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Ask Slashdot: Is Going To a Technical College Worth It?

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the cash-in-cash-out dept.

Programming 309

First time accepted submitter blandcramration writes "I have recently decided to further my education with a technical school associates degree. I am a first quarter student in my third week as an IT student. I have taught myself Python and have been working with computers for over 10 years. We've been learning C++ and though my instructor appears to know how to program, he doesn't really understand the procedure behind the veil, so to speak. In a traditional learning environment, I would rather learn everything about the computer process rather than fiddle around with something until I figure out how it works. I can do that on my own. I think the real issue is I'm not feeling challenged enough and I'm paying through the nose to go to school here. Am I even going to be able to land a decent job, or should I just take a few classes here and move on to a traditional college and get a computer science degree? I'm much more interested in an approach to computer science like From NAND to Tetris but I feel as if I should get a degree in something. What are your thoughts?"

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School is worthless... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759227)

My two centavos:

No, no, and hell no. A technical college is likely not certified, so you will end up with a worthless paper in "fiber optics" or "homeland security" as a major... and have absolutely zero chances of job placement... coupled with student loans that are rapidly accruing interest which can't be discharged, EVER, through bankruptcy. Even a guy gambling his wages away and running up credit card debt can dump that stuff off at the bankruptcy court and walk away a free man.

There used to be a pact: Students would put up with professors and deal with the "game" of getting an education. Once you graduated, then the other part of the deal is that you land a meaningful job, pay your loans back in a couple years, and actually have a meaningful career.

Not any more. The "good" jobs are either owned by people there for 10+ years, or there is a H-1B having them. Management is usually whom is good at the golf course. The ONLY chance of getting anything meaningful these days is an internship where you have to behave like your job interview best for six months so you have a shot at something when you graduate college.

I'd do some market research. A coder or developer is like being a meat packer or a textile worker -- was a good job, now is available for pennies on the dollar from offshore outsourcers. You can pay Tata $10,000 and get more coding done for your dollar than you can with five senior devs that run 100 grand apiece... and to boot, you don't have to deal with the payroll taxes. You also get an actual guarantee of code working as well.

Want to run the school game? Get your B. S. and hit the law schools. Pass the bar, and you have a career for life. You would have to commit a felony or get disbarred. Once you have your bar membership, unemployment is up to you. No, you might not get the Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe senior partner, but you will always have somewhere at some company that is 9-5 and full benefits.

Avoid trade colleges like the plague. They teach you nothing viable, and just take your money... and you have zero prospects of work afterwards.

Re:School is worthless... (5, Informative)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 2 years ago | (#41759341)

That depends on whether it's a public or private technical college.

Public technical colleges often can transfer to public universities because they're likewise accredited, and they have programs in place to accept those credits.

Private also depends, since many of those are also accredited. But they may not have transfer programs in place.

Re:School is worthless... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759837)

If you blew it in H.S., you can start at jr. college for general ed. prerequisites, and select C.S. courses as electives, then several months later get into software engineering when you transfer to a university. Google what you need, don't rely on jr. college counselors for academic advise. No one takes tech school certificates seriously. At best, you'll get a grunt job and stay a grunt as you're passed over on promotions. You could learn more from open courseware than you can from an overpriced tech (trade) school with their low quality instructors who couldn't make it into jr. college staff.

Forget about tech schools. They are big con jobs. You could better learn how to code on your own from books and open courseware on the Internet better than from what lazy, barely qualified instructors babble at you in lectures.. But if you feel you need hand-holding, start at jr. college or an accredited university. If you're still considering overpriced tech schools, you'd be better off going to an auto mechanics trade school and becoming a master mechanic fixing luxury sports cars (annual salary average $100k, much more than that if you're really really good).

Re:School is worthless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759915)

On the other hand, the government-run public universities and government-run technical colleges here in Wisconsin have been talking about credit transfer since I was in a technical institute (what they used to be called) -- thirty years ago. Not much has changed.

Re:School is worthless... (2)

deodiaus2 (980169) | about 2 years ago | (#41760215)

U of Wisconsin at Plattville is cheaper than U of Wis at Madison. Students who transfer from Plattville to Madison after their 2nd year find themselves repeating many classes because the caliber of the teaching & competitiveness of the students is vastly different. You would have been better off going to U of M in the first place.

Law school, really? (5, Informative)

thesameguy (1047504) | about 2 years ago | (#41759413)

Unemployment amongst recent law school graduates is the worst it's been in history, and there is no sign of that changing. I've worked in the legal industry for a long time now, and it's ugly. I wouldn't wanna be someone with a law school loan right now. http://chronicle.com/article/Unemployment-Among-Recent-Law/132189/ [chronicle.com] etc.

Re:Law school, really? (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#41759563)

That''s hilarious. Never has our society been so litigious. It seems to me like people with a law degree who are unemployed just aren't being creative enough. If you can practice law, you can open your own business, taking whatever jobs you can get. There's always people out there looking for attorneys. If you can undercut the other guys, you can probably build quite a business.

Re:Law school, really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759715)

You're a coder. You can write ipad apps. Why are you unemployed and broke?

Re:Law school, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760123)

touche. About the only thing you can be right now that is not at the mercy of corporate jackoffs is a farmer. And only if you already own the land and equipment.

Re:Law school, really? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759993)

We just hired someone where I work who has a BS in Comp Sci and a Law Degree (fresh out of school at 25)... as an entry-level programmer. He couldn't find a job as a lawyer and had to fall back on his CS degree.

Re:School is worthless... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759505)

"Go to law school" has been the advice du jour for the past decade+, and the result is a saturated market. I can't speak to trade schools, but racking up $50-100K in loans to do an undergrad and a JD to enter a market where you're looking at competing with 100 other JDs for a $30K per year job does not strike me as good advice.

Unless, of course, you're looking to go into intellectual property and be a patent attorney, but that requires you to sell your soul to the worst system of corporate control over humanity in existence, so I'm assuming that option is off the books.

Re:School is worthless... (5, Interesting)

Motard (1553251) | about 2 years ago | (#41759553)

'School' is neither worthless or priceless, but consider your (short term and long term) goals carefully.

Technical schools might get you in the door at a company, but will never, in and of itself, lift you far above that.

I think one (a self starter such as yourself) could do just as well by offering their services for free. Think of it as a series of self styled apprenticeships. Just be honest: "I don't have the resources to get myself a proper degree, but I am passionate about my craft and feel confident that I can help your firm if only I can get some real world experience...."

