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Without calling out anyone in particular, I've seen A LOT of instances over the last few days, both in diaries and in comments, along the lines of this: 'How can this Snowden guy have even gotten his job with the NSA/Booz Allen/wherever when he only has a GED!!>>!??!!!

Because he had useable, high-demand skills that were applicable to both of those organization and in such need that he could command such a notable salary.

Your education, be it dropout of high school, a GED, diploma, Associates, Bachelors, or graduate degree does not guarantee you a job. You have to be able to take your degree, your skills, your personal abilities to function in the professional workplace and your connections and sell it to an organization (be it the gov, nonprofit or private entity) that you're valuable and can help them achieve their goals.

Snowden did that with two different organizations. Good for him.

Being good with developing/computers in general is a high-demand skill right now, and I know several talented developers that don't even have a Computer Science degree making tons of money right now, with their pick of a next destination if they tire of the work or the company they work for.

It's no different than being a master tradesman who has personal talent and learned through experience and training.

These people are not CEO's or board chairs fleecing society for billions a year...they're highly-specialized professionals who do not deserve your jealous scorn simply because they're really good at a highly-specialized, high-demand trade.

That is all.

7:55 AM PT: First commenter pointed to the Security Clearance helping quite a bit too, which is absolutely true.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Yes, the security clearance helps quite a bit. nt (15+ / 0-)

      I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

      by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 07:54:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the question to ask is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Buckeye Nut Schell

        What salaries are they paying?

        •  More specific? Not sure what you're getting at. nt (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, Tonedevil, Kevskos

          I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

          by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 07:57:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think the point is that we hire these contractor (10+ / 0-)

            companies that are supposed to do it "cheaper" than the government, and the employees are all better paid than Federal employees.

            I think it's awesome that Snowden had a GED, I can't think of a bigger waste of a genius life than high school.

            Good for him for having the courage to get out, and get on with his life.

            "Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.” --Lord Vetinari

            by voracious on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:21:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yup. Fertile ground for Ron Paul's message. (5+ / 0-)

              Education is for LOSERS. A WINNER can figure stuff out for himself in his own empty head ...

              Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

              by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:25:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not saying that, I'm saying that in my (7+ / 0-)

                experience, some of our public high schools do not offer a curriculum that is going to benefit someone with these types of advanced computer skills.

                I am speaking as a parent who has students at a supposedly great public high school and I have to say that the Advanced Placement courses are awful. And they are totally to the benefit of the College Board. It is hard for someone with my strong public education beliefs to look across town at the charter high school and see those kids taking classes at the local community college, not wasting two years in PE and being able to work their schedules in a way that allows for electives that interest them.

                Instead I watched my son take an AP World History class where the teacher said there was no time for her to lecture and she told the kids weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. The next year he took an AP US History class that required him to have over 500 notecards and hundreds of pages of notes from the textbook; and an AP Spanish class that required him to make a board game and points were taken off because his game cards were made on regular paper instead of cardstock.

                And all along they are told they need to take and re-take the PSAT, the SAT, ACT and the subject tests. As well as the AP tests.

                Sorry, but I want my son to take history in college, his AP credits aren't worth much in my eyes when it comes to education.

                I see plenty of kids get fantastic educations Independent Study and Homeschool programs. Snowden obviously did all right with his GED. Many kids take their GED test and move right to college because high school isn't the program for them. I think disparaging that is unfair.

                "Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.” --Lord Vetinari

                by voracious on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:40:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Think Snowden knows no WMD found in Iraq? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wader

                  Half the people here are arguing there are ways to become educated outside the traditional path and the other half say education is bunk anyway. The latter do not sound like comfortable allies for the former.

                  Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

                  by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:46:09 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  did they teach you in (8+ / 0-)

                    college that no WMDs were found in Iraq? Or were you somehow able to figure that out for yourself? Sheesh. There are MANY ways to be smart, and MANY ways to learn. (I know, it's my job to know about this stuff.) Hewing to the K-12 and then college path as the only true way is really narrow-minded.

                  •  Many of my friends homeschool their kids (7+ / 0-)

                    because they WANT them to be educated and they have done an excellent job. One will graduate from Stanford this weekend in the top 4% of his class. He majored in physics.

                    I'm sure there are many fine and outstanding high schools in this country. My son on paper looks like an incredibly educated kid. He has taken Honors and AP everything and has a heavily weighted GPA. His friends attended a homeschool charter high school and they have been able to take more classes at the local community college and have a lot of free time left over to volunteer at local nonprofits and learn to play multiple musical instruments.

                    There are many paths to education, I'm saying the GED is one of them and should not be disparaged.

                    "Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.” --Lord Vetinari

                    by voracious on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 12:37:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  My son dropped out in 9th grade and (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cynndara, voracious

                  unschooled himself (self-directed homeschooling), went to college a year early, graduated from a highly demanding college (Reed), and is now working on a PhD in ethnomusicology at UC Berkeley. He didn't bother to get a GED. He was excited about starting HS but found it a huge disappointment both academically and socially, as he was a target of bullying.

                  •  We used to always make fun of unschooled (0+ / 0-)

                    kids when my kids were little. One of them will graduate from Stanford this weekend at the top of his class in physics. His younger brother is on the same path.

                    These kids went to community college for high school, took whatever classes sparked their interest and developed a tremendous love for learning. They did not waste their days in "rigorous" classes that kept their free time full of busywork and taught them how to take tests, not how to master a subject.

                    "Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.” --Lord Vetinari

                    by voracious on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 04:58:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  If you haven't seen the current state (7+ / 0-)

                of k-12 education then you aren't paying attention. And that's an argument to fund it, not an argument that education isn't valuable.

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 12:26:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What is upsetting to me about the state (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT

                  of our education is that I have watched in 11 years it turn into nothing but test, test, test. At some point these kids need some buy-in to their own education and some of our smartest are looking at high school as a time-waste. It is hard to enjoy science when lab time is cut and you are taking notes and doing worksheets. It is hard to enjoy history when you are reading a textbook preparing for tests.

                  I'm just saying that my son feels like he uses his brain more in ROP welding than he does in Advanced Placement College Board BS classes.

                  "Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.” --Lord Vetinari

                  by voracious on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 02:34:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  $200K is not out of range for that clearance (19+ / 0-)

          I had a very senior Telco/Security Engineer that was my global architect for a law firm.  We were paying him like $135k+ on K street... he got his preliminary clearance and had multiple job offers within the week that would sponsor him through to TS/SCI.

