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Does it matter all that much about what college you go to, to get a degree in computer programming/computer science? I didn't do all that well in high school, I actually barely graduated with a general High School Diploma. So getting into a decent college could be difficult.

Companies won't deny you just because you got your degree at a college they have never heard of or a community college will they?

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2 Answers 2

The hiring process is not pass-fail, it is competitive. Interviewing people is time consuming, expensive, and an all-around pain in the rear. Having to fire someone because you guessed wrong about their capabilities is even worse. That means that if I have two candidates for a job, one of whom has a B.S. from MIT, CMU, Stanford, or the University of Waterloo, and another who has a degree from a school I've never heard of, and everything else is equal, I'm going to be more comfortable hiring the graduate from the impressive school. The good news is that a) there aren't enough graduates from MIT, Stanford, CMU, and U Waterloo to fill all the programming jobs, b) it's really rare for everything else to be equal. The person from MIT may be a jerk, and the person from the unknown college may have published a beautiful open source project.

Some CS/SE programs are better than others. Go to the best one you can. Look particularly for programs with strong internship programs. Work hard at community college and after two years transfer to a four year school with a good program. Some state schools have very good programs. If that just doesn't work out, then yes, you will be at a disadvantage getting your first job. It's not fatal though, you'll just have to find other ways to demonstrate that you're a smart person who get's things done. After your first job or two, where you went to school will be of only passing interest.

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Education

Well I think there is a difference in educational level (But that may vary among countries). In general you can think of the education you get as a fuel tank you get, and the question is "When do I have to refill it". A not-that-good collage will probably give you knowledge (a fuel tank) that lasts for 4-5 years, and then you have to learn something new to keep up with the world. A well known University with reputation in the field will give you more knowledge (a bigger fuel tank) that will last about a decade till you have to study something new. A Masters from a good university will probably last almost a lifetime.

Jobs

In case you just want a job, opening opensource projects, or even completing a project for money, will be rated very high in the interviewers eyes. Specially if you have worked in a team, and get recommendations. (e.g. developed the iPhone\Android client for an existing service)

In case you think that your academic performance won't be better than school - focus on learning stuff by yourself, and getting a good set of projects you worked on to show on interviews. And ask yourself "What will I gain from that degree?" (just so you know for yourself why you are doing this to yourself). But from my own experience, the performance in school doesn't reflect the university performance.

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