Finding a job to drop out of college and move out of state


#1

I’m a student in a B.A. CS program at New Mexico State University. I currently work at a student job on campus where I make Intranet sites with C# and ASP.NET. I want to find an actual developer job, leave this place, and quit school.
College has always felt like I didn’t belong there. I love programming, I love when I program at work, and in general, I think I’m a pretty okay developer. The school is behind the times, and the only reason I have to complete it is to get that stupid piece of paper so I have a fallback and a foot in the door for some requirements. Everything is so theory based, but I am not interested in applying them in the only fields they seem to train us for, which is systems and microcontrollers. I want to make web applications, games, literally anything that is higher level and interesting.
Every semester of college, I’ve suffered from depression.
The only thing that has helped is my job, but during the semester, I can only work 20 hours a week, so I can’t accomplish much, and I barely make it by.
I’m 3-4 semesters out, but each one is harder and harder to deal with because of money being tighter, depression being worse, and just generally being a drain. It’s making me lose passion, and it’s causing me to be less there for my SO, who I want to be happy more than I want this stupid degree.
I want a fresh start. I want to find a job in Seattle, Austin, or hell, even El Paso so I can finally do something useful and provide more for my SO. I can’t lose her, and I can’t lose myself to this stupid degree anymore.
I have a year of experience at my job now, I know C# like the back of my hand, and I know I am a competent developer, but I just don’t know where to start to get out of here.
Any help, comments, concerns, or anything, I’m grateful to hear.


#2

Just start putting out your resume. Search for C# interview questions. Do some HackerRank for practice. If you have stuff, sell as much of it as you can because moving out of state is expensive. Research the average developer salary and rental market in every city you’re applying to so you’ll be equipped to handle salary negotiations. Write out a realistic budget based on the lower end of your salary findings so you’ll know how much you can spend on rent, food, and moving. Apply to everything you seem even vaguely qualified for.

Understand the challenges that lay before you. Even if you have rental history in New Mexico, tighter rental markets will often prefer applicants who have in-state rental history, so that might count against you in your move. Also, landlords are never excited about young couples who suddenly decide to move out of state. You’ll likely need at least twice the first month’s rent just to get into a place, plus application fees ($20-$50 each). Check out sites like zillow.com to get an idea of how expensive rent will be, but don’t count on any of the cheapest ads - agents will post cheap rental ads just to get prospective clients, who will then be shown more expensive places.

You mention depression, and as someone who also suffers greatly from it, I can tell you that you’ll have to plan for it. You’re already putting a lot of pressure on yourself to do this, and moving out of state is stressful under the best of circumstances. Things will get rough, but if you’re like me, the excitement and novelty of it all should keep you motivated for a while. Once that high wears off, the crash can be crippling. Self-doubt and homesickness can poison the whole experience. I like to establish a routine as soon as possible. Lastly, you haven’t mentioned whether you’ve discussed the move with your SO, but this is very important. It seems obvious, but I’ve seen this destroy relationships. Make sure she’s on board and eager to move to anywhere you apply.

Good luck.


#3

Thanks for the In-Depth reply. My SO is heavily involved in this, because she’s suffering from our current situation too. Because money is so tight, we can hardly afford anything, and she’s a depression sufferer too. I don’t have much stuff, just my car, my gaming PC, clothes, and a bed. Everything else is cheap furniture that we’re more than happy leaving behind in the trash.
Homesickness is far from what I’m worried about, I already moved 150 miles from my childhood home. I’m more worried about moving there and being homeless, or losing my job and being homeless, or really just unemployment and homelessness.
I’ll check out HackerRank, and start compiling this information so I can negotiate. Quick question, do you know how I can beef up my resume to seem better despite the fact that I only have a year of related experience and that I’m dropping out of college? Should I leave out college?
This is all so new to me because I only have my current job due to nepotism.(My father knows the people who hired me)


#4

You started college don’t quit - the degree will open so many opportunities to you - how many more years do you have left?

As someone who “has” (idk if that’s the right word) clinical depression - I can say the worst thing to do is staying home / not doing anything - it only makes things worth - with collage you have studies to focus on and something productive to do at basically all times.

Your university may offer mental health services - talk to them - they can both solve the issue and help you get through your studies without you having to quit.

Stupid piece of paper that makes it easier to get interviewed for a job.


#5

My college does have Mental Health services, but they are limited, and everything I’ve done with my counselor has only kept me from the brink, I’m still miserable. I’m aware of the usefulness of that paper, but it’s hard to justify the strain it is putting on me and my SO, mentally and financially.
As stated above, I have 3-4 semesters left, so 2-ish years, depending on what classes are offered during which semesters. My GPA is a wreck because my second semester I fell deep into depression, and now I have 3 courses to retake because I bombed exams.
The only thing that my counselor and I could pin down about my depression was school, and even she recommended that I might want to look into options that might take me out of it.

I’m not looking to be rich, I just want to live a comfortable life with my SO and some dogs. I’m tired of having to manage my depression, when the only thing that makes it better, work, is what could just move me out of it and not touch what causes it, classes.

