View Poll Results: What should I do?

Voters
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  • Take the job offer! Show me the money!

    7 30.43%
  • Take the job offer and work it for 1 to 2 years. Then go to grad school.

    10 43.48%
  • No money? Ha, I can take it. Bring it on, world. Plow through and go to grad school now!

    2 8.70%
  • Become a combination African Safari master / archaeologist who programs C in his spare time.

    4 17.39%

I have 10 days to make the biggest decision of my life

This is a discussion on I have 10 days to make the biggest decision of my life within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; David - I'm in the exact same spot as you a couple years down the line. I had to choose ...

  1. #16
    Lead Moderator kermi3's Avatar
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    David - I'm in the exact same spot as you a couple years down the line. I had to choose between my career or grad school for a PhD in a related field. I chose the field. I've been teaching for about 2 years now, and I'm very glad I did. I've learned so much about the real world - and I continue to do so. I'm in the process of doing the grad apps now, hoping I get in, but the job has allowed me to save up a lot of $$ and to be selective about my grad schools - I have a good job, if I don't get in, I can reapply next year and still have a job.

    I don't think I was ready to have a realistic idea of my field and how to without some real field work.

    That being said, I have been very clear with my employer about it from the beginning. They've known my intentions since day1 - I haven't advertised it everywhere, but word gets around and I told my superiors directly upfront...Everyone knows now - including clients (ugg). That being said, it's been great to be honest. It's going to be a bit strange if our annual contracts come out before I've heard back from graduate programs, but the honesty is going to give me the space to tell them what's going on. I'm basically going to tell them "If you want me, wait for the apps to come back, if you don't want to wait, replace me." I'm banking on my time and hard work will get them to wait...I think they will - if not, I'll deal and maybe even have time to moderate!
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  2. #17
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    > I suppose that was implied in this case, I just took it a bit stronger being the second time I've seen it suggested.
    And I did mean it "in this case". If they've spent money training him, and with the internship blah blah. That's like getting a big chocolate cake, to find it it's made out of carob

  3. #18
    Banned master5001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kermi3 View Post
    David - I'm in the exact same spot as you a couple years down the line. I had to choose between my career or grad school for a PhD in a related field. I chose the field. I've been teaching for about 2 years now, and I'm very glad I did. I've learned so much about the real world - and I continue to do so. I'm in the process of doing the grad apps now, hoping I get in, but the job has allowed me to save up a lot of $$ and to be selective about my grad schools - I have a good job, if I don't get in, I can reapply next year and still have a job.

    I don't think I was ready to have a realistic idea of my field and how to without some real field work.

    That being said, I have been very clear with my employer about it from the beginning. They've known my intentions since day1 - I haven't advertised it everywhere, but word gets around and I told my superiors directly upfront...Everyone knows now - including clients (ugg). That being said, it's been great to be honest. It's going to be a bit strange if our annual contracts come out before I've heard back from graduate programs, but the honesty is going to give me the space to tell them what's going on. I'm basically going to tell them "If you want me, wait for the apps to come back, if you don't want to wait, replace me." I'm banking on my time and hard work will get them to wait...I think they will - if not, I'll deal.
    See what I mean. Again, I do similar jobs to any one else here with no formal education in the field. I personally have only experience (and a lot of it). It affords you more lattitude when you do wish to study, that is for sure. Schools actually even like having an accomplished software engineer to become part of their alumni (it makes it seem as if they were a part of that).

  4. #19
    Lead Moderator kermi3's Avatar
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    Yea - everyone in academia I've talked to thinks that my real world experience is going to really bolster my app...plus I've learned so much about working with clients and, just as importantly, other people in the workplace.
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  5. #20
    Banned master5001's Avatar
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    DavidP, I don't normally do this: but feel free to steal the code from my signature and use it for the job interview. No, no. I insist.

  6. #21
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    There's no copyright on it... so I'm sure it's already in George2's book =)

    kermi3, are you saying tell them your intentions is the best thing to do? Because it worked for me surprisingly good! Got a job, tonsillitis and exams at the same time. Now due to a scholarship I might not be working there for very long... oops.
    Last edited by zacs7; 11-19-2008 at 08:00 PM.

  7. #22
    Lead Moderator kermi3's Avatar
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    I'm saying honesty is very important to me. We're on annual contracts, but when they hired me, they put someone else out of my job to put me in it. I wasn't going to let that happen without being honest that I might not be around for more than a couple years (I didn't know it, but he actually wanted out so no biggie.) When we had a new boss come in this year, she did interviews to get to know us. When she asked my long term goals, I said "Graduate school - PhD." She asked if it was a degree I could do part time, I said No.