          I was really hoping to keep him.  They came in with a salary that was over double what we were paying.  I remember this specifically because one of our partners on the IT Committee even floated the idea of buying him a new house.  If we can't match the salary, buy him a house and give it to him mortgage-free.  We could write off a lot of the 1-time expense and get him to sign an agreement to stay for X number of years.   ....the other partners weren't on-board with the idea so it went nowhere but I remember sitting in that conference room having a serious "WTF?" moment.

          Anyway, he left, to go make close to $300k for a gov contractor in McClean.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:09:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've read other stories that he actually took (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            knitwithpurpose, wader, Lisa, worldlotus

            home 120K and perhaps the 200k refers to Boozd - Allens line item for that position.

            "WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY FOX NEWS IS JOURNALISM"

            by FakeNews on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:01:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're right. His salary was lower. (8+ / 0-)

              I have a cousin who works for Booz Allen and they put out yet another memo yesterday (their second) telling everyone Snowden made 122k a year, not 200k.

              Seems there were a lot of upset employees and the company thought they needed to clarify things. They also said he was employed with them for only 10 weeks and has since been fired. LOL

              They'll probably have to come out with another memo today or tomorrow with another clarification to put out the daily fires that seem to be sparking up in the wake of this scandal.  Needless to say, the corporate PTB are in damage control mode.

              People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. --V for Vendetta

              by WFBMM on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:19:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Did he get any differential for Honolulu? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WFBMM

                Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

                by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:27:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sorry, I don't know. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Clem Yeobright

                  They just gave his annual salary, weeks of employment and that he'd been terminated.

                  People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. --V for Vendetta

                  by WFBMM on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:33:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  My speculation (entirely) is that (5+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    patbahn, sunbro, spacejam, kurt, Kevskos

                    his salary was a base with some sort of bonus structure attached that probably brought the amount closer to the $200/k.  That's not out of the realm of possibility.

                    •  or guaranteed overtime. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      inclusiveheart, sunbro, Kevskos

                      even 122K is a lot for a sysadmin.

                      •  $122k is not a lot in Hawaii (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        worldlotus, shaharazade, kurt

                        or the DC metro area for private contractors working for these big defense companies.  IT people are in high demand and the cost of living in those areas is high comparatively-speaking.

                        •  but it's a lot for a sysadmin (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Kevskos

                          with a couple years experience.

                          •  Not really - not in the markets and not (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kurt, Dirtandiron

                            in the government contracting defense arena.

                            He came from the CIA - he came with clearances - that would have bumped up his marketability considerably.

                            Actually, $122/k seems on the low side - housing in Hawaii is through the roof expensive.  They probably got him that low because he came right out of government where he would have been making less given the pay scales they have.

                          •  you seem to miss my point. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            indubitably

                            a sysadmin isn't worth that kind of money

                            objectively, the job can be done by help desk workers.

                            he had a GED.  

                            I'd say this questions what kind of salaries they are paying
                            for scientists and project managers.

                            You want to know why the DoD is failing.

                            look at snowden.

                          •  So, help desk people are interchangeable (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kurt, Kevskos, Dirtandiron

                            with sysadmin people can be paid less because?

                            And I'm a little confused about what you think someone like Snowden was doing because his responsibilities were clearly not limited to helping with Windows Word problems - if he even was responsible for those kinds of computer problems.

                            He was working on security for the systems as far as I can tell. If the Chinese are launching some sort of hacking attack, the help desk is not a frontline source of defense.

                          •  glorified security guard. (0+ / 0-)

                            i've worked a lot of IT jobs, i know what people are hard to get, and which ones add a lot of value and which ones are
                            white collar cogs.

                          •  so (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            inclusiveheart, Dirtandiron

                            i assume with your years of experience and expertise you must be pulling down $300-$500K a year or so, right?  

                            congrats!  if I were pulling down that kind of money I'd probably be fighting for the status quo like a crazed dog.

                          •  Actually, given the fact that these people (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Dirtandiron, WFBMM

                            are being trusted with both state secrets and now our secrets, too, it might not be a bad idea to pay them top dollar - or even over pay them - so as to reduce the potential for corruption.

                          •  really, state secrets? (0+ / 0-)

                            what state secret is my e-mail?

                          •  lol - state secrets and your secrets. (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't know about you, but I don't publish my personal data so that the rest of the world can use or abuse it.

                            Recently, I had some "really nice person" ask me to confirm a deposit of $950,000 dollars in my bank account.  As wonderful and tempting as that was, I did not write them back to provide them my banking information.  That's because that "really nice person" probably had no intention of giving me $950,000 dollars for no reason.

                            Shaking head.  I am sorry to say that the impression that this exchange that I have had with you so far leads me to believe that you are either obtuse or not really on the level.

                            And that is because, if the government is scooping up and storing data on people rather indiscriminately and they happen not to be able to fully protect said data, then that is another layer or an already rather problematic situation.

                          •  my problem is so many things are classified now (0+ / 0-)

                            it's hard to know what's important.

                          •  you seem to misunderstand me (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm not arguing for my salary, (Which i have never mentioned), i'm arguing that he was overpaid solely
                            because of the clearance.

                            That the clearance suddenly makes him earn more then
                            a nobel prize winning lab chief at the NIH or a
                            leading scientist at USGS, or a chief engineer for a
                            nuclear reactor,,,,,,

                            do you think it's reasonable for a man with a GED and
                            a few years technical experience to make this kind of money?

                          •  Most security guards need to know how (0+ / 0-)

                            to use a gun, a telephone and a walkie talkie -- and be able to watch live video for hours on end without falling asleep.

                            I would say that the technical skills of computer systems security and maintenance tend to be drawing on different brain power and problem-solving abilities.

                            Honestly, I have very high regard for people who fall into the skilled labor category.  I freakin' hate electricity - I think that electricians are amazing - plumbers also - car mechanics - computer techs - electronics techs - carpenters --- a lot of those people probably could never do as well on an English or History exam as I could, but they are the people who make it possible for me to have the lights on, have running water, cold beer in the fridge, laptop plugged in and working so that I can spend some of my free time reading history and writing.

                            I really could not do as much as I do without the support of all of those people.

                            The worst part about where our society and economy have been going in the last 30 years is that those folks who work in the trades are either being replaced by people in foreign countries or they have seen their wages fall - which is not okay, IMO.

                            If a kid who has a hard time passing an English class, but has a gift for computer systems being able to make a middle class wage is great news in my opinion.

                          •  you find me a prevailing wage (0+ / 0-)

                            http://www.wdol.gov/...
                            that's paying that kind of money

                          •  BTW, GM Union workers were making (0+ / 0-)

                            $20/hr, and the right wingers were screaming about this.

                            This is a white collar low skill job, why does it deserve
                            5X a union job?

