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I failed my degree - I now earn £77000 4 years later - don't lose hope Watch

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    (Original post by Spongebob'sPants)
    I genuinely think it is you who is missing the point here...

    No one is saying the OP's model is the one to follow; even the OP does not say that.

    The point to take away from what he wrote is that if things do not go to plan, do not give up. You can still find a path to where you want to go. You can still be successful - but you need to strive for it and work for it.

    And that point is absolutely right.

    This is what I was trying to say OP is saying aswell....


    (Original post by Xin Xang)
    I think your missing the point. In order to establish a correlation you need a large sample size.

    Government statistics have shown that in the LARGE majority of cases, an university education has acted as a gateway out of poverty, more pivotal in its role than any other factor.

    A few anecdotal cases are really not a large sample.

    If this weren't the case, government would not encourage secondary school students to pursue A Levels.

    There are plenty of people WHO work hard, most of them do not succeed.

    So yes, the OP, has essentially, won a lottery.

    Good for him/her.
    Yes I said exams are important but if you fail them it doesn't mean life is over there are other routes out there

    and plenty of people work damn hard for there Degrees and end up as binmen ok.
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    (Original post by realcloud)
    I disagree, his saying that even if uni doesn't plan out you can still be successful by working hard at placements and using experience is better than a degree in most cases. I do think he is smart as grades don't measure intelligence and he's on 77k a year.
    They kinda do though don't they? Also Kim Kardashian is on a lot more than 77k a year, would you call her smart?
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    (Original post by elmosandy)
    How did you get software skills? Like where did you go to pick up these skills? Or did you pick these up while you were at uni?
    The only real way to get software skills is to write a lot of software. Nobody has great software skills coming strait out of uni unless they've worked on some really significant open source project etc in their spare time.

    Uni just scratches the surface . Saying "I know Java" is like a painter saying he knows what a paint brush is. It's not untill you've done alot of work with it that you become any good.
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    (Original post by INTit)
    The only real way to get software skills is to write a lot of software. Nobody has great software skills coming strait out of uni unless they've worked on some really significant open source project etc in their spare time.

    Uni just scratches the surface . Saying "I know Java" is like a painter saying he knows what a paint brush is. It's not untill you've done alot of work with it that you become any good.
    Ah okay don't know much about computers but i'm just wondering
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    Stories like this are phenomenal but I am inclined to agree that they are rare, especially with nothing behind them such as a placement and contacts.

    However I think this story shows something that no one has touched upon... A degree doesn't necessarily get you a good job immediately but even as the OP said you WILL reach a glass ceiling. He acknowledges that he may need to go back and get his degree in order to reach the senior senior positions he is looking to obtain.

    This is the problem with the higher education system at the moment. To many go to solely get a good job as opposed to other factors such as gaining knowledge. Also it makes people think about mediocre goals. £77,000pa after tax while in somewhere like london will still not have you living a rich lifestyle if you have a family.. we should all be aiming for more.
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    (Original post by realcloud)
    Many people know how the Java programming works. You just got lucky there's nothing special about you. You didn't work hard at all. 100000% luck. Posted from TSR Mobile
    Completely agree.
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    Wow so many haters, OP is clearly talented. No one gets 77k a year for being rubbish at what they do, he is clealy very good. Good job op.
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    This guy is a ****ing inspiration. Well done.
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    See envy all over this thread. Just keep doing your thing, your resume shows your worth and no one can hold that against you.
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    (Original post by GrimReaper205)
    Completely agree.

    So every job offer I've had since Uni has been luck?

    My whole year spent working on the OpenJDK and leaning the ins and outs of high performance JIT optimisation in Java had nothing to do with me landing that first role? Most Java developers won't even be able to tell you how JIT works, never mind optimising for it.

    What about all the clients I have, and do, consult too? Do you think I was just lucky every time a project went well?

    Do you think my in-depth knowledge of cloud adoption among manufactures in the FMCG vertical had nothing to do with me landing my manager role and now consulting exclusively to £100mill+ clients?

