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rasinrohit's blog

By rasinrohit, history, 7 weeks ago, In English,

Hey !
This is my first time writing a blog at CF so, pardon any mistakes.

Just wanted to raise a simple question here,
please answer considering that I want to be a software engineer/Android app developer.
Is college really important ?

I mean a normal private engineering college in India costs about Rs.5,00,000 and takes about 4 years.

With that much money and time one can easily :
- Buy 60+ books
- Buy 20+ online courses
- Pay for 5-6 Certifications like Associate Android Developer offered by Google and other tech giants
- Make 5-10 (or even more) software and Applications
- Freelancing
- Competitive Programming
and a lot more...
And still be left with money and time !
What really surprises me is that literally everyone chooses college.
What i want to know from this is , how come all this mentioned above has been outweighed by a college degree ?


As far as job security is concerned , I know enough examples of people spending a lot of money and time on college and then end up unemployed and now they don't have enough money to even start a small business.

Edit:For people saying that it will be difficult to get a job. Please consider the following points and let me know what you think by editing your comments.
- Earn a Certification offered by Tech Companies like Oracle and Google.
- Make multiple projects (in my case softwares and apps)and publish them commercially.
- Reach out people on social media.
- Participate in competitions like CodeJam, HashCode, KickStart.
- Give contribution on sites like SO and CF.
Thanks.

 
 
 
 
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7 weeks ago, # |
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It is not important if your goal is to learn the skills needed in software engineering.

I work as a teacher in a university and can reveal a secret: if you have motivation, you can learn everything without university courses.

However, in some jobs it may be required that you have a university degree (even if you can learn the skills also without university).

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Your students are definitely very lucky , they have orange as a teacher.

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Well I would disagree with this because I feel that college has been a really important part of my life.

I don't study in a super-prestigious college or something but one surprising fact is , I've met a lot of awesome people even in such an average college.

I have always had an inferiority complex regarding how I was less talented and deserving compared to students from the top colleges of our country. And meeting so many cool people in my college has pretty much made that complex disappear. It has made me realise that JEE, in fact, was never a proper entrance exam and just because I failed to perform in JEE doesn't mean that I cannot compete with the students from the top institutes.

Obviously I agree with the fact that not attending any college will save a lot of money, but I really really believe that college-life is something that everyone should experience. It's a really worthwhile experience provided you have a good and supportive friend-circle.

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    You may be right.
    But, according to me it mostly depends on the life situations.
    I mean, let's be real, if i don't have bread at home, will I still want the college life experience ?
    If someone has enough money to attend college, then good for them.
    But,disregarding other important things just to get the college life experience doesn't seem like a good idea.

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      7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Yeah, everyone has different situations and everyone may not be financially capable of affording college. But what I wanted to say is, if you can afford to go to college then don't skip the chance.

      I also feel like my college "degree" is going to be useless in the future. I don't feel it should be compulsory to have a college degree for a job as long as you fulfil the skill requirements.

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Is school really important?
I mean a normal private school in India costs more/less Rs.5,00,000 and takes about 12 years.

With that much money and time one can easily :
- Buy 60+ books
- Buy 20+ online courses
- Pay for 5-6 Certifications like Associate Android Developer offered by Google and other tech giants
- Make 5-10 (or even more) software and Applications
- Freelancing
- Competitive Programming (Probably become LGM xD)
and a lot more...
And still be left with money and a hell lot of time !
What really surprises me is that literally everyone chooses school.
What i want to know from this is , how come all this mentioned above has been outweighed by a school mark sheet ?

As far as job security is concerned , I know enough examples of people spending a lot of money and time on school and then end up unemployed after leaving school (The rate is around 99%), and now they don't have enough money to even start a small business.

Do let me know what you think. Thanks.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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As far as job security is concerned , I know enough examples of people spending a lot of money and time on college and then end up unemployed and now they don't have enough money to even start a small business.

This is why you should go to college and take a Statistics module.

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Nah, it's better to pay for my class on "how to not get scammed".

