Is This A WTF Or Do I Just Need To Go Back To School?



  •  I spent Thursday evening looking for IT jobs in Michigan, where my fiancee lives and I will eventually be moving. (Yes, she is worth it.) Nothing particularly high up, just stuff I could reasonably do with an A+ Certification, plans to take the Network+ once I'd saved up the fees and ten years of practical trial-and-error experience with assorted home computers; 1st and 2nd line helpdesk support, field service, even sales.

    I counted six vacancies for 1st line support where the minimum qualification was a college degree in Comp Sci. Now, I'm all in favour of having skilled professionals dealing with tech support problems at even the most basic level; if you're just going to stick some guy whose total computer knowledge consists of playing World of Warcraft and downloading porn seventeen hours a day in front of the phone and give him a script to follow that he probably doesn't really understand, you might just as well go with an automated menu system and have done with it. But doesn't a four-year degree seem like overkill in this situation? I have no idea what a typical Comp Sci degree covers, but I can't imagine the sum total of knowledge imparted would far exceed that gained by taking the various industry-sponsored qualifications separately. $25k a year doesn't look too impressive when set against the kind of eye-watering debt that's inevitably thrown in with the diploma these days either, at least not when benefits like medical and dental are conspicuously absent.

    And then there was the one that wanted a minimum of seven years of experience in helpdesk support... Now don't get me wrong; I made a conscious decision not to climb the ziggurat much beyond field service engineer within a few weeks of finding this site. Sitting in a cubicle writing code is not for me; I prefer getting out and meeting people, facing a different set of challenges every day and especially being low enough on the totem pole that office politics are someone else's problem. I do know, however, that helpdesk support is regarded by the majority of the industry as a job for rookies and the mediocre. If you're still doing it after seven years, you either like the job or -and this is probably more likely- nobody wants to hire you for anything else.

     

    Is this just pessimism and bitterness brought on by being out of a job since March, or am I as screwed as I feel?



  •  It sounds like you are bitter and clinging to your CAT-5s and your certifications.  Honestly though, you can attend a state college and get a degree in computer science without acruing any debt, and the knowledge you get from a 4 year degree far exceeds the knowledge necissary to get an A+ certification.  Although, for an IT person, I think certifications and work experience will do fine.  I'd apply to the positions if you are interested.



  •  Heh. I'd be lying if I denied that every Wednesday evening for six months of my life wasn't the escape from penury I was hoping it would be might have clouded my judgement a little. I stand by my central point, however; they told me the A+ would at least get me the kind of jobs real IT professionals don't want, gosh darn it!

    Of course, this whole incident took place some time before I looked up US immigration laws and discovered I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of even getting an interview before I get married anyway.



  • @Jake Grey said:

    Is this just pessimism and bitterness brought on by being out of a job since March, or am I as screwed as I feel?

     

    No, I think that you have every right to bitch.  There is no respectable Computer Scientist who is going to work for 25k a year.  Yes I said it, no RESPECTABLE!  One guy tried to offer me 35k a year when I was interviewing just before graduating, I literally laughed and said "thanks for your time" and walked out.  According to studies done by several universities, and CNN, the average Computer Scientist with a 4 year degree is making 65k / year after graduating college.  So for them to require a comp sci degree for a  25k a year tech job is rediculous.

     

    I did tech work for 7 years before getting my comp sci degree.  There is no way that you need the same level of knowledge from a 4 year degree just to do help desk crap.  Apply for them anyway.  A lot of times people will post jobs without a.) understanding what they really need, and b.) over shooting for the qualifications just so they can say "nope, not you" to anybody they don't like (appearance wise or attitude wise).  It gives them flexability.



  • @amischiefr said:

    According to studies done by several universities, and CNN, the average Computer Scientist with a 4 year degree is making 65k / year after graduating college.  So for them to require a comp sci degree for a  25k a year tech job is rediculous.

     

    Is it bad that I cannot tell if this is a troll or another instance of failed education on averages, geography, and spelling?

    That said, to Jake: if you don't like the offers out there, go out on your own.  Independent tech support is fairly simple and doesn't require much capital investment.  Find a few contacts in the area and help them with their computer issues - you can offer much better support and prices than Geek Squad, etc. and with a more personal touch.  Start with individuals, get a name for yourself, and then try small stores and other non-national places that could use high-quality personal support.  The best thing about this is you can do it while looking for "external" employment if you want.

    Remember, the fact that there isn't a company that wants to hire you doesn't mean there aren't people out there willing to pay for the services and skills you have.

     



  • @too_many_usernames said:

    @amischiefr said:

    According to studies done by several universities, and CNN, the average Computer Scientist with a 4 year degree is making 65k / year after graduating college.  So for them to require a comp sci degree for a  25k a year tech job is rediculous.

     

    Is it bad that I cannot tell if this is a troll or another instance of failed education on averages, geography, and spelling?

     

    To quote one of the greats: "[citation needed]". 

     Please do explain how my comment is a failure on averages (since I only stated information that other studies provided)? 

    Please explain how the statement is a failure of geography (since the OP was talking about the US, I spoke of the average salary, as quoted by CNN and other studies, for the US)? 

