Is computer science with a high degree worth it?
I think of having a high grade as the same as having a highly muscular body. As long as you improve yourself and try one step further, you are going great. But, any time you quit, there is no guarantee that you will be able to protect your muscles. With a high probability, you will lose your muscles over time and it won’t have much long-term benefit.
The analogy given for this situation in the Holy Qur’an is birds.
Think of yourself as a bird flapping your wings. The moment you stop flapping your wings, you may stay high above for a short period of time. But, it won’t take long. Once you land, you are not as safe as when you are high up.
As long as you stay sharp, the following advantages are valid for you as a hardworking CS student.
From the perspective of job interviews, you are one step ahead of the others.
Job interviewers are looking for people that will be able to produce value for their company as fast as possible. For companies, new graduate students are like low-risk investments rather than a direct form of value-forming asset.
Therefore, the more qualities you have, the more positions you will attract. The increased chances will likely give you the opportunity to choose between the companies rather than they are the ones choosing you.
For example, I got over 10 job offers in the first 2 weeks of my graduation. This gave me the opportunity to choose in between them rather than they choose me.
This helped me select the most appropriate workplace that will possibly help me further improve myself, rather than me becoming an asset of a company and they choose the technology stack I use.
As you have probably seen, most of the job requirement lists are huge.
As a curious person and having studied diverse topics in university, you had the opportunity to play with miscellaneous tools, frameworks, programming languages, and the latest technology.
Also, the books you have read have given you the ability to easily work with diverse technology as most of them have common origins.
Therefore, even if you do not fully meet the job requirements, you have the basics required to master them. For interviewers, this means that you could easily adapt to their technology stack changes.
As you have firmly studied the basics of diverse topics of computer science in the university, there are more diverse positions you could possibly work. This would create different job opportunities like working in more experience-requiring positions.
For example, the job offer I have accepted is actually a job offer that requires at least 5 years of experience. But, as the interviewers thought I could be able to handle the position and trusted me that even if I could not, I could adapt fast. Therefore, I had the chance to push myself even harder. This also helped me improve my learning speed.
Higher Career Planning
Positions like Software Architect requires a wide range of technology stack under your belt. Even though any curious computer scientist could also fulfill the requirements of this position, the chances of a computer science backgrounded person fulfilling are much higher.
The reason you have a higher chance of success is that you had more resources than others with the help of the university. But be careful, having more resources does not mean you have better knowledge.
If you have only studied to get high degrees in the university, you probably don’t have a much higher chance than the others. On the other hand, if you have studied for the sake of learning, you have a pretty high chance of succeeding.
Here the definition of learning for the sake of learning is that you have pushed yourself harder in every course and seen even the irrelevant courses as an opportunity to improve yourself in dimensions that you could not currently perceive. You’ve put your trust in your instructors at your university. As you firmly believe that they have chosen the right path for your future, you have mastered the basic topics that will be useful further in your life-long learning journey.
As you have probably heard, most of the great technologies of computer science have started as a side project. As a hardworking computer scientist, The Innovator’s Dilemma works for you.
Most side projects require knowledge in quite different topics. Starting from the front end, all the way to Artificial Intelligence, Operating Systems, Database Systems, and so many others.
As a hard-working CS student, you have mastered the basics of most of the fundamental concepts. This gives you the exact boost that you need when developing a side-gig.
Therefore, if you dream of working on your own project full-time, you have more chance of succeeding and becoming a tech entrepreneur.
Towards The End
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
All in all, hard-working always pays off. For a computer science student, the results of 4 years of hardworking will be reflected in job interviews, unpredictable job opportunities, a higher level of the career ladder, and especially when developing side projects.
The end is where we start from.
T. S. Eliot
Last but not least, don’t forget that how it starts is probably how it will continue. Therefore, only work hard if you are willing to keep your pace for the rest of your life. Otherwise, you may regret it.
If you can able to preserve your agility and ability to adapt to the new technologies that you have gained in the university, it will definitely pay off in the long term.