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You should at least once read this : https://codeforces.com/blog/entry/64710

Obviously ; the blog writer is a nice enough coder ; and people suggested him to get to work at some of the big tech giants ; and he clearly says that he has had troubles to getting into an interview round because he does not have a degree ( Read comments of the blog ).

So its good to atleast complete a degree from some college ; but for sure don't waste time in what they teach you over there.

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    In practical terms it could be necessary to have a college degree for having those jobs. But that is part of an artificial system, I mean, is not something natural. And because is artificial and not natural, we can change that system into something better. I think discriminating by the way a person chose to educate (him/her)self is unjust.

    Of course, I agree with the fact if a degree is absolutely required, one should take it as procedure and choose the cheapest one (both in money and time). However, I am going to take the maximum advantage possible of my college and learn as much as I can (and even a bit more than that :-)).

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Well , if you are not from first tier colleges of India , then College is only for degree. They will neither make your CS basics strong (like in Operating sytem ,COA ,maths, etc),or let you practice for CP (due to their 75% attendance benchmark). Or even give you opportunities for placements.

But ,still i will strongly recommend you to take a collage degree because of following reasons:

  1. Many companies needs Degree , if you want to apply for their jobs ,remember not everyone is capable of getting into google or Microsoft.
  2. Further opportunities, if you don't have degree ,then you won't be eligible for any post govt. or private institution exams of India .(we know its quite prevalent here — eg. IAS,IRS, SSC ,CAT ,etc)
  3. Remember Not only studies are important but social development too, college will help you in this. You will learn to differentiate between fraud y ,cunning people with good and kind personalities. You will experience the real society , which you haven't experienced in school.
  4. Degree provides a secure future . Even ,if you won't get placed ,still you will have opportunities (which at-least gives hope ,and leaves a chance in room).
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College is bull$hit. Talking about "normal private engg. college" especially in India, If you depend on your college you'll realize when you graduate that you haven't learned shit except copying assignments and cramming up useless bullshittery, why the fuck they teach us plumbing/chemistry/drawing when I have opted for a fucking CSE degree ?

You are right, If you invest that money and time in doing what you love you'd probably be more successful and happy.

People go to college cause they are stupid, you are stupid (If u go to a "normal private engg. college"), I am stupid.

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A good degree will give you many of the skills you need to become a professional software engineer, and is, for many, the easiest way of learning these skills, but may not be the only way.

There is however a problem with not going to college. One of the first thing most recruiters will look at whether you have a degree, and its quality. Maybe this shouldn't be so, but it provides an easy way of eliminating many totally unsuitable candidates. Not having a degree will be a particular disadvantage early in your career, but, even if you manage to become a professional software engineer, will remain a disadvantage every time you want to move jobs.

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    A recruiter who will automatically reject a candidate just because he doesn't have a degree is a perfect fit for a candidate who will only go to college to get a degree because it helps with getting a job. Both care only about form, not substance. I say, ignore them and look for something better.

    There's a dynamic between how much college costs, how many people go to college and how valuable a degree is. When few people go to college, a degree becomes more valuable, which leads to increasing costs and number of students, which leads to everyone going to college and costs still rising until they're too high, while a degree becomes worthless because absolutely everyone gets one; then, smarter people will decide that it's not worth it, making a degree even more worthless, while most of the population drowns in debt. We can see the insane college debt growth in USA.

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      7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Sadly many recruiters don't have much choice. The top companies (Google etc.) get hundreds of applications for each available job. These companies cannot afford to interview every applicant. If you don't have something on your resume that makes it stand out, such as a good degree, strong experience, or a strong endorsement from an existing employee of the company, you will not get an interview.

      It is easy to argue that this is a bad way of filtering applicants (it is clearly very crude), but it is quite difficult to find an alternative affordable filter that is better.

      Looking at the update to the original post; yes, there are alternative things that can make your resume stand out. The most valuable of these are probably either successful commercial projects or significant contributions to open source projects relevant to the company.

      Knowing the right people is also useful, and many companies give bonuses to employees who recommend new recruits. This however only works if these people know enough about your abilities as a software engineer to be able to justify recommending you to their employers.

