Author Topic: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?  (Read 12202 times)

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Offline Ysjoelfir

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Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« on: December 22, 2015, 12:36:09 pm »
Hi everyone!
Since I am enrolled at university right now and already had an quite good education in electronics (I scored as the best one in germany that time, yay!) before and went through some companies, too (screw you money ftw!), because every single one was a PITA in respect to payment and working conditions.
My university allows us to gather some certificates (for example Matlab, Embeded Systems and stuff like that) for prices from 50€ to 500€ and I was thinking about taking the opportunity to get some of those. But as I noticed before, even the best education doesn't guarantee you a good working condition. So is it even worth the time and money to get additional certificates those days? What are your experiences?
Greetings, Kai \ Ysjoelfir
 

Offline Galenbo

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2015, 12:42:23 pm »
...My university allows us to gather some certificates (for example Matlab, Embeded Systems and stuff like that) for prices from 50€ to 500€ and...worth the time and money to get additional certificates those days? What are your experiences?
Invent, organise and promote your own certificates, and let others pay you for it.
Not as easy as it may sound, but if you succeed, way more valuable to put that on your CV.
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Offline agronaught

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2015, 01:21:52 pm »

A degree is IMHO your foot in the door, once you have a job remaining 'current' is the key to staying employed.  Don't ever count on an employer for training, its your career, your responsibility.

I've spent my entire career in the IT industry and have always worked hard to remain current which can be difficult these days given the 'cutting edge' can come and go in a short number of years.   I wouldn't recommend the field to anybody, especially since we seem to be entering yet another phase of offshore outsourcing across a number of industries.  While this does mean that in 4-5 years there will be more screaming for skilled people to fix everything that was outsourced it is growing more diffucult to maintain consistent, reliable, well paid employment.

Build value in yourself, for yourself.  Don't depend on anybody to do it for you.

* Your degree is simply a starting point.  Admittedly an important one.
* Higher degrees (masters, doctorates) can help, they aren't as career limiting as they were in my day (overqualified BS)
* Experience first where you can get it.
* Certificates second where you can't.
* Never refuse an opportunity.
* Career advancement is complete BS in Australia.  It's taken me far too long to realise this.
* Don't remain too long with any one employer or industry.  Flexibility in employment is important as industries can come and go.
* At the same time, don't change employers too often...

This is all my opinion.  Other people have had different experiences.
Cheers
J.
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2015, 11:45:17 pm »
Get your degree.

As mentioned before it is a foot in the door. Plus it opens doors throughout your life. An engineering degree is not only a stepping stone, it is also an insurance policy to some extent.

Billy Joel dropped out of school but is worth $180 million. He went back and completed his high school diploma not long ago because it was something he had to do. He earned great admiration in doing so. When you earn your degree, you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars. Gates is a drop-out, but he could go back and completes his degree if he wanted to. You never know, Gates might learn something as well be earn his degree.

You can lose you house in a fire, you can lose your family and all your worldly possessions, but you can never lose your qualifications. They are with you for life. Even those who have lost the faith and pursued some other career, still have their qualifications and letters after their name.

This all being said, there are people who earn an engineering degree but are hopeless. And there are people who don't have an engineering degree who have leave some degreed engineers for dead with their superior skills, knowledge and passion. Some companies will not hire anyone as an engineer unless they have that piece of paper - it happens in Australia but more so in the USA and maybe in Germany. Which is unfortunate, but that is the reality.

In any case, get your degree. You will not regret it.

As for those certificates, like Matlab etc, keep them. When you submit your resume for your first job, attach them. It might give you the edge in getting the job.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2015, 12:31:33 am »
vk3rdb and agronautmake valid points.

In addition, do a difficult private project that isn't required for your course. Discuss it during interview, saying what you would do better next time. That will demonstrate you are enthusiastic, and not just a time-server.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2015, 12:54:38 am »
put em in a nice frame. can be used to cover an ugly spot, crack or hole in the wall.
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Offline Rick Law

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2015, 12:55:00 am »
...
Billy Joel dropped out of school but is worth $180 million. He went back and completed his high school diploma not long ago because it was something he had to do. He earned great admiration in doing so. When you earn your degree, you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars. Gates is a drop-out, but he could go back and completes his degree if he wanted to. You never know, Gates might learn something as well be earn his degree.
...

re: "...He earned great admiration in doing so. When you earn your degree, you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars..."