                          •  PHDs (0+ / 0-)

                            Well, I can help answer that some.  Even PhDs with five years experience in DC make under $120k...and it is in the top five for location.  I know a PhD that was hired in at Booz about two years ago for mid $90s.  

                            The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

                            by Mote Dai on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 01:51:11 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But having a PhD in Art History might get (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Dirtandiron

                            someone a job at a top museum like the Smithsonian as an assistant paid under $50,000 - whatever the specific PhD is and the market demand for whatever it is is what drives pay.

                            Anyway, neither what Snowden says his pay was nor what Booz Allen Hamilton said they were paying him surprised me.

                            The people who work for defense contractors do extremely well as far as I know around here.

                          •  art history PhD wasn't the question (0+ / 0-)

                            The question was asked what do technical/scientific PhDs get paid.  I answered that question.  

                            The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

                            by Mote Dai on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:15:59 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  Ha! I once did a project with toilette-douche (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              patbahn, jlms qkw, sunbro, Dirtandiron

              One of their minions proudly showed me the rate card that indicated she was being billed at $150/hour. "But, Catherine," I asked, "how much of that do YOU get?" "$30k."

              [Truth be told, she was a throw-in gopher on that project and wasn't being billed at all. LOL]

              Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

              by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:27:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Perhaps benefits, bonuses or extra hours (0+ / 0-)

              account for the difference.  Could be any number of things.

        •  $61/hour (5+ / 0-)

          presumably on a W-2.

          That's not a great billing rate in the industry at all.

          Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

          by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:11:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Quite a bit? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        murrayewv, sunbro, Dirtandiron

        I'd say it's THE factor.

        My brother is a programming consultant, who has done government work (no military or security) and is damn good at what he does. I don't remember his pay offhand, but it's in the neighborhood of $40/hr. The consulting company charges the client over $120/hr for the services he renders.

        He does not, however, have a security clearance.

    •  I am suspicious of how he got it, and how (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Christin, Loge

      he got into that position.  There's just something that doe's seem right about it to me.

      You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

      by PSzymeczek on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:56:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then you must not work with IT people (11+ / 0-)

        because they are invaluable. And good ones are hard to find.

        Our IT guy is the most important person in our company. When your Windows 8 can't access your DMS or your computer upgraded to the newest version of Explorer and now you can't access certain websites it is a luxury to have an IT guy fix your computer for you.

        "Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.” --Lord Vetinari

        by voracious on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:23:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm a contracting person who worked (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clem Yeobright

          almost exclusively with IT people.  Good IT people are hard to find.  What concerns me is how he went from a security guard to that IT position, and how he got that level of clearance.

          You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

          by PSzymeczek on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:46:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It took years for him to get from guard (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lisa, CanyonWren

            to the position he ultimately held at BAH.

            •  Not that many years. (0+ / 0-)

              I wrote qualification requirements for similar positions under Army contracts for fourteen years.  All of them at the level he attained required at least a BS degree in computer science or engineering, or verifiable (by possession of one or more certificates) technical training (as in the military), and more experience than Mr. Snowden possessed, or a combination of education and experience.  He admitted himself that he didn't have "special skills."  

              You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

              by PSzymeczek on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:17:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  One of our maintenance guys went from (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            worldlotus, shaharazade, kurt, Kevskos

            changing light bulbs to IT. He learned the subject and was able to fix the computer problems. There is nothing wrong with earning a living while you learn your trade.

            The best IT guy at our company doesn't look that great on paper. The worst guy that NO ONE wants to touch their stuff looks like he is brilliant with all of his degrees and certifications. I'll just keep the lightbulb guy on my machine.

            "Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.” --Lord Vetinari

            by voracious on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 12:39:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  my son will probably (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          voracious, kurt

          major in some form of computer science. He does some hacking which so far hasn't made me terribly nervous but there's always that potential. I talked to an IT friend about it and he said that's how programmers are; they learn by hacking.

          I sent the friend the course list for the CS major at DS's school and he found the majority of the mandatory classes to be bogus. It seems like a self-taught skill to a fair degree.

      •  Let me tell you about my BIL. (12+ / 0-)

        Dropped out of H.S.
        Joined military for > 4 yrs.
        Post-military he worked for defense contractors on top secret projects requiring high security clearance.
        Then he got his GED.

        My Karma just ran over your Dogma

        by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:06:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Clearance plus experience equals big bucks (24+ / 0-)

    I have almost an identical educational background as Snowden and ended up working at the same level.  Enlist in the military, choose a job with a clearance, work at it for four years after getting technical training from the service, and the Beltway Bandits will be more than happy to hire you on to do the same job for double the money.  

    •  But all the jobs I've seen (and had) require BA/BS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PSzymeczek, knitwithpurpose

      My degree is in Political Science, but it has been explained to me that the field is not considered, only degree/no degree, and that there is no slippage and no leeway, i.e., no 'equivalent experience' alternative.

      I'm talking software jobs here.

      Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

      by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:16:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're using that (7+ / 0-)

        As cover.  They could be doing it to narrow the job description so as only the one person they want to hire actually qualifies.  Or so that it's kosher to hire a H1b instead of you
          Or age discrimination.  I do know with a lot of engineers out of work they are pickier about qualifications than otherwise.  

        Bad things aren't bad! And anyway, there's mitigation!

        by Nada Lemming on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:53:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. (0+ / 0-)

          It was fairly universal while I was contracting, i.e. 1990-2010. I must have submitted resumes on 1000 gigs and interviewed on close to 100 at corps large and small and everything started with 'Do you have a degree?' I would laugh and say 'Yeah, in PoliSci' and the response would be 'That's fine, but a degree is required'.

          I don't know that anybody ever checked my degree, nor do I know if that situation persists today with so many people having IT degrees, but I can't name a single software person I ever worked with who didn't have a BA or BS.

          Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

          by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:15:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How do you know? (6+ / 0-)

            Do you ask for college transcripts and diplomas on the wall?

            I know a couple of IT people who dropped out and got big jobs.  If someone asks if they have a degree they reply "I went to University of .... and majored in Computer Science" and the questioner never notices that they didn't specifically say that they graduated.

            •  You call forth one of my favorite retorts! (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nina Katarina, sawgrass727, Clues, raboof

              I had a manager once tell me "I'll have you know that I have a degree from Cornell!" to which I smoothly replied "Thanks for telling me, I never would have guessed."

              [Life presents us with rare opportunities like this and it's nice when we actually capture one, isn't it?]

              Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

              by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:35:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You should have asked him (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Clem Yeobright

                how much time he spent actually working versus boozing at the frat house.

                (I'm from Cornell too - we had a lot of douchebags like that)

                The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

                by raboof on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 12:52:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

              You ask for transcripts as part of the hiring process.

