What Is Your Educational Goal


  • Service Provider

    Whenever a discussion comes up about looking into college and university options for someone looking to enter IT the same general cycle seems to occur. Student asks what to do to improve their career potential, student is informed of the cost and dangers of university and why university is not a trade school and is not intended to meet the student's stated goals, math is used to show why universities are terrible approaches to improving careers and then the student almost universally says that they will go to university anyway following the advice of people who are not IT hiring managers or successfully working IT professionals but instead following the direction of non-IT people, television ads, etc.

    There is nothing wrong with university and it serves an important purpose (especially for those of us already working in the field, IT serves to pull a huge percentage of potential workers out of the field on both the student and professor sides increasing the pay in the field itself and further benefiting those who skipped the university system in yet another way) but it almost never serves the purposes set for both potential students.

    So my question and my challenge to anyone considering going down the university path is this: determine what your true goals are.

    I mean this very sincerely. University is not designed or meant to be a career builder. It is not intended to prepare you for a job upon graduation. It is not supposed to make you ready to hit the ground running. University is supposed to prepare you for life, fill in knowledge gaps, make you a more rounded person. It is still up to you to education yourself for your specific career after university. If you are approaching university as a means to getting a job or advancing your career you have fundamentally misunderstood the entire university concept.

    This does not mean that university does not make sense, but it does not make sense for the goals that nearly every student likes to state: hit the ground running in a new career, get a job sooner, earn more money over their lifetimes, be more employable, learn about IT. None of these are things that universities do. In fact, they are all things that university will stall you from doing as quickly as you could otherwise.

    Generally when presented with this information, potential students say "well I am going to go to university anyway." That's fine, but it means that what is being stated as the intended goal is not true. It's actually pretty ridiculously obvious that university does not and cannot behave as students like to hope that it will. People in the field can point time and time again to where the "facts" that promote university training don't hold up. It takes some serious self deception to convince yourself that university could have career value, especially in the short term.

    So then, what is the goal? Maybe the goal is to please parents or teachers who don't feel that your career is the top priority. Maybe it is a simple desire to go to university and get that experience. Maybe it is that you want to avoid having to work for four (or five, or six) years and this is an easy "out" that is social acceptable to not have to be an adult yet. Maybe it is just wanting to conform to society's marketed norms. Maybe you think that finding a spouse will be easier there. Maybe you see high school as an investment in university and have fallen prey to the sunk cost fallacy.

    There are many reasons that people go to university. I've spoken to parents who, when explained that university would cripple their child's career, stated plainly that university itself was the goal and they would happily have an unemployed and unemployable child that had a university degree than a child that was rich and happy with their career. Writing that down makes it sound positively crazy. Yet this attitude doesn't just exist, it is common. Not just in parents, but in students. Perhaps having a degree feels like a socially acceptable excuse to long term career failure: "it is not my fault that I have no career, I got a degree, what more could I have done? I have know many people over the years that more or less openly would state that careers, success, life happiness, etc. were less important than the bragging rights from having graduated from college.

    So, what are your true reasons for wanting to go to university? If you know that it will not help your career, you can't keep stating that your career is the goal. There is nothing wrong with having other goals. People who get the best value from university are those that understand why they are going and are honest about it. University can be a great experience and have a lot of value. But it is not your path to an IT career, it might not completely stop you, but that is not the same as it enabling it.

    Dig deep, before going to university, before deciding on classes, make sure you are honest with yourself as to why you are planning to further the academic process for your own life.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    I've spoken to parents who, when explained that university would cripple their child's career, stated plainly that university itself was the goal and they would happily have an unemployed and unemployable child that had a university degree than a child that was rich and happy with their career.

    It's I suppose believable that there are parents that feel this way, but the student/child? Wow - can we say brain washed?

    This is actually probably true for my wife now that I think about it. Though her goal was to become a high school teacher. That career requires a college degree, no two ways about it, so she went.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    It's I suppose believable that there are parents that feel this way, but the student/child? Wow - can we say brain washed?

    So I blame this on high school. The average (I'm guessing) high school grad has never worked. By the time that @Minion-Queen, @art_of_shred and I were out of high school we each had years of experience (we all went to school together, that's why the example.) I was working as an IT intern at 13, then did farm work till I was legal to get a normal job and worked continuously through the rest of high school and during my college time. So both high school and college were always "sideline" activities to actually being in the real world and having jobs and careers for all of us.

