I am taking a break from studying for my chemistry exam tomorrow. (Granted, by the time you read this the exam will be way in the distant past.) Something as occurred to me.
I am a web programmer. I develop web pages for the federal government. It's not a permanent job. It's co-op position. The position ends December 22. I have been here for over two years now. My team wants to keep me around. They like my work.
When I finish chemistry I will have completed all degree requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Computer Science.
Now, I don't use a whole lot of my schooling at work. There were classes I could have taken in university that deal with web programming, but I never took them. I'm self-taught in this field.
I mentioned that my team wants to keep me around. This is possible through what's called the "bridging mechanism." That's a mechanism where someone can be hired into the federal government without competition if they have done some student work with the government. But, since it's government there are rules. Lots of them. And they can't be broken or bent. One of those rules is that before bridging can take place, the student must have graduated from the program under which the student work was done.
I have done my student work while studying computer science, earning a bachelor of science from Algoma University. So I need to graduate before they hire me.
Now, to get a bachelor of science from any university, you need to take a bunch of courses in your major, and a bunch of courses that are not part of your major. Some of those non-major courses have to be science courses. One of the specifics is a general chemistry course. That is the last course I have before I graduate. My exam is tomorrow, and I'm rather nervous about it.
The bottom line right now is that if I pass the exam then I pass the course, and I get bridged in and keep my job (for a year, at least).
If I fail the exam then I fail the course and I don't get bridged in. ie: I loose my job.
So, here's the cruel irony:
Right now my job does not depend on my ability to code web pages or write web based applications. It depends on my ability to predict which liquids have higher boiling points, the shapes of molecules, balance chemical equations, etc.