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Back to school......

Back to school......

Back to school......

(OP)
I am not sure what I should do... I have a couple of options:
1) Go back to school and get my comp sci degree
2) Find a new job based on my current qualifications
3) Continue doing what I am doing right now


Background:
I just graduated from a mining engineering degree program. I have no experience in mining or engineering. All my experience lies within the computing field, programming, repair and troubleshooting, etc. Frankly, now that I have graduated and seen what type of jobs my peers have gotten, straight mining engineering doesn't interest me. What I want to do is develop software that engineers would find useful. I have run into companies that are more then willing to hire me with no refereneces or questions asked to take care of their computer systems(ie network admin). That is currently what I am doing right now. When I apply for a programming job, even to a company that speaciallizes in mining software, they ask for a comp sci degree or equivalent!

My first option (the one that I really want to do!) is to go back to school and get my degree in comp sci. I would be going back to the university where I graduated from, because it is close and all my credits would transfer. That means that I may be able to get a four year degree in 1 1/2 years. The nice thing about this option is that I can continue to work at my present job as they are VERY flexible on the hours that I work.

I am always doing the second option. I never stop applying for jobs. From the experience of my peers, their jobs and the money they make for them is not that good. I can make twice the amount of money they can if I get a degree in comp sci. Don't get me wrong a good salary is nice, but I didn't go through 4 years of engineering to get a well paying job(that would be nice), I did it to get a job that I like! A job that I can't wait to get to in the morning.

I took a couple of first year comp sci course as electives last year. The courses were java programming courses, I ranked in the top four in all the courses. So I don't think I would have much of a problem getting through to complete the degree.

The other thing is I don't really want to get any networking certificates, MCSE, A+ etc. becuase they would lead to jobs similar to the one I have now. I may get the certifications later on, just to have them.

I would appreciate hearing any oppions, comments, real life situations, etc.


 

fenris
fenris@hotmail.com

Replies continue below

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RE: Back to school......

Well in my opinion if your current job pays you enough to live and go back to school at the same time, I'd go for it, since the job is flexible anyhow, after all it is what You want to do, and you mentioned you are able to do it, far as certfications go, some of them are rather inexpensive, if you are confident you can pass them (a prep book may only cost 70$ hardcover) it shouldnt be hard to do , and would be good to have like one of those MCSE exams. You could probally just grab the certfications in the process of going to college, since its one of those things you stick your nose in the book for about anhour a day for a few weeks, then go in and take the exam for an hour or two. I havent gone to college yet, Although I would like to right now I'm 19 working in a very small company as a Programmer/Analyst I do Active Server Pages, Visual Basic, ActiveX, HTML , Interdev during the normal course of the day(other skilled put to use around here from me, is C++, hardware maintenance, etc) but basically I'd like to get into college, need to get things settled though, right now my benefits are (not so much as flexible hours, since I'm required to work 44hr a week) company matched IRA, they pay for my appartment and utilities, and will pay for any certfications I chose to take. unlike you I dont have the quick option of hopping right into college , so go for it.

Karl
kb244@kb244.8m.com

Experienced in : C++(both VC++ and Borland),VB1(dos) thru VB6, Delphi 3 pro, HTML, Visual InterDev 6(ASP(WebProgramming/Vbscript)
http://www.brainbench.com/transcript.jsp?pid=629151

RE: Back to school......

Have you considered getting a Masters instead of a BS? It may not take much longer as you normally do not need to take complete all the BS required coursework to qualify for entry to the Masters program. The Masters may not be important now but is often helpful when you are ready to move into management. Also although unadvertised many colleges allow you to create a custom program, for instance combining a BS & Master or creating a custom BS.

RE: Back to school......

(OP)
I thought about doing an MS but I don't think I am ready for that, besides an MS is considerable more expensive then a BS (in canada it would cost me over $8000 for a years worth of courses which is double that of a BS). I want the degree in comp sci, I am not sure that I would qualify for an MS in comp sci seeing as I don't really have a formal education in the discipline.

Karl, I was thinking along the same lines as you:
>quick option of hopping right into college

I figure I've been in school for the past 20 years or so what is another few years going to do.

Any more comments would be appreciated....Thanx

fenris
fenris@hotmail.com

RE: Back to school......

um the MS stuff is cheap if you just want to pay for a book, and take the certification, total it would cost around 200$ just to get certified(with the exception that you already know the stuff)the MS training courses, are usally guided instructions right out of the book, I looked at many of the MS course ciriculms, and they're just right out of the book.

Karl
kb244@kb244.8m.com

Experienced in : C++(both VC++ and Borland),VB1(dos) thru VB6, Delphi 3 pro, HTML, Visual InterDev 6(ASP(WebProgramming/Vbscript)
http://www.brainbench.com/transcript.jsp?pid=629151

RE: Back to school......

First of all, if you are employed, why are you paying for your education? Doesn't it qualify under your employer's plan? If they don't have a good education plan, it's not a very good sign in general. Second, ask the school if you qualify to begin an MS rather than guess, if you are interested. They can tell you the exact title and number of courses that you would have to take as pre-reqs for your grad-level courses, and it's quite likely they are the same core courses (but fewer) than you would need for your BS. Therefore you can take those courses first, then decide if you want to go on to finish the BS or the MS. Also, you are sometimes allowed to substitute grad-level electives for undergrad electives and vise versa. It's good to know how it all works in advance, just in case. Finally, your college may allow you to transfer some credits from an on-line university or test out of some coursework, saving you a lot of time. Depending on your experience, an individual teacher may waive a pre-req for you too. If you do want to get another degree, there's a lot to check out. And the best time is usually immediately, because family, debt etc. tends to make it much more difficult to go back to school later in life.

RE: Back to school......

(OP)
Elizabeth, thanks for the info. I am going to be talking with the dean of CS next week. So I will learn more about the process.

As far as my company goes, I started with them in january as a consultant. Which is great for me as it allowed for very flexible hours while I was still in school. I was supposed to sign on full time with the company after I graduated, but they told me they had to meet with the board. That is fine by me, it gives me more time to look for other jobs, maybe go back to school without the hassle of politics. Besides I am free to leave anytime I feel like it. Out of respect for hiring someone to take care of there systems with no formal training except that of work experience, I would give them a couple of weeks notice when I find a better job.

As far as them paying for education (outside of a couple of text books), I have enough trouble trying to get ram upgrades to users that desparetly need them.

And as far as waiving courses, that is what I am counting on. It is a very good posibility that I may get a huge chunk of the degree without having to take the courses.

Thanks for all the advice and recomendations.... it is appreciated...

fenris
fenris@hotmail.com

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