I don't want to bore anyone so long story, very, very short:

  • This is for the Computer Science / Software Engineering industry.
  • I am combating laziness and extreme procrastination due to depression.
  • Not doing very well in my studies as a result.

Based on the two above I wonder if a degree with some tainting in the first year of my units would still be enough to get me a good job (in the industry).

Is experience worth more than my grades alone?

I say this because I often find that I do better by doing than just by reading the course material for Discrete Structures or Databases etc....

Should I not worry about my (past) bad grades and make the best of the situation and just develop a good portfolio?

I want to fix what I have gotten myself into, and I hope someone in the industry or with some kind of related experience can give me some insight.

  • When you talk about 'job' are you referring to an academic job or a job in industry?
    – earthling
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 10:51
  • In the industry.
    – tsujp
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 10:59

2 Answers 2


Of course, it's no problem to tell people "Hey, I was lazy in school but I'll work super-hard for you." Unfortunately, people won't buy it.

From my time in the software industry, hiring quite a few people, I would actually not normally even look at their grades, unless they were borderline in the interview. Even then, if there was another candidate who was better in the interview, that borderline candidate would not even get a callback.

Some people will care about grades but for computer science 'guys' I find that what most people in industry really care about is what you can do for them. Can you help them more than someone else can help them? If so, then you'll likely land a job.

If you shape up, pull out of your 'funk' and get down to actually learning, you will likely be OK. If you let depression pull you under water, you'll drown.

You've started your degree, you should finish it. However, don't let the past dictate your future. This is the first day of the rest of your life. It's always darkest before the dawn. I'm sure there are more sayings along this line but in the end, depending your area of IT, you can do fine even if you had a bad start to school. If you have a strong finish, it's easy to explain that you should be judged on your 'exit velocity' rather than the start.

  • Thanks man - this is great motivation and a real pick up for me.
    – tsujp
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 13:35

The answer might change from a country to another, but you have to remember that when applying for a job in the industry, you will meet the HR first. Most of the time, that particular person would not know anything about the technical aspects of the job you are applying for and would probably not ask you for your grades.

However, it is still your first contact with the company and you should not neglect it. Indeed, what he/she will do is to ask about your previous work experience (or at some point when you just freshly graduated, about your school projects) and your ability to work in a team. If you are not aiming too high, your human skills are sometimes more important than your technical ones because it is easier to learn new technical knowledge than to learn how to behave.

Last point, in any kind of job application process, always remember to ask as many questions as possible regarding the company, the team you might join. You always want to know where you will be working everyday for quite some time.

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