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Educational IT Jobs Thread, Experience and/or Higher Education in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Originally Posted by broc As someone who started my working life at a time when very few people got the ...
  1. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    As someone who started my working life at a time when very few people got the chance to go to University & Grammar Schools were the order of the day I have managed to make my way in life with nothing more than an HNC & real-world experience, during which time I have helped train people with 1st Class degrees from Oxford, Cambridge, Durham Universities....
    Rightly or wrongly I fear there might be a generational gap here. I'm in my early 20's and having applied for a few jobs last year to try and move on, I almost found that due to this government's push for 50% of my generation to go to University, there is a underlining doubt of 'why aren't you good enough to go and do a BSc?'. It's fair to say that the friends of mine that did go are having successful careers where I felt I was earning good money but with no real prospects.

    However, from a career point of view I now am. I quit work in the summer [after four years] and am now a full time student again. It's certainly spread my wings, I'm loving the experience and I really hope it'll sort out a decent career path for me. However, I've considered it to be a calculated risk.

    Kyle

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    My four years at Uni wasn't a walk in the park whatsoever. It might not have taught me how to do a job (which isn't tbh the requirement of a university) but it did teach me allot.

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    I think a degree does help you once the jobs you are going for require 10+ years of experience.

    That said.. I decided to go to work after getting my HNC at university (year one) and finish my degree in my own time...

    Currently when compared to my friends who carried on studying i'm around £30 - £40K (before taxes) up. I imagine this figure to drop in about 3 - 4 years (when they have some experience, with the degree), but then I will have my degree around then as well (+ the extra 3 years experience)... Will be interesting to see who comes out on top

    p.s @KyleWilliams, I too am early 20's but managed the move from something with little prospects to something with lots of hope.

    However all my interviewers asked "Why did you not go to uni/finish your degree", to which my stock response is
    I got a taste of what it is like to work in the real world after finding employment as a Maintanance Team Leader, and after enjoying the hard graft and the geniune challenges the workplace presented to me on a daily basis, I decided that I would learn more out of the classroom. I hope to continue my degree in my spare time whilst working as I still see it as a vital part of my personal development
    Last edited by mossj; 21st January 2010 at 12:30 AM.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Everyone is different. A degree/education is only indicative of a person who is able to be taught in a certain manner, and has a vague awareness of the field they've studied in. And even then it varies further - some courses involve real world experience, some are done entirely on theory and candidates are released with a masters degree showing next to no practical ability. Some come out being completely ready for the first steps of a proper career.
    Some people like the "freshness" of a graduate as they don't have someone else's habits to undo.
    Some people just can't be educated in that way, they may not have the type of mind to sit for hours in lectures or learning skills that they believe have no bearing in the real world. Some of these people could just be lazy, some of them could be far more intelligent and able than anyone holding paperwork showing completion of any level of higher education and be able to show it in the workplace.

    The important thing at the end of the day, is the candidate, that one person. It's always worth applying for something regardless of the level of qualification they may be asking for. If your sales pitch is good enough and you can do enough to prove how good you are, there's no reason why you won't be just as good or better than someone with a degree in something.

    Always worth a try. Plus of course, what has anyone got to lose - you don't get a job you didn't have in the first place?

  5. #20

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    Given the diversity of degree subjects open to students these days, for many having a degree is more a measure of their mental prowess than their actual ability to do a job. I have worked with very gifted people (academically) who were poor at doing even the most basic of tasks set them & others who were brilliant at their job but lacked even the most basic of qualifications.... way back in the mists of time when graduates were a rare commodity experience counted for more.... it used to be that O-levels were the requirement, then A-levels, and now degrees.... in some cases now you even need a Masters.....

    Having a degree should indicate that someone has the ability to learn & retain knowledge, but is does not guarantee they can apply their knowledge, or even that their knowledge is relevant to the job they do/want to do.

    In an ideal world, the best candidate should be the one who has the best qualifications & relevant experience, the dilema comes when you are presented with a list of candidates who are missing one or the other. Do you take the raw graduate with no experience, or the seasoned campaigner with inferior qualifications? Quite often when you reach this point you end up choosing a candidate based upon personality, how they perform at interview, how you think they will fit in......

    So, you could argue that qualifications may enable you to get an interview, but experience & personal skills will get you a job.....
    Last edited by broc; 21st January 2010 at 08:35 AM.

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by kylewilliamson View Post
    Rightly or wrongly I fear there might be a generational gap here.
    I think you are right..... 30-40 years ago graduates were a quite rare commodity, partly because of lack of opportunity & partly because (draws a deep breath here...) the subjects were more restricted & the qualification was harder to achieve then....

    Given that human intelligence (in terms of evolution) does not measurably increase generation by generation, you simply cannot raise the graduate success rate from say 10% to 50% in one or two generations without either dramatically improving the quality of teaching, dramatically increasing learning skills, or making it easier to get a degree. I don't think university lecturers have improved to that extent nor do I believe people have got smarter at learning so my conclusion is degrees have become easier.... I think the same applies to GCSE & A-level by the way.