    But for lots and lots of people, high school is their entire focus. It is all that they know and, of course, people who work in schools are focused on that as "the whole world" in the same way. If you think about how there is a huge group of people who live their lives reminiscing about the "glory days" of high school and how cool that senior year football game and homecoming dance were and the rest of life is just working the cash register at the local hardware store and being depressed as life is never as good as high school.

    We that same crowd exists, one level up, in college. There are tons of adults for whom college was the "glory days" or they imagine that it would have been and they want their kids to have those same awesome memories and they feel that a happy life and a good career are impossible dreams So, avoiding the hell that is their vision of adult life for four years while they party at college avoiding the responsibilities that will follow seems like the only possible way to at least have a memory of what happiness was like.

    You never find people with these feelings that also went on to great careers or are happy with where they are in life.



  • Holy crap! You just depressed the *&^$ out of me.

    Though I was probably personally headed that same sorta way. What changed it for me was my Star Wars club. I decided I wanted more, I wanted to visit other places and meet the people I knew on line, see their homes, etc.

    Like you I did work through high school, but unlike you not for the same goals - my goal for working was to gain some cash to buy some whatever to make me happy in the moment. The few interships I did have in general didn't match up with me - so I guess I learned a few things I knew I didn't want to do. lol



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    You never find people with these feelings that also went on to great careers or are happy with where they are in life.

    I don't know. I've talked to several people who would be considered very successful with great careers who yearn for the glory days. I think there is a specific personality where this happens. I myself don't understand it you couldn't pay me to be in high school or college again.



  • @coliver said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    You never find people with these feelings that also went on to great careers or are happy with where they are in life.

    I don't know. I've talked to several people who would be considered very successful with great careers who yearn for the glory days. I think there is a specific personality where this happens. I myself don't understand it you couldn't pay me to be in high school or college again.

    Here Here. But I do there there is a small amount of bleed over as @coliver mentions.. small, but not none.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    You never find people with these feelings that also went on to great careers or are happy with where they are in life.

    I don't know. I've talked to several people who would be considered very successful with great careers who yearn for the glory days. I think there is a specific personality where this happens. I myself don't understand it you couldn't pay me to be in high school or college again.

    Here Here. But I do there there is a small amount of bleed over as @coliver mentions.. small, but not none.

    To be fair... I also know several cashiers and others who have the same mentality. I think it is a fairly universal thing for a specific personality type.



  • @coliver said:

    To be fair... I also know several cashiers and others who have the same mentality. I think it is a fairly universal thing for a specific personality type.

    Which mentality is that? I'm not tracking.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    To be fair... I also know several cashiers and others who have the same mentality. I think it is a fairly universal thing for a specific personality type.

    Which mentality is that? I'm not tracking.

    The "Glory Days" Mentality. People who see that their best days are behind them and wish they could relive them.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    Holy crap! You just depressed the *&^$ out of me.

    It's a depressing situation. It is the Peter Principle applies to life: employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and "managers rise to the level of their incompetence."

    Some people find their last level of competence in high school and anything beyond it is where they stop, having gone beyond their successful abilities. For others they make it through college but that's the last level at which they are competent. Others make it to adult life and careers while still being competent.

    Each is likely to see the "last level of competence" as their glory years and where they "ended up" as depressing, since they are beyond their competence and just treading water on the verge of failure.


  • Service Provider

    @coliver said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    You never find people with these feelings that also went on to great careers or are happy with where they are in life.

    I don't know. I've talked to several people who would be considered very successful with great careers who yearn for the glory days. I think there is a specific personality where this happens. I myself don't understand it you couldn't pay me to be in high school or college again.

    Are they successful like they are super happy or are they just making good money?


  • Service Provider

    @coliver said:

    I myself don't understand it you couldn't pay me to be in high school or college again.

    I enjoyed both, but like life now far better.


  • Service Provider

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    To be fair... I also know several cashiers and others who have the same mentality. I think it is a fairly universal thing for a specific personality type.

    Which mentality is that? I'm not tracking.

    The "Glory Days" Mentality. People who see that their best days are behind them and wish they could relive them.

    I would expect that in cashiers. They might not talk about it as their glory days might not even be high school but might be middle school or even elementary school. But chances are, there was a time when they felt confident and happy and at some point, that stopped.

    Nothing wrong with being a cashier, that people have different levels of competence isn't a bad thing. People are all different and we need lots of variety in the world. But figuring out how to be happy and work from the Dilbert Principle instead of the Peter Principle in our own lives is important.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    You never find people with these feelings that also went on to great careers or are happy with where they are in life.

    I don't know. I've talked to several people who would be considered very successful with great careers who yearn for the glory days. I think there is a specific personality where this happens. I myself don't understand it you couldn't pay me to be in high school or college again.