              You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

              by PSzymeczek on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:57:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Really? (11+ / 0-)

                I've worked in the computer field for over 40 years now -- since the days when we fed the machines punched cards -- and there has only been one case where a prospective employer checked with my college to verify my diploma. No one has ever asked for my transcripts. I currently work for a small highly successful company and I know for a fact that one of our best engineers and two of our best IT guys have nothing more than a high school diploma. And those are just the ones I know about.

                The reality is that Software Engineering and IT is one of the few remaining fields where demonstrated ability counts for more than what letters you put after you name.

                That being said, some companies -- especially larger ones that are snowed under with applicants -- will pre-screen applications against a whole raft of rather arbitrary criteria in an attempt with winnow the pile. Those criteria may or may not include presence of an advanced degree. (Usually they tend to be more focused on buzz words like C++, SQL, Refactoring or 'Design Patterns'). But if you can sneak through or circumvent the pre-screen nobody ever cares about your degrees.

                •  maybe (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Eyesbright, Deep Texan, T100R, kurt, Kevskos

                  Maybe I'd ask a fresh graduate for transcripts, but for someone with at least a little background you hire based on experience, skills and recommendations.

                  •  Right. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Clem Yeobright

                    But this guy did not have much of a background.

                    You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

                    by PSzymeczek on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:47:47 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  He worked for the CIA. (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      T100R, kurt, Kevskos, Dirtandiron

                      That's a background and it is definitely something.

                      The notion that it is so outlandish that he was hired with clearances at Booz Allen coming from the CIA is silly.

                      If he had been an IT guy at Target or something, that would be different.  But he came from the land of ultimate clearances.

                      That's what's actually so totally laughable about all of these people being up in arms that Booz Allen gave him clearances - the guy walked in the door with his clearances that we already bestowed upon him by the CIA.

                  •  You get references? (0+ / 0-)

                    Because at the places I've been HR will only verify dates and employees are forbidden to give references. I've had to ask supervisors and colleagues to take calls outside the office to give me a recommendation. (At one point I had spent 10 straight xmases in 10 different locations - 9 different states - so establishing my bona fides was often a challenge.)

                    Those were the days ...

                    Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

                    by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:03:38 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  We have a lot of dev folks with no degree (5+ / 0-)

            we set the experience requirements higher for them though.

            ...and if it was a large company, every one of them checked your degree.  If you claimed you had one the background check verifies that automatically.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:33:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Even contractors? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eyesbright, kurt

              I did software development for Kodak, Eli Lilly, Nation's Bank, Willis Insurance, Carnival Cruises, Volvo Trucks, Estee Lauder ... among others, and all the interest after the initial question was in my skills.

              Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

              by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:40:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And I've ... (5+ / 0-)

                done development for some major financial firms. All they ever cared about was that someone at one of their peers referred me to them. I'm not sure that even one of them has known of or asked about my interdisciplinary (no computers involved) BA. Nor, for that matter, do I ask those I'm working with about their degrees. All that matters is skills and references.

                •  Perhaps it was just a phase. (0+ / 0-)

                  Just like MS certificates.

                  Perhaps it was that twenty to ten years ago software was becoming a trade instead of a profession and the demand for degrees was an effort to offset that. But it was the CORPS that were demanding the degrees.

                  I once had an 'underling' with 3 MS certificates who was utterly clueless about her job. Finally she confessed that she had paid someone else to take the exams and I thanked her for her honesty and then I trained her to do software - excellent employee once we'd gotten past the paper!

                  Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

                  by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:32:05 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I don't have (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan, kurt

            a degree and I've been in IT for over 20 years.  It matters only when they can afford to be picky.  Otherwise talent is more important.  

            Bad things aren't bad! And anyway, there's mitigation!

            by Nada Lemming on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:50:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Software development? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bula, Kevskos

              Network people and hardware types seem to fall under a different set of rules. Even QA folks.

              Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

              by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:55:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Same for me (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lisa, worldlotus, kurt, Kevskos

              I own my own company doing high end data work.  I don't have a degree.  It's never been a problem.

              The majority of people with real experience often don't have a degree - for a lot there was no degree in the field at the time and they got snapped up straight out of high school.

              Having a degree shows you managed to get through the basics, but in this field you need to be able to demonstrate that you can consistently learn new things all the time.

            •  My brother (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              worldlotus, kurt, Kevskos, Dirtandiron

              has only a HS diploma and some college courses. He makes six figures for a major IT company writing software for UNIX, and recently got a huge bonus. They couldn't care less about the degree, they care about whether he can write code.

              "No one has the right to spend their life without being offended." Philip Pullman

              by zaynabou on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 12:23:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I hired engineers w/o degrees in the late 90s (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lisa, worldlotus, kurt, Kevskos, Dirtandiron

            And early 2000s. They were spectacular - having done groundbreaking work in the industry, on their own.  If you're capable of working productively in a collaborative environment, and you've got exceptional coding skills, you're going to be considered. Show me incredible work that no one else can duplicate, and you could be a 6th grade dropout for all I care.

            •  Same goes with my experience (0+ / 0-)

              I finished high school, never got a degree at college and have been earning six figures in IT for almost 20 years.

              At my current position our lead developer is in his early 20's and earns a lot more than me. he has no degree, barely finished high school but was writing HTML when he was 9 and spends hours each night reading up on every esoteric language he can.

              What we spent years picking up on the job in the late 80's and early 90's, today's kids know by the time they are in Elementary school.

      •  I have a feeling that he may have lied on his app (0+ / 0-)

        With his mentality to commit treason, I wouldn't put it past him.

  •  Did he actually have the access he claims he had? (5+ / 0-)

    I wonder.

    I also wonder about the controls in place if he were to access that data.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:01:34 AM PDT

    •  Apparently the claims supercede his clearance (6+ / 0-)

      so I don't think it would be wrong for the government to be interested in how he accessed them.

      I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

      by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:02:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If he was a server guy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright, raboof, JayBat

        He had access to everything on the server, regardless of clearance. Admin passwords are powerful things.

        I'm sure things like the marketing powerpoint presentation he released are readily accessible within the company - heck, I wouldn't be surprised if it was emailed to him as part of his employee orientation.

        As for the court order, that's different, since it was probably not provided to anyone in the company other than those who were dealing with the legal process and a few in upper management.

    •  I don't think so. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sewaneepat, polecat

      He was an Infrastructure Analyst.  Hardware Techie.  Should not have had access to content.

