Re: How valuable is an advanced degree?

Taylor Hutt <>
1 Aug 1999 00:07:16 -0400

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Related articles
How valuable is an advanced degree? (Mari Cheves) (1999-07-30)
Re: How valuable is an advanced degree? (Taylor Hutt) (1999-08-01)
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From: Taylor Hutt <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 1 Aug 1999 00:07:16 -0400
Organization: Logic Magicians
References: 99-07-149
Keywords: courses, practice

Mari Cheves wrote:
> I have looked at many advertisements for compiler engineers, and they
> seem to be split about 2:1 in favor of not requiring an advanced
> degree. What I'm hoping for now is that some of you with real-world
> experience can provide some insight into just how valuable an advanced
> degree is in this field.

It's no secret that most jobs in the world are found through business
contacts, and the issue of what degree you have on your wall becomes
less of an issue.

I worked on a commerically successful Pascal compiler for 3.5 years; I
got the job through a friend who knew my capabilities, despite the
fact that I had never gotten paid for compiler work prior to that.

At the same company, one of the people working on the C/C++ compiler
doesn't even have a college degree, but he was one of the original
implementors of the Pascal compiler, so it really didn't matter.

On the other hand, getting into the field without a higher degree or
paid experience is a bit of a problem, but if you are well known as a
particular contributor to a compiler or langauge (Oberon, in my case)
that can help. Produce or maintain a compiler that people use -- that
will help to bolster a reputation. Above all else though, make as
many contacts in the field as you can -- they will be your conduit to

Taylor Hutt

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