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I can't prove it, but there is a pattern and it makes me angry and disappointed. I haven't finished particular college and I am kind of screwed. I have skills and experience, but I have diploma from less prestigious institution. Most of the time I end up in selected few and interviewers always give me positive (and rather direct) response, but in the end it seams like school crest is what matters! Sometimes my skills and experience is completely ignored and on a base of prejudice I feel like I am labeled as dilettante or worse...
It is hard to express the bad taste I have in my mouth.
In the UK there are two particular seats of learning that seem to be favoured.
The University of The Fens and Cowley Polytechnic.
Beneath them are the other 'Highly Regarded' Universities such Imperial College, LSE, Durham, Warwick, Queens Belfast etc.
Then there are the 'I got a degree free with my breakfast cereal' universities like Bolton, East London or Anglia Ruskin.
However, those in the know, know. Cambridge and Oxford are good, but not the best at everything. For example Bristol is regarded as the best for engineering, and it is more difficult to get into Queens Belfast than it is to get into Oxbridge if you are doing medicine.
However, like it or not, there is Academic Snobbery, and the old school ties are still regarded as a metric of value.
--------------------------------- I will never again mention that I was the poster of the One Millionth Lounge Post, nor that it was complete drivel. Dalek Dave
Hi Oshtri, I can see in your CP profile you are from Croatia, although it's not clear in this post if you are speaking of your experience in seeking employment in Croatia, or, possibly, seeking employment on-line through some out-sourcing site, or, if you are living in another country than your native country, and seeking employment there.
Like it or not, some schools will have a much better reputation, that really means something in terms of employment opportunity, particularly in the hard-sciences, engineering, mathematics, in computer science, in medicine, law, etc.
In the U.S., graduates of MIT, or Carnegie-Mellon computer science programs with high-grades, are going to get preference at companies like Google, etc. But, at Google, they'll still have to survive (what I read is) a really challenging interview process.
However, there's other factors to think about: if you have written, and sold, or published, your own software that's successful, or that gave you a reputation for brilliance, and innovation, even though, commercially, it was no great winner; that, I believe, makes you much more "attractive" to potential employers, particularly if they can see how your demonstrated technical skills could be directly useful in the work they need done.
And, publication, print, or on-line: a series of articles: yes, here on CodeProject, could be, I believe, a valuable "bright star" in your resume. Major activity, presence, and contribution, to some open-source project could be very valuable.
A friend of mine (a world-class programmer) who has recently been hiring programmers commented to me that the first question he asks the people he's interviewing ... who score a minimum amount on a written test he gives them, to even get to be interviewed ... is: "what original software of your own are you working on now ?"
His strong opinion is that someone who's not busy working on their own original ideas, who doesn't have some "passion" within some technical arena, is not going to be a valuable team-member.
Of course, this example, of my friend's criteria, may be quite atypical. Just as many companies may be looking for quiet, slow-and-steady types, who will be happy to meticulously port some existing project from stone-age COBOL to whatever.
The point I'd make is: that I question the idea that you are somehow "doomed" to be less than preferred, just because you went to a certain school; and, to propose that there are many creative ways you can use to make yourself attractive on the job-market: what those ways might be: well, you'll have to work that out yourself depending on what kind of technical work you want to do, what the job-market is like where you are, etc.
I propose to you that you might think, now, about what can you do to make yourself "stand out" from the "crowd." And, that "what you might do," might even be something non-technical.
An example: many Americans, who were formerly Peace Corps volunteers, and made it the full two years, helping out in another country, found that later in life (in ways they had not anticipated) that experience and achievement opened doors for them to fast-track careers in businesses, politics, etc., that had nothing to do with anything related to international services, or NGO's, etc.
Are you sure that the reason you aren't hired is because of the school crest? If I were you, I would examine the whole interview to see if there are any other possible reasons; maybe you come across as agressive, or you hesitated with answers. It could just be that someone else was more suited to the job. I would suspect that the school you went to is a lot less important to the hirer than you think.
*pre-emptive celebratory nipple tassle jiggle* - Sean Ewington
I am very sure in my statement. Some of my acquaintances had similar experience. If they want only employees from particular Alma mater, why don't they bluntly state that in the job advertisement (as some do)? It would save us time (and money).
This is hardly empirical. It's easier to blame something like that than it is to actually analyse how your interview went. Being blunt, I suspect you and your acquaintances lost the interview for other reasons. It's time to face the harsh reality that there is something you need to change.