Want to bet?  All he has to do is to donate some money, or a building, or build a "research center" and he will get his honorary Phd in no time.

In the next 10 years, you will see Dr. Bill Gates in his biography.

 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2015, 01:26:07 am »
...
Billy Joel dropped out of school but is worth $180 million. He went back and completed his high school diploma not long ago because it was something he had to do. He earned great admiration in doing so. When you earn your degree, you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars. Gates is a drop-out, but he could go back and completes his degree if he wanted to. You never know, Gates might learn something as well be earn his degree.
...

re: "...He earned great admiration in doing so. When you earn your degree, you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars..."

Want to bet?  All he has to do is to donate some money, or a building, or build a "research center" and he will get his honorary Phd in no time.

In the next 10 years, you will see Dr. Bill Gates in his biography.

Honorary Dr or not, Gates did graduate from High School back in 73 and was a National Merit Scholar and almost had a perfect SAT score.
 
He is a College drop-out (Harvard at that) after completing 3 years in there.

I like Billy Joel, but he is not on the same league academically :)

From wikipedia:
Quote
Gates graduated from Lakeside School in 1973, and was a National Merit Scholar.[30] He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT[31] and enrolled at Harvard College in the autumn of 1973.[32] While at Harvard, he met Steve Ballmer, who would later succeed Gates as CEO of Microsoft.[33]

In his sophomore year, Gates devised an algorithm for pancake sorting as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems[34] presented in a combinatorics class by Harry Lewis, one of his professors. Gates's solution held the record as the fastest version for over thirty years;[34][35] its successor is faster by only one percent.[34] His solution was later formalized in a published paper in collaboration with Harvard computer scientist Christos Papadimitriou.[36]

Gates did not have a definite study plan while a student at Harvard[37] and spent a lot of time using the school's computers. Gates remained in contact with Paul Allen, and he joined him at Honeywell during the summer of 1974.[38] The following year saw the release of the MITS Altair 8800 based on the Intel 8080 CPU, and Gates and Allen saw this as the opportunity to start their own computer software company.[39] Gates dropped out of Harvard at this time. He had talked this decision over with his parents, who were supportive of him after seeing how much Gates wanted to start a company.[37]

The lesson here is that even college drop-outs make more than high school ones!

 

Offline mrpackethead

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2015, 01:29:04 am »
They certainly are not "unhelpful"..    If i got a new Degree now, it would make hardly any difference to anything, other than for my own satisfaction.  But i'm not just starting out.. From an employers point of view, someones who has a degree, has the stickability to stay at something for a period of time and see it finished.   That tells me something about their character.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2015, 02:31:49 am »
* Don't remain too long with any one employer or industry.  Flexibility in employment is important as industries can come and go.
* At the same time, don't change employers too often...

Two years seems to be the industry sweet spot between not looking bad on your resume, and having a change of pace and not getting stale in one place.
 

Online CatalinaWOW

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2015, 03:07:57 am »
Opinions will vary on quickly you can change jobs without damaging your resume, but every two years seems a bit short to me.  When I was a hiring engineering manager, and when I was advising such I did not find resumes that showed employment intervals much less than three years appealing.  Such resumes required much more attention to avoid making a hiring error.  Needed to figure if the reasons for leaving were going an issue in my shop.  (Things like difficulty working with others, or being detrimental to other employees performance, or any of a number of non-engineering issues).

Also remember that the shorter the time you are projected to stay, the more rapidly you will need to be productive at the new assignment.  From an employers point of view, all employees are initially negative value, even if it is only a very few days.  It takes that long to get ID, internet hookup, etc.  If you aren't a perfect match to the assignment (including deep understanding of the background of their projects) there will be learning time.  If you don't stick around long enough to make up for the early losses you provided no value to the company.

