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How to communicate relevancy of my degree to interviewers?

Interviews General Queries

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User

( 5 months ago )

 

As I mentioned in my previous question, I'm looking for a job. Now that I started with job interviews, I fear I'll face a very uncomfortable and stressing situation.

As soon as I finished high school I started studying CS at University A, a top 5 university. However, after a short while I realized it wasn't what I wanted and I quit. At the beginning I wanted to switch to Systems Engineering, but in this case both Uni A and B (another top 5) involved a daily 3-4 hours commute (4-6 during rush hours) and my family could not afford to rent a flat near either of them (universities in my country don't offer accommodation unless they are located very far away of a major city). In the end I switched to a minor degree in Computer Programming at Uni B, which I attended near home.

However, at job interviews I started to notice a peculiar attitude towards me. When it came to my education, some HR representatives turn to be very "curious". While some say an understandable "I've never hear about it", others start asking for very specific details such as teacher's names, Uni location, year of creation, list of subjects. Some even went further and stated that my degree "doesn't exist""I Googled it and found nothing", or "Uni B only offers Engineering". In some cases the interview finished soon after this with a cold "the position is for Engineers and CS people only", even when they were the ones who contacted me. One HR person from a very important outsourcing company claimed that I "only qualify for tech support with such degree" when I asked her to keep me in mind for future positions in Programming. Fortunately, soon after that I met my previous employer.

However, now that I'm searching again I decided to make this clear enough to avoid such situations. In my LinkedIn profile I added links to the Uni description of my degree and to my GitHub repository, which hosts some samples of what I did during my time there. However, I know that most HR people think that CS and Engineering are the only IT studies available, and sooner or later I'm going to face this again. I want to know how to deal with such people without being unprofessional or rude, even if treat me as if I'm faking my education in my resume.

Note: I don't live in the US or Europe. As Uni B has a national scope, they are located in every state in my country, although the degrees available vary from state to state and from city to city. In my state they only offer Systems Engineering at the state capital building, and Computer Programming at the suburbs buildings.

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User

( 5 months ago )

Keep in mind some recruiters/interviewers will just be jerks.

Also, the importance of your degree matters less once you have a fulltime job (which it sounds like you do).

However, I know that most HR people think that CS and Engineering are the only IT studies available, and sooner or later I'm going to face this again

This is 1/2 the core problem here. You need to understand this is their perspective:

  • Is this person lying?
  • Why did they quit their "real" degree?
  • I've never heard of "Computer Programming"
  • Is this university program real/legitimate?
  • Other people from this university with this background only can do X, Y, or Z

So when you interview, be proactive about this. When talking about your education, say things like:

"My degree is computer programming (basically computer science). It's pretty new and focuses more on growing my technical skills than the theory (such as CS). I chose this because (X, Y, Z) instead of CS/engineering. I have also done many activities in support of my love of programming, even outside of work. I have an active GitHub profile as well."

If you know they will wonder about those things, you need to be proactive and give the answers to those concerns yourself.

You are lucky in some sense - these reservations have not prevented you from getting to an interview. It's considerably easier to address concerns like this at an interview than on a resume/CV.

what's your interest


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