Hons. Comp Sci Grad Spent 7 Years in The Wilderness, Now Wondering about an IT Job

Hi Everyone,

I'll just give you a quick life story as far as it might be relevant here: I was the dux in high school, studied computer science at Adelaide Uni and graduated in 2012 with honours - then kind of shat the bed thinking my only choices were to pursue a PhD or manage SQL databases and cringed at the thought of either.

Since then I've read a lot, travelled a lot, and lived in an otherwise minimal footprint supported by a couple of different casual jobs. Its been incredibly rewarding, but not in a financial sense and I'm feeling that its time to wise-up on that front and looking for some help about how to go about it.

My first question is does my degree count for anything? I never really expected it to count for all that much at the time to be honest, let alone 7 years down the track but I'm interested to know what people think, especially if the lack of related work history following it means we're looking at literally nought.

My second question is are there any particular strategies people would recommend for rentering the workforce? My coding chops are definitely way down, but the knowledge base is still there and my general computing skills are pretty sharp I think (I do silly things like flashing coreboot onto my thinkpads, running ArchLinux etc). I'm assuming that some sort of up to date certification would be a decent way to get started, but I don't really know what the job market is looking for and hence what to pickup first.

Ultimately I'm not looking for a silver bullet solution, just wanting to make an honest start somewhere.

Thanks in advance for your time and help, much appreciated.


  • +2 votes

    You're not likely to get a job with your degree given it is starting to get old (no chance of a grad program) and you have no work experience. What I would do, is do a Masters full-time (you haven't got a lifestyle that requires a decent income - you could probably cope comfortably with Centrelink + casual jobs like you've been doing). Then near the end start applying for grad programs and/or entry-level/graduate type positions directly with companies. You could do the Masters in computing (to help refresh your knowledge and get back into practice) or something else that interests you (e.g. maybe you're interested in education or economics). If you want to be a developer then you should start getting into practice right now, and contribute to some open source software, or create your own projects, or do some pro bono work (e.g. make a website for a community organisation or make them some software to make their jobs easier). This will look good when you start job hunting as well as get and keep your skills sharp. If you would prefer a career where IT is inly a part of it and you'll do your Masters somewhere else, you could try to get into writing for blogs/sites, join a podcast, or something else that's like a hobby but related to what you're interested in doing. To help fill out your CV and show passion for what you're pursuing (i.e. you didn't just wake up one morning and poke your finger randomly at a list of Masters courses, it is something you're really keen about and want to change the world etc).


      thanks for the thoughtful response, I hadn't really thought about trying to jump back in where I left off but I suppose a Masters of some sort would have plenty of utility beyond that… interesting, something to think about for sure, cheers.


    I'd assume you probably won't be able to go straight into a technical IT role, but you may have some luck getting into other areas with tech companies, such as pre-sales, where the primary requirement is to be a good interpreter between technical and non-technical layers.


    What is your passion in computing? Nail what that is, then start thinking about what jobs enable that passion, once you know this, then you can work towards the requirements for that job.

    Sounds simple, but this can take a bit of brainpower to work out sometimes!

  • +2 votes

    I'll say sharpening your code chop and getting your programming-fu updated. It should be relatively trivial for someone with a high-school dux and honour degree under the belt. Looking out for startup companies first as most of them aren't that picky with recent qualification, as long as knowledge and tech are good. Then move onto established companies once you have the experience.