This will work especially well at a local business (local bank, real estate agency, etc). Preferably one that has not developed an entrenched IT Dept (who will be suspicious of young upstarts).

You may or may not be paid, but at least you won't be paying. And you'll be developing a resume - something virtually no 4 year student has.

And if you do get to join a company as a proper employee, you can avail yourself of their tuition reimbursement program. Then, when you do get your degree there is an inherent expectation that it is valuable and should be rewarded.

Re:School is worthless... (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41759565)

Shrug. I suppose, for certain values of zero... I have a degree from a technical college, and peaked at six figures during the dot com boom. Like most in IT, I took a hit after dot com bust, but still making just a tad under six figures.

Having a degree from a technical college means you will probably start below your skill set, (With a BSET I started as an engineering assistant, in a company where you couldn't be hired as a "member of the technical staff" without having graduated with honors from a very specific, very short list of colleges) but if you're worth anything, you will make up for it over time.

The main issue as I see it is that you can't even get an interview in some places without a degree of some kind. Without letters after your name, at some companies HR won't even forward your resume, so the hiring manager never sees it. This doesn't mean you're completely shut out, but it makes the process more difficult, and may require some social engineering to get the manager's attention.

There are people who make a comfortable living without any college at all. My nephew dropped out of CS because programming was "too hard". Later he managed to pass the MCSE and now manages to keep himself in raman noodles and xbox controllers by pushing brightly colored buttons. Shrug.

There are almost certainly places of learning you could attend with zero benefit. You should be able to spot those and stay away. But putting all technical institutes in that category is demonstrably not accurate.

All that said, out of high school I was accepted at two colleges, one conventional and one technical, and I wonder how things would have been different had I gone to a conventional college. For one thing, I believe there would have been more girls.

Re:School is worthless... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759955)

Well, one thing for sure is that going to college go be challenged is a huge mistake. Know the material well before taking the courses to pass every exam with an A, to finish the course with an A. Learning a lot but getting a C or worse is truly a waste of time and money.

Re:School is worthless... (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41760131)

I'm making six figures too; it's just that the first couple are zeros.

Re:School is worthless... (5, Interesting)

snowraver1 (1052510) | about 2 years ago | (#41760143)

I also went to a technical college (public). I also did not get laid.

I didn't really learn a whole lot, but it wasn't too expensive. I think it was about 2k per semester. I would bet money that most of the people in that class are not in the field today. They just weren't IT people.

I got super lucky and landed an entry level Help Desk job at a great company. I made 28.5k, plus a 1k non-guaranteed annual bonus. I was 21 and it was way more then I had ever made before, so I was thrilled. Two years later, we were outsourced. Most people lost their job, but I was kept and upgraded to application support. From there, I thought I would become a networking guy, so I got my CCNA. I didn't get into networking.

I stayed there for a bit, and 3 years later the company wanted to replace the application that i was supporting. I knew the most about it, so I became part of the project team. We chose the vender and I started making it all work (with the help of others). Now, it looks like I might become a developer. I now, with the same company, make almost 3 times what I did when I started.

Back to the school. I could not have got my job without the piece of paper. I don't even know where my diploma is now though. The paper may get your foot in the door, but you are on your own from there.

I love my job. I am very fortunate. This is what I do:

Be positive. No one likes a negative nancy.
Be willing. Don't be lazy.
Don't get taken advantage of. Don't be a shit disturber either. Be positive.
Don't blame other people. Just fix problems.
And most importantly, fix problems.

Why did I say that most of my class didn't make it in IT? They weren't problem solvers. Either you are or you aren't. It drives me crazy when I don't 'get' a problem. I obsess over it until either I solve it, or something else makes me forget.

Businesses want someone that 'gets shit done'. Usually, solving problems fits into that category.

You sound motivated, and smart enough to dive in to the details to understand a system. That is what will make or break your career. Get the paper, find an entry level job, fix shit, be positive. It worked for me.

Failure comes as passion goes. Remember that.

Re:School is worthless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760359)

You sound like such a douche.

Re:School is worthless... (5, Insightful)

Jeff- (95113) | about 2 years ago | (#41759711)

This AC is mostly nonsense in regards to the state of the industry. I agree about technical colleges though.

Companies would love to hire locally rather than H1B if there was talent. Blaming H1B is racist scapegoating. There are plenty of programmers out there. There aren't plenty of good programmers. If you learn the same web scripting language as everyone else and expect to make 6 figures right out of school you're in for a surprise. However, there are a LOT of companies who are hiring near 6 figures for talent immediately out of a 4 year program.

If you spend your 4 years writing only those programs assigned to you I'm sure it is difficult to find a good job. However, if you take an interest in opensource, do a good internship, or show any capability outside of filling in the last 1/10th of the program that your professor left blank for you, you'll have no trouble getting a job in today's market. What you get out of it is proportional to what you get in though. You can't just skate through and expect someone to hand you a pile of money. You're not entitled to anything just because you went through the motions and did what was laid out in front of you. You're competing with all of the other people who did the same, including those in other countries.

The crack at management is also unfounded. Everyone seems to know examples of mismanagement which lead to the failure of companies and the dissatisfaction and disenfranchisement of employees. Why then is it so hard to conceive that it is a difficult job that few people excel at? There are definitely good managers out there who can extract work from their reports at a higher level of satisfaction. You should learn to spot them and maneuver onto their teams at your earliest opportunity.

Re:School is worthless... (4, Informative)

franciscohs (1003004) | about 2 years ago | (#41759787)

I will never understand how everyone puts the H1-B visas as the cause of jobs shortage. There are about 65k H1-B given annually and they last 3 years, so you have about 200k job positions occupied by H1-B holders, in a country with a population of 315 million. do you REALLY believe the H1-B visas have something to do with the problem?
I'm not saying there isn't a problem, but I'm sure it's not H1-B visas.

Re:School is worthless... (4, Interesting)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 2 years ago | (#41759805)

coupled with student loans that are rapidly accruing interest which can't be discharged, EVER, through bankruptcy.

False.

That is the rumor, but the fact is: you can discharge student load debt on your SECOND bankruptcy.

Re:School is worthless... (5, Insightful)

cruachan (113813) | about 2 years ago | (#41759875)

Sure you can pay Tata $10,000 - you just end up with poor bug-ridden code thrown together with the minimal amount of rigor to meet whatever specification you sent. Even if your offshore coders speak the same language they don't understand your culture and what you get isn't what you want.