    If all of that was luck, then I should have never got out of bed because it would have all just come to me. If only I'd have known!

    You've got no idea what you're talking about. You're either trolling or you're bitter. Maybe a bit of both.
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    (Original post by neverlosehope)
    So every job offer I've had since Uni has been luck?

    My whole year spent working on the OpenJDK and leaning the ins and outs of high performance JIT optimisation in Java had nothing to do with me landing that first role? Most Java developers won't even be able to tell you how JIT works, never mind optimising for it.

    What about all the clients I have, and do, consult too? Do you think I was just lucky every time a project went well?

    Do you think my in-depth knowledge of cloud adoption among manufactures in the FMCG vertical had nothing to do with me landing my manager role and now consulting exclusively to £100mill+ clients?

    If all of that was luck, then I should have never got out of bed because it would have all just come to me. If only I'd have known!

    You've got no idea what you're talking about. You're either trolling or you're bitter. Maybe a bit of both.
    Your P&L account pulls in nine figures?!? wow
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    The message here is that setbacks can easily be overcome providing you don't sit in your room feeling sorry for yourself. On that note, I totally agree.

    I got fired from a graduate scheme in the UK, and now earn 2500 pounds a month after taxes (so about 1k more than I ever got back home) along with a free apartment in Shanghai and 3 months vacation a year, all for doing the piss easy job of teaching English to kids.

    Everyone at my prior workplace and in my family was saying what a 'massive opportunity' I'd wasted and how I'd be on minimum wage type roles in the future...but who's laughing now...while they work like slaves in London and are forced into houseshares, only been able to bank a few hundred quid a month, I can bank 2 grand a month and live in my own place while getting twice the vacation and half the stress of my prior job.

    Even something that seems like a disaster at the time won't be truly crippling in all likelyhood - unless you allow it to be.
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    By your own admission you were doing an average degree, at an average university, with below average results. Who was this very well known management consulting firm that took you on for a year?
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    Well done for getting to where you are now.

    What would you recommend for people who don't have the experience that you do? It's lucky that you managed to get a year's worth of placement experience, but not many people who fail/leave get that far.

    I left uni before 2nd year finished and now I study Accountancy locally, but I'm hesitant about going into detail about uni on my CV. I see lots of job listings that require a degree, even though I feel I can do the job. So did you apply for degree jobs and just sell the skills/experience that you have?
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    (Original post by hologram_)
    Well done for getting to where you are now.

    What would you recommend for people who don't have the experience that you do? It's lucky that you managed to get a year's worth of placement experience, but not many people who fail/leave get that far.

    I left uni before 2nd year finished and now I study Accountancy locally, but I'm hesitant about going into detail about uni on my CV. I see lots of job listings that require a degree, even though I feel I can do the job. So did you apply for degree jobs and just sell the skills/experience that you have?
    Yes, I have always applied for jobs that require a degree but my diploma plus experience has always been enough to carry me through. I always make sure I am incredibly well prepared and I am always reading / learning to make sure that I'm the best person they interview regardless of education.

    You have to be a high performer, you have to give them a reason to overlook your educational history. If somebody was to ask me if I was a failure, I'd point to my thousands of lines of code running in production for global companies. I'd point to multiple references from clients who I consulted to on their IT strategy. You have to have something to set you apart from the masses who hold degrees but little else. Of course, this won't work everywhere. Some people will never get over the lack of a degree.

    If you got any qualificaiton from Uni, you might as well list it. For one year of study, did you get a Cert of higher education? Add that to your experience (plus being an all round awesome person) and you should be fine getting into a graduate employer as an experienced hire. KPMG stop caring about degrees above a certain level. Get your story straight in your head, sell yourself, never lie and give it a go. If it doesn't work out, get more experience and have a crack the following year.

