Are questions like “how do I get a job” and “where should I study” on-topic?



3 Answers 3


I don't think this kind of questions belongs here. Where to study or work in computer science is not a question about computer science but about job markets and academic curricula. Furthermore, it's very hard to give generic career advice; most career-type questions are not constructive and too localized.

This subject came up on Programmers, where career questions were on-topic for a long time, and they eventually became seen as very rarely useful and are now banned.

So I propose we adopt a similar policy: no career questions (where/how can I get a job, what/where should I study, etc.).

The Academia site may be suitable for some questions about life in the academic world, including considerations related to school enrollment and jobs.

  • $\begingroup$ I suggested for the FAQ the following as off-topic: "Personal, professional or academic advice or recommendations". The making of that off-topic was not well-received. As such, I agree with you, but I will be surprised if others (Raphael and Kaveh, I believe) agree with this... $\endgroup$
    – Patrick87
    Apr 7, 2012 at 1:14
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    $\begingroup$ If there are specific elements essential to question that related it to computer science and knowledge/experience of a computer scientist is essential to answering it then it is fine IMHO. If it is not the case, then it is probably more appropriate for Academia. But this particular one is bad question for other reasons. I think socio-professional issues about CS can be on-topic (if phrased in the right way, i.e. general SE guidelines apply). $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Apr 7, 2012 at 5:53
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    $\begingroup$ btw, it might be helpful to use a particular tag like policy for policy decisions and explicitly state that it is a post about deciding the site's policy, something like the text here. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Apr 7, 2012 at 6:22
  • $\begingroup$ I still think that there can be good advice questions, but I agree that most won't be. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Apr 7, 2012 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ It seems that most agree with not permitting such question, and I think that is probably going to be fine, they can be asked on Academia in any case where some of active members are CS profs so we can just direct the OP to there without much loss. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Apr 7, 2012 at 17:25

I like the Programmers.SE way of dealing with these questions: if they are not too localized or unconstructive, and if the answers crucially depend on the position being Computer Science related, then it is on-topic.

For instance, 'I've graduated with an Industrial Design certificate, can I become a professor in Computer Science?' (answer: yes, see the head of our Visualization department :)) would be on-topic in my opinion, as the answer crucially depends on the specifics of Computer Science.

An off-topic question would be "Is a University without opportunities to work out on the campus worth trying to get into as a Computer Scientist?", as it is not specific to Computer Scientists.

Another off-topic question would be the UNIQ question above, as it is too localized.


It seems I have no power to make comments on meta so I will drop it as an answer (I hope there is no problem on rookies giving opinion on this, if there is please let me know and I will my chance when I grow up here). But in my opinion as long as it is not usually too specific, just as it was mentioned on the pointed question, it should be fine. The problem then would be on defining the boundary on what would be too specific and what would not be. Consider this an up vote for Kaveh comment and Galeh answer, then.


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