Two words which can breed both fear and relief. For me, it’s ‘relief’ in this case. I’ve just finished up with my last exam, i know i’ve passed them all and i know that’s another big educational milestone complete…
Education Trophy Cabinet
I first dreamed of this day back in about 2005 when i was in 4th year and had to come up with some job title or course i wanted to do. I think i took one of those online ‘what course suits you’ tests and one of the options that came up was IT Management. I read about it and liked the sound of it. I then found out DkIT had an IT Management course but it was an add on course to ‘Computer Applications & Support‘ or ‘Networking and Support’. I chose the former because even back then i found applications more exciting or interesting, (before they really existed).
I found out i needed something ridiculous like 200 points to get in to Applications & Support, so that took any leaving cert pressure right off me. I ended up getting 445 points which was respectable. I never investigated at the time but i’m pretty sure that would have been enough to do any IT course in any college in the country (back then IT was a no go area).
Fast forward a year (i took a year out to work pretty much full time in Dunnes after the leaving cert) and it was day no.1 in college. Big school. 3 years came and went and i picked up trophy no.1;
- Bachelor of Science in Computing in Applications & Support
I decided to complete the add on honours degree in IT Management and today that course has officially ended (well, assuming I passed everything – i’ll find out on June 14th). This is naturally the more important one. It’s a level 8 / honours degree -v- the level 7 / peasant degree. It takes a certain degree of mental steel to complete any kind of degree or course though. The easy option is always to do nothing. Anyway, trophy no.2 has been won today, but it won’t be mathematically confirmed until next month;
- Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computing in Information Technology Management
It’s the new leaving cert
“A degree is the new leaving cert”. No it’s not. Years ago people stayed in education until about 17/18 years and then went out and got a job. Nowadays we’ve another 4 years in education, in a specialised subject area. The stakes are higher, much higher. Things are much more competitive.
However, in terms of competition, a degree is the new leaving cert. It’s pretty much a standard requirement. Employers don’t usually want someone with ‘x’ number of points in a leaving cert, although I have seen a few places demanding above 450 points in leaving cert plus a 2:1 degree, plus experience etc… these are for graduate jobs too.
Do you need a degree?
No. But it’s a safety net & a step or two up the ladder. The stats say people with degrees earn more. People with masters earn more than people with degrees and PhD’s are top of the salary food chain. I don’t think any of my group have jobs lined up, but we’re all more attractive employees than we were 4 years ago and that’s important, like i said, a degree helps. Education in general helps. But it’s not everything.
Degree -v- Experience
Look for any job and one of the criteria will most like be ‘minimum 3 years experience in industry’ or something to that effect. This is the old catch 22 situation for students. How do you get experience if nobody will give you the opportunity to earn it? It’s a tough one… i can see where employers are coming from. Someone with zero experience is a risk, regardless of their academic ability. As a student myself, I would question the sense in hiring someone who may never have worked in a long 9-5 environment or in any kind of business environment or dealt with customers / clients etc…
We have 3 months off in the summer, mid terms (although ours have been scrapped the past couple of years), Christmas, Easter and a cosy little 20 hours a week ‘class’ hours, if even that. There’s no marks going for attendance, but i’ve drilled it in to myself over the years to attend everything purely to keep myself in routine. I considered college ‘work’. At times i’ve had classes & lectures with a group of maybe 2 or 3 people (myself included!). I’ll be honest, i don’t learn much inside the classroom in college and at times have questioned the sense in coming in but the bigger picture has always been a big enough incentive for me and that big picture is finally complete. Now to start another one…