    At the end of the day, my situation is (more or less) unique to me. All I can tell you to do is be the best person they interview. It's mostly up to you how you achieve that. What has worked for me isn't going to work for everyone. Dropping out of a degree while having experience from a tier one consultancy isn't common.
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    (Original post by M1011)
    By your own admission you were doing an average degree, at an average university, with below average results. Who was this very well known management consulting firm that took you on for a year?
    It's really not that difficult to get onto an intern/placement year. If you're hardcore about knowing your industry (like I am) then you can talk about things most of your competition (other undergrads) know nothing about.

    Here's something I did in the interview that made me stand out:

    I remember people getting upset when a database system crashed the night before a database related assignment was due in. People (my classmates) got very angry and tried to complain that they were submitting late due to the server being down.... I was one of very few (one other person that I told to do it) people that submitted on time.... I had installed the database package on my laptop weeks before. This kind of foresight is surprisingly not common. In my interview I talked about how the downtime affected most of my classmates but I had predicted that this might happen due to the high volume of users that would be using the system near the deadline date.

    The interviewing panel loved that. I had demonstrated risk mitigation. How many other people in their interview spoke about risk mitigation and contingency planning? As it turns out, the answer is NONE. Not only did I talk about those principles in the context of IT consulting but I also demonstrated how I'd use those principle to hit a deadline.

    I had a ton of stories like that, all true, and all relevant. I smashed those interviews so hard. I remember the face of one of the guys in my lectures when I told him I landed that placement. He was devastated that he didn't get it. He went on to get a 2:1 and now does some ****ty IT support job earning the same as what I got for my first post-Uni Job (I'm sure he doesn't think it's ****ty). He was just another standard student that couldn't see beyond the assigned work though.

    How about the time when I installed a bug/issue management system and got my group to use it for a group piece of work we had? How many other people do you think managed to put tools and processes in place to manage a team of people and lead the team to success? Not many it seems. The interview panel loved hearing about my status reports process, and the tools I used.

    Can you see why I got the offer over lots of other people?

    I could (and still can) talk, manage, code, present and handle pressure better than the vast majority of my degree holding classmates and that's why I am where I am.

    Just reading some of the cover letters my classmates sent in to their placements was embarrassing but apparently I was wrong about everything because their letters had been vetted by the careers service and mine hadn't... and here we are now.
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    (Original post by neverlosehope)
    Hi All,

    This post is going to be part informative, part humble brag, partly me getting something off of my chest that I have NEVER told anyone, but mostly me showing you that there's always hope.

    I went to a very mediocre university, I studied computing with business, I passed the first year and got all 50% grades, I passed the second year with grades from 40% to 60%. I failed the final year, I handed in no coursework, I missed all of the exams and I only wrote 320 words of my planned 10,000 word dissertation.

    Fast forward 4 years and I'm a manager at a very well known business consultancy firm earning £77,000 per year (excluding bonus which is up to 20%).

    How did I do this? Experience and confidence.

    When I was in my third, I took a year out to do a placement. The placement was with a very well known management consultancy. At the time, I was predicted to get a 3rd and they required a predicted 2:1. I got my tutor to write me an awesome letter of recommendation and I was very confident in my interviews plus I had done a significant amount of research and preparation before the 4 round interview process.

    I was incredibly excited when I got the placement offer. The experience I gained in that one year set me up for life.

    When I failed me degree (saw it coming a long way off), I became depressed, I could no longer take the job offer from the management consultancy as they required a 2:1. Luckily for me, I'd picked up some wicked software development skills over the previous few years, I used my experience at the management consultancy plus my software development skills to get myself a 30k job straight after failing my degree.

    During the interview, my failed degree was never talked about even though I had is listed on my CV. It was listed as a Diploma of Higher Education (that's what you get when you only pass two years of your degree).

    After being at this job for 2 years. I looked for a higher paying job and got a 46k offer at another software company. Again, they did not questions my education. They only cared about my experience.

    Rinse and repeat this process until the current day. I applied for a managers job at a very well known consultancy. They accepted me based on my experience. This was also the first time my education was ever questioned. I explained that I did not complete my degree for various reasons (I did not lie). They mainly cared about my experience and what I could bring to the clients I would be working with.