    Speaking from personal experience, I know that people of my generation spent a lot more time working for their degrees than my daughters generation did. My wife (a microbiology graduate) would tell you she worked much harder & longer to get her degree than our daughter (a geography graduate) did, both achieved the same grades, but my daughter spent around 25% the time my wife did studying over the 3 years of their courses and I don't believe either of them is significantly more intelligent than the other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    It's always worth applying for something regardless of the level of qualification they may be asking for. If your sales pitch is good enough and you can do enough to prove how good you are, there's no reason why you won't be just as good or better than someone with a degree in something.
    Many job specs now are listing a degree as an essential. I emailed about a job recently and despite telling them that I have over 30 years experience in the IT industry, nearly half of that in education, I was told that if I didn't have a degree, not to bother applying as my application would not be considered.

  8. #23

    broc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenewman View Post
    Many job specs now are listing a degree as an essential. I emailed about a job recently and despite telling them that I have over 30 years experience in the IT industry, nearly half of that in education, I was told that if I didn't have a degree, not to bother applying as my application would not be considered.
    You could argue that they are being ageist & breaking the law ..... as the vast majority of workers with 30 years experience do not have degrees.....

    Look at the following:

    http://www.ageconcern.org.uk/AgeConc...on_new_law.pdf

    What kind of discrimination is unlawful?

    Indirect discrimination: This means having a policy or practice
    which puts people of a certain age at a disadvantage, compared with
    other people. For example, a company restricts recruitment to recent
    graduates – fewer older people would be able to meet this
    requirement.
    Last edited by broc; 21st January 2010 at 09:22 AM.

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    I'm just over half way through my degree with the OU Cisco CCNA is part of my Open Degree very much looking forward to finishing it and having the paperwork. I'm weird and just love the challenge of learning new things!

  10. #25


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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    Given that human intelligence (in terms of evolution) does not measurably increase generation by generation, you simply cannot raise the graduate success rate from say 10% to 50% in one or two generations without either dramatically improving the quality of teaching, dramatically increasing learning skills, or making it easier to get a degree. I don't think university lecturers have improved to that extent nor do I believe people have got smarter at learning so my conclusion is degrees have become easier.... I think the same applies to GCSE & A-level by the way.
    While I dont quite agree with the notion that the level of a degree, GCSE or A-level has become easier, I do think that there is a lot more support/spoon feeding going on than there was even 10-15 years ago. I have worked in both University and Secondary over the last 5 years, and so have been able to see the differences between teachers and the support students and pupils get. I think that there is a varying degree of quality when it comes to teaching and poor teaching can be covered by support for the pupils who are given answers freely instead of searching for answers themselves. The problem I see in this is, what happens to these people when they start working and dont get the answers to the problem given to them?

    I still believe that having a degree can help get you an interview(especially when HR are shortlisting) but experience and personality will help you get the job.

  11. #26


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gibbo View Post
    Yes, experience is important. But so is the goal of bettering one's self.
    But this can be done in more ways than getting a degree. Learning new skills helps too, taking on new/more responsibility all shows your intrested in bettering yourself.

    For me personally I would never do a course so I could have letters after my name. I'm only interested in doing something I was interested in or could benefit me in the job I'm doing(or interested in doing)

  12. #27
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    experience! experience! experience! imo

  13. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamo View Post
    I'm just over half way through my degree with the OU Cisco CCNA is part of my Open Degree very much looking forward to finishing it and having the paperwork. I'm weird and just love the challenge of learning new things!
    All the best with it. I finished T216 in October and took the CCNA just before the OU's written paper.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deeleys View Post
    Although a degree is not the be all and end all, it shows a certain level of competency and is advantageous when applying for jobs. I spent 12 years part time doing a BTEC ONC, BTEC HNC, BSc and MSc as well as Microsoft qualifications. It definately opens doors and allows you to negotiate higher wages.
    I agree with this. I started off as a trainee on £60 per week. Then over ten year period constant training from NVQ2, HNC, HND, Degree, CCNA blah blah blah but i'd put anyone with hand's on experience over a qualification. If you have both it opens up lots of opportunities. I'm still doing training now but might consider doing a teaching qualification next.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gibbo View Post
    There's more to a degree than just learning something.

    It shows dedication to go through at least three years of study.

    Not to mention the pride of having letters after your name.

    For years I plodded from job to job, never really progressing up the career or salary ladder, until I took a part time degree.

    As soon as I graduated I found that I was instantly getting to interview or the second interview stage of higher paid jobs which required a degree.

    Yes, experience is important. But so is the goal of bettering one's self.
    i'm not sure in how many cases plodding along has to do with degree qualifications or lack thereof.

    I've applied for a handful of well paid jobs at FE and HE level where their was a stipulation for a good degree in the person specs.

    For me a lot of it is a way to whittle down applicants...maybe it's habit to use the degree qual as a yardstick, in the end it may matter in more situations that it doesn't, in securing that good job, but i don't believe it's a prerequisite to progress up the greasy pole.

    the biggest problem is people stay too long in places where there's a glass ceiling or minimal salary progression. the other problem is there's a lot of competition out there as far as skills, experience and certs. Actual project experience is invaluable.
    Last edited by torledo; 25th January 2010 at 07:04 AM.

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