I've been a developer for nearly 30 years, 10 years ago I was getting a little worried about the offshore developers - not anymore, I make quite a nice living charging people European rates to redevelop systems properly they've tried to get done for next to nothing offshore.

Of course there are some success stories, but generally any potential client who thinks off-shoring development is a good idea is not one you want as a client.

It was a nice Tata advertisement though (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760013)

Have to give the OP that.

Re:School is worthless... (2)

autocannon (2494106) | about 2 years ago | (#41759881)

Just a general response to this bullshit post. Ignore it.

Re: (Law) School is worthless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759997)

You seem not to have noticed that recent law school graduates (excepting graduates of top-tier schools, and graduates with "good contacts") are now practicing-up on the phrase "would you like fries with that?"

Re:School is worthless... (2)

stillpixel (1575443) | about 2 years ago | (#41760119)

Actually, the H-1B excuse is bogus. I was able to recently talk to the head of HR at the company I work for. I discussed H-1B visas with them and was surprised when I was told that actually H-1B visa workers are expensive to setup and a ton of paperwork headaches. We were looking for a few database people to fill some positions and the HR person told me they turned down a high percentage of applicants because they were H-1B's. Now maybe for a company like Microsoft it's not a problem.. they have money and lawyers to handle the paperwork. But for a company that doesn't have buckets of money and a legal department that can crush a small country it's not really an option. As for the off shoring of development.. from my experience that doesn't always go so well, guarantee or not.

Re:School is worthless... (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 years ago | (#41760209)

law degree & passing bar will get you unemployment here in chicago. hundreds of those people compete for $45K a year job opening. going to take them a awhile to pay off $250K+ in school debt....

Come back! Help! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760337)

Son had been planning UVA all along, but VA Tech came to talk to him and said they'd offer him a ride; it has other positives (campus @ Switzerland) and now we're confused: (I'm blonde forgive me but) is Virginia Tech considered a tech school? (Oh, that was painful to compose.) Son is unfortunately unsure if he wants engineering/math or Classical Studies/Gaelic, so I thought any tech school would be out, but it turns out Tech has a Classical Studies department and [Tech says] more impressive engineering dept than UVA. (Not to mention: RIDE! LOL, Ride is very, very nice.)

I went to a tiny private college out-of-state, so all I know about big unis is from watching football: most states have a university, a 'state university', and a Tech. WTF are differences if they're all liberal arts, though?

Avoid learn by doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759237)

Avoid any school with a learn by doing methodology. Make sure they teach the theory before you do something.

Re:Avoid learn by doing (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 years ago | (#41759437)

Avoid any school with a learn by doing methodology. Make sure they teach the theory before you do something.

Also avoid any school that is totally abstract and doesn't give you practical training. As long as you avoid those two extremes you will be fine.

Seriously, though, if you know enough to recognize that you aren't getting the most thorough education, then you are good enough to go to a real 4-year college.

Don't do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759251)

Most companies or agencies want and only recognize real education institutions. Take the time, do it right & get the paper people want to see.

CompSci? (4, Insightful)

enigma32 (128601) | about 2 years ago | (#41759259)

Sounds to me like you're more interested in _Computer Science_ than programming or "IT".

Maybe you need to reconsider the program you are in, or attend a more serious education institution?

Re:CompSci? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41759581)

...or he might be going for an architect position, which is still IT but requires more CS knowledge.

Re:CompSci? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760173)

alas, I took that sort od Devops style stuff, but I can't find work that uses that style of work almost a year out from graduation. Had to make due reformating harddrives and writing web pages.

Re:CompSci? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41760381)

But but but, one goes to school to learn principles and ways of thinking. The specific solutions, if any, only serve as examples to teach the underlying principles. I wouldn't expect one to regurgitate the architectures verbatim, any more than one would expect to get a job programming in Pascal.

PHOENIX OR NOWHERE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759267)

But then by the time I reach Albuquerque, she'll be long gone !!

And I don't know when I'll be back again !!

Leaving !! to go to technical college (or is that, collage?) Maybe I shouldn't go !!

Should I stay or should I go ??

Maybe Rock the Casbah !!

You'd be better served at a Community College (5, Insightful)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 2 years ago | (#41759273)

For the money, an Associate's Degree at a Community College would impress me more than an ITT degree, and it would cost you a lot less. At a CC you can study CS or IT from people who know their subjects well, and have a passion to teach.

Don't get me wrong, I think that a lot can be learned from a technical college, and I've met quite a few people who have taught there and know what they're doing, but bang-for-your-buck can 't be beaten at a Community College.

Re:You'd be better served at a Community College (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#41759329)

I had a chance to go through a lot of resumes recently, and the few with a community college degree did stand out. Better than ITT, and a CC with a University is better to me than University alone. If only because most of them have been working in the field part time while at a University...

Re:You'd be better served at a Community College (4, Interesting)

C_L_Lk (1049846) | about 2 years ago | (#41759729)

Alternatively, you could follow the path I did (and several others I know, some of whom encouraged me to follow the path) - completed my 4 year in Computer Engineering with a minor in EE. Worked for a few years but really disliked the work I was doing (IT infrastructure), took a little time off, and signed up and went to a 2 year community college trades program in Industrial Electrician... What that did was introduce me to many people working for various companies and hugely expanded my "network" of industry contacts. I had 0 problem landing a 6 figure job as an EE specializing in industrial control systems before I even finished the trade program. My employer thought my background of both "practical electrician" training on top of my CmpEn/EE background made me an unmatchable asset - I know the theory and the practical applications.

For the OP - perhaps going to a traditional Comp Sci program would be the best place to start - and then follow it up with a technical program afterwards where they have exposure to people in industry, and can "shine" as a well educated, brilliant programmer with sharp CS skills. They could even end up like I did getting several offers to teach courses at the community college level after I graduated. I am doing that now part time in the evenings in addition to my full time job.

Re:You'd be better served at a Community College (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760383)

I think what a CC or BSCS or BSEE means to an HR IT screener is that the candidate has a basic set of reasoning skills, and possibly some creative skills, in addition to basic technical understanding of their chosen field. It means they've acquired a basic academic learning tool kit: they've "learned how to effectively learn". More importantly, they have demonstrated a level of perseverance. But to screen out everyone else is plain stupid and incompetent on behalf of HR dept, but happens all too often these days. But luckily for everyone, especially those who can't afford a quality education, you've got high quality free open courseware from multiple universities, and other decent sources like "khan academy" on the Internet. So you should be into those in a big way.