*pre-emptive celebratory nipple tassle jiggle* - Sean Ewington
These are some of the situations which have made me suspicious: Situation 1: I have passed all eliminations at respected firm, I've even got the privilege to have chief engineer on my interview and everything seamed perfect, we agreed upon wage, probation period etc. Within I one week they asked for another meeting. Ok, I thought, but at meeting PR manager and my potential team leader told me that he (team leader) has invoked his discretionary to pick another candidate. What the heck?! They could have sent e-mail or ring me. Situation 2: I've made it to the interview, again everything seamed nice. Interviewers were pleasant and opened, but at the end with chosen words they have said they prefer candidates diploma from more respected institution, but they can offer me position with smaller salary. Situation 3: Respected multinational company, local chief engineer was conducting interview. At the end he told me I am in top 5 (I am programmer with background in electrical engineering and automation), but he prefers another candidate. He told me they will keep my CV in their database and I could get another chance as they plan to hire more programmers in near future. He was promoted and his substitute (he is about my age and we share some acquaintances) decided they will hire only people by recommendation or graduates from particular college.
Pete O'Hanlon wrote:
It's time to face the harsh reality that there is something you need to change.
Where you have failed to get a position, it doesn't hurt to send an email thanking them for taking the time to interview you, and politely request details of what let you down in the interview. I've had people approach me for this, and most of the time I've chosen someone else just because they were better qualified for the position, or it seemed they would fit the team structure better. I've never minded answering these questions, and it can't hurt you.
*pre-emptive celebratory nipple tassle jiggle* - Sean Ewington
Universities should be a factor in valuing someone's degree – whether you like it or not, a degree from Harvard, St. Andrews or Cambridge is worth more than one from the local poly or community college, and I'm sure the equivalent is true in your home country as well. But they should never be a blocking factor: if you can show that you are as good as people with the paper from the approved universities, then you should get a chance.
Working on an open source project, publishing articles, presenting material at meetings or conferences ... all of these will give you an extra advantage on your CV. The first two cost nothing but time if you publish on a free site like this one.
Edit: also, if you got to interview, it is extremely unlikely that the company had already decided not to hire you. Interviews cost a company quite a lot, as they have to spend many hours of admin and supervision time to prepare for the interview and manage you on the day.
School DOES matter. Not sure why you would think otherwise. If it didn't everyone would find the easiest online school and crank through as many degrees as they could. Then it would simply be about how many pointless degrees from the pointless school did you get.
I started out at a smaller school. With in one a year and a half my adviser was telling me to slow down on core courses or I would have nothing left my senior year. RED FLAG. I left my meeting with my adviser and applied to the main state Uni.
While I had to bust my butt when I got to there I understood why. There are a lot of smart people out there. Its a competitive world and top notch schools are a way to weed out the average and under performers.
If you think you can cut it go back and get an MS from a better school. I know many people that started out in smaller schools but then got MS from a much better one. It does wonders for your resume and it will also show you why those that did it have the right to the job first.
Computers have been intelligent for a long time now. It just so happens that the program writers are about as effective as a room full of monkeys trying to crank out a copy of Hamlet.
In my experience (in the US), the school you graduated from matters to many companies, at least when they consider more junior engineers. Sometimes a company is enamored with a certain school's reputation, but more frequently it is simply their experience that they tend to get good people from a certain school so they stick with it.
- My observation is that bigger companies tend to be more school-prejudiced than small ones. - Simply being further from your school may help. If they do not know your school, they cannot be prejudiced against it. - Try turning this to your advantage. Seek out a company where graduates from your school already work. Your degree will be a known and respected quantity there. Many schools have alumni offices which can help.
As you get later in your career, your experience (and reputation) matters more and your school matters less.
I hope that helps.
Edit: Colin's suggestion of getting a master's degree (preferably from a more favored school)is an excellent one. Your most advanced degree tends to matter a lot more than the earlier ones.
Seek out a company where graduates from your school already work. Your degree will be a known and respected quantity there
Where I live this can actually and probably work the opposite... People from the damn diploma mill where I went are by and large incompetent fools(that passed due to said school being a diploma mill) who ruin the schools reputation and make it harder for me. I certainly have to prove that I'm not one of those aforementioned fools.
Not disagreeing with what you said by any means, just offering another side to it as well that you have to watch out for.
Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder
Be careful which toes you step on today, they might be connected to the foot that kicks your butt tomorrow.
I've been there. I don't have an engineering or CS degree even. I'm a senior dev now. I had to prove myself at my first job and take on as much development tasks I could. Your experience will quickly outweigh your crest after a few years. Just try to get a job where you can kick ass. Places like Google and Facebook probably still won't interview me from lack of degree, but I probably make as much as I would there. Best of luck.
One of the most effective programmers I have worked with had a Geology degree.
Some of the best code I have worked on was a huge software package written by a guy with a degree in Physics and no CS training at all. He sometimes did really strange things...but I typically come to value those as learning experiences. In some ways, learning the "proper" way to code things can be limiting. Lacking training, this guy would find ways to twist the language to get problems solved using language features which would never have occured to a CS grad. His code ended up being quite elegant.