[clug] Software Engineering

Martin Pool mbp at sourcefrog.net
Mon Sep 4 10:39:56 GMT 2006

On  3 Sep 2006, Michael Still <mikal at stillhq.com> wrote:
> Stephen Boyd wrote:
> >On Sat, 2006-09-02 at 09:46 +1000, Tarrant wrote:
> >>I've also been told that the first year or two(two for software
> >>engineering) you just need passes?  It doesn't so much as count, is
> >>that true? 
> >
> >In general I would say that is just plain wrong.
> >Firstly, one of the indicators employers look for is a consistent
> >approach to your work (and study is hard work) over time, so credits or
> >above all the way through your studies is valuable - 51% certainly isn't
> >"good enough"!
> I know of several employers who grade hires based on _all_ of their 
> college grades. I would certainly do that if it was me.

I agree with what Mikal said.

All other things being equal, better grades => smarter.  Of course
they're generally not all equal.  One person on my team dropped out
after first year, another has a PhD, they're both great.

If a new hire has good scores they're more likely to get through the
initial cull.  If they got to an interview I'd tend not to look at the
scores but ask about what they did for their honours thesis or final
project, why was it interesting, what did they learn?  Do they have
spark, can they can express themselves?  Making a wrong turn with good
intentions or having a bad year is more respectable than coasting all
the way through, imo.  (But companies will differ.)

Good scores may help you get good summer jobs, which in the end will
likely be more important than the scores themselves.  It's a
bootstrapping process.

Perhaps it's good to start at the end goal and work back.  What kind of
job do you want -- startup, large company, government?  What kind of
field: games, system software, networking, web, aerospace, consumer
products, ...?  What kind of person do those companies hire?


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