      You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

      by PSzymeczek on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:58:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bull (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eyesbright, T100R, raboof, JayBat, Kevskos

        "Infrastructure Analyst" is a way of saying "system administrator" or "sysadmin." And I hate to break it to you but sysadmins have access to everything. There are always one or more people in any shop who everyone just has to trust, because they're the ones with the master keys.

        •  Not yet this week (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          T100R, Loge

          have I seen a reference to 'The Falcon and the Snowman'. The 'falcon' was similarly low-level, wasn't he?

          Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

          by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:20:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  not anymore (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clem Yeobright

          it's fairly well broken up. you only get the rights you need and only a few people have true sysadmin rights.

          -You want to change the system, run for office.

          by Deep Texan on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:35:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Gotta wonder. Convenience can trump all. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            raboof, JayBat, kurt, Cassandra Waites

            I did a job for a financial firm and developed a sophisiticated security module that was implemented so that just 4 people in the US plus 2 developers had full access to the financials. A few months later I learned that some maintenance had been off-shored to Manila and now there were 5 Filipinos the corp knew absolutely nothing about personally who also had access to the financials - AND the ability to add users and permissions.

            On leaving, I reported it to the SEC on the off-chance someone would care. You have to wonder how many corporate financial reports you can get the day before release if you knew the places to go in Asia and took a couple thousand dollars there.

            I did have the pleasure of pointing out to my supervisor - totally without effect - that it was silly to pay $2/hour in Manila when the corp's primary competitor would no doubt take the contract for FREE with the access it entailed.

            Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

            by Clem Yeobright on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 12:05:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  And, you know this how? (0+ / 0-)

        I look forward to your response, given you have peppered this diary with loads of doubting Thomas comments.

        "You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying."Edward Snowdon -6.62, -6.92

        by CanyonWren on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 01:05:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I researched position descriptions (0+ / 0-)

          for "Infrastructure Analyst."  There was no need for someone in this position to have access to the content residing in the network.

          You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

          by PSzymeczek on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:10:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I see no reason to doubt it. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kevskos, polecat

      Sounds like he's a mid-level admin. Somebody has to actually type the keystrokes that grant/remove access permissions for the analysts, and set up/back up/run the ginormous data transfers involved.

      Guess what? That "somebody" is not a high-level manager. :-) The GUI for this stuff may well be some kind of Windows app, but the infrastructure almost certainly runs on Linux.

      -Jay-
      
  •  Regardless of his technical expertise, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest

    I would like to know how he commanded his reported income of $200,000 through his employer Booz-Allen and paid by the NSA.

  •  Yeah, anyone with clearance like that (11+ / 0-)

    is making major cash in the DC Market.  I've talked about the DC area IT market in other diaries.  

    For people that don't live in this area and think there is this major surplus of talent and all these open jobs are being cordoned off by greedy CEO's with the scheming H1-B slave labor plans to gut the middle class so they can unleash their orc army to take over the world or whatever

    (Admittedly I may have just made up that last part about the Orcs, but who knows?  I stopped reading all the mewling...)

    Regardless.... if you are not working here, you don't understand the DC area IT market.  If the guy has that level of clearance and knows some decent IT skills I don't care if he home-schooled himself while being raised by feral dogs in an alley behind a DC Crackhouse, he is going to make MASSIVE CASH.

    Think that's unfair?  Feel free to come here, work to get your clearance and enjoy your own paychecks.

    ..that being said, there are not enough phat paychecks and passed background checks in the world to keep this guy out of jail or EVER let him work in anything remotely like this job again.  Ever.  

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:03:29 AM PDT

    •  Gee. you make it sound so simple. Let me ask (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming, worldlotus, Kevskos

      a question: does 30 years of political activism in the streets fighting various abominations, ranging from apartheid to Operation Shocking and Awful, mean I can't get a 'clearance'?

      I mean, really, is it possible to 'work to get your clearance'? Doesn't that entirely beg the serious question under consideration right now (collection of and abuse of data by government)?

      •  Yeah (4+ / 0-)
        does 30 years of political activism in the streets fighting various abominations, ranging from apartheid to Operation Shocking and Awful, mean I can't get a 'clearance'?
        Well, yes.

        Black Holes Suck.

        by Pi Li on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:17:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, no. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GoGoGoEverton, Deep Texan

          No one cares

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:25:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually (7+ / 0-)

            While everything you say is correct, if you don't think that they look at activism closely, you're very much mistaken. Of course, it very much depends on the nature of the activism, what the issue is, and the level of your involvement. While attending a march opposing drilling in ANWAR probably isn't going to raise a lot of eyebrows, if you're affiliated with an organisation that calls for the dismantling of the military industrial complex and an end to capitalism, they may have a few follow up questions for you.

            But to say "no one cares", about an extensive background in activism with regards to the security clearance itselfis a little broad, even taking into account the Beltway and Dulles corridor IT job market.

            Black Holes Suck.

            by Pi Li on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:08:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Meh.... I guess.... maybe..... (5+ / 0-)

              but it is so small.  Frankly, civic participation is generally considered a good thing but is relatively neutral.

              Yeah, if you were part of a militia or ELF or something with an overt goal of bringing down the US or something sure.  Of course.

              Like I said... there will be A LOT of questions about why you want to get into this kind of work.  A LOT.

              But opposing apartheid?  Marching with Occupy Wall Street?  No one cares.

              I went to at least two antiwar protests under Bush in DC that I can specifically remember with a CIA employee.  He doesn't do any kind of super-cool undercover work or anything, he works as an analyst in McLean, and I'm not even sure what that means.  Not a contractor or a third party, but a direct agency employee.  He doesn't hide that he works for the CIA but he doesn't talk about his job either.  His background was in finance before this job, but I don't know if that matters.  

              Anyway, we went to the one that had the Thievery Corporation concert at the end of it on the mall.  We also went to another one that marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol Building.

              His bosses knew he was going.  They don't care.  Had it broken out in anarchist stuff with riots and property damage, he would have left immediately I'm sure, but being "political" doesn't violate your clearance.  ...doing something illegal, openly trying to bring down the government or something and/or trying to hide ANY OF THAT would though, no doubt.

              Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

              by Wisper on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:19:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  No. (11+ / 0-)

        If life were an edgy political thriller staring Will Smith or something with cut-scenes to a flashy oddly low-lit NSA office with all these young good-looking people staring intently at big monitors with charts and graphs... then yes.  They would have perfectly zoomed and cropped pictures of you holding your "We are the 99%" signs, and pinned up photos of you in your bathrobe picking up your newspaper, and all kinds of cool stuff while a geeky-but-beautiful girl in rimless glasses rattled off your life stats from a big thick folder making you sound like a committed rebel-with-a-thousand-causes that they've been dutifully keeping an eye on over your whole life while you've been 'fighting the man'.

