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Education Programming The Almighty Buck

Ask Slashdot: CS Degree While Working Full Time? 433

Posted by timothy
from the we're-working-in-shifts dept.
An anonymous reader writes "First, some quick background: I am 26 years old and I have been working for a large software development company with more than 50,000 employees for about 5 years now. My actual title is Senior Software Engineer, and I am paid well considering I have no degrees and all of the programming languages I have learned (C, C++, C#, Java) are completely self taught. The only real reason I was able to get this job is because I spent a year or so in a support position and I was able to impress the R&D Lead Developer with a handful of my projects. My job is secure for the time being, but what really concerns me is the ability to find another job in the field without 95% of companies discarding me for lack of formal education. I started looking into local community colleges and universities, and much to my dismay, they offer neither nighttime or online courses for computer science. Quitting the job to pursue a degree is not an option, especially considering they will compensate me up to $10,000/yr for going back to school. Has anyone else been in a similar situation? Does anyone know of any accredited colleges and universities that offer a CS degree through online courses? Obviously excluding the scam 'colleges' such as Univ. of Phoenix and DeVry."
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Ask Slashdot: CS Degree While Working Full Time?

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  • UofA says no (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:23PM (#42419885)
    and almost everyone I've ever talked to says unless you can already pass compilers in your sleep, you're not going to make it. Start with a years worth of Discrete Math texts and if you can follow that no problem you can make it through years 1 and 2. That said, you can get all the course work from MIT, learn it, and then go get the degree as a formality. It's still hard. There's a lot to do.
    • Re:UofA says no (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LucidBeast (601749) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @01:16PM (#42420335)
      I just coded the final lab for bunch of University of Arizona (or some college near by) just for kicks... Took me 12 hours and these dudes probably had more than four months to do it. If I can do that, there must be some value to my skill... I'm just a high school graduate... Couple of years of University of Helsinki CS (I think Torvalds was still there when I started), but lost interest when I realized I know how to do stuff.
    • Well, kinda... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you are born with natural aptitudes for logic and math, then you will do well as a programmer, regardless of which university you choose.

      If you are not born with these aptitudes, you will never be a great programmer. I realize that genetic predetermination is culturally unpopular; we would rather believe that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Well, as many people who tried to jump into the field in the 90's just for the money learned the hard way: you've either got it or you don't. These

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by CodeBuster (516420)

        we would rather believe that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

        While that's generally true, in a manner of speaking, it says nothing about the amount of time or effort required nor the quality of the finished work. Could I improve my non-existent quarterback skills with hundreds or even thousands of hours of dedicated and determined practice? Probably. Would I ever approach anything like the level of play demonstrated each week by Payton Manning and other professionals? Not a chance, not even close. People should focus on improving skill at which they have some natural

  • I never finished my degree as my original university seemed to delight in messing with my finances and withholding books; I also slipped into an IT/Software Dev career and am doing reasonably well, but also feel like the lack of an official degree (and some need for brushing up) is a bit threatening. I'd love to poke away slowly at a degree (I'm going to assume that, since what CS I do have is about 12 years old now, little of it will transfer into a new one.)
    • BS CS programs typically make no accommodations for students working full time. There may be the odd class at 6pm but that has more to do with scheduling professors than anything else.

      If your work will let you juggle your hours around a little so that you can take a class during the day and make up that time early morning, evening or weekends then you may be able to pull it off. The trick is to take as many general ed classes as you can at night. Junior colleges are especially helpful in this regard, jus
    • by ranton (36917) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @02:56PM (#42421117)

      I was in a similar situation in 2008. I had about five years of experience but when the economy started to tank it was harder for myself and some friends to find employment without a degree (wasn't a problem in the early 2000s). I already had over 60 transferrable credits at a community college from before I left college for a good job offer, but could not find any place to finish a CS degree while working full time.

      So I decided to go the online route. But I knew that UoP or Devry would be looked down on, so I needed to get my Masters as well. Plenty of colleges have great night MS programs in CS. I am in my last year at DePaul right now, and once I am finished I will not even list my Bachelor's degree on my resume.

      But even my UoP degree opened doors. I obtained a job at a Fortune 100 company, and my boss told me that HR would have never even let her see my resume if I didn't have a degree. I am now a senior developer making twice what I did in 2008, and I still haven't finished my Masters to clear the stench of UoP off my resume.

      You just have to be honest with yourself about what you actually want. If you want an education, buy a book (seriously, you could buy about 50 quality books for the cost of a single university class). No college course, even in my Master's program, can compete with reading a book like Code Complete or Head First Design Patterns. But if you want credentials, online schools still give you that.

      • The extra ~$5K per year tuition was made up for by the fact I didn't have to commute 45 minutes each way to class several times a week. I already had 15 years experience, so the diploma was far more important than the school. Frankly, I wouldn't have had the time to finish at a brick-and-mortar school - I finished several of my courses while on assignment in Asia. This would have been impossible at a typical classroom. And some of my colleagues tell me UoPhx has the best online classroom technology. All-in-
  • What prevents him from simply getting a BSc and leaving for another company with more pay?

