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It's not just the college GPA that matters...

A fundamental question.  Why does one have to get a good GPA?  Some would say, That'll give us a good job!  Now I ask, why would companies want someone with a good GPA?

Here's a couple of reasons from a senior-level engineer/entry-level manager (that is, me):

  1. It shows that the person knows actually a thing or two about what he's up for.

  2. It shows that the person knows how to discipline himself/herself, because a good GPA means that he/she's passed through the academic rigor that college requires.

A good GPA is a good indicator of those two qualities.  So, this proposition generally holds true: If someone has a good GPA, he/she'll probably get a good job.

Now, let's remind ourselves of this one important rule in logic: Neither the converse nor the inverse of a true proposition is necessarily true.  What does this mean...?  Let's see, what's the inverse of the proposition above?  That's right: If someone doesn't have a good GPA, he/she won't get a good job -- which is not necessarily true.

How so?  Let me take examples of my college colleagues who got juicy jobs after graduating.

  • This one guy...  He was a hacking genius.  (He was known for mumbling in hacking jargon when he was drunk.)  Some security company snagged him outright.

  • These two peeps...  They worked on a video game and released it under their name.  Some online gaming company hired both of them.

None of them had GPA over 3.00 (B0).

Why did those companies hire them despite the shitty GPA?  That's because they proved themselves nevertheless.  Checkpoint #1 satisfied: They clearly knew a lot of things about what they were up for.  Checkpoint #2 satisfied too: They knew how to work under discipline.  Especially those who made a video game -- it's a huge challenge, even for professional managers, to plan and carry out a successful software project.

So, what does all this mean?  Simple.  Identify things which interest you and also are related to your major, and do something real outside the coursework.  To the degree you'll be proud to put it on your resume.  Yes, it takes time, but hey, if it's fun and also helps your future career, why not?

Oh, and yeah, I'm no exception from this.  People wonder how I, a fresh-off-college FOB, secured a job in less than 2 months of job searching.  This company hired me for my FreeBSD skills (which I proved I had by designing an online gaming platform in my junior year of college).  Did any professor in KAIST teach me how to use FreeBSD?  Hell fucking no.  I just learned it on my own, because it was fun!  And yeah, mind you, my college GPA is also sub-3.0 (2.97 to be exact XD).


*points at Crystal*

hee hee hee :)
Oh, as for me, I was hired down here while I was still in college in Vancouver, with half a year left to go. I expect my summer job in 3rd year had a lot to do with that -- a job that I got simply by wandering into a job fair, finding the engineering VP of a company, striking up a conversation, and simply mentioning Linux. He immediately went "Ohhh? That's something I've been wanting to hear" and within a week I was at work at the company.

Of course, that was probably due to a combo of Linux experience, hardware driver experience, and just plain programming experience. Which goes to show that hobbies are incredibly useful things. This makes me think that I ought to shoot that guy an e-mail saying "Hey, thanks!"

Still, my brief unemployed stint in 2003 showed how tough things did get around here. Not everything's guaranteed. o_o;
word to that.
I agree. Having a high gpa doesnt always prove you are capble of handling the work in the workplace.

Also graduating from a top school doesn't prove you are smart or diligent.
I think that a high GPA can be used as an indicator for whether or not a person could be a good employee, but I in no way think it should be. I will use myself as an example.

Not counting two classes I did...poorly in, my GPA would be above a 3.0. In my major and minor I have above a 3.5 I believe. Definitely in my major. Let's take one of my earlier semesters (before I learned not to be a total idiot and throw my fate to the wind...although I still sometimes do that =O ). I received all As and Bs, I believe it was 3 As and 2 Bs. Well, one of them was an A-. In all honesty, I should have failed out of college. For a class that meets 3 times a week you're allowed to miss 6 classes in the entire semester. For a class that meets 2 times a week, only 4 (because the class is longer, hourly it all evens out). I can honestly say that my average attendance rate was about 50%. In fact, in one class I wouldn't go for two weeks, come in for one class, then miss another week or two. I'm not going to go in to why I did it, because that's not really important and I'm past that.

The point is that I received all As and Bs. I'm incredibly lucky. Maybe I proved to them that I learned the material by performing well on tests and in papers. Maybe they're nice and forgiving. Maybe they have no spine and gave me a good grade so they wouldn't feel bad failing someone. Who knows? But the point is that if someone looks at my GPA for that semester they'd probably think "Gee, what a good student. He would be a good employee here." But if they took the person I was that semester and stuck me in a job, who knows what would happen? Maybe I'd look at work different than school and gear up and kick ass...or maybe I'd call in sick all the time and end up getting fired for dicking around.

Now, what should be put in place of GPA as an indicator? Psh, I don't know =P

Oh, and go to E3 <3
I found the hidden meaning!!

"I, astralblue, want to be a leet hacker and make a video game that sends me your credit card info! But... I need one more guy to help me. Any takers?"
you need a good gpa to get into grad school ;o