Originally Posted by GQgeek
Degrees and IT can be an interesting topic. Plenty of people in IT earn six-figures without a degree, though they probably have good certifications and experience to match. I have a classics degree, which is essentially worthless. That said, I don't think anybody really gives a shit about things like MIS degrees outside of HR and most HR departments just care that you have A degree, but it doesn't matter which one. They seem to be looking for the certs and years experience before they pass you on. Type of degree is a very minor factor imo. What matters beyond the HR interview are your skills and whether you can demonstrate them.
In the newer generations, young people will get tossed out without a CS degree and a high GPA. This is more true for programming positions and entry-level IT jobs, where HR is sifting through hundreds of applicants. If a candidate is lucky, the resume reviewer will be the IT manager, but more often than not it's just an HR person looking for the buzzword of the day. So I would strongly contend that point that the degree name is unimportant.
Were I interviewing a candidate, it would be almost completely irrelevant to me. I WOULD pick a guy with a CS degree over one without, all else being equal, but everything else rarely is equal. CS is more valuable to more areas of IT than MIS, which ranks up there with my Classics degree in usefulness. CS is very useful in any part of the field.
CS is useful everywhere. Which is why it's so popular. It's also damn hard to be really good at CS, which is why so much software sucks.
I would say that my recent job search validated this. Nobody cared about my degree. They looked at my experience and certifications. In the 2-3 weeks I was looking for a job, I fielded calls from everything from small companies to a couple multinationals and a whole bunch of recruiters. I went with a mid-size that would let me run with the ball, had good projects coming up, and would give me full-time salary + benefits (one of the multinationals was very tempting but it was only a 3 month contract).
You, my friend, are very lucky. Props to you. I've only met a handful of people that are truly satisfied with their IT jobs. Surprisingly, the majority are sys/net admins for big corporations/universities.
I would care about a couple things from the interviewer's seat. 1) The tech interview; does he do well here or at least show that he's intelligent and has the right sort of brain for the job and will come up to speed quickly 2) interpersonal skills. If you don't have 'em, fuck off. It takes one person to sour the impression of an entire IT department, and were I managing it, I wouldn't tolerate it. If you have #2, you can be at a huge advantage in IT because so many people are lacking basic communication skills. Seriously.
1. The tech interview goes without saying. "Prove that you know what you're doing". Much more important in CS than other places, because without properly managed IT infrastructure, nobody can do anything
2. Oh yes. Knowing how to talk well and be effective can help a long ways. It's especially important when you have to deal with users.
GQ: where do you work? How does your place do coworker communications? I've seen some great systems (surprisingly, IRC has worked amazingly well for almost every tech location I've seen use it) and some awful proprietary systems.