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Career Experience VS Education

  1. May 18, 2013 #1


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    Recently, I was hired at a local software firm and have been working there for the past week and a half or so. My co-workers seem like really cool people to work with, and the work environment is actually great.

    Right now I'm just an intern, but I want to actually keep this job. There's no way I would want to ever go back to working retail ( Or worse ) as to gain income. Selling an hour of my life for $11 at a time is simply out of the question. So I've been working really hard as to earn a good impression with everybody around me.

    So now I arrive at a dilemma a couple of months from now... School is back in and suddenly the percentiles of my ##\pi## of life get skewed.

    My question now; What is more important : Work experience or Education.

    I'm having a tough time deciding what gets a bigger piece. I really want to keep this job, but I'm not sure I could manage full time studies and the job at the same time. I'd like to get some opinions from people before I decide what to do.
    Last edited: May 18, 2013
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  3. May 18, 2013 #2
    They're both equally important however a degree can get you a job that would require 10 years of experience without the degree. The other thing is most people only get one shot at going to college. If you miss the train, you might very well regret it down the line. Assuming you're talking about comp. sci, if you can hack it financially, I'd finish school.

    If you're talking about a web development cert or something similar, you should probably stay at your job.
  4. May 18, 2013 #3


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    The best person to ask would be your supervisor or manager at work. It might be a bit soon to do that after less than 2 weeks of your internship, but it would make sense to ask about a full-time job about half way through, rather than right at the end.

    Find out what the longer term career prospects would be for both options. You don't want to make a decision that looks good now, but hurts you in a few years and keeps hurting for the rest of your working life.

    As Jupiter6 said, "working for a software firm" covers a wide range, so it's hard to give any definite advice.
  5. May 18, 2013 #4


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    I would recommend finishing school. Simply because I doubt that this company is one you will really stay at for the rest of your career. If you ever find that you are laid off or want to change your environment, you really benefit yourself by at least being to show HR at a different company that you meet the minimum education requirement. Although, i'll be the first to admit that it is possible to find steady employment by consistent networking, i'm also a big fan of leaving as many doors open as possible.

    Before you make any decisions though, I would ask if you could become part time or 'seasonal' while you are finishing school. My brother did this while doing an internship at an engineering firm. He worked part time during school, full time during the summer, and when he graduated he had a job. Definitely doesn't hurt to ask.
  6. May 19, 2013 #5
    In my country we value working experience much more than education because of low quality of the latter.

    College degree without working experience is pretty useless especially in IT field. Most people are working while doing their degree part-time so maybe you should this option - either online/part-time degree+ working full time or full time degree + working part time.
  7. May 19, 2013 #6


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    Thanks for the input so far guys.

    I've been hearing that work experience is becoming more and more valuable on your resume in comparison to having an actual degree.

    I think from what I've gathered I should try asking my boss if I could potentially work part time instead so I can attempt to manage my degree at the same time.

    Even if I was working part time though I still think I'm going to have a problem maintaining my degree program. I'm currently trying to double in hons Math & Comp Sci so the course load is pretty heavy. I'm thinking I would have to at least drop a course per semester to manage.
  8. May 20, 2013 #7
    Work experience matters a lot... for people with a degree. If you were to try to go to another company and your resume was no degree and experience as an intern at another company you wouldn't get a second look.

    The only way I would even consider skipping degree to keep working would be if I thought I was in on the ground floor of the next Facebook or Google and they would hire me as a full time (non intern) position. Then it is still a one in a million gamble, but at least it would have the potential for a big payoff.

    Why not see if you can do a work study where you take a semester of classes and then work a semester. That could give you the best of both...
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
  9. May 20, 2013 #8
    I can't think of many reasons one would quit university for a job. I wouldn't. I tend to think that if you got that job without a degree, with a degree you'll get a much better job. Three years ago I got a job I regret I did it because if I hadn't, I would have finished my PhD by now. Just my two cents!
  10. May 20, 2013 #9
    Might be true for a bachelors, probably less true for a phd. Many of my colleagues have a bachelors + experience, and most of my phd cohort works a similar sort of job.
  11. May 20, 2013 #10
    Might be true where you live. I have seen many people regret their decisions of not having studied (some had no other option but work as they started their families, let's say, not voluntarily). Where I live, education is hard to get, so it's one of the most valuable things. My advice is that our friend not quit the university and/or probably find a way of doing both. They say, in life, it's better to regret things you did than those you didn't.
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