I completed my Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree, in Computing Information Systems (IS) and in Information Technology (IT), respectively, at a university in Australia four years ago. Both degrees are from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

In back home, computer science jobs are widely demanding. Even before arriving back home, l applied to many jobs in the public and private sectors but my applications were rejected mainly for the following reasons:

  1. I have a low GPA in my bachelor’s.
  2. IS is unbelievably misperceived as Management Information Systems.
  3. IS is not computer science (very narrow specialisation to the point that it is not computer science anymore).

I know already some may wonder why the description of the program or courses are not reviewed. Unfortunately, this is how many organisations from all backgrounds including technical and research/Academic bases bluntly processing the applications. They pretty much match the words from the degree title to the job description. Yes, this is how irrational! Your academic achievement is based on what your undergraduate degree consists of, summaried by the title (mostly general specialisation) and GPA. In many cases, whatever builds up on that will be ignored if you are not satisfying with your first degree.

However, I am not saying that I cannot find a job that is related to my academic backgrounds. Currently, I have been working as a web developer for the past three years. But my point is that I cannot get a high-salary job because of the degree title as well as my low GPA.

Now I am seriously thinking to do a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the same university, hoping that I receive more than two years of credit exemptions of a three years undergraduate degree. This is because I covered almost all core subjects required in the Computer Science program in my previous studies.

My questions: (1) As in the policy of Australian universities, Is there a way to get higher GPA other than doing another degree? I am asking for Australian universities because I did my two degrees in an Australian University. Also I am assuming that I would get more credit if I go back to the same university. (2) Since the units of my both degrees cover almost all units of the undergraduate program of Computer Science, can I argue that my degrees are equivalent to the new degree without further study?

[My inner voice says this is worth it if I receive that degree with better GPA. If you were living in the same circumstances, what would you do? I would appreciate sharing your opinions and thoughts about my plan].

  • What is the question?
    – The Doctor
    Apr 30 '18 at 0:42
  • Please see the edit.
    – iAziz
    Apr 30 '18 at 0:51
  • 11
    What does IS stand for? Where is "overseas"?
    – henning
    Apr 30 '18 at 7:41
  • 8
    Equivalence/recognition/comparability of degrees and qualifications is a common issue. You can find some info for the EU at europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/education/university/recognition/… (is your question only about Australia?).
    – Nemo
    Apr 30 '18 at 9:45
  • @henning edited for more clarification. IS stands for Information Systems and it was in Australia.
    – iAziz
    Apr 30 '18 at 21:06

If you were living in the same circumstances, what would you do?

If I were you, I would do a part-time Master's degree in Computer Science while working on a not-so-high salary job.

You will waste your money and time by doing another Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. You won't gain too much. The courses are about the same except a few theory courses (depending on the program and school). At the end you still only have a Bachelor's degree.

If you do a Master's degree in Computer Science, the school will teach you more theories, more skills and you get a Master's degree at the end which can earn you more respect that you need when you look for a high-salary job.

  • 2
    If the GPA is realistic, a Masters degree might be too demanding
    – Emond
    Apr 30 '18 at 12:41
  • If an application requires a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and an applicant holds a Master's, their application will be rejected because either they do not meet the requirements or they are over qualified. As stupid as that. @ErnodeWeerd
    – iAziz
    Apr 30 '18 at 21:16
  • @iAziz - That is not the 'demand' I am referring to. I meant to say: If the student's GPA is an actual reflection of his/her capabilities, obtaining a master's degree might prove to be too difficult for that student.
    – Emond
    May 1 '18 at 3:42

In your CV consider listing these qualifications more like this:

2013 - Bachelor of Science in Computing Information Systems, from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering Department of King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. Equivalent in Australia is a Bachelor of Computer Science.

2016 - Master of Science in Information Technology, from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering Department of King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. Australian equivalent is a Masters of Computer Science.

As long as you have something authoritative to reference, to back up the claims of equivalency, then you're covered. And it's something that can be discussed in greater detail at an interview.