    Also, it's somewhat strange that the company should make an investment in his level of education, and yet the return will go to him (I'm sure he would expect a higher salary).

    • by Desler (1608317) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:27PM (#42419921)

      Why is it wierd? Any decent company will offer academic compensation and pays for training. Maybe you work at a company run by assholes?

    • by sribe (304414) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:27PM (#42419923)

      What prevents him from simply getting a BSc and leaving for another company with more pay?

      Also, it's somewhat strange that the company should make an investment in his level of education, and yet the return will go to him (I'm sure he would expect a higher salary).

      Lots of companies do this. You seem to completely ignore the possibility that the company could be interested in having its workers be more skilled, and willing to pay for higher skill levels.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by benjfowler (239527)

        Lots of companies refuse to pay for training, because lots of people would just skill up and leave.

        Besides, private business is self-interested and cheap -- they expect either you, the government, or foreign governments (through dumping of highly-skilled immigrants) to pay for the skills they require.

        • by tnk1 (899206)

          Almost every place I worked as an employee, has offered tuition benefits. The reality is that many of the companies dropped the students before they dropped the company simply due to cut backs. It is a little weird to see the person that they just paid for a MS for be laid off or otherwise encouraged to leave.

          On the other hand, it can also be a form of hidden retention bonus, since if you leave the company before a certain period of time, most companies usually expect you to repay them. That usually mean

        • by Glock27 (446276) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @04:26PM (#42421705)

          Lots of companies refuse to pay for training, because lots of people would just skill up and leave.

          You're missing the point that in that case a lot of people will look for a job where there are tuition benefits.

          Highly skilled, motivated people are both more likely to want continuing education, and to be able to find a job somewhere else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheGavster (774657)

      Corporations aren't inherently evil ;) but from the practical side, usually the tuition payback is spread out over a few years, or is done like a signing bonus where you pay it back if you leave within a certain period of time.

      • but most college time tables don't work with full time work. Some tech schools / community colleges do.

        • by tnk1 (899206)

          Undergrad, you're correct.

          However, graduate engineering and business schools in particular are much more forgiving of job schedules, as there is a significantly higher number of people working jobs in those fields who are also looking for the Master's degree (MS, MBA) in particular.

      • Corporations aren't inherently evil ;) but from the practical side, usually the tuition payback is spread out over a few years, or is done like a signing bonus where you pay it back if you leave within a certain period of time.

        If you are leaving early and are supposed to pay back a tuition reimbursement ask the HR folks to waive the requirement to repay. They may agree to do so. Get their answer on paper, if email print it out with full headers shown.

        It does not hurt to ask. I've been pleasantly surprised and received such a waiver.

    • Generally, job security these days comes from having flexible enough experience and training to be able to find *another* job easily.

      This means that if people want to study, then the company should be prepared to meet their employees halfway, or they will only seek to de-motivate the parts of their workforce that's are usually self-motivated.

      So while assisting with training doesn't help with the bottom line directly, having a de-motivated workforce will ultimately do more damage to your business.

    • by kenh (9056)

      Employee development is a stated goal of most major companies, I myself have a large oil company to thank for paying for the final year of my BA in Humanities as I worked as a mainframe operator in the late 1980's.

      Well-run companies want current employees to grow into more senior positions (keeping their knowledge in-house), and offering to subsidise post-secondary education is a common way of doing it.

      The typical requirements are that you need to be a full-time employee for the duration of the course, achi

    • by Existential Wombat (1701124) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @01:40PM (#42420545)

      There's always the risk for a company giving training to employees, and then they leave.

      There's always a risk of not giving training, and they stay.

      • Most companies are heavily padded with layers of management who are very comfortable with employees who stay and never learn anything new. Innovators and learners are troublemakers.

        The risk to many managers is the employee who continues learning, without leaving.

        Yes, I work for a GM (government motors) OEM.

  • CS Degree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Dont focus on just CS degree. Most companies only care if your degree "relates" to your job. There are lots of online and night "IT" Degrees so if I were you I would look into System Administration or Network Security degrees. These degrees still require programming classes so the skills you taught yourself wont be lost just expanded upon. Hope this helps some.

    • by kenh (9056)

      He might do himself more good by studying business/management, he apparently has the chops/ability to handle technical issues, his progression for Sr. Software Engineer will very quickly morph into a management position I suspect, and having a class in compiler construction under his belt may be ov very little use going forward.

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:28PM (#42419935) Homepage Journal
    If your job is reasonably secure, keep looking at community colleges. You should be able to find one with an online AS program for CS. Work your way through that first and by the time you finish that you should find that more options are available (more universities are starting online courses all the time) to finish a BS with.

    You likely will find at some point you'll need to change your work hours - or save up a truckload of sick time - to take some day time courses but if you start with an AS you might be able to put that off for a while.
    • I wouldn't get the AS first. I'd find a 4yr adult program that takes transfer credits from the community college as part of the degree plan. If you go AS first you may burn time taking classes that won't transfer to the 4yr.
      • I wouldn't get the AS first. I'd find a 4yr adult program that takes transfer credits from the community college as part of the degree plan. If you go AS first you may burn time taking classes that won't transfer to the 4yr.

