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Employment prospects in Poland and USA with a Computer Science Degree from a Polish university?


fallenpillow 1 | 1
21 Apr 2014  #1
I have been accepted to study at the University of Lodz. I would major in computer science taught in English. I would also take as many polish language courses as I could.

I have read a similar thread regarding international business. It was very helpful and I hope to receive more helpful information.

First, what is the likelihood of getting a job in Poland? I understand that knowing the language is practically a necessity. How is the university of Lodz reputation? I also plan on applying to Warsaw and Wroclaw university of technology.

Second, what is the chance of getting a decent job in the states? If a job in Poland doesn't work out, this would have been my back up, possibly. I have read that foreign degrees in the US are often looked down on. However, I have also read some debates about a techical degree being successful in the states.

Any helpful pointers and/or additional insight will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Archyski - | 45
21 Apr 2014  #2
Foreign degrees are looked down to, I think. Specially in the states and UK, where the universities are highly prestigious. But that maybe depends on your degree.

I once sat in a hiring committee at my work (in Denmark) and saw an application from a polish woman who had a master's degree in international studies and politics. I could see on her CV that she can't find anything here and had to take courses so she could be a simple case worker.
Monitor 14 | 1,821
21 Apr 2014  #3
perspektywy.pl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3831&Itemid=849
here you have a ranking of IT programms in Poland. But it is for courses taught in Polish. I don't know what you can expect when it is in English. Probably that studies will be easier, because you will be paying and your co students will not be the best from Poland, but anyone from abroad who could afford. Currently it is easy to get a job as a programmer in Poland. Probably it will be the same in 4 years. As for diploma recognition in IT, more important is what you learned yourself and not where studied, but good university paper can help at the beginning to get into a good company, aspecially wgen you compete against candidates with similar skills and experience.
DominicB - | 2,678
22 Apr 2014  #4
The quality of education you will receive in a technical field is far below that you will receive in the States. Basically, there's no good reason for an American to study in Poland. Whatever money you might save in the short term will be more than offset by lower wage expectations in the future, whether in Poland or abroad.

I would not expect a "computer science" course to be all that useful on the job market. An engineering degree in information technology is a lot more useful. And, dollar for dollar, an engineering degree from a good school in the US is better than one from a good school in Poland, especially one that is taught in English.

The main gripes among science and technology students in Poland are that practical courses are abysmal and poorly funded, and that there is little in the way of partnership between universities and the business/industrial community, which greatly reduces job opportunities. The main gripes among young Polish engineers are that job opportunities are limited, wages are extremely low, and advancement is difficult because many of the engineering jobs in Poland are either outsourced or "internally outsourced", which means they are uninteresting, grunt work jobs for the lowest pay possible out of sight and reach of the corporate ladder. Forget about working in Poland. You would quickly become frustrated by the very low wages.

As for working in the States, a Polish degree doesn't open up nearly as many doors as a degree from a mid-range American engineering school. Your American peers will have spent five or six years making lots of useful contacts, working with the best equipment, and having a generally good time doing so. You'll be an outsider, with no useful contacts, who learned on museum pieces and is demoralized by student life in Poland, which is nothing at all like student life in the States.

All in all, I can see little advantage for an American to study in Poland. There are plenty of far better opportunities in the States.
Jardinero 1 | 407
22 Apr 2014  #5
Agreed. As for job prospects in IT, I think it would be very tough to beat the US.

Foreing degrees are looked down to, I think. Specially in the states and UK, where the universities are highly prestigious.

Not necessarily so, at least not in my field with experience in both countries, where there are many foreign graduates from all over the world.

As for diploma recognition in IT, more important is what you learned yourself and not where studied

Agreed. In the US especially, it is more along the lines of what you have to offer rather than where you've graduated from...

demoralized by student life in Poland, which is nothing at all like student life in the States.

How long since you graduated? Believe me, times have changed...

There's a Polish IT alumnus with a series of videos on youtube who currently studies/work at a US university, and although he answers a lot of the questions about Poles wanting to study in the US, I think that you may still find it useful (it's in Polish):


McDouche 6 | 286
23 Apr 2014  #6
Agreed. In the US especially, it is more along the lines of what you have to offer rather than where you've graduated from...

Generally-speaking, US employers prefer people who have graduated from ABET-accredited institutions.

I don't think Poland has any schools that meet that criteria.
Monitor 14 | 1,821
24 Apr 2014  #7
But if you knew what is current situation in IT, then you would know that anybody who can program can easily find a job. Regardless of diploma. Especially in USA, where salaries for programmers are the highest = there is the biggest need for them.
McDouche 6 | 286
24 Apr 2014  #8
It's not quite as easy as you may think. Low-level computer programming jobs are being outsourced while high-level software engineering positions are usually given to people who graduate from accredited schools.