        But actually.... no one cares about that.

        You can't have a criminal record.  You can't have a history of money troubles.  You need to have a lot of stability in your family.  They will question any international connection, friend or relative.  You will undergo a LOT of psychiatric evaluations.  If you've moved around a lot be prepared to explain why.  They will very specifically question your motives for seeking this kind of work.  They will talk to every friend and coworker they can find to question your temperament, loyalty, reliability and honesty.

        There are few "Red flags" that will immediately disqualify you.  (Violent crimes, drug addiction, etc) The #1 reason for failing is failure to disclose.  If they find something you didn't tell them (like you were fired from a job 6 years ago) that makes you a liar.  They very well may have hired you regardless of your firing.. but the mere fact you appeared to try to hide it makes you a liar, untrustworthy and suspect.  

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:24:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, here's a question for you: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos

          Since the country is awash in unemployed or underemployed IT personnel, and since adding a security clearance would apparently make one immediately employable at rates far beyond what one could ever make working outside the Projection-Of-Imperial-Power apparatus, and since the vast majority of unemployed and underemployed IT personnel are just regular Americans who have no particular objection to working inside the Projection-of-Imperial-Power apparatus, and since apparently from what you are saying, one must actually be either a bomb-thrower or some other type of serious political felon to be ineligible for security clearance ...

          ...

          ... so, why are IT personnel with security clearance so difficult to come by? They should be a dime a dozen.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:55:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here's a little secret (5+ / 0-)

            A lot of the unemployed IT people aren't that good. There are exceptions, to be sure. But hiring mid-level IT people, even with good resumes and references, as often as not gives you people who are incompetent and need to be let go within a few months. My knowledge is of the NY market. But DC - or Hawaii - isn't going to be order-of-magnitude different.

            It used to be different 20 years back. It was nearly all smart, capable people in IT. Then the "want a good paycheck without having to really work too hard" kids started signing up for the computer "science" degrees. The best of them are brilliant. That's a minority.

            •  I wish this wasn't true (4+ / 0-)

              But it is.  Too true.

              People hear those ads on the radio or something "Come pay us a lot of money and get this fancy certification and you'll be this AWESOME IT PROFESSIONAL" and think a piece of paper makes them good at a job.

              It doesn't.  And entry-to-mid level IT work is so commoditized now, I have no interest in "working through" people with low skill or interpersonal problems or poor work ethic or whatever.  

              But christ, mid-to-high skills in a tight job market... you think we were looking to hire fucking Unicorns or something.  ..add in the DC-area dynamic that most people that are good are jockeying for a clearance job to cash in and I wind up recruiting out of the clearance bin more often then I care to admit.

              Seriously:  Skilled IT people struggling with un/under-employment out in grow-country... pack up your stuff/kids/wife and MOVE TO DC... we really really need you.

              Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

              by Wisper on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:43:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  our last new hire (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Clem Yeobright, Catesby, raboof

                asked what's the registry?

                he is supposed to be doing windows deployments!

                -You want to change the system, run for office.

                by Deep Texan on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:40:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  An offshore replacement asked (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Clem Yeobright, raboof

                  on a conference call I attended -  "What's TCPIP"?

                  I think smaller companies want talent, bigger companies now just want the lowest-cost ass in a chair, regardless of skills.  They figure we'll all get used to a "new normal" of things not working right.

                  Remember when software used to be released without bugs and if one was found, it could delay a release?

                  •  having worked in the industry for a long time (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Clues, Kevskos, Oh Mary Oh

                    i know almost all software applications being released have a list of known defects (bugs) at the time of release.

                    i know that because i am working on them. we have to set a release date and plan accordingly.

                    however, there is a lot of fraud going on. i know of one company in particular that released a product that only worked on the surface. took them about 20 hotfixes to finally deliver the product our customers had been paying for over a year.

                    for the most part our customers weren't savvy enough to figure that out and they only got the hotfixes if they called support. so some admins tested the product and found problems.  most did not even test it. they just trusted it was doing it's job.

                    -You want to change the system, run for office.

                    by Deep Texan on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 12:35:45 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yeah, I've seen that too. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Deep Texan, Kevskos

                      The industry standard for big software packages used to be a new release every year or every 2 years.  At that time, things were expected to work, and to not have bugs.  I blame Microsoft for introducing a new paradigm of very quick, repeated releases, with known and expected bugs, many of which weren't fixed until another release or two down the road.  But the releases came out every few months and people got used to that.  If you were slower and defect free, you were considered stodgy.  "Dot" releases were hot.

          •  Many dont pass (5+ / 0-)

            Criminality, drug use, and like I said "Failure to Disclose" even minor things.  Ugly divorces, child-custody fights... a lot of things show up on the radar.

            I never said it was "easy", I said being a political activist is not a major liability, unless you did something really stupid.

            You'd be surprised at what people say in the job application process.  I don't work in government, I work in corporate at the moment.  We were supposed to start 19 people this past Monday for entry level sales positions..  only 11 of them passed their background checks and FOUR of those we had to actively file a request for waiver for minor discrepancies on their work history that we opted to overlook.  Had we not jumped in, Corporate HR would have screen-out 64% of my new hires and these are for jobs with ZERO security requirements.  Just submit a clean cup of piss and don't lie about where you worked or went to school and STILL 64% of the people failed.

            A real security background is intense.  A childhood friend of mine is an intelligence analyst for the NSA.  We haven't spoken in years and I doubt he'd tell me anything about this current stuff anyway, but I knew this guy from Kindergarten on up.  We started drifting apart when I was like 19 or so and were pretty much out of contact with one another by the time I was 21.  When I was 23 or 24, a special agent from the FBI came to my office and spent NINETY MINUTES grilling me about this guy and the stuff we did going back to elementary school.  90 MINUTES of me recalling and talking about stuff I did with my friend starting from when I was 6 or 7 years old up until he attended my wedding.  ....it was weird.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:36:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  How do you know all this? (0+ / 0-)

          Thanks for your response in advance.

          "You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying."Edward Snowdon -6.62, -6.92

          by CanyonWren on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 01:10:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes Charles you can't get a security clearance (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kevskos

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:24:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There does seem to be some education snobs (17+ / 0-)

    going around putting down people that are succesful despite the lack of education.  I suspect they can't understand why with their degree or even advanced degree they can't land or keep a job.  They'll likely never figure out why either.

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:03:54 AM PDT

    •  High school is a total waste of time for some. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      concernedamerican, Lisa, worldlotus

      My neighbor has a PhD and brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars in research grants to our university but he never went spent a single day in high school, never went beyond the eighth grade.  At sixteen he started taking GED classes at a local community college.  And he's not the only PhD I know with a similar story. I knew a guy who never went beyond the fourth grade and ended up with a PhD in British Literature.