What does all of this mean?  If you are expected to leave in a relatively short time interval much more care will be taken to assure that you are a good fit for the proposed spot.  Laziness or overwork may mean your resume is tossed to avoid this extra care.  Minor deficiencies will not be overlooked.  There will be fewer openings that match up.  It also means that you will find fewer opportunities to learn new things, because companies will only want you for the things you already know how to do.
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2015, 07:45:40 am »
...
Billy Joel dropped out of school but is worth $180 million. He went back and completed his high school diploma not long ago because it was something he had to do. He earned great admiration in doing so. When you earn your degree, you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars. Gates is a drop-out, but he could go back and completes his degree if he wanted to. You never know, Gates might learn something as well be earn his degree.
...

re: "...He earned great admiration in doing so. When you earn your degree, you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars..."

Want to bet?  All he has to do is to donate some money, or a building, or build a "research center" and he will get his honorary Phd in no time.

In the next 10 years, you will see Dr. Bill Gates in his biography.

Honorary degrees are barely worth the paper they are written on. Honorary PhD's do not entitle one to use the word "Doctor" before their name. Universities have received strong criticism and even mass protests handing these out.  George W. Bush received (not earned) an honorary degree in history in 1968. Not bad for someone who seemed to have forgotten the Soviet Union defeat after their invasion of Afghanistan in 1980, and appears to have known nothing of the annihilation of the British in Afghanistan in 1842.

Engineering degrees are earned, based upon years of study and academic results, not based upon how much money donated to a university.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 08:34:31 am by VK3DRB »
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2015, 08:40:04 am »
And of course it turns political now :)
 

Offline mrpackethead

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2015, 08:50:14 am »
could we start an EEVblog university. Dave could give out honory degrees to people with great kickstarter ideas.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2015, 09:02:34 am »
could we start an EEVblog university. Dave could give out honory degrees to people with great kickstarter ideas.

No one gets an award just for an idea!
Execute the thing properly and you might be in the running.
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2015, 09:04:02 am »
The lesson here is that even college drop-outs make more than high school ones!

The may make more but on average they do not. The point is not how much money you make, but that degrees should not be purchased.

Even Justin Bieber, an irresponsible antisocial lout with no formal qualifications has made $200 million by the age of 21. He has 6 years left before he hits the ubiquitous 27.  :-DD
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 09:08:21 am by VK3DRB »
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2015, 09:34:48 am »
* Don't remain too long with any one employer or industry.  Flexibility in employment is important as industries can come and go.
* At the same time, don't change employers too often...
Two years seems to be the industry sweet spot between not looking bad on your resume, and having a change of pace and not getting stale in one place.

That always used to be the figure, but I'm mildy surprised and pleased it is still the case.

It doesn't apply if you stay longer and can show a solid career and technical progression, preferably with a range of projects and technologies.

If you are in software, beware the HR-droids that presume that if you are over 35, you are "PSBD" (past sell by date)
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline jaxbird

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2015, 02:00:37 pm »
If you goal is securing a job with a large/very large company/corp, you should try to harvest as many certificates as possible. In this situation, the first filter for any application is the HR department, they have pretty much no knowledge of technical details and don't care about all the "cool" projects you have been working on, all they look at is your level of education, work experience and what certifications you hold. Once they have filtered a stack of applicants they will present them to the hiring manager who decides which applicants to interview.

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Offline Rick Law

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2015, 05:28:18 pm »
...
Billy Joel dropped out of school but is worth $180 million. He went back and completed his high school diploma not long ago because it was something he had to do. He earned great admiration in doing so. When you earn your degree, you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars. Gates is a drop-out, but he could go back and completes his degree if he wanted to. You never know, Gates might learn something as well be earn his degree.
...

re: "...He earned great admiration in doing so. When you earn your degree, you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars..."

Want to bet?  All he has to do is to donate some money, or a building, or build a "research center" and he will get his honorary Phd in no time.

In the next 10 years, you will see Dr. Bill Gates in his biography.

Honorary Dr or not, Gates did graduate from High School back in 73 and was a National Merit Scholar and almost had a perfect SAT score.
 
He is a College drop-out (Harvard at that) after completing 3 years in there.

I like Billy Joel, but he is not on the same league academically :)

...