Re:You'd be better served at a Community College (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759345)

I agree with this, though I didn't get a degree in anything related to computers, I took a bunch of classes for my major at a local community college because my university had a few terrible departments, like math and science. The professors at the CC were so good I even took some of my core major classes there as well. Most of my profs were retired from big universities and just really enjoyed teaching so they worked part time at the local college.

And it was a lot cheaper as well.

Re:You'd be better served at a Community College (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759439)

I'd go along with this.

1) The CCs are paid for by taxers you have probably already contributed to. So, although people talk about cheap, you and your family has already paid for the CC.

2) Education is 99% learning and 1% teaching, so I believe you get out of it about what you put into it. IAW, there ain't no where your going to get a better education, as good, but not better.

3) Most of the Tech school courses I've looked at give about 2/3 of what the CC course have. They all seem to cut some corners compared to the CC.

4) If the CC instructor is bad, and I've had some horrid ones, it is easier to drop and get any money you put up back.

5) CCs will sometimes have Internships, where you can get some coordinated practical experience. Granted internships very from good to bad, but all experience is valuable.

6) In my State, CC units are easily transferable to the State Colleges & University. Tech schools classes, I believe, have to be vetted which can be a PITA.

Re:You'd be better served at a Community College (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41759605)

I agree with that. I went to a technical college but ended up backfilling at the local community college. Had I to do it over with, I would probably have done that in reverse order.

The issue with me is that I was desperate to get out of my home town, and it would have been hard to explain to my family why I moved out of state to go to a community college when there was one practically next door to the family home.

Re:You'd be better served at a Community College (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759795)

Indeed. I graduated from Los Angeles Valley College this past summer with my AS in Computer Science and currently work for a successful startup. I got my foot in the industry door a year and a half ago with a decently paying year long internship sponsored by the Community College district. When that ended I moved on to an internship where I currently work and after four months they hired me on as a full employee.

I'm a big proponent of Community Colleges as a result ;).

I did spend a year at a university before ending up at a CC (I did things "backwards" and transferred a number of CS courses to my CC) and I think the biggest difference between the two was that I honestly did more computer work in the CC courses than the university ones. My university courses required a good deal more reading and writing.

Most startups seems to prefer intelligence, ingenuity, and people skills over degrees. A few of my coworkers never even went to/finished any college degree. Bigger companies or companies founded by academics (say, Google) pretty much require it unless your reputation precedes you.

Re:You'd be better served at a Community College (2)

Kneo24 (688412) | about 2 years ago | (#41760107)

Yes and No. As you touched upon, the people who teaches the school are what makes the education worthwhile. I have known many people who went to a school like ITT and hated it, taking away nothing. I have met those who feel the same about community college.

As an ITT grad myself, I feel as if I wouldn't have learned more going to a community college. While I can learn through books, I learn best through hands on training. I would not have received nearly as much of that at a community college. I also had really exceptional teachers while I attended ITT. Of the people on my team other than me, 1 guy is currently attending ITT, two are grads. The two grads tell me they learned nothing (and it often shows as I have to constantly review concepts with them to get them onto the next step). The third guy is currently attending and has an upbeat attitude about it. He'll at least learn something from the program. He claims to have gone to a community college and did not like the program they had there.

I don't discount the community colleges. They are considerably cheaper. They have their places, as do schools like ITT. I do think ITT could ease up on their costs. I would almost instantly recommend them over ITT had I not had a good experience. I instead explain to people the pros and cons of both type of schools.

Re:You'd be better served at a Community College (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760185)

I agree, but also there is more to life than IT only. You should go as far as you can with mathematics "the language of science". You might want to do more in life than a career in IT (which is not a bad career to have) e.g.: physical sciences. Scientists. Human civilization needs more of em.

Quit and go to a real University (4, Insightful)

jchawk (127686) | about 2 years ago | (#41759285)

It's very likely that it will cost the same or less and will lead to more gainful employeement later.

The point of all the extra non-computer science classes is to teach you how to learn and process new material.

Having a 4 year degree from an accredited and respected school will also serve you well.

Here comes the rub... Most start-ups and even smaller mid-sizes might not care or hold it against you but then if you can impress them now why go to school at all?

Just my two cents from a guy works in the fortune 200. Right or wrong I see good people held back by lack of a 4 year degree all the time.

Re:Quit and go to a real University (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41759615)

> The point of all the extra non-computer science classes is to teach you how to learn and process new material.

Having gone to a technical institute, I have to agree. Some have humanities (mine did) but only the minimum necessary for the degree. I had to do a lot of backfilling later.

Re:Quit and go to a real University (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#41759971)

Up here in Canada, it's bit more...mixed on that. The general opinion of most companies is: If you want people who know and understand what's going on in the world, and have a good grasp of the theory and practical. You look college graduates. If you want people who know the theory, but fail at the practical components you look for a university grad.

Re:Quit and go to a real University (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760377)

Not all positions have the same needs and yet you label an entire nation with a single brush stroke? I've hired dozens of developers over the years and that experience has taught me that the attitude and aptitude of individuals is worth far more than the type of institution where they received their education. I can't say I've encountered many managers who think differently; and the ones who think as narrowly as you don't tend to last long.

If I'm hiring to fill a fresh grad position and it doesn't have any 'special' requirements (e.g., specialized math or science), then I'll happily consider community college or university grads. 'Graduates' from technical schools tend not to attract too much attention from me, but that's mostly because those programs tend to be so short that they aren't able to present meaningful transcripts - and when you're sifting through a hundred or more resumes for an opening, you tend to focus on aspects that allow you to quickly classify the applicants.

Sure, why not. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759313)

I'm always amused at the people working for me who command ridiculous (eg, six figure) salaries with absolutely no college education whatsoever, who are for some godforsaken reason impressed with my completely useless A.A.S. in Computer Information Systems.

But...

technical school associates degree

Go with an actual community college rather than a "technical school".

Or consider ignoring the degree crap altogether. Ten years, you say - do you have actual job experience? If not, a degree isn't a bad thing. If you do, it quickly becomes useless, especially if you learn that networking (as in, person to person social stupidity) is far, far more important than any actual talent at doing your job. :p (As horrible as it is - you can always learn on the job, if you have any skill whatsoever.)

Re:Sure, why not. (2)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 2 years ago | (#41759375)

There are public technical colleges that are associated with community colleges, and their degrees transfer to a public university.

For example, in Minnesota, they have a number of public technical schools like Saint Paul College (used to be called Saint Paul Technical College), which is partnered with Inver Hills Community College to earn an accredited associates degree.