Thanks for your reply, I really appreciate your advice.


#6

I would also like to add that a lot of colleges will allow students to design their own degree. You might want to see if your school offers this option.

This typically takes a fair amount of extra work and meetings with staff/professors to get things set up. You will basically have to convince your school that your planned course of studies have merit, which could be more/less difficult on what exactly you want to study, and how accommodating your professors are.

Personally, I wish I knew about this option when I was starting college. I didn’t find out about it until I was heading into my senior year, and by then I was all about getting my degree. It would have been great to have taken less of the classes I didn’t enjoy and more of the ones that really interested me.


#7

Thanks for the idea, but sadly mine does not offer this. The degree plan I’m on, Bachelor of Arts, allows you to chose from a list for your “Electives” but the rest is set in stone. Let alone the fact that classes are offered in only one semester a year, so if I’m not careful I’ll end up needing a class that needs prerequisites from previous semesters. It’s a load of crap, but I can’t avoid it.


#8

It seems like you’re all set. One year of experience is more than most applicants for junior positions will have, so this is actually a huge plus. I’m not an interview or resume expert, but I would discuss your decision to leave college in terms of your desire to take your career further. Leaving it out probably won’t help. School is expensive and stressful, which just about everyone will be able to sympathize with you over. If you’ve taken a course on algorithms and data structures, then mention that if your school experience comes up. I’d speculate that when interviewers are asking about a CS degree, they’re really just asking whether you have at least a basic understanding of time complexity and binary search trees.

I’m definitely not an authority in this as I suck at the job-hunting game, but there’s my two cents.


#9

Tough it out man. That CS degree will come in handy. Half that coders I hear are kvetching about how they can’t qualify for most jobs without a CS degree.

Tough it out for a few more years. You will spend the rest of your life being glad you did.

I’m not looking to be rich, I just want to live a comfortable life with my SO and some dogs.

When you’re young, it’s easy to not worry about money. When you see your friends taking vacations in Greece and buying fishing cabins in the mountains and having a nice retirement stashed away, suddenly it seems more important.


#10

Because half of people applying took half an HTML class and consider themselves ‘full-stack web developers’ filling up both application queues AND then IF they get accepted and are unable to meet junior developer job requirements - I understand why they want people with CS Degrees it sucks but because people who aren’t ready to be in a developer job - get developer jobs and either do their jobs badly or are unable to meet requirements. Those companies are likely annoyed at the situation and only want people who braved collage.

More opinions: Just require technical interviews and REQUIRE applicants to do it in C++ or C, it’d get rid of half the applicants who were not ready for a developer job - they’re complicated low level languages that are more difficult to understand.

This could be added in, freeCodeCamp could also teach people C and then we’d have even more skilled developers here at freeCodeCamp - imagine if every developer from freeCodeCamp knew C/C++ plus everything else freeCodeCamp already offers they’d be able to understand how let’s say Chromium for example renders a page, how the V8 Javascript Engine makes that code work and how to write code that’s friendly to it. I really think it’d make the world a better place. I hate to be harsh and I’m not saying all people who take only online courses are bad developers - but many simply aren’t job ready - freeCodeCAmp does an excellent job at preparing you for a job but the scene would be by far improved if you were required to understand a disciplined programming language.


#11

Are you sure about that? Assuming I got the school correct, the school website seems to say otherwise.

https://idsas.nmsu.edu/

However, it wouldn’t be a pure CS degree, but some kind of interdisciplinary degree.


#12

Hmm, I was not informed of this by my advisor. I’ll have to chat with him about this, thanks!


#13

Of course another lesser known, not-popular option is starting your own business and developing websites for businesses. No college degree required, no whiteboard interviews.


#14

Yeah, I’d rather not. I’m no entrepreneur, and I’d rather get a boring old job working for the man, not being the man. Thanks for the tip, though!


#15

Sorry, I wasn’t trying to startup the whole “Why do I need a CS degree for that job” debate. For the record, in certain jobs it probably makes sense.


#16

It occurred to me as I was driving you home from work that maybe “tough it out” may not have been the most sensitive advice.

I don’t know what you mean my “depression”, if you are talking about just not liking school or are really talking about clinical depression. If it’s the latter, then it’s certainly a more serious subject, but also isn’t probably only related to school but would be a bigger issue. But it’s also probably not something about which I should just be throwing around advice willy-nilly.

I am curious though: What is it specifically that you don’t like about school? What do you think it is about it that depresses you? It just seems odd to me that you seem to love work so much but feel so out of place at school. I don’t mean that as a criticism, but just out of curiosity.


#17

I’m not a developer, so I can’t speak to finding dev jobs specifically. However, after having not an easy time in undergrad and knowing other people who had a similar experience, I’ve come to realize that college isn’t for everyone, or at least it isn’t for everyone at any one time. Maybe your college’s environment isn’t right for you right now, and maybe it will be later. Or maybe a different college would suit you better, or a different approach to furthering your education altogether (certificates here at FCC, Udacity’s nanodegrees, the list of options goes on and grows constantly). What’s great about education today is that lots of people have realized that not every education model works for every person, and so alternative options are springing up, being refined, etc. A lot of people have been in your shoes!

