IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Calling all other non-degree-rs out there

Posted by IT Pilgrim on October 29, 2008

Calling all other non-degree-rs out there …

I think its time to call to order an unofficial and hereto-for ignored community out there. The non-degree-rs.

Whenever people meet in a professional setting, they always have to exchange college information, where they went, when, like it is what defines them as a person. I have always found that sad, and am still amused at the shock I get when I say I never went. More and more though, I am seeing my own kind out there, the few, the proud.

So here comes my wakeup call … your degree, where you went, your graduate school time, that does not a rockstar make. Ladies and Gentlemen, you want to be the company rockstar? You want to be the name that companies fight over and throw money at? Your degree will never do it for you. In fact, it can be a hindrance. You see, while you were at the local college kegger, the non-degree-rs were working. Often work two or three times as hard to prove that they were more than capable of doing the job you were bidding your time for. Usually starting off as minimum wage workers, we push and claw and teach ourselves to make our own path to the top.

It is not some piece of paper that makes a rockstar. Far from it. Rather, it is the attitude, the work ethic, the tireless drive of a self-made man or woman. That’s the real American dream. I personally, spent evey waking hour cramming my head with any technical book I could get my hands on. That tireless drive to constantly learn more, faster than your competition, to always be improving your skills, to trade sleep for knowledge. That is what make the rockstar. I am far from alone in this. I survive job cuts that few others do, by always having some new skill to throw out, by proving I can take over new jobs that others balk at. Its that breadth of experience, from doing all the crappy jobs that the people with their degrees couldn’t be bothered to do that makes the difference.

So when I see loads of people going back to college because they have trouble finding a job, I cant help but be confused. Why? Perhaps, that, really is the difference, the willingness to reach, to grab whatever it is you want. I can’t say how often I’ve gotten jobs, that on paper, one would never think I was qualified for. What that has taught me is that a job description is kind of like a keyword search, an attempt to grab anyone or anything that might be even remotely related. so what’s the point of this ramble you might ask? The point really, is that piece of paper can define you, if you let it, but so can the lack of it. Sometimes shear audacity and drive conquer all.

And as to what you can do with that degree, see below:

Photo by davekellam via Flickr

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