Not all classes will transfer, but most of the generals will. Psychology, Math, etc..

Depends... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759319)

I went to a technical college (state accredited, so it counts as a community college) directly after high school, as an alternative to the pricey 4-year universities. I earned an Associate of Applied Science in Networking in the first two years, and an Associate of Applied Science in Telecommunications with one more year of classes, due to overlap in the two programs. Immediately after graduation, I was hired at a nearby university for an open position with their IT team. They interviewed multiple people for the spot, ranging from next to no education to Bachelor's degrees. I was hired immediately after my interview. Granted, this is an entry-level position, but I'm still not necessarily the most impressive candidate.

In short, it all depends on where you want to go with the schooling you take. In the end, it's still a pretty piece of paper saying how much class you sat through, not a direct expression of what you know.

Re:Depends... (2)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#41759651)

Many tech colleges hire from within, and if you can be a State employee that can mean a reasonable career path.

If you're paying through the nose for it (3, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#41759351)

- and it's stuff you could do on your own - then it's already not worth it. If you're capable of learning it on your, which it seems you are, then my suggestion would be to put that money toward self-teaching, and then taking certification tests. No one will give a rat's ass that you have an associate's degree in IT from a for-profit technical school, but they'll drool all over your resume if you put just one semester's worth of tuition towards stuff like the CCNA or the MCSA.

Re:If you're paying through the nose for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759483)

I took 4 semesters of CCNA, but no one gives a rat's ass because I never bothered to pay for the exam and get the certification.

Re:If you're paying through the nose for it (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41759629)

Well, at least the CCNA. MCSAs (at least the lower levels) are becoming a dime a dozen.

Re:If you're paying through the nose for it (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41759853)

I went to one of those fast track adult education colleges that are advertized on late night TV. My classmates and I figured out that for the tuition we were paying to do a follow-the-bouncing-ball-style curriculum, we could have rented an apartment, kitted it out with up to date routers and switches, gotten some books and e-learning course material and done it ourselves. Fortunately we had the one thing that a DIY course wouldn't have: a great instructor.

Still, a couple of months of diligent two hours, a night practice and reading and certifications are a breeze - at least for the lower level certs.

If you're gonna do it, go 4 year. (3, Insightful)

Clubbah (1796660) | about 2 years ago | (#41759363)

The Nand2Tetris is a great resource and I am working through it myself. I wish there was something like this available when I started college 20 years ago. The start of our instruction centered around a variable, then loops, data types, etc. I assume it's because students could related to variables through Algebra. It worked well enough though.

Don't go to a technical school. Go to a state sponsored 4 year university. They're cheaper, better value, and your professors, if you impress them, have some really good in's into hiring companies.

Get your foundation there. Understand *why* companies are willing to pay you 6 figures. Understand the value of scalability and maintainability. Understand how to build a proper ERD. Understand your data structures and why coding something one way is inefficient and doing it another way will make it 1000 times faster. Become an engineer, not a mechanic.

What do you want to do tomorrow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759383)

There is one point in understanding a machine. There is another point in making use of a machine. And there is a point in getting paid for one or both.
The CS degree doesnt necessarily buy you the network to achieve the latter point. Employers are interested in solving a certain set of problems with as less money and time as possible, which renders education to a checklist-item to stay conform to standards. Depending on the kind of job you want to take it is more or less important to have it checked. There may be standardized jobs, but there are no standardized problems...

Get a BSCS (2)

kwiqsilver (585008) | about 2 years ago | (#41759397)

If you want to learn the behind the scenes parts of the language and the computer, get a BS in CS or CE. It will take a few more years, but your earning potential will be much higher than with a two year degree. You can learn all of that on your own, but it is difficult, and that piece of paper will get your resume in the door more easily than trying to explain autodidacticism to an HR drone.

But never stop learning, whether it be through tinkering, online stuff like the NAND-Tetris course, or formal, for-credit courses.

Switch to Community College and transfer to a 4yr (4, Informative)

sycomonkey (666153) | about 2 years ago | (#41759421)

It's really rare to go to a technical college for CS-related stuff and have it work out. The entire concept has been sullied beyond redemption by the ITT's and Devry's of the world. The best bet, money wise, it to take your first 2 years at community college, get all your prereqs like History and Calculus and CS101 out of the way for cheap. Then transfer to a traditional state 4-year for the last two years, even if its just a satellite campus. It's going to be much more expensive, and more challenging than CC, but you will hopefully end up with knowledgeable professors right when you need them, and after 50% of the class has dropped for lack of interest or plain immaturity. Also do your best to work with the school and line up an internship during your summer break between 3rd and 4th year. You'll have a degree that helps your resume instead of hinders it, a token amount of real world experience, and spend a bit over half as much money as just going straight to the 4-year.

Re:Switch to Community College and transfer to a 4 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759719)

Just make sure that the credits at the Community College will be accepted at university. It would be a good idea to contact some of the Universities you make wish to go to complete your 4yr degree to confirm they will accept class credits from an Associate\Community College. Good idea to seek an internship (early and often if you can) so you can include some work experience when you finish up. Avoid accumulating Student load Debt. It will eat you alive later on.

Another idea might be to write apps that are published on the Appstore. This will provide you some experience with modern technology and perhaps some income.

I graduated with a CS degree and I had to self teach myself C/C++, SQL, etc because the school didn't offer classes for them. The college taught a bunch of outdated technologies (ie mainframe assembly, Obscure Mainframe languages, Pascal) mostly because the professors were dinosaurs and didn't want to bother updating their classes. So don't be surprise if you have similar experiences. You go to college to get a piece of paper, and little that learn can be applied to a real job. But the piece of paper will open doors. Most HR depts toss resumes that don't list a 4yr degree for Technical jobs (ie CS, EE, ME, etc).

Consider that because technology is ever changing you will need to self-teach yourself for your entire working career. You either continue to learn, or you become an unemployable dinosaur!

Really wish I had points to mark you up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759745)

Really wish I had points to mark you up!

Here's my anecdote (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41759451)

I'm a high school drop out with a 6 figure income as a software developer.

Re:Here's my anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759623)

I'm a high school drop out with a 3 figure income as a meth whore.

Re:Here's my anecdote (3, Funny)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 years ago | (#41760073)

and unlike 99% of slashdotters, you're getting lots of sex.

Re:Here's my anecdote (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | about 2 years ago | (#41759847)

Anecdotes are nice, but your situation is RARE in a coprorate environment. However, I'm close to the 6's myself, and am in a similar situation...