Choosing to leave school could be the best thing for you (though I hope the option @Aaronms found helps), but you do need to be aware of the difficulties. Just having a college degree gives to access to a lot of otherwise closed doors. So many jobs require at least a Bachelor’s. In some cases, employers require a Bachelor’s just because they can since the job market’s flooded with people with degrees now, though a degree may not even be necessary for the work. (I knew someone who got a retail job in a clothing store after undergrad and the store required a Bachelor’s degree just because they could. Just a year or so prior, this was not the case.) Not having a Bachelor’s degree may make things more difficult. Hopefully, this is changing at least in the developer job market, but it’s something to be aware of.

If you don’t have a completed degree to put on your resume, that means your application materials, portfolio (if needed), and interview performances need to be spot on and professional. This is from the perspective of someone who has to do a lot of hiring and interviewing people (though for instructional design jobs, not developer jobs). Having a degree means that in just one or two lines on a resume you can show hiring professionals/recruiters that you have certain knowledge, skills, and a level of maturity. Everyone knows that a good degree doesn’t always mean a good hire (lots of stories on Quora about this), but the act of hiring people is deciding to trust and depend on a complete stranger, and a degree comes with a lot of little reasons (as mentioned above) to justify a hire.

Without a degree, it’s more difficult to convey these essential qualities, so that’s where your resume, cover letter, (maybe) portfolio, and interview come in. This isn’t meant to dissuade you, it’s only to give you the recruiter’s perspective. When applying for jobs, it’s likely that you’ll be competing with lots of people that have Bachelor’s degrees, maybe even Master’s degrees, depending on the job. You’ll need to stand out even more than you would need to with a degree, and you can do so with professional, polished application materials. Really, anyone should have this when applying for jobs, but it’s even more important if you don’t have a degree, as you may be under more scrutiny than candidates with degrees. Luckily, the internet’s got you :boom: :computer: :sparkles: . There are plenty of websites offering pointers on applying for jobs and interviewing, creating a portfolio, and resume builders that will make it easy to make a polished resume. Glassdoor’s blog has some great tips, I’ve seen good ones on Quora, and google searches for things like “top interview questions” has helped me a lot, as has running my resumes and cover letters past my wife before sending plus rehearsing for interviews with her. There are tons of tips online for applying and interviewing for developer jobs in particular too. And here’s a good Product Hunt collection for resume builders, if you’re interested:

Again as someone who has to do a lot of hiring and interviewing, when an applicant has concise, polished, well-written, and professional application materials, it’s like the heavens open up to and offer you sweet salvation from hiring hell. It makes the job way easier for recruiters and making their job easier is the kindest thing you can do for them. They’ll appreciate it and want to repay your kindness by at least giving you a chance to interview.

You seem like an intelligent and thoughtful person, and I have every confidence that you can have the successful career you want without a college degree. You may have to work harder than a lot of other people to get to that place, but it’s not impossible. I know someone who didn’t go to college at all and just started coding as a hobby, and after few years of this he put together a portfolio and landed a sweet developer gig at a thriving startup. No degree, just great work to show.

Good luck on the search and move! It’s great that you and your SO are in this together and that you can help one another with job searches and moving.

Btw, if you happen to land a job that offers mental health benefits, take advantage of them. They can be a great help. In my experience, university mental health services aren’t very good. The places tend to be staffed by inexperienced grad students and aren’t able to provide a very high quality of help. I’m sure there are lots of reasons for this that may be beyond their control, and it’s great that universities try to offer such help, but non-university mental health services can be way, way better. Trust me :sweat_smile: .


#18

Man I felt the same exact way when I was in school. On paper I’m a 22 year old sophomore so during my last semester before I dropped out I took these “high” level programming classes. Worst courses I’ve ever taken, I was teaching people the right way to do things because the professors and the course work were awful, Finally one day I’m driving up to school with no gas, easting shitty food since no money, depressed, tired, fuking broke I said why don’t I just start working. Spent my summer at home studying Treehouse, code school then 2 months later around September got my first job offer to do simple HTML stuff. Best decision ever. Sure working does bring stress but at least for me it is things you can handle easily like sitting all day, buy a standing desk, getting out of shape hit the gym during lunch and eat small healthy portions. Life is way better now that I have a pretty laid back job plus money coming in. I’m working on my side business that has little to do with programming but is already bringing in more money. Once you get your first job just grind, work hard but also keep learning. Experience rules over all, as a matter of fact while everybody I went to school with are graduating and getting either good or bad jobs, you can already have 2 years of real work experience plus all the money you made and start aggressively moving up the career ladder


#19

Thanks for the resources, and the encouragement. I’m working on my resume now, as well as getting my portfolio ready. I really appreciate all your help!


#20

Wow, good to hear from someone who has done this. Your words are very encouraging and are making this seem more feasible. Working might be stressful, but having money to spend on actual food and not worrying about making rent will probably balance out :sweat_smile:!