    On spelling?  Okay spelling nazi, care to pick apart every comment/article on this site?  How about you be productive and visit every web site out there correcting grammar mistakes!  Sounds like a hoot...

     The last time I had seen the study was several years ago (probably 4-5) when CNN posted that, according to survey, the average salary for individuals graduating with a BS in Computer Science was 65k/year.  They now say that the average salary is $56,921/year. Which is still WAY above the 25k/year that the OP stated.  Check it for yourself: http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/worklife/04/28/cb.salaries.grads/index.html.  How exactly is stating the average salary done by a third party trolling?  Please enlighten me with your vast knowledge of the english language, and your superior grammar skills.

     



  • Averages: 

    average($1,$1,$1,$1,$10) = $2.80

    Are you more likely to get a job that pays $10 (well above average), $2.80 (average), or $1 (mode)? Granted, I don't know what kind of distribution salaries follow, but I'm fairly certain it's not a normal curve.

    Geography:

    EntryLevelSalary(California) >> EntryLevelSalary(SouthCarolina)

    If I want to live in South Carolina, wages in California are meaningless to me.

    Without any knowledge of how 'average' is calculated across geography, those CNN,etc. numbers are useless. They should make a law that they have to quote median salaries by metro area instead of a national average for a country as large and disparate across regions as the United States.

    Spelling:  I reserve the right to be crotchety and stand on my soapbox to proclaim that things like spelling and grammar are, despite prevailing opinions, actually important.  Not because of spelling and grammar themselves, but because of the philosophical idea of actually caring about doing things the way they should be done.

     

    (Incidentally, the veracity of things is independent of citation.)

    (Also, occasionally traipsing over or under bridges is fun; sometimes you can find interesting things.)



  • @too_many_usernames said:

    Averages: 

    average($1,$1,$1,$1,$10) = $2.80

    Are you more likely to get a job that pays $10 (well above average), $2.80 (average), or $1 (mode)? Granted, I don't know what kind of distribution salaries follow, but I'm fairly certain it's not a normal curve.

     

    Sure, your grammar and spelling are fantastic!  However, your reading skills completly suck ass.  You missed the entire point: no matter WHERE you live, if you have a computer science degree, you are probably not going to want a 25k/year job.  I actually have two degrees: BS in computer science and a BA in Pure Mathematics.  I do understand that statistics and averages can be scewed.  However, the likelyness of the median (you do know what that is right?) being WELL below the average, as you have illustrated with your example, is not probable in this instance.  Sure, the average salary in NY might be 75k/year, whereas in Nebraska it might be 45k/year.  However, I doubt that the MEDIAN salary is 25k/year ANYWHERE in the US.  Prove me wrong.

     

     



  •  Requiring CS degrees for tech support?

    Yes, it's a WTF. 1 - it's a waste of what CS teaches; and 2 - CS people are CS people, they are about as good as your average citizen when it comes to tech support problems. It's not what they do.



  • @HypocriteWorld said:

     Requiring CS degrees for tech support?

    Yes, it's a WTF. 1 - it's a waste of what CS teaches; and 2 - CS people are CS people, they are about as good as your average citizen when it comes to tech support problems. It's not what they do.

     

    I have to dissagree with you there on one point: most CS people that I personally know are either very tech savy (real computer geeks), or they were tech support before doing CS or while getting a CS degree.  IMHO I think that most CS people are very tech savy.



  •  That's probably true. I'm more just emphasizing that many people have the misconception that CS always == tech support master.



  •  As everyone said just apply for the job, the actual reason for the requirements is actually just HR BS. In these cases requires "CS Degree" translates as requires knowledge of how computers and software work at a simple level(eg unsderstanding of basic networking if your applying for tech support for belkin), "7 years minimum experience" means some bit of experience that actually applies to this field of work and not tech support in another field(eg tech support work for Lynksys when applying for a job at Belkin).



  • @Jake Grey said:

    But doesn't a four-year degree seem like overkill in this situation?

    This requirement is designed to weed out two kinds of people.

    1. Self-aware idiots who not only do not have a college degree, but know they could never fake one

    2. Honest people who believe the rest of the world is also honest

    Group 1 is massively outnumbered by group 2.

    The requirement does not weed out three other kinds of people:

    3. Ignorant idiots who waste everybody's time and generate "tales from the interview" for TDWTF

    4. Outrageous liars who have no college degree but say they do and BS their way into the job

    5. People who understand the requirements are themselves BS and apply anyway

    Group 5 is massively outnumbered by groups 3 and 4.

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to leave group 2 and join group 5.

    You'll do fine. Apply for the jobs, and just let the idiots turn you down as you move toward someone smart enough to see your potential. Anyone worth a crap doesn't really care whether you have a four year degree; they care whether you can do the job, or more precisely, whether you convince them you can do the job during your interview.

     



  • @HypocriteWorld said:

    CS people are CS people, they are about as good as your average citizen when it comes to tech support problems. It's not what they do.
     

    Many computery people have a hard time "dumbing down" instructions for the "average" user. I know full well that it's an uphill battle!


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