I recently read a comment on how high academic achievers make better developers and I have to totally support the comments made. While others may argue that CGPA does not mean anything, I dare tell you that the people who make this argument are probably people who did not excel at school. That’s why they down play the importance of using CGPA as a measure.
While I will agree that CGPA is not useful as an absolute measure, I will say again that it is very useful as a relative measure. A high CGPA tells me just one thing about that person – that the person is obsessed. I may not know what the person is obsessed with, but I know that the person has desire, passion and love for something – whatever that may be.
It is not a measure of intelligence nor is it a measure of skill but it is a measure of someone who cares enough for something to actually bother to take an effort to excel at it. Now, those are characteristics that money cannot buy.
Personally, when I do my hiring, I actively look at the CGPA. I will not consider anyone who has a CGPA of less than 3.5 at all. It is a very useful cut-off point to use. While I may miss out on some real savants, I do not need geniuses who are unable to put their focus on achieving real-world measurable results. It is also a very objective filter to apply.
Of course, different schools have different levels of difficulty. So, it might be easier to say, get a 4.0 in a certain school than another. That is why I said that CGPA is a good relative measure, not an absolute one. They cannot be compared directly with each other. However, they are useful for comparing cohorts from the same school.
Finally, while a CGPA is not everything, it is definitely something. I will not just use the CGPA as my hiring yard-stick but I will definitely use it alongside my favourite yard-stick – sample code. Sample code tells me more about a programmer than anything else. It tells me everything that I need to know – coding skills, knowledge, expression, discipline, diligence.
Believe you me, code can really show all that.