I was not contesting Bill Gate's brain-power.  In those days (1970's 1980's), you do need to be somewhat of a performer or supremely well connected to get into Harvard.

What I was contesting was the statement "you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars."  You bet you can buy it.  Look at the Kennedy(s).  Even got caught hiring people to take tests for him...  I am sure one can find a ton of examples.  Famous people is easier in discussions because more of us know of them.

That said, the degree is still useful.  At any HR department, job requirements are plainly listed - be it Phd, MS, BS...   I am sure in most cases if you somehow distinct yourself, the hiring manager can go for an exception.  But, if you are just a person who just dropped by in a job fair, why would I want to spend the energy to fight HR?

There is no doubt a degree opens doors.



...
...
Honorary degrees are barely worth the paper they are written on. Honorary PhD's do not entitle one to use the word "Doctor" before their name. Universities have received strong criticism and even mass protests handing these out.  George W. Bush received (not earned) an honorary degree in history in 1968. Not bad for someone who seemed to have forgotten the Soviet Union defeat after their invasion of Afghanistan in 1980, and appears to have known nothing of the annihilation of the British in Afghanistan in 1842.

Engineering degrees are earned, based upon years of study and academic results, not based upon how much money donated to a university.

Forget honorary or not.  Our current president has an "earned" degree from Harvard.  I doubt he can speak in complete sentences.

Trouble when school moved away from scholastic merit and pure scholastic merit, you have people who has no business even being on campus getting law degrees and lecturing law.

Ridiculous as this situation is, it really is a case and point of the degree being useful.  With a degree, even if you are an absolute moron, and at a university like U of Chicago, home of where sustained fission chain reaction was achieved, would hire you to lecture.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2015, 05:42:18 pm »
I wasn't disagreeing with you but with VK3DRB, I didn't mean to imply that you where contesting Gates capability.

A degree does open some doors to get you started, but your work and merits opens the rest of them.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2015, 06:01:29 pm »
A degree does open some doors to get you started, but your work and merits opens the rest of them.

It is more accurate to say that a lack of a degree ensures some doors aren't opened, but the door may not be the only route to the other side - there may be some other "long ways around".

Once on the other side, your work and merits are (usually) more important.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 06:38:29 pm by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Rick Law

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2015, 06:14:45 pm »
I wasn't disagreeing with you but with VK3DRB, I didn't mean to imply that you where contesting Gates capability.

A degree does open some doors to get you started, but your work and merits opens the rest of them.

Also in agreement, merit not only opens doors, but merit keeps you in the job and rising.  At times, people "luck into" certain positions only to flame out in no time.  I've seen many examples of that.  Something as comic book as "running into a relative who is in senior management at..." and in six months, that very same relative had to fire her...

Job moving has many disadvantages and many advantages.  One of the advantage is the track record of having proven yourself under different environments.  It shows your performance is more merit based than connections or odd events.  When company X is considering you, company X is never sure if you performed at company Y for 10+ years because you walked into your boss doing whatever with his secretary and wanted to "pay for your silence."
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2015, 11:46:16 pm »
I wasn't disagreeing with you but with VK3DRB, I didn't mean to imply that you where contesting Gates capability.

A degree does open some doors to get you started, but your work and merits opens the rest of them.

Absolutely it does open doors to get you started. And keeps opening doors over time. I don't think the value of the degree diminishes much over a working life. I have found those who still have the passion, updated skills and the piece of paper can get work when they are older, in a country like Australia where discrimination against older people (ageism) is rife despite it being illegal. In other words, a degree may extend your battery life (ie: working life), as does practice and passion.

I apply the three A's when considering hiring someone. The A's are like a peace sign pie graph; a third for each of the following: Ability, Aptitude, Attitude.

If any of those are missing, they are not hired. A degree helps reinforce the three A's but it is not guaranteed.

I have a friend who with his brother ran an electronics company for the taxi industry. They manufactured systems that used RF data transmissions from the taxi company to the taxis. They would only hire EE's with a degree AND a ham radio license because in my friend's own words, "A volunteer is worth ten conscripts." They were very selective and it paid off. The company was very successful, exporting systems around the world.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 12:39:55 am by VK3DRB »
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #23 on: December 24, 2015, 01:26:03 am »
A degree does open some doors to get you started, but your work and merits opens the rest of them.

