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"Professional" job without degree

"Professional" job without degree

Old May 17th 2018, 6:49 pm
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Default "Professional" job without degree

The definition of a professional job in the United States, is one that requires a degree to perform. I never went to university in the UK and instead took a job as a Trainee Software Developer. 20+ years later after a couple of company changes, promotions and a country change on L-1A, I am a Director of a Software Development Company, still without a degree. If I wanted (in the future this is, not right now) to change company and work for a different employer in the United States, I've heard anecdotally that this can cause issues as the degree is looked at and if it's not there, the resume goes in the trash. The lady I spoke to about this in our recruitment team advised to reach out to prospective hiring managers on LinkedIn first, as companies are starting to see the value in long term experience over a university or college degree from 20+ years ago. She said that it may cause a little headache, but is not an insurmountable problem.

I wondered if anyone here had a similar story or could offer any tales from their experience?

Thanks!
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Old May 17th 2018, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

I know lots of software engineers without a degree in engineering. Not sure how many don't have a degree at all. Smaller companies might be a better bet since they actually read the resumes, while large companies that receive hundreds of applicants might use it is an easy way to cut the pile down.
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Old May 17th 2018, 7:29 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

Originally Posted by Anian View Post
I know lots of software engineers without a degree in engineering. Not sure how many don't have a degree at all. Smaller companies might be a better bet since they actually read the resumes, while large companies that receive hundreds of applicants might use it is an easy way to cut the pile down.
OTOH, I work with a couple of very, very large tech companies here in Austin and I have seen a few new employees that have been hired for skills/experience and don't have a degree. They have been very exceptional people though. International experience is always a big +. too.
Not having a degree might impact you if you were applying for a job that the company may have had to import an employee for in the past or may need to in the future.
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Old May 17th 2018, 7:40 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

I'd take an experienced programmer over one with a degree any day of the week. Pretty much everything I learnt at college and university was years out of date at the time it was taught so real world experience is invaluable.
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Old May 17th 2018, 7:43 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

Originally Posted by SpoogleDrummer View Post
I'd take an experienced programmer over one with a degree any day of the week. Pretty much everything I learnt at college and university was years out of date at the time it was taught so real world experience is invaluable.
So would I. But now I'm in senior management, the general feeling in our recruitment team was that a degree is by no means anywhere near as important as real world experience. The trick is, getting the resume past the internal (or external) recruitment team to the hiring manager in the first place.
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Old May 17th 2018, 8:10 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

I am a software developer and while I have a degree it's in a completely unrelated, non-STEM subject. That was nearly 30 years ago now and it totally has not been an issue for me changing jobs.
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Old May 18th 2018, 1:20 am
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

With your experience level, its what you have done that matters more than your degree. Getting a job wont be difficult, maybe a tad bit harder when you are compared to someone with a degree and same experience
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Old May 18th 2018, 12:52 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

I'm a Software Developer with no degree. It was tough when I moved over 25 years ago as most places wouldn't even consider you without one but that changed in the mid-90's and most places set their requirement to be degree or equivalent experience. Nowadays it doesn't seem to be an issue at all. I got my first few jobs by moving from a contractor to perm after I have worked for them for a while.
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Old May 18th 2018, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

I understood that without a degree it would be harder to get anywhere in the US. So I started in environmental services working the floors in a hospital, I always felt that if you show willing and can demonstrate competence opportunities will arise you will get ahead - 5 years later I am CFO of the facility. Degrees aren't all they are cracked up to be.
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Old May 18th 2018, 1:55 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

Not having a degree is a hurdle.
Myself I served 22 years in the Navy as an Artificer, (Technician) Marine equipment. Retiring at a Chief Petty Officer.
Networking and personal contact got me a job at a local university servicing cash machines.
18 years later I’m now in one of the foremost High magnetic research facilities in the world working as an NMR (Nuclear magnetic resonance) engineer, still with no degree.
It’s the experience in multiple fields and a different attitude that got me where I am today.
My coworkers joke, I'm the Howard Walowitz of our dept. Everyone has a PHD except me. (Haven’t told them I don't even have a high school diploma)
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Old May 18th 2018, 2:12 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

No degree here, about to start my second job in the USA working at a very known corporation with strict/highly regulated hiring policies. Managed to get through the process with copies of my A level and GCSE results.

Still hands on software development lead.
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Old May 18th 2018, 5:50 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

I don't have a degree and I'm a Technical Architect for a fairly well-sized startup backed by a huge corp. This is my second job here in the US.

I don't think during the hiring process I was even asked about a degree. I mostly work within AWS and other platforms but there's still a fair bit of programming and scripting required. I have a number of years of experience now which seems to have helped - it's certainly better than a piece of paper saying I can do the job.
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Old May 18th 2018, 8:32 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

Not sure Software engineering is a real thing yet.
Other engineers create things which very rarely fail, by design, straight out of the gate. Bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers sort of thing.
Now think about software.
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Old May 18th 2018, 9:52 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

Originally Posted by steveq View Post
Not sure Software engineering is a real thing yet.
Other engineers create things which very rarely fail, by design, straight out of the gate. Bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers sort of thing.
Now think about software.
Now imagine if the software engineer creating CAD software for bridge, tunnel and skyscraper design made a mistake.
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Old May 18th 2018, 10:43 pm
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Default Re: "Professional" job without degree

Originally Posted by tom169 View Post
Now imagine if the software engineer creating CAD software for bridge, tunnel and skyscraper design made a mistake.
That's why professional engineers sign off their work. It means that they are putting their careers on the line, that they have performed the necessary due diligence to make sure that, even if there are errors in the design sofrware, they have caught them. There is no license agrreement to absolve the engineer of his responsibility.
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