Feels like I've wasted 3 years of my life


#1

So I’m a rising senior in college majoring in computer science and I feel like I haven’t learned a single thing since being here. I feel like i’ve wasted part of my life chasing this degree. I used to be excited about coding when I first started, but now I absolutely hate it. I can put up with c++ but I can not stand java I hate it. I’ve taken this class 3 times and can not pass to save my life. I feel like I’m never gonna be good enough to get anywhere with this degree because almost all jobs want to you be excellent in Java and sadly😢 I can’t. Also I hate looking at job listings because whenever I see the qualifications it’s just a long list of stuff that I’ve never heard of before. I thought college was supposed to prepare you for the Career that you want but I just feel like I’m only one year away from saying I have a degree now do you want paper or plastic.

I know this is all over the place but I’m just venting sorry


#2

I was in your place 2 years ago. Chin up; it gets better. Employers always put their wildest expectations on job postings but are usually willing to compromise, especially because it would result in a lower salary. There are tons of other jobs that require other languages. C#, Python, Php are some big ones. Just get through school. Once you graduate and get a job, no one really gives a shit what your gpa was or where you even went to school, really. The American educational system is in dire need of reformation. What college says to your employer is that I’m willing to work 4 years so that I can work for you for 30.


#3

Hi Duke,

Firstly, doing a degree will help you out in the future with tech companies, although it’s not strictly required. I’d keep it up by keeping yourself interested enough outside of it, time permitting. Maybe start a project, get some feedback and learn from people who are already working in the industry. From my experience this helps more than formal education.

Your point on job listings made me smile, because usually companies will list as much as they possibly can to screen people. Don’t take this as “you have to know all of this”, most of the time companies will be more than happy if you only have strong experience in one area - as long as you’re willing to learn about others.

You can get your love of coding back, you just need to experiment and find what you enjoy outside of the structure of your degree and use that to your advantage in the future. Plus, if you decide that you want to go into another area of technology (or something completely different), the fact you’ve stuck out a degree might look good.

I’ve been in the same position, so hope this helps.


#4

If you’re interested in C++, there are a lot of jobs it there for you, but you may be looking in the wrong industries. Java protects the programmers more, so there is a lot more room for mediocrity, which means more supply which drives the demand. However, the C++ jobs ARE out there. Think about industries that require precision and speed - aerospace, space systems, Robotics, embedded programming. Scope your job search to only C++ and you’ll start to find them.

There’s a lot of noise in the software industry. Programming is a much bigger body of knowledge than when your professors were in school. If you know what you want to do, you’ve got to filter out all the distracting job posts that call for Web developers and Java EE and .NET, otherwise your energy is spent up worrying about how much you don’t know and you’ll feel like an idiot. Narrow your search.

Here’s a little secret: we all feel like idiots when we look at job postings. I’ve been doing this for several years now, and whenever I’m looking I always think, “How is it possible that someone with 3-5 years of experience know all this?” But that’s just it, it’s not possible! One if my favorite job postings I’ve seen was for a junior iOS development position that wanted 8 years of iOS experience - which 1) is absurd for a junior position, and 2) was impossible because at the time iOS had only been out for 6 years.

In most cases, a job posting is not a list of things you must know coming in, it’s a list of duties they expect you to be able to perform six months from hire.