      Winning (or even coming close to winning) major coding competitions would make your resume stand out, and would probably get you an interview at many companies, however simply participating in coding competitions will not.

      When I worked at Google, out of a team of about 40, I believe that only two of us did not have CS related degrees. I didn't because I went into software engineering in the 1970s, with a maths degree, when CS degrees were rare. By the time Google recruited me I had over 30 years experience. The only person on the team who didn't have degree at all had been contributing to open source browser software since about age 16, and as such was known to the community.

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        7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Google is well-known for not focusing on degrees though.

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College is the easy approach for people who aren't able to self-educate and still want to become educated, which is most people tbh. Of course, quality comes with difficulty, so the easy way won't give you as much as you'd get if you did everything yourself with way more effort, and you can get through college without gaining anything.

Depends on you. You definitely don't need college.

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Auto comment: topic has been updated by rasinrohit (previous revision, new revision, compare).

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Honestly just attend a college even if it's average. lot's of advantages i tell you. The networking is really great. Plus you can easily use your leverage as a student to beckon on big corporations to sponsor you, your events e.t.c. As an engineering student I've also been lucky to secure onsite interviews with FAANG which i wouldn't otherwise have been able to without a college.

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Never confuse your schooling with education.

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    That sums up pretty much everything I guess. +1

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      7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Yeah and to quote it exactly...

      "never let schooling interfere with education" -Mark Twain

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College helps to get friends who have similar interests. It's good both for your social life and for your career.

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    It sure does.
    But, I can get a good internet connection for about Rs.200/month and do the same thing.
    In fact I am doing it right now !
    By the way, I like your YT videos :D

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      7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      And then a few times a week I get a message "can we be friends?" from a complete stranger...

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        7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        All friends start from being strangers.

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        7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        What's your answer to that ? :P

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          7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          Depends on what help you want from your friend ig.
          If you want to talk He does reply every msg. (this doesn't mean you should start spamming).
          If you want a loan of $$ from him he may decline.

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          7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          My answer is "No, I don't even know you."

          What's next? Asking a stranger "can you be my bf/gf"? If you become "friends" with everybody on the Internet, the word "friend" stops meaning anything. Also, those people usually have nothing interesting to say, it's just about fact of being friends, awesome.

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      7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      If U r satisfied with ur online and doesn't want to believe anything ,like diff bw friend and edge bw two nodes on web,then why r u asking.Just be happy with it.

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        7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Kindly rephrase your comment. It's very difficult to understand.

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Is true. I had the opportunity to make some nice friends while attending some college courses in my city as a high school drop-out. Even if I'm enrolled in another college, the point is making contacts and friends is possible without paying a high tuition.

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    College is necessary. I get to meet many people of high quality there. But the question is not about the necessity of college but about the formal degree earned from college/university.

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Everything depends upon how you accept College/University as you need. If your goal is different from the courses taught in college then definitely it is not going to help you in long run. But, if your goal matches with the courses then, your instructors can help you a lot if you approach them for higher studies.

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If you are world-famous in what you are doing such as being in top 10 in Codeforces, making a 10^9 downloads Android app or making billion EUR worth commercial apps like Microsoft Windows (no need to be 5-6, 1 is enough), I guess you won't have to worry about college.

If you are a no-one-knows like anyone else, then a difference of a college degree is still a difference.

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Well, it does help you a lot. It helps you get to know people with similar interests and due to peer pressure, you start to learn things that could have been a tough job for you on your own.

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    That's true for very exceptional courses that makes you learn something new that you admire. But, "Pressure" would most of the time "Crush" the main aim of the course and you end up with nothing or little,

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It seems like you want to say — "I want to be an Android app developer. So why dont I just do and online course on App development and start applying for a job. Why go through the pain of learning discrete structures, DSA, logic, automata theory, databases internal etc which will not help me in making apps". I don't think many companies will be open to hiring people who have just done a few coursera courses and learnt a few software engineering tools and they are right in doing so. Each and every course which I took at my university has helped me in some way or the other though it didnt seem like it, when I was taking those courses. Software Engineering is not about knowing how to use a few tools. You need to have good thinking abilities and a sound logic. This would be required for example when you are designing the database for your app and you need to make sure you don't store redundant information. This will probably not be taught in the online app development course you take. Similarly when you are working with a very large code base, there are a lot of design choices that you need to make, see through a lot of details and this is where everything you learnt in all your college courses will help you. It's not like you did a combinatorics problem in your discrete maths course and that helped you design your code, but there are indirect ways in which everything you learn somehow turns out to be useful.

