6/21/2014

No Computer Science Degree?

My degree is in Anthropology.  Thing is, I probably couldn't do that for a living.  First off, I only learned the basics, didn't go for a Masters degree, and I'm not sure what jobs are out there in that industry.  Perhaps work in a museum, work for an archaeology company doing digs or leading projects or doing administration.

Still, I have a 4 year degree from a major university (University of Florida, Gainesville, FL).

Even though I attended a few computer courses, my learning has been mostly self taught.  My skill set has grown over the years, revolving mostly around data, programming and reporting.  My current job requires me to build data warehouses full life cycle.  And soon I hope to be programming in Hadoop, just a matter of time.

So what do I think about the IT industry?  It changes fast.  Too fast.  The speed at which it evolves is surpassed by the complexity in which technology unfolds.  So not only is there more to learn, the pace at which one must learn is increasing as is the complexity.  Because no longer can you do one technology and survive, each technology is tightly integrated with other technology.  So if you're into data for example, you have to know about relational database, NoSQL databases, Hadoop.  Plus SQL, all the reporting tools out there, the dashboards and visualizations, the ETL tools, the reporting tools.  Plus the web, security, authority, project management, agile methodology, sales, presentation skills, interact with management and clients, the list goes on and on.

And you must keep pace with learning in addition to doing your full time job, plus have a life outside of work.

So it is a difficult career indeed.  You can never stop learning.  Or become un-marketable.

Now, I'm here to say that if you are looking for the best programming in the world, one who writes flawless code, who knows everything about everything, they may be out there.  I've seen a lot of talented people in my years and there are some brilliant people in the workforce.  Just looking at my twitter connections, it blows your mind to see how smart some people really are. 

My code style is based on maintainability so the next person can pick it  easily and figure it out.  I use the coding techniques which I know, when running into difficulty, I first scan the internet to look for existing solutions.  When none can be found, I can roll up the sleeves and troubleshoot with the best of them.  My level of knowledge is okay, I'm not really an expert in anything at a deep level, so no super star status for me.  But at the end of the day, I do quality work and the clients are generally satisfied with the results.

Had my degree been in computer science, there probably wouldn't be much change to my coding style, problem solving ability or work ethic.  And besides, I graduated in 1991, things were a bit different back then. 

So at the end of the day, nobody knows everything in the world of IT.  I make an effort to keep current, my skills are descent and I don't think having a degree in Anthropology has limited me in any capacity.

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