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How useful was school for you?

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  • nak
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    I went to Gateway CC to obtain an associates degree in network security... the classes were canceled constantly due to low enrollment so I just graduated with a AAS in [Cisco] Networking, just before/after/during the time in which I was expelled (it was a prank... come on!).

    I got some education on the foundations that I never looked into when teaching myself, ie memorizing the OSI layers, subnetting, cisco specific things like IOS etc etc

    I am currently working at an electronics retailer as sales, so my networking/computer knowledge is used to tell people all about what kind of router they will need and why they need some sort of encryption. So no, my schooling is not being used during my day job. Does driving around the country in a van responding to craigslist ads for computer help sound like a good way to live for a while? :)
    Last edited by nak; March 10, 2008, 00:42. Reason: easier reading, adding url, sounding less angry, being fickle!

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  • Suriyawong
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    I'm majoring in Networking Technology (formerly Information Technology and Design). I'm also minoring in Web Development... I've realized a lot of the things people have been mentioning too. School is for maturing and getting a basic knowledge of the field you're studying. The real learning begins once you get into the work force and doing on-the-job training. Or just doing a lot of it in your free time. Thats exactly the reason I'm trying to learn some of the skills that everyone here possesses. Since I'm in networking, I should probably know what to do to protect against some of the methods of security penetration, or at least giving the best protection that I can. Plus, its fun to learn about. =)

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  • sharxbyte
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    haha! i thought this was going to be about how useless english class is...

    but let me see... right now my HS computer tech class is totally freelance. =D that means that i can get credits for lurking here! so how much of the schooling is useful? since i have to get a stupid paper to say that i can draw on a computer, i might as well get it out of the way asap... as well as getting my A+ etc... so in my book, do as little schooling as possible to get the nessesary training (and documentation) and learn the rest at cons =).

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  • converge
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    Originally posted by mouseling View Post
    ... Hacking Academia ... -mouse
    Better scope definition? That brings back several groupings of fond memories since my last dance with that snake.


    <----- omggigglez, now i can't post again for a while.. and fate brought me to this post.

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  • DaKahuna
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    Let me start off by saying - the period between my high school diploma and my bachelor's degree was 28 years.

    When I was in High School there was no such thing as Computer Science. I took the college prepatory curriculum and it included some of the same things that are there today - Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, etc. However, there was no computer club or anything like that. In 1967 when I graduated High School, computers occupied entire buildings and were things only few universities and governments could afford.

    During my stint in the military I took the occasional college level course, getting three different Associates degree's until finaly deciding as I was about to retire from the military to get a four year degree. One of my mentor's at the time made a very sound argument that to get ahead and truly succeed in the corporate world that a combination of a degree - proof of ones ability to apply oneself across multiple disciplines and ability to learn, and real world experience - proof of ones ability to put what one has learned to use, were a winning combination. In a pure technical sense one can get a long way without a degree but there is always that wall that they seem to hit, unless they go into business for themselves (Bill Gates being a favorite example).

    My actual degree is in Business (BSBA) and I find that in my day to day job that plays just as important a role as my years as a Unix, DNS, and Windows Systems Administrator.

    So as many have said, a college degree in just about any field is useful and will help. Not having one will, in a corporate world, always be something that will be found missing and may restrict one's ability to move up the ladder.

    Just my $0.02.

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  • Z^2
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    I'm in physics school (in a physics PhD program at the moment). I'm finding college for physics was pretty cool for the first 3 years of undergraduate work (and by that I mean the new physics I was learning), and then I got bored for some reason. It was a good way for me to realize - undergraduate work - that all that 'stuff' that they made you take in high school actually applies to a real world job. It's great if you need to be led through the things that you want to learn, but as I become more of an independent learner, I despise classes more, which is what naturally happens in grad school (2ish years of courses, then pure research for a couple of years, until you find a thesis).

    I think that school was useful for the people I met, and the things that they didn't cover in classes that I went on to learn on my own, more than the courses in the academic program itself. I don't see going to most universities as a way to prepare your technical skills for your job so much as to expand your horizons and develop good critical thinking skills in your field of choice.

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  • DJ Jackalope
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    Originally posted by mouseling View Post
    Btw: I've been strongly considering putting together a panel discussion on Hacking Academia for defcon - I got in through a backdoor, and have been taking notes on how the game is played.
    Do you think there'd be an interest in this?
    Anybody else want to be on the panel?

    -mouse
    I would be interested to be on the panel -- I also think there would be an interest in this because of how old I am thinking the average defcon attendee is... school age!

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  • mouseling
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    Btw: I've been strongly considering putting together a panel discussion on Hacking Academia for defcon - I got in through a backdoor, and have been taking notes on how the game is played.
    Do you think there'd be an interest in this?
    Anybody else want to be on the panel?