To get where I am, I've also worked my but off, and frequently have to jump ship when I'm looked over for a promotion due to my "Condition." Only to land in a sea of work that is often more difficult, with longer hours, shorter deadlines, and marginally better pay.

Re:Here's my anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759981)

And I'm a Senior Software Engineer with an Associate Degree in Electronics Technology. Doesn't mean I recommend that career path -- just because I got the right breaks a few times doesn't mean anyone else will. Where I now work, I doubt I'd be hired from the outside even for an entry-level software development position. I have input into hiring decisions (and that's why I'm posting as AC). I've never seen a resume from HR without at least a Bachelor's degree in software engineering or similar related field.

Making yourself less employable (2)

brainbuz (303929) | about 2 years ago | (#41759467)

The overall quality of instruction and graduates in many of these tech schools is often pretty low. Technical College not only costs more than Community College, but is an indication that you didn't have the academic chops to get through Community College. I can tell you how I would stack my resume pile if I was hiring and all that hr was providing was a brief summary: Experience+College, Experience (no degree), Self-taught limited experience, College Grad (no experience), Technical Trade School, No apparent Qualifications. Self study, some certifications, and anything you can do to demonstrate competency will put you ahead of the Trade School Graduate and at least equal to the no-experience college grad. Do it on your own or go to a legitimate college that fits your budget.

Re:Making yourself less employable (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#41760133)

Experience+College, Experience (no degree), Self-taught limited experience, College Grad (no experience), Technical Trade School, No apparent Qualifications.

Interesting. Well, I would tend to say: dependent on the job. I would sort that differently:

Experience (College or no degree treated the same), College Grad (no experience), Self-taught limited experience, Self-taught No relevant experience, No apparent Qualifications, Technical Trade School.

I'm just considering, what it says about a person, that they chose to attend a certain trade school, and felt it was a worthwhile use of their money.

If the job is such an entry-level duty, and requires so few skills, that the average technical trade school student might be able to do it.... then perhaps the job really requires no special qualifications at all.

Not all jobs do require special qualifications beyond a high-school level, not even technical ones. It might be more cost effective to just train the person for their role. And how exactly does one accurately differentiate "self taught" to an adequate extent from "No apparent qualifications" (hmmmm...)

The person with no qualifications may do just as good a job, and not be so quick to seek a high rate of pay. The guy holding the trade school diploma that they spent lots of money on, may very well have a delusion of getting a 7 figure salary after a few years of entry-level work.

So you could hire 50 people with no qualifications on a "trial basis", based on analysis of other factors to find the very best ones, versus 2 technical trade school people.

Determine rather quickly which ones of the 50 can fill the job or are otherwise able to provide more value to the organization, and tell the others, sorry, it didn't work out, with a few weeks extra pay for their trouble.

Finish! (2)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 2 years ago | (#41759485)

Do a great job where you are that shows you can tackle a 2 year project and achieve great results.

Nose your way into doing extracurricular activity you are interested in with a professor or private programming somehow, someway.

You will never stop learning, and it is impossible to get more than a good introduction in 2-4 years so go for it. You never know where you will eventually wind up, so get everything you can in training at school.

Re:Finish! (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#41760411)

meh, it is a liability. Why do a half assed job instead of a full 4 year degree? If you don't think people will wonder that, well they do when they are hiring.

Depends, It can and it can't (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#41759521)

I personally went that path so I can tell you that If you have better options then take the better option. However, where I lived 15 years ago if you wanted a Tech degree of any value you wouldn't have any real options. I took the tech school path only because the only real College that I could afford locally had a horrible reputation at putting out CS Majors. They were in the process of building a new Engineering department and I wasn't interested in being apart of their transition from a bad department to a good department. So I went to the Local ITT school only so I could get a piece of paper saying I could do the things I could already do. If I were to do it again I would actually choose the Local College and get a real CS degree, but at the time I wouldn't touch that school with a 10 foot poll.

Listen to your heart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759523)

CS is the way to go. I tried to do what you are doing because it was easier, but there is no easy way out. My curiosity got the better of me and at 30 I went to a university. 7 years later I got a PhD and am now a professor at a univerisity and doing really fun research on computer language design. It is worth the effort by far.

"It Depends" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759527)

The hardnosed way to think about this, leaving aside any questions of personal satisfaction, is this:

A degree is something that you put time and money into, and out of which you get an credential and (ostensibly) a skillset. The credential and the skillset then open up larger opportunities for you in the future leading to a job, or better jobs, more money, more interesting assignments, etc. The fundamental question is, are you going to get more out of the degree than you put in it?

This is a question which only you can answer for yourself because you know your skillset, you know your job performance, and you know your ambitions.

But with the description you've given me-- ten years of work experience and a skillset that may include much of what you're being taught, vs an associates degree-- my guess is... probably not. With a BS, it's a little more ambiguous-- I know some folks with no degree at all who have risen pretty high on their totem poles, but my gut tells me they are the exception rather than the rule. Where I work, if you don't have at least a BS, you need not even apply. To complete the spectrum, an MS is usually a degree that makes financial sense in the long run, and often something you can get an employer to pay for if you're diligent and talented. And a PhD usually *doesn't* make financial sense, and is reserved for people who love a subject to the point of personal masochism.

(Full disclosure: I am working on a PhD. I am a masochist by definition.)

Private Colleges will fuck you over. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759529)

Private Colleges will fuck you over. I'm serious. You will get a lower quality of instruction from a place like ITT as opposed to a Public college. I am in networking, but i have met Private College Graduates who cannot subnet. DO NOT attend a private technical school, they will screw you six ways to Tuesday.

Procreation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759531)

In a traditional learning environment, I would rather learn everything about the computer process rather than fiddle around with something until I figure out how it works.

If fiddling around is good enough for your parents then it's good enough for you.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759535)

No. Everyone else will have real degrees and look down upon you. They'll wonder why you did it and why you wasted all that money.

Curriculum is the beginning.Dont let it be the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759541)

Don't marry yourself to the curriculum that you are provided by the school. Their curriculum is often a good starting point, but it should not be the end point. Completing your school assignments is the bare minimum, reach beyond. Take the initiative and get involved in some projects that you are interested in. Look into areas that interest you. If you want to code, look for a coding community or project that you can become a part of. You may not be able to do much at first, but you can get involved in small ways and actually learn how it is done in the field and not just from an academic perspective.

Make sure that you build your resume with more than just a degree. The piece of paper that you get from school often says that you know something. The bulk of your resume should show that you can DO something. Can you work with others? Can you write code for a real world project? Can you debug? Can you make a meaningful contribution to a project. Businesses will hire you for what you can do, and less for what you know.