Electrical engineering is also at a huge demand but take a look at this position at one of the biggest engineering corporations in the world. Notice how it clearly states they prefer candidates from accredited institutions.
f stop 25 | 2,513
24 Apr 2014  #9
When I was involved in hiring new grads, besides the grades in school, I looked at extra-curricular activities. Candidates that built their own guitar amps or sprinkler controllers, wired friend's home networks, or programmed LED display for a Christmas show always had an advantage.
Dont gag me yo 7 | 156
24 Apr 2014  #10
Notice how it clearly states they prefer candidates from accredited institutions.

yup! my son graduated last year and got a job with leading defense contracting company for a handsome salary plus they paying for masters at john hopkins.
f stop 25 | 2,513
24 Apr 2014  #11
Notice how it clearly states they prefer candidates from accredited institutions.

and, you have to move to North Dakota!
brrr
DominicB - | 2,678
24 Apr 2014  #12
extra-curricular activities.

This is a big problem area for Poles applying to colleges in the US. Not many high school grads have a real employment history. Jobs for teenagers are not the norm. Not at all like the States. Civic and community involvement are also practically unknown, as is volunteering. Finding volunteer programs for the students that I prepared to go to the States and the UK was probably the biggest challenge I faced. To a young Pole, volunteering means spending one Sunday afternoon in January collecting money for WOŚP. It took a lot of research, inventiveness and persistence for me to find substantial volunteer programs for my kids. One spent two months helping poor kids in Georgia (the country, not the state). Another volunteered for a local agrotourism foundation and spent a couple of weeks representing the foundation at a youth conference in Romania.

At Polish universities, it's even worse. The overwhelming bulk of graduates have never worked a single day in their lives. Consequently, student entrepreneurs are a rarity. There is little like the culture of student or community clubs, organizations and sports teams like you would find at an American university. School spirit is completely alien to the Polish mentality, as is the idea that a student should be an active and engaged member of the student body. When I tell Poles about it, I am greeted with blank stares. Because of the extremely insular nature of Polish academic departments, most students aren't even aware that other departments even exist except perhaps as a vague and largely irrelevant abstraction. In fact, the whole concept of "student body" does not exist in the American sense of the word to any appreciable degree. The same with civic pride and community involvement.

Add to that that there is little in the way of partnerships between Polish universities and the business/industrial community, with the attending internships,apprenticeships and mentorships, it is far from a rarity that a Polish university grad has absolutely nothing at all documentable in the way of extracurricular activities or employment history to put on their CV. I've seen several grads put "Amnesty International" and the like on their CVs and grad school applications as the sole extracurricular activity. That's pretty pathetic.
f stop 25 | 2,513
24 Apr 2014  #13
Great post, Dominic.
That's too bad about student culture in Poland.
Extracurricular activities really help to see if the chosen profession is also one's passion, or just means of making money.
If no extracurricular activities are listed, the next best thing that will show whether the student is in the right field is his or her choice of a senior (college) project. And their role in it.

Do they have senior projects for the graduating classes in Poland? Are the choices of the projects wide enough to spot committed, independent thinkers?
DominicB - | 2,678
24 Apr 2014  #14
Yes, they do. Unfortunately, they tend to be theoretical rather than practical, even in technical fields. If you're trying to assess whether a Polish recent grad is a committed independent thinker, you're going to end up relying heavily on correspondence and the interview.

Part of the problem is that there is no tradition of documenting a lot of the things that would give you a clue. Notice that I used the word "documentable" several times in the original post. It's frustrating when one of my students does something original and noteworthy, but can't get any documentation for it. Now, I have them pester teachers, headmasters and community leaders for official letters and certificates. Sometimes it takes months of pestering to finally get something on paper that an American university will accept.
f stop 25 | 2,513
24 Apr 2014  #15
you're going to end up relying heavily on correspondence and the interview.

Aside from conducting an actual technical test during the interview, I prefer to relay on what they do (or did), rather than what they say (I've met my share of silver-tongued devils, I guess).

Also, in engineering fields, there is a fair share of introverted brainiaks (not to mention foreigners) that do not interview well. I would have missed one in particular, who became a great asset to the company, if it wasn't for his extensive list of related interests that he was able to unwind about.
Monitor 14 | 1,821
24 Apr 2014  #16
It's not quite as easy as you may think. Low-level computer programming jobs are being outsourced while high-level software engineering positions are usually given to people who graduate from accredited schools.

If USA is any similar to Germany in this case, then there is plenty of jobs both for experienced and novice programmers. There are many companies which for various reasons prefer not to outsource their tasks. Also if average programmer salary in California is 80 000 USD per year, then for sure there are some which are ready to employ novice for a fraction of that in order to save money. IT is not electronics and barrier of entrance to this market is very low.
OP fallenpillow 1 | 1
24 Apr 2014  #17
I just wanted to chime back in and say how thankful I am for all this information! This forum is just a fountain of knowledge. I have a much wider understanding now.

Many thanks!

Fallen
DominicB - | 2,678
24 Apr 2014  #18
Glad to have been of service! This is indeed a great forum! Good luck!


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