    -mouse

    Leave a comment:


  • mouseling
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    As many of you know, I'm currently pursuing my Ph.D. in C.S, after having spent several years as a SysAdmin. Having my feet in both the Hacker world and academia has given me an interesting perspective.
    In addition, just like Deviant, I have degrees in non-tech areas (german, music, history). I find my varied background to be both and advantage and a hindrance at times. Helpful, because I seem to be able to see threads and patterns that no-one else notices, in academia, that is a huge plus. A disadvantage is that I lack a lot of the depth and focus that my peers have - and I'm flailing around right now trying to fill the holes in my background

    Like Chris, my motivations and attitude are different from many of the other students, and I see my degree as essential to the kind of work I want to do. (and, like Chris I don't always pass my classes the first time)

    Is a CS degree useful? 10-15 years ago, I would have said no. Many people I know dropped out and took very profitable programming jobs in start-ups. But the world has changed since then. It took a number of years for other countries to tool up their CS teaching assembly lines, but they did, and now they are rolling off highly competent techies at a rate in which the US cannot compete. (I could actually write lots on this and document the major events and changes, but that would bore most people) -

    So, in short, what a CS degree does in today's job market, is quickly narrow the applicant pool. (which is growing rapidly) A typical universities' CS undergraduate program requirements are the same across the board and promise a minimum level of knowledge, experience and basic competence.
    Why should a busy manager take the time to interview a maverick who may or may not have the qualifications needed for the position, when (on paper at least) a person with a bachelor's in CS will be sure to have them? (though that is really a myth - businesses do think that way)

    Jackalope - Getting through College Algebra: I've got some great links I'll pm them to you. The hardest part is getting past the fear that failing causes you. Xor mentioned Drexel, they have a fantastic online Math Forum that provides free help to anyone anywhere. I also strongly suggest that you find a tutor - (maybe one of the class's T.A.s) It maybe that what you need someone to show you how to look at a problem differently.

    Math is really a language, but it is a very formal one. Once you understand the grammar and the syntax - you have to discipline yourself to speak it (work problem sets) carefully and systematically.

    -mouse


    QUOTE=DJ Jackalope;92711]I did three years of college a while ago - went to school for Marketing with a minor in East Asian history. (Talk about two extremes!) I never graduated. I decided to go back to school this spring (2007) and am on the Dean's list and all that good stuff after spending my earlier college years on probation. My last class should be this summer, unfortunately it's the one I've all ready failed three times: college algebra. I totally agree with the different outlook than most students that Chris has. I don't go for the 100% but 90% and above is pretty ok with me. My.02 for tonight.[/QUOTE]

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  • xor
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    I'm not saying there weren't worthless classes that I took. Man I hated English Lit, I couldn't wait until it was over. Just wasn't my thang; but I still have a book of poetry on my shelf buried amongst all the computer and engineering books. It has a very lonely place on that shelf but for some reason I kept it.

    I didn't like Temple as much, preferred Drexel much better. Drexel was awesome it is a uber geek environment. Heck my senior project was on 802.11 wireless networks and how to improve the coverage at my college and where to install the new routers at another building that was added. Spent a week there doing site surveys; very cool stuff.

    Stanley Milgram, Harlow, and Pavlov you guys didn't find that stuff interesting?

    Listen DJ.L you technically feel lost in math, as you are always a class behind. You get really good with algebra once you get to Calculus. Really good with the Derivative once you get to Cal 2 which is Integrals, and it goes up from there through Planes and Vectors and 3D math; and diffy-Q. One class that I wished I had taken was quantum mechanics; that stuff is just so cool.

    xor

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  • converge
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    Originally posted by semprix View Post
    Well the good side of school is that it will get you more mature its a matter of self development rather than developing your skills.
    Interesting contrast for me, as the tail of school was my opportunity to be less mature about things than I should have been.

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  • semprix
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    School sucks big time. School wont teach you everything that you want to know, its all up to you on how you will get those information that you want to learn. Well the good side of school is that it will get you more mature its a matter of self development rather than developing your skills. But with self development you can always learn that through the day to day experience that you will have.

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  • DJ Jackalope
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    DT- if you have a moment, i'm especially curious what your answer would be to this since I sort of know what you went to school initially for...which isn't really about computers....

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  • DJ Jackalope
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    Originally posted by Chris View Post
    On a side note (that may be a factor in my situation) I went to college several years after finishing high school and was very motivated to do well. In every class I took anything less than 100% was a failure to me (and trust me, I failed plenty) but I really wanted to learn everything they were teaching.
    I did three years of college a while ago - went to school for Marketing with a minor in East Asian history. (Talk about two extremes!) I never graduated. I decided to go back to school this spring (2007) and am on the Dean's list and all that good stuff after spending my earlier college years on probation. My last class should be this summer, unfortunately it's the one I've all ready failed three times: college algebra. I totally agree with the different outlook than most students that Chris has. I don't go for the 100% but 90% and above is pretty ok with me. My.02 for tonight.

    Leave a comment:


  • xor
    replied
    Re: How useful was school for you?

    Originally posted by converge View Post
    In retrospect, maybe I should have stuck with accounting or pursued law.
    Corporate Tax attorney, easy 5 - 6 figure salary, more with your own practice. But then again you wouldn't be having as much fun.

    xor

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