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WHAT I THINK ... YOU GO TO COLLEGE TO - 1. TO MAKE FRIENDS — THESE PEOPLE BROADEN YOUR THINKING ABOUT MANY THINGS. 2. TO BUILD YOURSELF AS AN ADULT.- NO BOOK CAN TEACH THAT. 3. IT TELLS YOU ABOUT WORLD (POLITICS, LITERATURE ETC). 4. LEARN TO HANDLE THE TOUGH SITUATIONS ALONE. 5. LEARN TO TAKE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. 5. GOAL IS TO PREPARE YOU FOR THE WORLD. NOT FOR A COMPANY.

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    1. You don't need to go to college to make friends. I've a lot of good friends who are totally unrelated to my academic background.
    2. Nope. Nope. Let's admit it. Nobody learns how to become an adult in college. We have high school for that stuff.
    3. As if...
    4. Bruh...
    5. Don't write comments when you are drunk.

      PS: 0. DON'T WRITE COMMENTS IN ALL CAPS. IT SEEMS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING.
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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Most of the Indian colleges do the exact opposite of 5

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As a college educated professional who has been in the industry for many years, I've come across both types of candidates. Here's some pros and cons:

Pros

  • A great college has a lot more value than others. The returns are lifelong primarily due to the brand (marketing value) so if you can get into a great school, go for it, unless you have severe financial or other personal obligations
  • Another major reason for a good college is that you get to surround yourself with some smart people, who can positively impact your way of thinking early in life
  • Intelligent, well-spoken and passionate professors can influence your direction in life as well (for eg. you may decide to pursue research in a cool area because of how the professor communicated that to you)
  • College is a lot more than education. You can have a great time and build friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Friends also often play a much bigger role in your career than any theoretical knowledge that you will gain.

Cons

  • I've met non-college educated folks who are absolutely brilliant. More than often, many of them got a college education in a certain area, and then changed careers at a later time (let's be honest — how many teenagers and even adults really know what they would love to do for their career :)). A great public figure in this regard is Brian Krebs (Krebs on Security) — look him up, he's really good at what he does.
  • College is getting incredibly expensive. In the US, it's now not uncommon to have to shell out over $200,000 for a good 4-year undergrad degree. This has gone up 2-3 times over the past 20 years. Many students regret taking on this kind of debt as it takes forever to pay it off and impacts their standard of living. Be careful before going for an expensive college.
  • You can get the technical skills that you get in college via youtube and other media. This includes top University free lectures (MIT Open courseware). Or you could pay for select courses that may be of interest to you (via Coursera). However, getting answers to open questions may be less straightforward compared to going in college
  • 4 years is a lot of time, especially when you would be expected to study for areas that you don't like (how many people here love the humanities?)
  • If you have good tech skills, have an interesting software idea, and some entrepreneurial/business desire, I would highly encourage looking at building your own startup, especially if you can find a co-founder or a mentor. Many VC's in Silicon Valley now pay young people to skip college and join their incubators. Recall that a lot of highly successful people dropped out of college — if you can get going on an idea while you're in high school, you have plenty of time to try (and likely fail) until you succeed.

Over time, I think the trend towards home schooling and skipping college will increase. Good colleges will retain their status as they've built up reputations over a long time — in some cases, over centuries. Modern recruitment still tilts towards college educated, but we may be getting to a tipping point soon.

