One thing is clear: you do not just become a doctor, lawyer or professor. Behind those professions are years of struggle at university, a big pile of discipline and above all a degree. Although Germany is one of the front runners regarding the number of undergraduates, according to a study by the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies, 29% of all undergraduate students drop out of their studies prematurely. Reasons for this are, for example, lousy study achievement and conditions or other, internal factors. Apparently, even today many kids seem to decide to study at a university because it appears to be the logical consequence after graduation. Simply put, it's a social compulsion.
Although, as already mentioned, in some areas it is required to have a university degree, this is simply not the case for Tech.
Image Credit: imgflip.com
Names like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg should ring the bells. Three very successful men and none of them have a university degree. Surprised? We’re not. Sure, as a network architect, it could be difficult without a degree in Computer Science, but in many other Tech jobs, a degree is a nice addition, but not a necessity. Like speaking an additional language or volunteering. It is actually quite clear: A degree does not automatically make you a dream employee. Why?
Experience, experience, experience
And again: experience. That's exactly what employers care most about. It is crucial that you’re not only talking, but also have something to show. Experience comes, as well as the rolls at my favorite organic baker around the corner, in different forms. Be it an app you have developed, other projects or a previous job. Can you impress with practical skills in an interview situation, you are already as good as hired!
Image Credit: giphy.com
Many Computer Scientists are mathematicians instead of developers. It is more critical for them to prove that their code is correct than to deliver code that works. Besides, there is often an inexplicable obsession with programming languages in universities which, in the end, only confuse. (I mean, who the hell needs CLU ??) If someone starts playing around with a feature and adds it to the codebase, then everyone in the team will have to learn that language. And that can cost time in our fast-paced world of work and thus, money.
Other programming languages like React and Docker, which, according to the Dice Report 2017, are among the fastest growing tech skills, are probably not taught at many universities. You then have to learn them outside the lectures or attend a micro-course, which is not easy when you are already studying full time.
Success in the Tech industry requires you to be up-to-date at all times. Even with a Computer Science degree, you can not sit back and take things easy. You can acquire the basics in numerous online courses in just a few months and get into the world of work right away and gain hands-on experience rather than learning a bunch of theory-fuss that you’ll probably forget before graduating. And remember: there's no shame in the Google game. No matter what questions you have, they have probably been asked several times by others, that are in the same situation. If you have the motivation, you can build your DIY (Do-It-Yourself) degree.
“But what if I already have a degree?”
Image Credit: ncaa.com
Do not worry. You do not have to hide your degree in your application. But on this day, employers demand more than that. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are worth pure gold. We need people who bring different perspectives to the table, and new thoughts. As Steve Jobs once said, "It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough. It's a technology that is married to the humanities and delivers the results that make our heart sing. "So, even as a newcomer or with broader experience, you can get your dream job.
In summary: As long as you successfully prove your abilities and shine with the experience you have, all doors are open to you - even without a university degree. But if you feel the urge to go to school and long for direct contact with fellow students, a dual education could be just what you are looking for. Getting an IT degree is only suitable for those who can handle large volumes of course material, have a keen interest in basic knowledge and can motivate themselves to learn specialized skills in addition to studying at university.
So what is it for you? University, training or DIY degree?