kbell109 @ Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:15 pm wrote:
is it just enough to ace an interview and demonstrate competence?
You got it.
A lot of job ads would be along the lines of
Bachelor's Degree in Software Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, or a related field.
You could try arguing that science is science.
Some companies make it more explicit with
or equivalent industry experience
In general, smaller companies will look more at your skill set and culture fit, while large companies will use school/degree/years-of-experience as ways of filtering through candidates.
It will be a challenge landing that first job, but as soon as you have industry experience, the actual degree is demoted to a marketing tool for landing interviews. This will be a big advantage to co-op/internship programs -- the bar of entry is a lot easier, and you can ride that out into a full-time job without doing the full interview loop.
Master's comes up as a requirement / nice-to-have in a context of specialized domain expertise. Positions in Machine Learning, Computer Vision, etc. would like to see a Master's degree. While in general "Masters>Bachelors", you are probably not going after the jobs where it really matters.
An interesting part about Computer Science degrees (at least at UWaterloo / UofToronto level), is that they don't actually teach you any programming, less maybe 1~2 courses. To be clear, programming will be required to complete most of the assignments, but the details are expected to be picked up on student's own time. The industry will argue that knowing the internals of data structures, mathematical proofs of algorithm performance, and writing your own compiler will make you a better developer -- and it will -- but in practice there are also a lot of jobs where a full degree is an overkill.