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    From what I can see, you seem to focus on a "good college", that means one which has good reputation and faculty.
    Unfortunately, things are pretty messed up at my side.
    I can't afford to be in the best college of the town .
    So, when I look towards the cheaper ones all the Pros given by you fail

    It might sound made-up But it's the truth that the cheaper colleges here are full of goons. Some of them even carry gun and bats with them in their vehicle.
    (This is not common in India)
    About the teachers, most of them are uneducated too .I know this because a year back I enrolled myself in a 3 month course in a nearby small institute to learn C language and the class was full of college going students from neighboring cheap colleges. This clearly means, that the teachers don't teach properly in college.

    Even if I enroll in this college the only memories I might make will be of either getting beaten or beating others.
    From the means of this blog I wanted to know if I should go out of my way to attend a college, like taking loans and enroll myself in the best college of town.

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      7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      That is a good question but difficult to answer without a lot more context. However, based on what you've shared, here are some questions to answer :

      1) If employers in India expect a college degree as a must (I'm assuming this is somewhat likely given the high emphasis on education in Indian culture), then you have few options if you're looking to use college as a means to get a job, correct? Even if you don't get a great job initially (let's say in an MNC or a top Indian Consulting firm), could you still land an 'average' job with that degree and use that as a stepping stone for higher studies (MBA, MS/PhD, etc.)?

      2) Are you aware of others who have skipped college and landed a decent job? How did they go about doing it? What would you do if you didn't go to college — how would you land an interview (do you have friends or other connections in companies that would recommend you)? How would you convince your employer that you have the technical skillset necessary? Could you form a startup with friends (or online with others) and give that a shot?

      3) Are you aware of good students who have been admitted to the so-called cheaper colleges? Why did they make that decision (and do they regret it, or has it benefitted them)? See if you can can speak to someone to learn more about their journey.

      4) If you go the path of a top college, do you have the necessary requirements to get into a good college (grades, test scores, etc?) If you're able to secure the finances, then I think paying it off should not be an issue (though hopefully interest rates, etc. do not spike up drastically — some economic complications that you can never foretell), assuming you maintain good grades and participate in some interesting side projects (or represent your school in ICPC or other competitions) — all these could go a long way towards securing a good job that pays well.

      See if you can consult someone local — who has been successful with your circumstances, or speak to a trusted advisor — a teacher or professional that you've respected and who knows you well (and ideally has a sense of what the job market requires).

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        7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Here I have answered all your questions from what I knew.
        Do let me know if you have any more.
        An important point to mention is that I am not yet 18, But, I feel mature enough to firmly decide
        what I want to persue.
        Just in case this information is useful ¯_(ツ)_/¯

        If employers in India expect a college degree as a must (I'm assuming this is somewhat likely
        given the high emphasis on education in Indian culture), then you have few options if you're looking
        to use college as a means to get a job, correct? Even if you don't get a great job initially
        (let's say in an MNC or a top Indian Consulting firm), could you still land an 'average' job with
        that degree and use that as a stepping stone for higher studies (MBA, MS/PhD, etc.)?
        I am trying to avoid Bachelor's degree through all means possible, much higher education
        is not in my list.(At least not for now).

        Are you aware of others who have skipped college and landed a decent job? How did they go about
        doing it?
        No one near me has skipped college. Infact I know people who attend college and ended up
        managing their inherited shops, pharmacy, bussiness etc. (Yes, pharmacies are also inherited
        in India)

        What would you do if you didn't go to college ?
        If I don't go to college I'll buy study material and study them. Also I may join a local institute small course which can teach me coding and basic networking.All other things have already been
        mentioned in the blog I posted.

        How would you land an interview
        (do you have friends or other connections in companies that would recommend you)?
        I know few relatives that are in the same field. They might be able to help me get my first job.
        Also I'll try making more and more projects and connect with people online.Possibly I'll end
        up getting a job that way.

        How would you convince your employer that you have the technical skillset necessary?
        Through my softwares and Apps I'll make during the course of learning. As well as Certifications
        from top Tech companies like Google and Oracle. Probably my CF rank too (I don't have any of the
        above yet)
        Could you form a startup with friends (or online with others) and give that a shot?
        Yes, that's one of my aims. I might do that once I feel I am familiar of the concepts I need
        to know in order to form a startup.

