Is having a degree in IT still relevant in 2019?
A brief history
My first "Hello, World!" is now a few years old.... Time passes so quickly... 😨
Since I was a kid, I've been amazed by all the possibilities that computers offer us, I've always loved cartoons and spy movies where a little-hooded hacker would enter the NASA system with a few keystrokes.
So I quickly started to learn by myself how a computer worked, what a programming language is,...
Around the age of 12-13, I decided, TODAY I start programming.
I started with C after searching on different forums for a language to choose. Like many French speakers, I started with Mathieu Nebra's course on Openclassroom (formerly called Site du Zero). As a kid, I stopped just before the pointers, I couldn't keep up. So I started HTML/CSS with [CodeAcademy] (https://www.codecademy.com/catalog/language/html-css).
One thing leading to another, I found myself to know much more about computing, to interest myself more and more in the blockchain (bitcoin in fact at that time) and hacking with [Root-me] ( https://www.root-me.org/).
Finally, at the age of 16, I decided to go to a technical computer subsidiary.
Having bases, I expected not having to work at home so I could still learn myself and the bet was a winning bet, I could learn a lot more about the inner workings of a computer, the different systems, and how the networks work.
I was able to learn how to manage Cisco devices and get the basics of Python.
I also had the pleasure of tasting the impostor syndrome and some other cool things. 😩😆
But that was never enough for me, I always learned more at home and that was one of the perverse effects of my enthusiasm because at home I was learning and it was fun. But when you get to school, reviewing a subject you've already studied is extremely frustrating, you think you're wasting your time.
This year I am in my first year of higher education at the university. Not knowing which option to choose, I turned to IT Management.
But I am confronted once again with a problem that has followed me all my life.
After now + - 4 months, I still haven't learned anything, I could learn the subject of the development course (JAVA) in two weeks and not because I have a superior intelligence to others, faaar from it, but due to the fact that I like it and that I like to learn from myself.
So I see myself offered full-time jobs with more than honourable salaries, but everyone is just attacking me with the idea that the degree is more than necessary to find a job.
So? Degree, relevant or not?
For me, a degree was a proof of competence when knowledge was difficult to access, but nowadays, you can learn everything using the Internet, so I don't think that's the case anymore.
I am convinced that with motivation, good resources (sites, books,...) you can become a more than qualified computer scientist.
I am therefore also a supporter of the philosophy of Xavier Niel's school 42 or 19 Coding School (the Belgian version of 42).
Xavier Niel is himself the perfect example of what I'm talking about, not even having a degree, he is the founder of Free.
For me, a person who, at least in Belgium, has a bachelor's degree in computer science has only a basic knowledge but is not directly able to work in a company (although the education here is not that bad). He will be trained and coached there and then he will be fully competent for the work he is asked to do.
Compared to a person who has a CCNA or similar certification, this person is operational directly in any company that uses Cisco systems.
School 42, the solution?
I will not say that the education system, at least in the computer field, is failing. Some people need to be held by the hand, have obligations, do assessments, have a teacher by their side.
But some people need freedom and that is the strength of the school 42. There, we have access to resources and we can move forward as much as we want. Everyone advances at his own pace, and if we don't understand something we ask our neighbour if he doesn't know we ask his neighbour, and so on...
For someone who loves the freedom to learn at his own rhythm without letting the other students flow, this is the perfect environment.
The students there also learn to look for themselves, which I think is not taught enough in a "standard" school.
Why didn't I go then?
Simply because in 2018, companies are more interested in the degree than in a candidate's real skills.
The trend is reversing and it's something positive, hopefully, it will continue in that direction!
So, for me, a degree is not proof that a person has skills in a particular field, because he or she could very well have succeeded with 10/20s everywhere.
I think the most important thing is people's skills and not their paths to achieving those skills.
But nowadays, it is still true to say that a degree is usually required to access any job.
And what is your opinion on this?
Feel free to comment on your point of view and highlight points that I may have forgotten.
Don't hesitate to correct me if I made mistakes in the article, there are probably a lot of them! 😅