Tech Geeks: That Degree Still Means Something


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After the Internet-bust in the late 90's when hundreds of tech-savvy businesses went belly up, industry analysts didn't panic and never sought to bury the world-wide web or the information technology sector. Some of those bloated internet companies were made up of intelligent, barely 20-somethings, many of whom had no college degrees or formal education.

These were guys and gals who dumped the university life midstream because they saw huge dollar signs in the Internet's coffers. They became extremely rich when inflated stock evaluations had them targeted as "the next big thing". Essentially, any company with a staff of web designing, code-writing, young-gunners -- was backed by millions based on its undiscovered potential.

Though many were skeptical about the future of the Internet, technology forecasters believed that emerging trends in web technology would eventually take hold and drive a new era of super-sized web businesses.

That new era has already begun. It is made up mainly of search engine giants (like Google and Yahoo) who have reached into the contextual advertising arena; and companies like Apple who tapped into the MP3/music management business. This re-invention of the Internet means more jobs for college grads and more opportunities for those already holding degrees.

Starting in late 2003, the rebirth of the web also meant the rebirth of techy college degrees. Even though a lot of businesses look for more specialized skills and experience in specific areas, the college degree still holds an enormous amount of clout.

Supplying more than just a major/minor skill set, college degrees help characterize a future employee's growth and potential. It helps businesses focus on the strengths of future employees by looking at how they spent the last few years of their lives.

For example, a company may view an undergraduate as someone who is reliable, tenacious, and determined. A 4-year degree doesn't happen overnight, and many employers believe that yearly dedication to school, translates into years of dedication on the job.

Employers also take into account the types of tech degrees held by potential new hires. Information technology degrees and science degrees (i.e. computer science, computer engineering) tend to attract employers looking for the most diverse techies they can find. Those who have detailed knowledge of operating systems, programming, database design, project management, and problem solving fall into this group.

Specialized degrees such as associate degrees in web development, software design, hardware engineering, and database management are also popular. These degrees focus specifically on areas of technology where businesses often shell out big bucks for skills.

If you're enrolled in a computer science program, or plan to enroll in the future -- you're in luck. Computer and information technology degrees are still hot and show no signs of cooling off.

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