        Are you aware of good students who have been admitted to the so-called cheaper colleges?
        Why did they make that decision (and do they regret it, or has it benefitted them)?
        See if you can can speak to someone to learn more about their journey.
        No "good students" go to my nearby college. In fact there are no "good students" here.
        If there are, they are rare and they shift to a big city to continue education.

        If you go the path of a top college, do you have the necessary requirements to get into a good
        college (grades, test scores, etc?) If you're able to secure the finances, then I think paying it
        off should not be an issue (though hopefully interest rates, etc. do not spike up drastically — some
        economic complications that you can never foretell), assuming you maintain good grades and
        participate in some interesting side projects (or represent your school in ICPC or other
        competitions) — all these could go a long way towards securing a good job that pays well.
        ****
        Yes, I am an above average student (Not bragging really) and getting admission will not be a big
        problem. The main problem will be getting a loan and then paying it back.
        According to me getting a loan risks more money than not going to college at all.

        See if you can consult someone local — who has been successful with your circumstances,
        or speak to a trusted advisor — a teacher or professional that you've respected and who knows
        you well (and ideally has a sense of what the job market requires).
        I will not go into detail.But, due to some circumstances, my life has changed drastically.

        For what I can tell you, I am realtively new to this town, from the total years of my life(Not yet
        hit 18) , I have seen so much ups and downs that I changed my city and sometimes even state 6-7 times.
        I have no one to trust except mom, who believes in me blindly and thinks whatever I'll do with my
        life will be an intelligent decission and I'll end up being successful. I don't know anyone near me
        who will be able to advice me, that's why I turned towards interenet.





        Also one huge problem in India is that every parent wants their child to be either a doctor or an
        engineer.(I don't know about other countries) And because of that a particular degree, Bachelors of Technology (B.Tech) is owned by every 4th person here.
        This has decreased the value of the degree a LOT!
        Most of the engineering degrees in India have the same condition .

        Hence, according to me, there's a pretty high chance of remaining unemployed even after getting a degree
        from a local cheap college.

        Thanks.


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7 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +1 Vote: I do not like it

For me, college turned out to be not as important as people seem to think. I regret going there.

It was a good place with many good people. Yeah, best part of college is other people attending it. That was almost all.

It feels like waste of time (CS degree), to tell the truth. I know other people who did not attend college and did not know what to do with their lives even and used that time to try things. Some of them are way better at programming than I am, and they are employed, while I am not.

Lectures are hit or miss, they depend WAY too much on professor. Unfortunately, the lecturer of main courses turned out maybe worst person I have met in my life, so attending courses was a waste and I am just happy I won't have to deal with him again. There are way to many unnecessary courses to take (I think I have about year and a half of programming courses that tried to be useful for getting a job, all other was there for general education). In reality, nobody cares about syllabus but you will have to spend a lot of time writing tests and proving that you can remember copy stuff from books. Which is usually forgotten in several days.

It is impossible to teach a group of 100 students (numbers may differ) the same way, and there are always people who know stuff and are bored, and the ones who are behind. Self-education is harder, but it is more effective if done right. I can admit I have learned from week of some courses more than whole semester of that subject. Unless you want to go theoretical (which is way harder to learn by yourself, but you will still need to find a right place to go to), going out and building stuff will benefit you more as a developer. It was not worth all the money paid for it. And yes, I tried my best to study and pass exams.

There are companies that require college degree, but it seems that they are not the ones that you would like to work with. Good places value knowledge and good character traits more than a paper.

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7 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +15 Vote: I do not like it

Without College, you can do Competitive programming but you can not take part in ACM-ICPC :( sed lyf

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7 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

It all depend on you and college you are going. In my case I was afraid of CSE in my 12th.So I don't think without going college, my mindset would have changed.In college I get real exposure to ML/DL,IOT and some what coding ,through friends,seniors,and club members. I don't think ,I would have gained so much though just things U have mentioned.Again All this depends on college,U would going join or your personality you having.

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7 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

College will really help you network and socialize big. You will meet a lot of students with similar goals as yours and you can learn a lot from others. What better way than to grow your skills with others.