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Education Programming The Almighty Buck

State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees 127

jfruh (300774) writes "PayScale has recently released a survey of various U.S. colleges and majors, and determined, perhaps unsurprisingly, that computer science graduates of elite colleges make the most money in post-graduate life. However, blogger Phil Johnson approached the problem in a different way, taking into account the amount students and their families need to pay in tuition, [and found] that the best return on investment in comp sci degrees often comes from top-tier public universities, which cost significantly less for in-state students but still offer great rewards in terms of salaries for grads."
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State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

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  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @10:30AM (#46630163)

    The MIT or Harvard, for a degree in Computer Science doesn't offer you superior education, it just looks nice on your resume. This is all fine and good to try to get a job first job. However after time less and less is dependent on where you got your degree from, just that you got a degree.
    Now we have some employers who get impressed by the fancy name, but those balance out by the ones who get turned off by it. Because they often create pretentious workers who think they know it all and are not willing to learn the real way of doing things, or listen to the experience from the guy who doesn't have such a fancy degree.

    In general companies do not like their employees with a lot of debt, because they are under more stress, and stress causes more irrational behavior. Sell their car, sleep in the office, or just get snappy at customers.

    A degree from a State University vs a prestigious college isn't toilet paper, especially if you are interested in going to the corporate world. Your education in a State School espectially for undergrad work is probably better then the big names. Why? They get more professors who want to teach undergrads, vs the big names where you have more professors involved in their own research projects and teaching undergrads is one of those useless chores they need to do. So you have undergrads getting better teaching, and more time understanding the content, and less time just being bullied by the professor who wants the class to fail out so he can use the rest of the semester on his research.

  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khallow ( 566160 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @10:40AM (#46630245)
    So it's not actually based on evidence? Two can play at that game.

    There's the other side of the coin, namely, that a employee who wracks up a lot of debt is more likely to making bad workplace decisions (since they've already demonstrated an inclination for doing so) or engage in theft and embezzlement (because they have huge financial incentive to do so).
  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @11:06AM (#46630461)

    I have certainly never come across an employer who favours or actively seeks out indebted job seekers in order to have a tighter control over their workforce.

    I have only once: it was an Indian who loved H1-Bs as he could abuse them all he wanted because they'd have a hard time leaving. I did a couple months of contract work there and I could tell that it didn't take long for him to grow to dislike me as I would stand up to him all of the time.

  • by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @11:14AM (#46630535)

    I didn't go to an Ivy League school so I can't verify this first hand but I would suspect that both Public and Private schools offer much the same in terms of what you learn while you are there. The big advantage, I suspect, in going to a Private school is the people you meet and the contacts you make rather than what you learn in the classroom.

    Think about it - who goes to expensive private schools? Sons and daughters of alumni. Kids of successful parents. Kids of wealthy foreign families. Those are tomorrows movers and shakers. Getting to meet them over a beer at the campus pub forms potentially long term relationships that might help you out down the road.

    So the real value is more in who you meet than what you learn. It's not what you know it's who you know.

  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThatsDrDangerToYou ( 3480047 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @11:19AM (#46630595)
    Wow, you must work for some real assholes. Basically, you are describing a level of cluelessness in management that I think is less common than you think. Because.. really?

    "You assume that anyone gives a shit about the quality of education once you're trying to get a job, they care about WHERE you went"

    Only if they are clueless.

    They want their employees as stressed out as possible, because they think that's the way they'll be the most productive.

    They are assholes and you really don't want to be working for them. Run!

    Let's say you've got two resumes on your desk. One is from someone who had a 4.0 at Aggie U, the other is from someone with a 4.0 at Harvard. Guess which resume winds up in the bin with no further scrutiny? Hint: It's not the one from the Harvard grad.

    Anyone with a 4.0 from anywhere deserves a phone screen at a minimum, assuming they have relevant experience. As others have noted, as you get more experience, what you have done professionally becomes far more important than where you spent your undergrad days. Where you did your grad degree(s) is given more weight, but even then, it's what you did with your time there.

    You have apparently had bad experiences in corporateland. I would suggest a few years in startups maybe.

  • by netsavior ( 627338 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @11:26AM (#46630643)
    I know very few people who actually went to university to get an education. And even fewer employers who care more about "Education" than "degree." Nearly all of the people I work with and went to college with went for a degree.
    If you could do the job you want to have for the rest of your life the day you leave high school (like most software engineers who actually write code for a living - assuming some learning on the job) then your greatest ROI is to get an accredited diploma from the cheapest, fastest university you can go to.

    You are filling in a checkbox, not seeking an education... don't fool yourself.

    A degree is a practical expense for most people. An "education" is a luxury afforded only for the very rich. Don't go into crippling debt to get an education, you (basically everyone) can't afford that crap. You can study and learn on your own, later. You are there for a degree, and don't forget it.

    An entire generation of people seem confused about this. They think an "education" is worth going into massive debt, they think an "education" will get them a job that will pay the bills... well, I should use the past tense, because nobody thinks that anymore. According to what I have read about "Millennials"

    Degree as part of a structured career plan = good idea
    Education as a "career will follow" plan is OVER, it was the case in 1965, but you will enjoy a lifetime full of debt and meager earnings if you use that "plan" now.

    If it seems harsh and anti-education I am sorry. I am all about learning, but novelty $100,000 sheepskins, sold at 4% interest to first generation college students with no career plan - really boils my blood.

    It is really disappointing that in my lifetime we have managed to shift seeking an education from an empowering experience to hopelessly and permanently hindering the lives of middle and lower class people.
  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @01:39PM (#46631811)

    One thing I've found in the work world that they don't prepare you for at all in college is the work environment. In college, you take CS or engineering classes, and you do the work on your own, frequently in the solitude of your own apartment, or at the library where it's quiet. Then, when it's time for an exam, you take it in the classroom, and talking and discussion and other noises are not allowed. This should all be changed, because it doesn't reflect the modern work environment.

    First off, students should be required to do all their programming assignments and exercises together in one large room, at rows of open tables with no dividers between them. A class full of business majors or better yet marketing majors should be brought in and sat right next to them, so they can do their collaborative projects next to the CS/engr majors. The business/marketing majors can talk loudly all they want, and interrupt the CS/engr majors while they're working with various useless comments ("How's it going!"). The CS/engr majors should not be allowed to take their work anywhere else; they have to do it only in this environment.

    When it's test time, the test should be held in a busy corridor. Put all the students at long tables together on the side of the corridor, so that all the foot traffic passes right next to them.

    If you can't do your programming work with lots of noise and commotion and people talking to you and walking by you constantly, you have NO business being a programmer in today's corporate world where open-plan work areas are now the norm.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming