May 2012

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Degree? We don’t need no stinkin’ degree!

In the weekend journal, Chris Gammell wrote an interesting post about the “good ol’ degreeless days,” in which he writes about trying to hire someone without a degree. I’d like to respond with some of my thoughts on the problem, focusing on the flip side of the coin: getting hired without a degree. I see a degree, at least for those fresh out of school without an established career, as a proof of competence. Trying to get hired without a degree, naturally means finding another way to convincingly demonstrate that you have the necessary skills. In other words, “show me what you can do.” Now in some fields of study, I think this is perfectly reasonable.  For example, compsci majors can go develop a web sever or an app and graphic design students have a portfolio. In some fields, however, the resources required to build a portfolio are just unreasonable […]

Weekend Journal — The Good Ol’ Degreeless Days

Weekend Journal — The Good Ol’ Degreeless Days

I’m not someone who is prone to nostalgia often. First off, I haven’t been an engineer that long, at least in comparison to many of my peers. Being the “new guy” (or gal) can really prevent being nolstalgic about the old days. However, I find I’m becoming more so when I try to hire people. Hunh? You see, I know a decent chunk of engineers who I’d love to hire. I know I’d like to hire them because I’ve seen their work, I’ve talked to them about electronics and I know that they know their stuff. I feel confident that whatever they don’t currently know, they would quickly go out and learn to the best of their ability and apply it to the situation I’ve placed them in. However, in reviewing their work and credentials, I see that there isn’t an undergraduate degree on their resume. FULL STOP. Is this […]

The Effect of Proximity

 I always find it interesting how physical space affects relationships, both on a personal level, and a corporate one. For example, the Wall Street Journal, this past week, had an article about a manufacturing cluster developing in South Carolina. The article cites several effects that come from economies of scale in the “cluster,” such as access to a good highway system, shipping ports, and a feeder system of vocational schools and engineering colleges. One thing that’s always struck me is the way logistical problems change when companies are close together or far apart. For example, if you’re in the same building and I need to get you a shipment of raw stock, I’m telling Bob with the fork truck to take 10 minutes and drive it over. If you’re in the same town, Bob’s taking an hour to drive the flatbed with your delivery. Beyond that, I can’t spare Bob for […]