It is more accurate to say that a lack of a degree ensures some doors aren't opened, but the door may not be the only route to the other side - there may be some other "long ways around".

Once on the other side, your work and merits are (usually) more important.

Generally agreed: if you're looking for a job in the open market as opposed to getting one through personal recommendation, there aren't many HR nazis that'll let you through the door unless you have a degree for EE. I personally find it sickening.

The box tickers in HR usually don't even read a cv/resume but you can be sure they'll have some cheap outsourced psychometric/numeracy/literacy prescreening test, but when I see a CV with several typos and the writer can't even string a sentence together I just wonder what value HR add, not to mention the crazy preferred or even single supplier mentality they often use. For me, a cv with several typos on it tells me far more about the person than any degree does, and is unlikely to get an invitation from me to interview as a result.

On the subject of the literacy prescreening, I'd love to know what the bar is, it seems extraordinarily low to me.

As you get on in career, assuming you're good at your job I found that you're far more likely to get a job through previous work contacts and recommendations than on the open market, so that short circuits all the HR nonsense anyway.
 

Offline mrpackethead

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2015, 01:50:25 am »
ing you're good at your job I found that you're far more likely to get a job through previous work contacts and recommendations than on the open market, so that short circuits all the HR nonsense anyway.

The the point that they start calling you.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2015, 09:35:41 am »
The box tickers in HR usually don't even read a cv/resume but you can be sure they'll have some cheap outsourced psychometric/numeracy/literacy prescreening test,

HR-droids are only interested in any mechanism they can use to deny responsibility if a hiring decision turns out badly.

You missed out graphology - for a software developer. Yes, there was a company near me that looked as if it might have been interesting, but they wanted a handwritten CV. I asked why, and graphology was the answer. In reality that was an excellent filter mechanism: I wouldn't want to work for a s/w company that thought handwriting was a key characteristic!

As for the psychometric 16PF test, I've taken it twice. One, assessed by a chess international master, uncovered remearkable things about myself and other people I got to know (e.g. the spot-on "I hate to sound sexist, but she seems lovable"). The other, assessed by a recruitment agent uncovered things that anyone could have determined during a 5 minute chat (which is what took place). Conclusion: they aren't repeatable; the assessor's intuition is key.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Howardlong

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2015, 11:12:59 am »
You missed out graphology - for a software developer. Yes, there was a company near me that looked as if it might have been interesting, but they wanted a handwritten CV. I asked why, and graphology was the answer. In reality that was an excellent filter mechanism: I wouldn't want to work for a s/w company that thought handwriting was a key characteristic!

My first job in the City 25 years ago was with SG Warburg, they did graphology for all their salaried recruits. Anecdotes were rife among employees as to the validity (or non-validity) of it. There was a lot of secrecy about what the handwriting analyst was looking for. Luckily I was contracting so avoided the indignity of being fired before even seeing my desk!

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=dcNMZTnEz6UC&pg=PA215&lpg=PA215&dq=sg+warburg+graphology&source=bl&ots=Z_YXQgXaGU&sig=niMpatR9Fe9bVSpnzSMrn2_Lg-I&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwii9sr5rfTJAhUIcRQKHSHJAxUQ6AEIJjAB#v=onepage&q=sg%20warburg%20graphology&f=false
 

Offline rjeberhardt

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2015, 02:29:48 pm »
When I was hiring raw recruits a good degree was a plus but a bunch of purchased certificates was a minus.  The biggest plus was a demonstration of a genuine interest in electronics such as well executed private projects or ham radio interest.

Russell.
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Offline jaxbird

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2015, 02:55:56 pm »
Trust me, papers matter if you are aiming for a career with top companies.. the last 3 companies I've held management positions at are all in the top 50 of the fortune 500 list. You need to have something to show to get there, they seriously don't care about any cool projects you have been playing around with. You have to show papers to get anywhere near a job.

Not saying that papers is everything, I started out having no relevant education, but you can build on that, but it requires exceptional luck/talent and hard work to achieve anything.