      Two of my siblings quit high school out of boredom.  One is an engineer and the other holds a Masters degree in an applied science.  I have a third sibling who stayed in high school only because (s)he was allowed to co-op with the "non-academic track" kids.  Without giving away too much personal information, today (s)he has a high level IT job with law enforcement.  I have a nephew who hated high school and started community college at sixteen. He's now a lawyer.  The only reason I stayed in high school was because I wanted to be the first member of my immigrant family to graduate, but by sixteen I was bored out of my mind.  I couldn't wait to go to college.

      Not everyone benefits from high school.  For the academically gifted the time is better spent in independent study and taking college courses.

      "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

      by Involuntary Exile on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:02:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I work with a lot of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Involuntary Exile, worldlotus

        smart, good kids who can't for the life of them see the point of high school. Their parents can't understand the value of them going slightly off-track (community college, GED, whatever); they'd rather give them stimulant drugs to make them "focus" than offer them a more reasonable path. It can make for an unhappy few years. Sometimes, it ends up much worse. I wish we could give healthy, resourceful kids more credit for knowing what they want/need.

  •  Totally different field, no sec clearance involved (3+ / 0-)

    or anything like that, but my brother could pull down some pretty decent bucks and he never graduated high school.  However, he has 40 years experience in his field.

    Anyway, this growling about Snowden's background is just noise to distract from the real issue: the damn government is fucking with the Fourth Amendment rights of us all.

  •  Lots of excellent IT people missing degrees (30+ / 0-)

    Programming is a discipline where you can be completely self-taught... and indeed, you almost have to be able to self-teach to keep up with the skills and disciplines that change so quickly. I have hired many excellent people for software jobs that did not have a CS degree. (My degree isn't in CS either.)

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:11:09 AM PDT

  •  i appreciate this perspective (12+ / 0-)

    but overall i wish he had remained anonymous. he is a distraction from the story he revealed.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:13:33 AM PDT

  •  I wasn't suprised at all about Snowden's job. (6+ / 0-)

    A friend of mine in college dropped out after his Junior year, he's a bigwig at Wikipedia now because he had the skills even if he lacked the "credentials":

    https://twitter.com/...

  •  Ninth grade education (3+ / 0-)

    With one year of community college.

    1000+ posts with 290 rec listed.

    Education just means you were propped up by someone.

    •  My intent was not to downplay education (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aspe4, divineorder

      as it can be and often is very valuable...but it's only one piece and there is some sort of entitlement that several feel when they achieve a degree that just doesn't exist in the real world.

      I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

      by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:31:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not necessarily. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clem Yeobright, Rogneid
      Education just means you were propped up by someone.
      Nobody propped me up.  I paid for every one of my college credits myself.

      "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." ~ Al Cleveland & Marvin Gaye (1970)

      by JBL55 on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:08:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you shit money? (0+ / 0-)

        If not where did that money come from?

        •  community college credits here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JBL55

          are $46 apiece, which is a lot more than they used to be but you can still get through quite a few courses, and obtain an AA, while working to pay your own way.

          I was able to put myself through university by working and getting limited help from my mom. That was in the good old days, I wouldn't be able to do it now at the same university, but when I have taught in commuter colleges I've seen classrooms full of working adults. Ain't nobody propping them up.

        •  I worked full-time and went to college (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JBL55

          and paid cash until I decided to go full-time for my "senior year". It took 15 years to get to that point, but the only time I ever took out a loan or had a PELL grant was for my senior year and a half.

          I couldn't do that now, the costs have gone up way too much.

        •  From various jobs. (0+ / 0-)

          Would you say that my employers paid for my college education?

          "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." ~ Al Cleveland & Marvin Gaye (1970)

          by JBL55 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 05:02:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You don't understand privilege (0+ / 0-)

            If you think having an employer that didn't change your schedule weekly so you couldn't attend classes isn't an anomaly.

            •  You don't understand my situation. (0+ / 0-)

              I scheduled my classes around my work schedule.

              I suppose I am privileged in that I was healthy and able-bodied, but I don't consider that as having been "propped up," unless by that you're referring to my having been born to healthy parents in a country with access to decent health care.

              "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." ~ Al Cleveland & Marvin Gaye (1970)

              by JBL55 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 06:43:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I respect your background (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus

      and I disapprove of the "but without a degree you can't figure anything out on your own" ethos some have shown here,

      but I

       don't think it's entirely fair to say that education = being propped up. Autodidacts can also be college educated. People can sacrifice a lot for an education. Learning to meet someone else's standards in a classroom takes work, and no one can do that for you.

      •  Thousands of dollars in books alone each year is (0+ / 0-)

        enough of a deterrent.

        And if you are actually poor there is no way to go to school.

        •  to each her own (0+ / 0-)

          I was poor when I went to school. I worked several jobs, had lots of roommates, ate lots of beans. I used books in the library -- there's no absolute need to spend $thousands.

          If you want to keep throwing up arguments about how impossible and/or horribly privileged it is for someone to get an education, AND how you don't really need an education to get recommended diaries on Daily Kos (quite a yardstick you've got there), knock yourself out.

          •  I attended community college while homeless (0+ / 0-)

            I do have practical experience with trying to go to school while poor.

            And the classes I test into don't usually have current texts available in the library.

            •  so it's possible... (0+ / 0-)

              I really don't know where you're going with this "An education is a ridiculous privilege that means someone lavished you with money and anyway you don't need it" and "I managed to take classes while homeless" stuff. Which is it? And what does it even mean that the "classes you test into" don't have library copies of assigned reading? I imagine if you asked the instructor they could probably arrange something. But if you have a chip on your shoulder that every other student around you is insanely privileged just by dint of being there, maybe you haven't tried that.

  •  People are really freaking out about this? (4+ / 0-)

    This has been going on forever.  Many big IT companies hire people with GEDs in order to force downward pressure on wages over the last few years.  (At the same time they go crying to the press that they can't hire in the US because people lack the skills)

    IT Security specialist at IBM's prestigious Yorktown Heights Facility.  GED required.

    Having said that, there ARE some very talented people in the IT field (and they're not just developers, btw), who have no higher education at all.

  •  I've been in IT since the nineties (14+ / 0-)

    and back then degrees were in the minority. Universities and Colleges hadn't caught up to technology. So IT was generally filled with people with gumption and a degree of fearlessness when it came to the unknown. If you could learn quickly on your own, you were highly valued.

    Now that many of us older people are now in management, we still admire those with gumption, and will hire people with proven skill over degrees.