    Since then, my being honest and upfront with her has been recipicated several times. It really paid off in starting my relationship with her. It was a really good place to start. They like me, they like the work I do. They don't want me to go, but the solid relationship ensures that they also want what's best for me, appriciate me, and treat me fairly and respectfully.

    I'm not advertising it to the world, because it does lead to some strange conversations, but if anyone asks, I'm not lying or misleading. I want my students to be completely honest. Shouldn't I model that behavior?
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  8. #23
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    > I want my students to be completely honest. Shouldn't I model that behavior?
    Yes! Honesty has got me many things . It almost feels like cheating when it works out great.

  9. #24
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    Amen to Kermi! When I interviewed for my current job the ad said, "longevity preferred" and I told them in the interview "You can for sure count on me for longevity!" At the time - I had every intention of staying for a long time. As time went on, I told them I was even more committed because the job changed and became even better for me.

    Then one day I suddenly noticed a lot of things I didn't like about my current setup - and I spent several days spending every spare moment looking at alternatives and thing like that. So I went to my boss and said, "look - I know I promised longevity, but this-thing and that-thing changed, and now I'm kinda looking at making some big changes" and we talked about my options at the company.

    I thought that my mere mentioning the possibility of leaving would infuriate them, but I think because I was so honest about my motives they reacted well. They told me that if I really wasn't happy where I was- that I should make some changes - they even recommended some other places to go! THey also said that if I want to stay but focus more on work they're offer me a full-time position, and remove my student-employee status so I could get benefits and everything.

    I ended up deciding to stay and just change my major and a few other details - but my boss and I definitely have more respect going - just because he knows more about why I'm there - and I know more about how much he's willing to help me out.

  10. #25
    and the hat of sweating
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    My answer depends on certain factors.
    If you have tons of money, go to grad school, you obviously don't need the job to pay the bills.
    Otherwise, take the job.

    I don't even have a Bachelors and I'm making tons of money. Now the only problem is, trying to get a degree & work at the same time is nearly impossible (at least for me); and I don't really feel like going to school full time, burn up my savings & make no income for a couple years, especially with the state of the economy...
    "I am probably the laziest programmer on the planet, a fact with which anyone who has ever seen my code will agree." - esbo, 11/15/2008

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  11. #26
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    cpjust makes me think of another thing:

    Nothing against the CS program at BYU - but I think they'd have a much higher-quality CS program if more good programmers stayed in the program longer. It seems to me that a lot of the really good ones leave to pursue jobs before they graduate, just because they already can. I know of at least a couple that left where I work... So if you're looking the change the world - I think a good programmer with some real-world experience going through the grad-program could make a difference to the quality of the program, however small. I've found a lot of the professors there are lacking in that department...

  12. #27
    l'Anziano DavidP's Avatar
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    kermi3, thanks for the thoughts. They were insightful and definitely help out in making my decision. Thanks a lot.


    posted by sean:
    I've found a lot of the professors there are lacking in that department...
    I'd have to disagree about BYU's CS department, personally. I don't think I have ever had a bad CS professor (although I did have a Chinese guy once who was slightly hard to understand because he had a really strong accent). I also don't know any other CS students who have left school early before getting their bachelors degree to pursue careers (although I know that was extremely common in the era before the .com bust, or so I have heard). Now...if you were to say the same thing about the professors in BYU's math department, then I would agree


    Now... David was somewhat vague on how good of an opportunity this job is. I believe, however, if he thinks he has a great potential for advancement and making contacts, then grad school can be pushed off until he feels comfortable with his schedule.
    True, I was somewhat vague about the job opportunity as a whole. kind of on purpose.
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  13. #28
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    I'd have to disagree about BYU's CS department
    But then again - I am only in 142. I had better change that to "I've HEARD that..."

  14. #29
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    SlyMaelstrom and kermi3 make good points.

    The thing that gets me though is that you describe the grad school route as the path to your "dream". I'd prefer to reach for your dream and if it doesn't work out then adjust your plan then (assuming you have lots of options which I think is the case here). If you were already accepted or were very confident that you'd be accepted then I'd say this is a no-brainer and you should go to grad school to pursue your dream.

    Since that's not the case, then going to work and being honest that you might want to go to grad school in a couple years is a perfectly acceptable compromise, IMO.

    Again, either way you'll be fine.

  15. #30
    l'Anziano DavidP's Avatar
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    *bump*

    Sorry for bumping the thread, I just thought I'd tell everyone the result of my decision.

    I took the job offer.

    I am still hoping to go to grad school. I am not sure when, where, or how that will happen, but I will definitely do it. It just felt right to take the job offer at this point in my life.
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