All have their own strengths and weaknesses. It takes all-sorts. Do I feel that the degrees have taught me anything that I either use or couldn't have learnt myself? Probably not, but like it or not, employers look for degrees, MCSEs, etc. Especially as you work your way up the ladder.

    In answer to the OPs question about the 3 years experience or a degree for the role of a IT Tech, I'd interview both, the final decision would be taken by a panel of at least 3 and personality goes a long way. I would like to see some sort of quals and certs from the non-grad candidate though. The last time we advertised a post we had 65 applicants, the application needs to stand out. A non-existant quals section or supporting evidence/experience section stand out in the wrong way. One other point that would stick in my mind is why isnt the guy with 3 years experience looking to progress to a NM, etc. (obviously somebody that started very young would be an exception to this!)

    Above all else showing a desire to learn and improve go a long way.

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    Having sat on several interview panels in a university, I would always go for the person who had real life experience over just a degree (i.e. a graduate) which didn't always go down well with my fellow interviewer (mostly academics), but I stood my ground several times if I was to be the line manager I wanted final say. On the whole I ended up with a very good team under me.

    I write this as someone without a degree but loads of experience, I am starting to wonder if I want to move jobs again do I need to get a degree as it appears to be becoming an "essential" on lots of job descriptions I have seen recently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brookesandrew View Post
    I write this as someone without a degree but loads of experience, I am starting to wonder if I want to move jobs again do I need to get a degree as it appears to be becoming an "essential" on lots of job descriptions I have seen recently.
    It's interesting that you say that. I have noticed this too although in the last few months I have noticed a lot of organisations are now starting to put degree or equivalent experience. How you judge that I'm not sure but hopefully those of us without degrees but lots of experience would qualify!

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    Hmm I think it depends on the person and the role.
    I know people who left my Comp Sci degree course with no practical knowledge and who I wouldn't employ now but also people who have experience but learn nothing from their work.

    I have been on a few interview panels in my time and have set and overseen technical tasks for the applicants. I deliberately, and some would say quite meanly, set difficult tasks so I can see how people react to not knowing something. The best employees have been the ones who have had a go then actually said "I dont know how to do this", some just give up, bluff or leave it out.

    I usually try to make an assessment on how they will fit into how the school works and their attitude to work.

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    It's a very subjective issue. Some people who leave Uni with a degree will have the right mindset to be able to slot right in to a support role. Sure, they won't have a big bank of experience to call upon, but they have the right mindset to find things out.

    And conversely, some people who have experience turn out to be script-reading monkeys.

    Personally, I got my job, even though I didn't finish my degree, because I had also worked in support at the university, and have a long history, even during high school, of network support. So, it was based on my experience and skills really.

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    I recently hired a Technician who had NO experience whatsoever. We had ex uni, almost finished uni, experienced guys currently doing the job, all who applied and many interviewed. But in the end, I plumped for a middle-aged lady who had GREAT interpersonal skills, which I would say is hugely underrated and VITAL in a school!

    You can teach someone the skills needed. But you can't give them a personality!!

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    my thoughts

    i always think it is better to work with someone who is prepared to admit they are wrong, although experience, and user 'friendliness' are also important.

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    I would go for someone who has worked for 3 years in a support role. But that doesn’t mean that are any good by default. Give them some tasks to complete. If they appeared to be experienced then I would prefer them.

  11. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee_K_81 View Post
    To me that comment is very short sighted.

    My current team consists of myself, a Computer Science graduate about to finish a part-time masters degree, a computing grad, one member of staff who started at uni, but never finished and somebody who didnt go to uni. All have their own strengths and weaknesses. It takes all-sorts. Do I feel that the degrees have taught me anything that I either use or couldn't have learnt myself? Probably not, but like it or not, employers look for degrees, MCSEs, etc. Especially as you work your way up the ladder.

    In answer to the OPs question about the 3 years experience or a degree for the role of a IT Tech, I'd interview both, the final decision would be taken by a panel of at least 3 and personality goes a long way. I would like to see some sort of quals and certs from the non-grad candidate though. The last time we advertised a post we had 65 applicants, the application needs to stand out. A non-existant quals section or supporting evidence/experience section stand out in the wrong way. One other point that would stick in my mind is why isnt the guy with 3 years experience looking to progress to a NM, etc. (obviously somebody that started very young would be an exception to this!)

    Above all else showing a desire to learn and improve go a long way.

    I would still be fair, via the usual point system but experience is alot more impressive

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    Quote Originally Posted by irsprint84 View Post
    I would still be fair, via the usual point system but experience is alot more impressive

    Not touching with a barge pole doesnt sound fair, but anyway, you can't get experience without a job. You can be seen as a dabbler but networking your home or repairing friends PCs will only get you so far on an application, regardless of whether you have a degree or not. I would put somebody with people skills that shows a willingless or an ability to learn, ahead of others - again regardless of degree or not. From the 64 applications we recieved we only interviewed 8. 56 candidates were rejected whether they had a degree, 5 years experience or no experience.

    The point i'm trying to make is that it's all well and good saying 3 years experience is better than a degree, but if it's 3 years changing toners and replacing mice (BSF anyone?), with no desire to improve themselves, the systems or try to use new technologies then it's not necessarily good experience.

  13. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste View Post
    i always think it is better to work with someone who is prepared to admit they are wrong
    Yes!!!!

    I've seen too many people blundering along, not prepared to say "I'm not sure what to do here; I'm going to have to ask for help"

    It's not a sign of failure or weakness to say "I don't know everything" In a school or other educational establishment it ought to be absolutely accepted that that's the way people work and it should be the norm everywhere.



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