As for your grade-point average (GPA), simply leave that out. The fact is that you have earned a B.Sc and an M.Sc., which means performing and completing to the required standard.

If an interviewer queries your relative GPA, then it can be formed as "I worked to the standard required, while holding down a job and being physically active in Sportball"

Avoid calling yourself an under-achiever - you DID earn both qualifications, which is a massive success by anyone's standards.

  • 7
    +1, I would try harder to get a job first and then only consider more study. Studying is a significant investment both in terms of time spent and in tuition fees (or salary not earned). If you aren't going to learn much as your question implies, don't study.
    – Allure
    Apr 30 '18 at 11:53
  • 2
    Despite the fact that the courses are from the Computer Science department, they are not science degrees; Bachelor of Information Systems and Master of Information Technology. I wish I can obtain an official document from a local authority stating that these degrees are equivalent to Computer Science. This is definitely impossible, unless if a university grants it with an official transcript.
    – iAziz
    Apr 30 '18 at 21:39

What have your jobs been in the last four years?

When I'm looking at a CV, what I want is evidence that they can do the job my company needs. The best evidence is if they've already done that job (or something similar) in the past!

If not, that's when I look back to the uni degree. And then I'm not looking for what modules you studied, I'm looking for what projects you did, primarily your final year project, because again that's the only evidence of you actually being able to apply what you learnt in class, or where you learnt to apply coding if it wasn't so much part of your course. I meet lots of software engineers who did science degrees, for example. I'm also looking at your grades though, so less than a 2:2 in the UK way of grading degrees will basically mean you wasted your time, and the better jobs want a 2:1 or 1st.

It sounds like you've got a problem with your grades anyway, and there's nothing I can do about that. On that front, the battle is over and you lost. If there's some justifiable reason, you should be prepared to talk about it in interviews, because if it was simply because you slacked off, then employers are not going to see that as a good thing.

But for the rest of it, you certainly can present it better. Listing courses and modules will never convince anyone; but describing a final year project that's relevant will get a recruiter's attention. And of course, you'd better make sure your jobs since uni show you applying your abilities.

Another way you can help yourself is to work in this outside uni. If you're a coder but you've spent a couple of years serving coffee, I want to hear that your spare room is full of Linux servers and bits of Arduino and O'Reilly manuals, and I want to see your GitHub or Sourceforge commits. I'll happily accept someone who currently has lower skills if they can demonstrate they're really keen about the subject. If you've just taken a bar job and let your skills lapse though, you're off my list straight away.

Hope that helps. As someone who does the CV checks and technical interviews for my department, this is what I'm looking for.

  • What you have stated is absolutely reasonable and wise. However, things are not running this way in my country. In many job applications, you would get to select your degree title from a list of titles. If your degree is not listed, you are out already. Some allow you to type-in your degree title and some other details such as university. But eventually you will be rejected before you get interviewed because your degree title does not have the word "Computer". This is literally the case in many times. I think my GPA is around 2.2 or 2.1 in four points systems.
    – iAziz
    Apr 30 '18 at 21:48

Your situation is unfortunate but there are some ways to go about it. I live in Australia but come from a third-world country where your situation is not so unique.

Given that you can still secure a relevant job, though not your dream job or a high-paying one, if I were in your place, I would take this job and build some CV by getting experience to move up the ladder somewhere else. Truth is, you are still a fresh graduate.

Another option is to think seriously of having your own business: be an entrepreneur. You may want also to start as a freelancer!

Both options may be easier than doing a degree again. Trust me it will be extremely boring, and an effective use of neither time nor money.

  • I am already trying hard to build for a better CV, taking some courses in Data Analysis and Statistics and hoping to get into the Data Science world. But there are jobs that you will never get without a good GPA and relevant degree "title", where you are not tested or interviewed for your skills but your academic achievement. Even if the job is highly technical.
    – iAziz
    Apr 30 '18 at 21:57
  • Sorry @iAziz, but I call this life! I see you are working hard, and I do hope this hard work pays off eventually. Just don't despair and keep trying! Good luck
    – Pioneer83
    Apr 30 '18 at 23:23

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.