Edit: Feel free to ask questions if you want to know more details about the hiring process within very large companies, I've conducted more interviews then I care to remember tbh.

Edit again:
Career highlights have been meeting Bill Gates in person and demonstrating a product to him. Other highlight was getting the opportunity to sit at the original Edison desk at GE, can't deny, that felt pretty special.

« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 03:54:55 pm by jaxbird »
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2015, 04:48:18 pm »
When I was hiring raw recruits a good degree was a plus but a bunch of purchased certificates was a minus.  The biggest plus was a demonstration of a genuine interest in electronics such as well executed private projects or ham radio interest.

Seconded. But then I don't think I even interviewed anybody with a bunch of certificates.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Online CatalinaWOW

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #30 on: December 25, 2015, 04:00:16 am »


I have a friend who with his brother ran an electronics company for the taxi industry. They manufactured systems that used RF data transmissions from the taxi company to the taxis. They would only hire EE's with a degree AND a ham radio license because in my friend's own words, "A volunteer is worth ten conscripts." They were very selective and it paid off. The company was very successful, exporting systems around the world.
[/quote]

Another silly rule, like the HR ones requiring a degree.  The thought is right, but in application it will let some duds through and screen out some gems.  Just think if they had ask a question like: Why don't you have a ham radio license?  And found the answer to be "Well I am really fascinated by signal encoding and guided wave transmission.  I do all my work in the lab and am not emitting anything, and just didn't see the need to get on the air with a bunch of people reminiscing about how great it was when everyone had to make their own rig.  If you think having the license will help me on the job I can pass the test at the next available session."  Or ask:  What have you done with your ham radio license?  And found the answer to be:  "Well nothing really.  A bunch of my pals were doing it back in grade school, and I kind of tagged along.  I almost gave up, but passed the test on the third try.  Dad bought me one of those neat Yaesu transceivers.  Haven't operated it since I found out about girls."

When hiring there is no substitute for hard work and thought.  Any time you substitute a rule for thinking, you run the chance of fouling up.   At least this company got enough good ones with their methodology to be successful.  And they don't owe a job to any candidate (supremely qualified or not).
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2015, 09:34:54 am »
Sadly in the UK a flare for doing and learning does not help and I go nowhere. We live in a tickbox society where people get exited over nothing. I got into a company labouring and moved my way up to engineering where they are now putting me through a HNC course. the downside is that the pay is probably poor and because I'm in the privilidged position of being the only electrical expert in the company they in turn have no appreciation for how complex things get if only the time it takes to do things. I have an A4 sheet filled with a list of things that in an ideal world should have already been done but alas.

My solution was to start my own business, takes time, things move slowly and I have had a few spots of luck. Qualifications are great but the attitude no course can give you.
 

Offline Ysjoelfir

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #32 on: December 30, 2015, 05:17:03 pm »
Just a sidenote: I read through all your comments. Thanks for your answers, very interesting to read! Please keep your thoughts coming, I love debating about that and hear your stories.
Greetings, Kai \ Ysjoelfir
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #33 on: December 30, 2015, 06:50:46 pm »
When hiring there is no substitute for hard work and thought.  Any time you substitute a rule for thinking, you run the chance of fouling up.

"Think" is one of only two mottos that I think are worth the paper they are written on.

With "suboptimal" companies, HR-droids are afraid of making a decision that could lead to their being blamed. The "civil service mentality" isn't confined to the civil service :(

Another place where engineering degrees (preferably higher degrees) are more or less necessary is if you are trying to get a work permit for another country.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #34 on: December 30, 2015, 08:33:01 pm »
In one of Bill Gates early books, he disclosed some Microsoft hiring practices - that was before Google and when Microsoft was the "want to be at" place for many.

A question they ask was "How many gas stations do you think is in the USA?"  He went on to say they were not so much interested in the answer as to the follow-up questions.  They were interested in how did you handle such unknown?

Some would say "how would I know?"  Some would go ask other who knows; some would estimate..  Of course one follow up was "how did you arrive at your estimate?"

One of my favorite question, and I forgot who (what book) I learned that from, was this: "What was your biggest mistake last year?"  Follow-up: "What did you learned from it?" or "How did it changed you?"  Their reaction would be as revealing as their answers.  That question however doesn't work for accountants.  They never make mistake(s).  The time the number their number didn't add up, they had an error but they did not made a mistake.
 

