By May 12, 2016

Does It Matter Where You Graduate From?

Does It Matter Where You Graduate From?

Graduating and going to a university still is a major part of everyone's life. A degree still has its importance in some degree and having gone through a university still may give you a handicap when it comes to salary and getting a job.

However… Getting and not getting a degree may play a difference in your life… But, does it matter where you graduate from? Will it make a difference if you graduate from university X or university Y?

Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of Video:

John Sonmez: 

Hey, John Sonmez from So I get a lot of questions about college and universities and I don’t think I’ve really answered this question before, so I thought I’d talk a little bit about whether or not it matters where you get your degree. I’ve got this question from Tim and Tim says “Hi John, I really love your work and everything you are doing with Simple Programmer but today I have a question for you: Does it matter where you get your computer science degree? Meaning does the prestige of the university matter at all? I’m currently in the process of getting a job as a developer and going to school part time and then finishing the last 8 months of the degree on campus. Are there any distance learning computer science programs that you would recommend? I would really appreciate any kind of guidance. I really admire your work and value your advice greatly. All the best, Tim.”

I think a lot of people ask this question and I think a lot of developers. A lot of people in general just get caught up in the whole idea of universities and degrees and the prestige and really it doesn’t matter that much. I’ve talked about this a little bit about before but essentially if you’re not graduating from MIT or Harvard or Princeton or Yale, the ones that I can name off like that it’s not going to matter where you get the degree.

Now, granted if you’ve graduated from MIT with a computer science degree that’s going to be a little bit more—it’s going to matter a little bit more than it does from a general university, but unless it’s one of those really, really top tier schools it’s not going to make much of a difference. The thing is, even if you graduate from one of those top tier schools you’re probably still not going to get the benefit from it, the big benefit from it unless you got a scholarship there because you’re going to be paying so much in student loan debt that even if you get a better job and make a little bit more money it’s not going to make up for that. I really wouldn’t focus so much on worrying about where you get your degree from. Most of the middle tier type of universities, if they’re not one of those top schools no one knows the difference, no one really evaluates, is this school better than this school. Maybe someone in the academic area or someone who’s researching colleges would know and would rank those schools, but when you think about it, you know, when I’ve ever had someone come in for an interview and I’ve interviewed them or I’ve been in an interview, I don’t think anyone on that side of the table doing the interview really looks at your school and figures out what ranking is that school. They don’t care. If they see Princeton or Yale or MIT, sure that jumps out at them, but if it’s just some other university, even if it might be the top of the middle tier no one really cares.

The thing is with that in mind I would say that what you really want to do is focus on trying to find a university that’s not going to cost you too much money because what you don’t want to do, this is the worst possible scenario would be to pick a sort of not one of those big name brand schools but a top school that not everyone knows and has a really high price tag, right? Because that’s going to be—you’re not going to get any benefit from the name and you’re going to pay a lot of money so it would be better to pick a lower tier school that has a much lower price tag.

In fact, I did a video on this. You could check that video out here. I did a video on what I recommend which is actually to go to a community college for a few years and then transfer to university. That’s going to be the best bang for your buck because you’re going to get the degree from the university so you’ll have a degree but you’ll pay a lot less money.

Anyway, that’s what I would recommend. Like I said, I know some people disagree, but really there’s very few people that are going to notice the difference between most schools.

The other thing I’d say is with the online programs I don’t really have one to recommend to you. I used to research this a lot, but it seems now that most universities offer some kind of correspondent school. In the past maybe 5 or 10 years ago it was rare. There were a few places you could get your degree online or do correspondence but almost every single major university offers that now. they have these satellite campuses or they have correspondence programs or things that you can do online to get your degree and do it from home.

I would check into that for any major university and you’ll probably find that that’s fairly easy to do. But yeah, so don’t get too caught up on this whole idea. If you do get the degree, that’s great, but again, just make sure, you know, what I always say is don’t go so far into debt because it’s never really going to pay off in the long run.

Thanks for the question Tim. Hopefully that helps you. If you have a question for me, email me at If you like this video, subscribe. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."