Consider the school's reputation (1)

TCFOO (876339) | about 2 years ago | (#41759545)

A technical college is good if you want to pick up a skilled trade, but from what you said in your post it might be better to go to a traditional college, community or otherwise. As far as getting a job goes, you need to consider the reputation of the school that you graduate from because that is something many companies consider when reviewing applicants. A good way to impress prospective employers as a CS or IT grad is to have some tangible project to tell them about or better yet show them.

Re:Consider the school's reputation (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41760001)

You need to consider the reputation of the school

This is good advice. Where I work, all resumes from these colleges go straight into the trash:

Devry
Heald
ITT
Univ of Phoenix

It is possible that they produce some good graduates, but I have never seen one, and it isn't worth going through all the chaff to find one. You are better off with no degree that with a degree from one of these diploma mills.

American Public University is accredited AND cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759573)

www.apus.edu is a wonderful accredited school that pegs tuition to military reimbursement rates.
My entire MBA experience has been great, and will cost me about $12K
You can test out of a LOT of what you already know, and focus on core classes you want to learn in depth.
Their CS classes and their Networking and Security program are awesome.

Colleges in general need investigated (1)

cashxx (1882268) | about 2 years ago | (#41759713)

No reason for books to be 200+ and wasteful courses for you to take and paying $50k+ for piece of paper. I think they are all ridiculous! Some tech schools aren't that bad, make sure they are credited so you can transfer credits if needed. If your looking for a trade like Welding, Culinary, etc you get a degree at the end and have transferrable credits and cheaper than other schools i see no problem with Tech schools.

Public Technical College can be rewarding (2)

thatDBA (2626877) | about 2 years ago | (#41759727)

I can't imagine a Public Technical School being that expensive. I have friends that earn 90K+ (Senior SQL Server DBA) and 115K+ (Senior Network Engineer) that both attended an inexpensive Technical College for Associate Degrees in I.T. specific areas. Both had technical certificates (MCDBA at one point, A+,Network+ for the DBA/Cisco for the Network Engineer) prior to obtaining Associates Degrees. The Network Engineer's employers have paid for additional vendor specific certificates for him. I attended an inexpensive Public University in Alabama and have a B.S. in Business Admin (M.I.S major) and earn 90K+ as a Senior SQL Server DBA. We all live in areas of the Southeast U.S. where the cost of living isn't that expensive. I worked for a very large global website where at least 2 of the Directors was a self-trained programmers that had no formal education prior to joining the company as programmers. The easiest route is to attend a traditional University and an accredited public one to keep cost down if you have no experience otherwise in a career field. However some of the best and brightest I have worked with developed an urge to teach themselves more about information technology and talked their way into entry level positions (often Help Desk) at I.T. companies before pursuing any formal education.

Get a Computer Engineering degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759735)

You strike me as the sort of guy who likes to know how technology works just 'cause you think it's COOL!

Well, me too.

My advice is do what I did, or something similar -
(I was naive and didn't know about step 0)

0. Think about who you want to work for.
Find out what schools they recruit at

1. Of the schools in thr above list, Pick out a traditional university - a research school - one with a strong engineering department
It really sounds like what you're looking for is a "software engineering" or " computer engineering" program
The former is typically very software and algorithms oriented and is taught by the CS Dept, the latter will likely have some of that, but also chip and component design elements as well, and possibly taught by the Electrical Engineering dept.

2. Go to a community college, get any Associates you like, with one caveat -make sure the classes you take will transfer to the university and program of study you picked in step 1

3. Go to university picked in step 1. Actually PARTICIPATE in the research process. You'll gain experience, resume filler, contacts, internship opportunities, and ultimately job opportunities.

4. Try your damnedest to get recruited by one of the companies in step 0.
If you don't, you are likely to miss the boat for getting started in your career in your field of choice.

If a company isn't recruiting at your school and you don't have 2-3+ years experience, reality is you probably won't be hired in your field. The only thing to do if you missed that boat is do it on your own long enough that you can build a convincing resume and project portfolio to get hired. Or be a smart ass like me and just go back into IT and get paid serious cheddar cause you had 10+ years experience already, with badass engineering street cred, and the ability to write drivers, build robots, bake chips, and program fpga's. not that I ever do any of that. But I could!

use cases for college (3, Insightful)

cthlptlk (210435) | about 2 years ago | (#41759769)

1. sex
2. networking with other people who will be in your profession (try not to mix with #1)
3. learning something from a genuine authority on a subject (try not to mix with #1)
4. learning something that is hard to teach to yourself (music performance, foreign languages)

If you are having trouble finding a job, it is probably where you live or your soft/social skills.

A little comp sci theory is a good companion to the stuff (you say) you already know, but it can be self-teachable.

challenge the courses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759771)

don't try to do a degree anywhere that is not accredited

challenge as many courses as possible in your degree program. if class is a waste of time - take the test and get the credits.

and, or get as many certs as possible

for students - good jobs come to those who are friends with profs and have co op placements.

i am guessing you'd be an outstanding candidate for a co op program - and you'll likely get promoted after your term - and might not even have to finish your degree.

set goals (1)

issicus (2031176) | about 2 years ago | (#41759843)

sit down and set some goals. If you want to get a job somewhere find out what they are looking for. If you want to start a business figure out what you need to know to do that.

Usually everything taught at school comes from books, you might try reading a few.

Think about Community Colleges (2)

109 97 116 116 (191581) | about 2 years ago | (#41759935)

Get your generals out of the way at a community college or similar but be SURE the credits transfer to THE four year college you want to attend.

This will save you thousands of dollars and you end up getting your BA or BS from the school you wanted.

Think about marketing. Huge opportunities for growth positions and most marketing departments have a tight relationship with their corporate purse holders.

ask yourself is "WHAT Do You REALLY want to DO?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41759951)

First Question you have to ask yourself is "WHAT Do You REALLY want to DO?"

IF all you want to do is program then program, Grab Linux and go.
IF you want to understand the science and physics behind it, go to university.

Another way to really understand something in my mind is to fiddle with it!
What really funny, where I got hired here at my job is because I played with Amateur radio and spectrum analysers, and knew the sensors on my Car..

What I find now, is a lot of people are going into "IT" positions, but there is a WHOLE world out there for programming.
From FPGA's To Software Radio's, Industrial, instrument automation control. Don't limit yourself to the IT world.