    Meh, but this is anecdotal on my part. All of this is just to say, his level of education never meant anything to me.

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:37:26 AM PDT

  •  Heather Wilson (R-NM) got huge paychecks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    while she was "in between jobs" from the Security/Intelligence Complex.

    Link

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson collected nearly half a million dollars in questionable payments from four federally funded nuclear labs after she left office, the Energy Department's inspector general says in a new report.
    See also Joe Monahan(2012 Jun 12) (Note Link is not date specific; future connections will require archive search).
    The payments to Wilson for "consulting" services that could not be documented were given to the former five term congresswoman from 2009 to March 2011. In June 2008, she lost the GOP US Senate nomination to Steve Pearce and in January 2009 she vacated the House seat she held for five terms. Shortly after the payments stopped in March 2011, she began her pursuit for another US Senate seat. She won the GOP nomination but lost to Martin Heinrich in 2012.

    ...
    Los Alamos...and Sandia Labs...to keep their "Senator-in-waiting" flush with cash.

    Notice: This Comment © 2013 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:03:46 AM PDT

  •  My oldest friend dropped out of college (6+ / 0-)

    and ended up writing programmling for the NASA wind tunnels, before moving on to Apple.  He set up the county library computer system when he was still in high school.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:18:11 AM PDT

  •  NCLB has pushed many smart kids out of HS (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, JBL55, greenbastard, ybruti

    Extremely bright students don't often fit the NCLB mold, especially where high tech is concerned. They become impatient and disillusioned. They leave school and forge their own educational program.

    For specialized, high skilled tech careers, formal HS education is no longer necessary.  Smart kids are capable of teaching themselves, learning on their own, usually at  pace that's much faster than HS and college.

    "If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze and then vote against them, you have no business being in DC."

    by Betty Pinson on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:32:05 AM PDT

  •  I am so delighted to rec and tip a diary by you. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton, worldlotus

    Degreed snobs suck.  

    "I have mine, so that turkey with the GED is a dumb@ss. "

    Ha. I have one former student who BARELY scraped by HS because of his attendance record and has gone no further with formal education but makes a great living both here and abroad.  Great living.

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:43:29 AM PDT

  •  I just wonder if Snowden shorted Booz stock.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton

    He would still be a fugitive, but he'd be a rich one.

    -9.00, -5.85
    Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.

    by Wintermute on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:45:27 AM PDT

  •  Yeah, Steve Jobs didnt have a degree, or Gates. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton

    The REAL world, of not Fortune 500 pinhead HR people, it is skillz and knowledge and experience and COMPETENCE that matters..... because THAT is what makes the company successful and profitable.

    Not a list of degree's that frankly carry little connection to competence.... see: Rogoff and company from Harvard, cough.

  •  Computers, the last surviving meritocracy outpost (4+ / 0-)

    But dont you worry, folks who are jealous of Stapleton's 6 figure salary. MS, APPLE, et al are doing their darndest to bribe Congress to bend the  visa rules so they can have access to a bottomless pool of young highly skilled motivated foreigners trained in these specialities with no citizenship rights in this country and much lower pay. So computer workers of the future will be just another class of lo rent wage slaves. And that money can go to better things, like Bill Gates.

  •  I started in IT in 1979. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton, Deep Texan, worldlotus

    And I got my first job in IT on the strength of my having taken some community college courses in data processing, including COBOL.

    If one has the desired skill set, one doesn't need a piece of paper.

    "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." ~ Al Cleveland & Marvin Gaye (1970)

    by JBL55 on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:10:58 AM PDT

  •  I don't get what the big deal is here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, Oh Mary Oh

    If you know computers, you know computers.

    That has nothing to do with whether or not you dropped out of high school, unless dropping out of high school actually prevented you from knowing computers.

    (For the record, my computer and I are most certainly not on a first name basis!)

    Stop the NRA and the NSA
    Repeal the Patriot Act and the 2nd Amendment

    by dream weaver on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:17:59 AM PDT

  •  As a self-taught programmer, (4+ / 0-)

    I agree!

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. - 9th Amendment

    by TracieLynn on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:25:26 AM PDT

  •  Good diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, GoGoGoEverton, worldlotus

    It's been said many times but well worth repeating. Your education does not guarantee a job, your experience is what matters. If you are currently planning to go to college to help make yourself employable, I'd recommend nursing.

  •  And he was highly mobile. (6+ / 0-)

    A lot of people with skillsets and experience are tied down geographically for one reason or another.

  •  Thank you (3+ / 0-)

    We could almost call it elitist to think that someone needs a degree to prove they are intelligent!  I don't think we need the lengthy sermon about the differences between, knowledge, intelligence, intellect and so forth. It's probably enough that you just gave us a reminder. ;))

    What I am more curious about is where he got his specific computer training..maybe he had some connections living in Maryland?...maybe he was groomed sans degree by the CIA?..it would be interesting to know.

    "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."- Albert Camus

    by valadon on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:40:11 AM PDT

  •  My husband (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    has worked in IT for 20 years and his major at college that he dropped out of was Philosophy and Music. He got his first computer job by answering a newspaper ad that was looking for people who we're good at math and stats and liked solving problems. It was before the advent of PC's and they we're still using punch cards. I made him apply, he was a file clerk at the time and not a happy worker. Out of a hundred or so people that showed up his test results were over the top. He's talented and creative at elegant stats and abstract math always has been.

    He used to spend hours doing stat's for baseball and even when writing music would pay solitaire and do stat's on his games. Interestingly the whole spec writing department where they trained him was made up of mostly musicians. Lot's of self taught computer geek genius's it's an art as well as a discipline. How silly try and debunk Snowden because he has a GED. Plenty of smart people without degrees especially on a technical level. He also had the brains to figure out that what was going down was just rotten. So he taught himself more then just computer stuff.

    There is more to being intelligent then just having a degree. Look at all the useless MBA's. The dumbest MBA  I ever worked for went to Havard, his secretary ran the marketing department for him.  Some pretty good hacker's out there who are self taught.  Makes me feel better knowing that the riffraff can and do educate themselves, gives us a fighting chance in a world where papers please including degrees makes people worth anything.        

  •  You know, Gogo (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton, Oh Mary Oh

    generally I can count on one of your posts making my blood boil.  But I agree with you here.  It's not ALWAYS what you have a certified piece of paper stating that you know.  Sometimes, just sometimes, it actually is WHAT you know (at least until the organic matter hits the circular airfoil, at which time the Organization suddenly Discovers that it has Someone Without An Advanced Degree making Decisions Beyond Their Pay Grade and blames the lousy decisions of Management on this Appalling Oversight).

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