    I'm now a manager earning 77k.

    It's funny when I look at other people from my Uni who actually got their degree. Most of them are still far more junior than me and earning a lot less than me.

    This is the first time I have ever told anyone about failing my degree. Even my girlfriend (recently broken up) and parents don't know.

    This is not supposed to be a 100% brag. It's supposed to be showing you that no matter how ****ed you are right now, you can recover if you are smart about it. Don't seek advice from the average person, that person can only give you average advice.

    One more thing, I've been in debt (over 4k) twice and both times managed to pay it off (long before earning a good salary) but that's a story for another day.

    I have never lied, I have never cheated, I am a smart guy and I'm actually very good at what I do (which is why I get paid well). My experience speaks for itself and my education has been explained to my employer (and countless recruiters). Experience and ability trump everything (well, most things).

    Don't lose hope and.... ask me anything...

    (please excuse any typos, I typed this on a tablet).
    Classy finish mate

    And 77K/y?

    You married, sunshine? :sexface:
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    Interesting and inspirational read. Hard work and determination got you where you are today. Goes to show that a first or going to a bigger university doesn't necessarily mean better life.


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    (Original post by neverlosehope)
    It's really not that difficult to get onto an intern/placement year. If you're hardcore about knowing your industry (like I am) then you can talk about things most of your competition (other undergrads) know nothing about.

    Here's something I did in the interview that made me stand out:

    I remember people getting upset when a database system crashed the night before a database related assignment was due in. People (my classmates) got very angry and tried to complain that they were submitting late due to the server being down.... I was one of very few (one other person that I told to do it) people that submitted on time.... I had installed the database package on my laptop weeks before. This kind of foresight is surprisingly not common. In my interview I talked about how the downtime affected most of my classmates but I had predicted that this might happen due to the high volume of users that would be using the system near the deadline date.

    The interviewing panel loved that. I had demonstrated risk mitigation. How many other people in their interview spoke about risk mitigation and contingency planning? As it turns out, the answer is NONE. Not only did I talk about those principles in the context of IT consulting but I also demonstrated how I'd use those principle to hit a deadline.

    I had a ton of stories like that, all true, and all relevant. I smashed those interviews so hard. I remember the face of one of the guys in my lectures when I told him I landed that placement. He was devastated that he didn't get it. He went on to get a 2:1 and now does some ****ty IT support job earning the same as what I got for my first post-Uni Job (I'm sure he doesn't think it's ****ty). He was just another standard student that couldn't see beyond the assigned work though.

    How about the time when I installed a bug/issue management system and got my group to use it for a group piece of work we had? How many other people do you think managed to put tools and processes in place to manage a team of people and lead the team to success? Not many it seems. The interview panel loved hearing about my status reports process, and the tools I used.

    Can you see why I got the offer over lots of other people?

    I could (and still can) talk, manage, code, present and handle pressure better than the vast majority of my degree holding classmates and that's why I am where I am.

    Just reading some of the cover letters my classmates sent in to their placements was embarrassing but apparently I was wrong about everything because their letters had been vetted by the careers service and mine hadn't... and here we are now.
    All good stuff. The academic record confused me, as while I totally agree that it's what you know that should count, in reality for management consulting you never get an interview without having stellar academics. It's a small job market that's so heavily oversubscribed, although like everywhere else a few years down the line experience counts for more.

    Seems like you're actually in what I'd broadly definite as tech/IT consulting, a much wider growing market. I'm assuming IBM based on what you've said? I know that in that sector companies are much more interested in your pratical experience / technical knowledge, so I can understand why they'd be keen on someone who shows the enthusiasm and knowledge that you appear to have. One might say it's a smarter approach to recruitment!
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    Phenomenal story.

    I'm stuck in the predicament of applying for jobs and not getting a sniff at.

    I graduated from uni 10yra ago and entered the family business of restaurants which i truly regret. I am now trying to find a job on my degree field of computer science and its impossible.

    Do you have any words of advice ?

    Can I pm you for advice ?
 
 
 
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