Someone from the Joel forums asked how useful GPA is as a hiring metric for developers. I was interested enough that I decided to blog my response:
I had my first hiring company request a transcript, once I had > 1 yr experience no one has ever asked again. It does make sense that companies are more interested in what you can do, versus what classes you took in college.
What do good grades tell you?
1. You show up to class (meet committments and deadlines)
2. You can follow directions.
3. You can adapt to the style of a teacher/boss/peer.
What don't grades tell you?
1. Whether you'll actually be a good programmer, since only a small % of your degree is related to coding. In my Information Systems degree I think I took a total of 20 credit hours out of 134 that were actually programming and relational database related. The rest of the coursework was Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Management, and electives like European History and Multicultural Literature. This is why I personally ask for their core gpa and their overall. If someone got straight A's in computer stuff but C's in electives, I really don't care about those C's.
2. Whether you're a creative problem solver. Most A's at the undergrad level are just regurgitation with very little original thought.
3. Whether you're a team player or good culture match.
Overall, grades are a marginally useful filter for entry level positions. Certainly programming is a mixture of science and art, and depending on the type of your applications coursework will be more or less important. There are tons of examples of poor scholars who have done quite well (Einstein for one). However, unless you are the next Einstein or Bill Gates, best try to keep your grades up. If you have bad grades, don't post it on your resume and try hard to get in touch with the technical person doing the hiring instead of the hr inbox. Also, one of the best ways to overcome lower GPAs is lots of relevant internship work and code samples / open source project participation to show your passion for development.