    Are they successful like they are super happy or are they just making good money?

    Both.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    To be fair... I also know several cashiers and others who have the same mentality. I think it is a fairly universal thing for a specific personality type.

    Which mentality is that? I'm not tracking.

    The "Glory Days" Mentality. People who see that their best days are behind them and wish they could relive them.

    I would expect that in cashiers. They might not talk about it as their glory days might not even be high school but might be middle school or even elementary school. But chances are, there was a time when they felt confident and happy and at some point, that stopped.

    Nothing wrong with being a cashier, that people have different levels of competence isn't a bad thing. People are all different and we need lots of variety in the world. But figuring out how to be happy and work from the Dilbert Principle instead of the Peter Principle in our own lives is important.

    Right, nothing wrong with being a cashier that wasn't my intention. Just trying to draw contrast.



  • @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    To be fair... I also know several cashiers and others who have the same mentality. I think it is a fairly universal thing for a specific personality type.

    Which mentality is that? I'm not tracking.

    The "Glory Days" Mentality. People who see that their best days are behind them and wish they could relive them.

    I would fully expect that from the typical cashier.


  • Service Provider

    And I have been a cashier, so.....



  • @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    To be fair... I also know several cashiers and others who have the same mentality. I think it is a fairly universal thing for a specific personality type.

    Which mentality is that? I'm not tracking.

    The "Glory Days" Mentality. People who see that their best days are behind them and wish they could relive them.

    I would fully expect that from the typical cashier.

    But I've also seen it from people who would be considered very successful. I don't think it is limited to just people who have exceeded their maximum competency.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    And I have been a cashier, so.....

    As have I. Worked in a hardware store throughout high school and college. It was a great way to earn money but I couldn't imagine doing that for the rest of my life.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    You never find people with these feelings that also went on to great careers or are happy with where they are in life.

    I don't know. I've talked to several people who would be considered very successful with great careers who yearn for the glory days. I think there is a specific personality where this happens. I myself don't understand it you couldn't pay me to be in high school or college again.

    Are they successful like they are super happy or are they just making good money?

    The case I can think of, they are making good money, but hate their job.



  • Good to read, I was considering on converting my experience into Degree of IT Major in Management.
    (There was a university offered like that) As here in the Philippines most companies value the university graduate. Opps before that, I still have 1 year and half to decide.



  • @coliver said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    And I have been a cashier, so.....

    As have I. Worked in a hardware store throughout high school and college. It was a great way to earn money but I couldn't imagine doing that for the rest of my life.

    Same here, though only through high school. Completely skipped working in fast food, or really food of any kind (I did work on a farm for two years).


  • Service Provider

    @Joy said:

    Good to read, I was considering on converting my experience into Degree of IT Major in Management.
    (There was a university offered like that) As here in the Philippines most companies value the university graduate. Opps before that, I still have 1 year and half to decide.

    University is free in Germany!


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    Same here, though only through high school. Completely skipped working in fast food, or really food of any kind (I did work on a farm for two years).

    Farm, fast food, "high end" food washing dishes, retirement home food service, pizza places, grocery store, hotels...



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Same here, though only through high school. Completely skipped working in fast food, or really food of any kind (I did work on a farm for two years).

    Farm, fast food, "high end" food washing dishes, retirement home food service, pizza places, grocery store, hotels...

    Yeah, You've had more jobs in 1-2 years than I've had in a life time.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Joy said:

    Good to read, I was considering on converting my experience into Degree of IT Major in Management.
    (There was a university offered like that) As here in the Philippines most companies value the university graduate. Opps before that, I still have 1 year and half to decide.

    University is free in Germany!

    Lols I wish they're not too far from me, or must be great if I will have an host family. 🙂



  • @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    And I have been a cashier, so.....

    As have I. Worked in a hardware store throughout high school and college. It was a great way to earn money but I couldn't imagine doing that for the rest of my life.

    Same here, though only through high school. Completely skipped working in fast food, or really food of any kind (I did work on a farm for two years).

    I worked as clean-up crew in a diner for ~6 months... never again.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    Yeah, You've had more jobs in 1-2 years than I've had in a life time.

    That was like six years. That was all through high school and the college years.


  • Service Provider

    @Joy said:

    Lols I wish they're not too far from me, or must be great if I will have an host family. 🙂

    They might provide housing. You should look into it.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Yeah, You've had more jobs in 1-2 years than I've had in a life time.

    That was like six years. That was all through high school and the college years.

    I was guessing so.. but that doesn't make my statement wrong. lol