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #35 on: December 31, 2015, 06:29:54 am »
...
Billy Joel dropped out of school but is worth $180 million. He went back and completed his high school diploma not long ago because it was something he had to do. He earned great admiration in doing so. When you earn your degree, you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars. Gates is a drop-out, but he could go back and completes his degree if he wanted to. You never know, Gates might learn something as well be earn his degree.
...

re: "...He earned great admiration in doing so. When you earn your degree, you will have something that even Bill Gates cannot buy even with his $79 BILLION dollars..."

Want to bet?  All he has to do is to donate some money, or a building, or build a "research center" and he will get his honorary Phd in no time.

In the next 10 years, you will see Dr. Bill Gates in his biography.

Honorary degrees are barely worth the paper they are written on. Honorary PhD's do not entitle one to use the word "Doctor" before their name. Universities have received strong criticism and even mass protests handing these out.  George W. Bush received (not earned) an honorary degree in history in 1968. Not bad for someone who seemed to have forgotten the Soviet Union defeat after their invasion of Afghanistan in 1980, and appears to have known nothing of the annihilation of the British in Afghanistan in 1842.

Engineering degrees are earned, based upon years of study and academic results, not based upon how much money donated to a university.
Now why did you have to go and insult George W. (Yale GPA 2.35)? :)
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2015, 06:46:24 pm »
...
...
Honorary degrees are barely worth the paper they are written on. Honorary PhD's do not entitle one to use the word "Doctor" before their name. Universities have received strong criticism and even mass protests handing these out.  George W. Bush received (not earned) an honorary degree in history in 1968. Not bad for someone who seemed to have forgotten the Soviet Union defeat after their invasion of Afghanistan in 1980, and appears to have known nothing of the annihilation of the British in Afghanistan in 1842.

Engineering degrees are earned, based upon years of study and academic results, not based upon how much money donated to a university.
Now why did you have to go and insult George W. (Yale GPA 2.35)? :)
While the poster threw something one may consider an insult.  Presidents should be big enough a man to receive insults, warranted or not.  We have a real thin skin one right now, but that has not been the quality of our Presidents.

Besides, not all Engineering degrees are earned.  If so, try to explain Frank Sinatra's Doctor of Engineering degree (Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey).  It is a hard stretch from Engineering music to engineering a bridge.

Stevens is not MIT, but they are not bad at all and can be considered rather good.   (Checked about 2 yrs ago) For NJ college/univ, they had the next highest top 1/4 student math SAT of students admitted.  Top one was Princeton with 800 top 1/4 student average, second was Stevens.  Stevens was in the mid 700's, a 100 points above Rutgers which is an NJ state university.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 06:48:06 pm by Rick Law »
 

Offline IconicPCB

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #37 on: January 01, 2016, 12:26:03 am »
The  ollowing link should serve to illustrate the value of a degree:

http://www.electronicproducts.com/Education/Career/20_of_the_highest_paying_engineering_jobs.aspx


pox on those who say otherwise

ohh... Happy new year
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #38 on: January 01, 2016, 10:18:03 am »
Depends on what you want. Education is obviously a necesity but an attitude to do is also required. A head stuffed with information is pointless if you don't know how to use it. Hopefully society gets out of the tix box culture one day because employing people based purely on a qualification is as bad if not worse than employing people without.

If someone without a qualification is applying for the job they must think they have some ability and should be able to demonstrate quite quickly that they are worth it, but just putting people in place based on a qualification can be very dangerous.

I won't bire people again with the times I have saved my employer from the disaster created by people who were supposed to be qualified, problem solving skills can't be taught, you either have the attitude to solve it or you don't and in the UK most importantly the will, too many people want recognition before work and can't be assed to go the extra mile.
 

Offline poorchava

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #39 on: January 01, 2016, 11:12:28 am »
I see more and more companies in the technical field moving an official degree from 'requirements' to 'optional'. They simply don't care if you have a degree or not as long as the shit gets done.  In the end getting shit done efficiently is what makes a  successful company.