Also, if you are good a solving problems and thinking on your feet. You will be better then ANY graduate that can't.
One last point, a good friend mine graduated from a "Technical College" And has a technologist diploma, Started selling optical OTDR's. (look it up)
And was making 6 figures and customers were asking where he got his Phd !!!!!

It's not where you graduate from it's how passionate and how good you are at solving problems, and picking up on the material.

My 2 C's

It depends on the institute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760025)

Caltech was ok, a little pricey, but I did learn some stuff. I would definitely avoid MIT, winter is pretty harsh up that way.

Do what you need to do to land the job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760039)

Step 1: Figure out what sort of job you want
Step 2: Find job openings & figure out what sort of paper they require
Step 3: Attend a school/program that provides said paper

For bonus points, talk to a few corporate recruiters & find out which schools they hire interns/new grads from.

The college you are applying to should have some sort of internship and/or hiring assistance post-degree. If it doesn't, find one that does.

Get a Bachelor's Degree... In Anything. (2)

dcraid (1021423) | about 2 years ago | (#41760083)

Check the box. Pick an easy major and get it done. Take as many CLEP tests as you can. Ten years from now no one will care what you got your degree in, and unless you go to a top school no one will care where you went. Skip the for-profit schools and find a nice affordable state school.

Re:Get a Bachelor's Degree... In Anything. (1)

dcraid (1021423) | about 2 years ago | (#41760191)

If you want to learn try www.udacity.com. If you want a degree get a degree.

Im in a similar boat! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760105)

Im currently 21 from age 18 leading up to now I have worked for major video game companies as well as Governments around the world all with just my High School Diploma and my skills aand experience, Although I was quite successful 2 life threatening diseases have come my way forcing me to return to school as I just cant work like I used to. I am working toward a 4 year degree while I work on getting healthier although it definitely feels like a waste of time when one is capable of the jobs, we just dont have that piece of paper saying we know how to memorize things. I had aspirations of joining the military and becoming an officer but with my diseases they would definitely not let me in. Now perhaps I may dedicate my life to academia and continue onwards to a masters and a doctorate in order to become a professor. Bottom line if you want to create things and make money then go get experience and just do it school will just hold you back.

almost a for-profit techical colleges are rip-offs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760113)

The statistics on graduation rate and employment rate (in their field) of graduates of most for-profit technical (trade) schools are horrible. Research both statistics before you spend a dime. As other submitters suggest, a good Community College is a much better choice, and you can usually transfer to a 4-year school (check before you select a CC/program.) Buy a mail-order diploma if the CC route sounds too hard, the mail-order paper will do you as much good as the average trade school, and is a lot cheaper and easier.

As an IT Director and hiring manager... (4, Insightful)

leamanc (961376) | about 2 years ago | (#41760193)

...I think you have already answered your question. You are spending a lot of money on something that will bring you very little in return.

My priorities when choosing a candidate to hire in my company are:

  • 1. Experience
  • 2. Limited experience via internship or part-time job, combined with a four-year degree from a respectable university
  • 3. Limited experience via internship or part-time job, combined with a community college degree
  • 4. Four-year degree from a respectable university
  • 5. A community college degree
  • 6. Demonstration of useful skills outside of traditional workplace experience (that is, experience, but not in a job setting or for a commercial project, i.e., an impressive programming project you did on your own; in short, your portfolio)
  • 7. You are related (e.g., nephew, niece) to someone of authority in the company
  • 8. ITT or similar technical college
  • So, as you can see, you would quickly sink to the bottom of my pre-interview list of candidates. It's highly unlikely you would be called in for an interview. It's not so much that you are getting a bad education at the tech college, but that education is going to be very generic and give you little-to-no idea of what working within an IS/IT group is really like. These schools air commercials during the soap opera and Dr. Phil time of day for a reason: they target unemployed people without any skill sets. These are your peers in a tech college. They cannot be turned into IT wizards in two years. At best, they can get a very simplistic overview of the career field that is about equal to what you can learn on your own, online, for free.

    Sorry to be so harsh, but it's my reality, and I imagine the same for many other hiring managers in the field. We value experience over education (and certifications) because the most important consideration before we spend the time and money to recruit and hire someone is "do they have a career path here, long-term?" And the best way to gauge that is experience, plain and simple. That puts you in the age-old conundrum of "how do I get experience without a degree?"

    And my answer to that is internships. Work for free. Volunteer your time for a community organization. Have mom or dad or Uncle Joe get you something entry-level in their company. Show me that you not only know your stuff, but have a work ethic, know what you want to do with your life, and can work with the wide range of personality types found in any given company. Talent is everywhere; the ones that get hired are the ones I feel will work hard, get along with their colleagues, and have ambition to work their way up to something other than what they are interviewing for.

Get a 4-year degree in CS (1)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#41760221)

It's obviously possible to get a job in the field without a degree of any sort, but a degree will help immensely. And if the "From NAND to Tetris" syllabus is accurate, a solid computer science degree is exactly what you want, and works for the education requirement of almost any job in the field that requires a bachelors degree (a few closer to the hardware end might want an E.E.).

Having been looking for work myself lately... (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | about 2 years ago | (#41760299)

While I was an engineer, mostly C++ systems/embedded, for over a decade, I had to take some time off to deal with family issues. I did some side projects during this time, but rarely full-time. I did take some additional college science classes, more for myself, during periods of time when I had a light load. So, four years out of work, and I might as well be starting off again. I have noticed some new things though.

There IS more of an interest in things that you do outside of the work day. I have seen companies that want to see something you developed, OSS projects you work on, maybe your github account name, an iPhone app you wrote, coding challenges that you participate in. While many companies do have four year requirements, they don't all. It comes up enough that I wish I had something along those lines myself. I do think some of this is more valuable when you are just starting out in place of formal job experience, but it does allow someone to view the quality of your work regardless. There are plenty of older developers entrenched in companies that write horrible code, and at least this is one way that you can show that you can shine.

The question I really have though, is this what you want to do, or are you doing it just because you think it will pay well? I code when I'm not working, and had taught myself how to program many years before ever worked in the field. If you have a passion for it, you'll learn more on your own than you ever will in class.

2 year degree is not technical & worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41760319)

A 2 year degree is not technical no matter how much spin they put on it. Its worth exactly nothing , you will have to pay through the nose for it, and the credits will not transfer to an accredited institution; so you will have to pay twice for the same classes.

Get an Engineering Degree from an ABET accredited institution if you want a technical degree.

So do yourself a favor and run away from those jokers as fast as possible.

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