Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What College Degree for DevOps? -- The Feedback

A huge thank you to @lusis for retweeting my question and original post bringing in a ton of great responses from all over the DevOps community. This post will be updated as feedback comes in and as I start to draw conclusions.

A large part of this process is trying to figure out what is important and what isn't when choosing a major. Also, I'm purposely thinking in terms of how to get a job at DevOps-oriented companies versus classic organizations. I'm also trying to gather evidence that getting a job at a DevOps-oriented company really is different, and that certain traditional college routes may not be the best path.

One common theme from the Twitter feedback from today is that there are many paths to a good job. I have felt and seen this over my nearly 20 years in the tech industry. When your decisions are challenged by family, it's good to have some friends on your side.

@kevinbehr: "philosophy of science is my personal favorite right now. Followed by Cognitive Anthropology"
@puppetmasterd: "math or hard science"
@grubernaut:  "HS education, willingness, and work ethic. imho doesn’t really matter as long as it is a BS. CS, CINS, CINT, etc…"
@aphyr: "Judging by the engineers in our office, best calls are English, physics, archaeology, neuroscience, history, or philosophy. or math, psychology, biochem, CS, womens studies, etc. Any study, in school or out, that makes them write and think."
@ceejbot: "math, linguistics, physics, traditional EECS. Have also worked with great history majors. Very best were dropouts."
@sdboyer: "*write, think, and challenge"

From colleagues over email and in conversation at the office:

Get from college the things you can't get on your own: It's harder to just read a book and learn how to be a good programmer, but it's comparatively much easier to read a book  and learn how to configure a system or a switch. Especially if you understand the foundational principles.

Get from college the things that require some time and discipline to learn. You are paying money, get the most from the people who can coach you and encourage you through learning some difficult things.