But this requires recruiting people to be technically competent, so that they can choose an appropriate candidate and not fall for some bullshit. So this is hard to execute if a company outsources recruitment to people with question /answer sheets in their hands.

Degrees are devaluating because of the universities producing crowds of worthless people holding a diploma, which means that holding a diploma is no longer a sign that a person knows their stuff.


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Offline Simon

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #40 on: January 01, 2016, 11:36:08 am »
quite, where I work I think many don't hold qualifications, although it's one of those companies where the less you do and the more BS you come out with the better you do. We have a chap going off to america soon to work at a subsidry we bought out, he is recognized as the laziest asshole the company has, but in many companies a big mouth gets you far and the MD can't see the wood for the trees. Which is why i set up my own business because being mechanical they have no understanding of what I do for them in the electrical field and don't value it (my boss keeps saying "I hate wiring looms" which is not that inspirational as while I'm not fond of them either it's what my job entails mostly at the moment, but he does not mind redesigning the same mechanical part over and over until it's perfect in his eyes). Recruiting good people without qualifications straight into places where traditionally one has a qualification is hard as the the company needs some really good management. Working people up from the bottom is best which is how i went but then they are not that committed to helping staff get qualifications or learn. I was taught the barebones of the paperwork system we run and have never been given any technical instruction except that, that I gave myself. I think my direct boss see's my predicament (of being under valued due to the company not wanting to understand electrics no matter how much they now play a role) and has gotten me onto a HNC course for electronics, he probably knows i have a far better chance of getting a qulaification and moving out to a better job (or furthering my own business) than I have getting any appreciation where i am now.

We had a fellow start downstairs in the machine shop. He was in the middle of a HNC he was willing to continue to fund himself. The company where not interested and would not even pay him for the required day release despite it making him a better worker. He just left for another job where they are taking over the costs of his course, are giving him the paid time off to do it and will continue to further his education. He's been replaced as a matter of course, no one misses him, the thought of trying to keep him never crossed anyone mind.

My employer does not see hiring people who don't neccessarily have a qualification as getting more grounded and capable people but as a way of saving money, they'd employ monkeys if they could do the job.

So yes there is a tendency to not need qualifications but in the UK I see it happening as a means to pay people less. I get a pay rise for saving the company from it's own screw up, not for doing a good job. As many have said here, qualification = better pay, we all know that employers want to pay less so there is a tendency to get the least qualified person who can just hack it.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #41 on: January 01, 2016, 11:50:29 am »
So on the one hand you have people who are not really good at what they purport to do taking qualifications just to get a good pay, and on the other employers pretending to be a bit "new age" and people don't need qualifications in order to do the job as an excuse to pay less.

I was talking to some experienced nurses last night who were complaining about the quality of nursing and bemoaning the fact that now a nurse gets a degree and is a nurse and that working ones way up has gone and this has ruined everything. I never forget having to tell a student nurse myself to retake my blood pressure because the reading he got that turned his face white with worry was because I was not in the correct position, he never spotted my incorrect posture and nearly panicked when he saw the reading, I had to "diagnose" the problem for him based on my limited experience of having my blood pressure taken a few time...... :palm: but yes, a qualification is all you need, I wonder how many smarts it really takes to operate a blood pressure machine that is automated other than a brain that thinks for itself (we are taking about machines that a member of the public can buy off the shelf and operate).
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Degrees and Certificates - are those usefull or not?
« Reply #42 on: January 01, 2016, 12:17:06 pm »
attached is the requirements of my assignment i will have to "complete" at the end of my current module, as you can see to gain a pass I have only to mostly complete 3 out of 7 questions in an assignment that I can do at home with no time limits and full access to all the help I can muster, online, from work collegues (well maybe not the chap going to america that just proudly got his IU degree could not help with my maths despite telling me he had done even more complicated stuff) and then submit at my leisure. Should I really be proud of passing ? does it deserve the better pay ?

In my case this is a great help as memorizing things is next to impossible for me and I'm mostly oblivious to how maths works doing this course is actually extremely hard work (I probably have atention deficit but have no idea if I can get help and if it's worth it) so it works well but I am still left wondering.
 


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