        There are pluses and minuses to both strategies. From my reading it seems like the author wants a degree but is not available to go full-time. If he were to start on a program like you describe with the intent of transferring credits rather than taking an AS and then enrolling in a four-year afterwards, he could find that by the time he is ready to start taking 4-year courses his old courses are no longer recognized. If he can take an AS along the way, then at least he will have something to show for hi

  • Math Degree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KalvinB (205500) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:29PM (#42419943) Homepage

    You don't need a CS degree which is more likely to require lab/classroom time. I tried to the CS program and couldn't stand it. I finally ended up with a degree in Math and that's perfectly suitable for a career in programming. I was working full time and taking classes to finish that up. I imagine it's a lot easier to find on-line math classes.

  • I went to a local 2 year community college for two years then AIU for the last two. AIU I would probably classify as scummy, however the nearby 4 year university was going to force me to go there 3 years to finish up my degree. I had just finished an associates degree in two summers and two semesters, so I really didn't want to be forced to attend college for 3 full years just to make the school more money. I was working nights at the time, and it was killing my health. Back then the choices were pretty

  • by brunes69 (86786) <<gro.daetsriek> <ta> <todhsals>> on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:31PM (#42419959) Homepage

    While most universities will not allow you to enroll in a degree part time, they will have no problem with you doing one or two courses. See if your employer will allow you to take off the 1 hour / day 3 days/week to do a course... this would let you do 4-5 courses / year. Whenever you do find the time to do your degree, all these credit hours will be out of the way and it will save you a lot of time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:31PM (#42419963)

    If your employer is willing to pay for a formal CS education, it's likely they'll be flexible with your work hours. Find a quality university near you, investigate their program and their requirements, and lay out a plan for your boss to look at. They'd probably let you leave a couple hours during the day as long as you came in early/left later to compensate for the hours you've missed. I'm 24 and have a full-time salary position and am getting a CS degree part-time, and only because my employer allows me to leave for a few hours during the day to go to classes.

    It's convenient, as I go to a university in a large city, bus to campus when I have them, and bus back to work afterward. Usually I try to take night classes to avoid leaving during the day.

    Warning: you will work extremely hard and you won't have much free time if the University you go to is any good.

    • by putaro (235078)

      I worked full-time as a software engineer and went to school part-time for the last two years of my degree. It was tough, but I did finish out my degree and it's definitely a lot easier when you don't have to start your interviews with "Well, I don't have a degree but I have this experience..."

  • Head over to degreeinfo.com/forum.php and read up there... plenty of excellent schools that offer regionally accredited degrees online - you study when you have time. Whether you go for CS or SE, it is out there. UoP / DeVry are not scam Universities, they're for profit.. but legit (not endorsing them, just correcting you)... I completed my entire undergrad online through Fort Hays State University (GO TIGERS!) and never set foot into the classroom and there are plenty of folks on the forum who have comp
  • by SydShamino (547793) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:33PM (#42419977)

    I know nothing about their four-year programs, but DeVry's two-year associate degree in electrical engineering technology yields quality, skilled engineering technicians. My company struggles to fill hardware tech roles (we had one open for six months this year), but many of those positions (including at least one that reported directly to me) were filled by recent DeVry graduates. (We're growing and need a hardware tech for every 2-3 hardware engineers, plus a software tech for every 4-5 software engineers.)

    So yeah... maybe the four year degrees aren't as valuable, but it's not fair to call DeVry a "scam".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I pursued an undergraduate degree in Computer Science and a graduate degree in Software Engineering, both part time. For the undergraduate degree I took two classes per semester (most semesters), and sometimes one class in the summer. It took 10 years to complete the undergraduate degree, but at the end I had 10 years of experience, a college degree, and no student loan debt. 5 years after that I had a graduate degree, 15 years of experience, and still no debt. If you stick with it, in my opinion, it's

  • DeVry is not a scam it's a TRADE / TECH School but do to the old college system it's roped into the degree system.

  • some thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:37PM (#42419999)
    If all you want is the piece of paper and aren't interested in learning much from your non-major classes, here's what I'd do:

    1. Limit yourself to semi-reputable four-year universities. You don't need a top-tier school but you also don't want a degree from somewhere with a reputation so poor it will be only marginally more valuable than a two-year degree from Phoenix.
    2. Do your research and determine which school (or schools) require the fewest hours in residence in order to grant a degree. My alma mater requires 60 credit hours (i.e. about four semesters as a full-time student) in residence. It's likely that many universities require less.
    3. Do your research and determine which schools will accept transfer credit (and count it toward a degree) from either: a) online universities like Phoenix, and/or b) a community college in your area.
    4. Knock out as much transfer credit as you can from online universities and/or your local community college. You want enough so that you only need take the minimum number of hours "in residence" at the school you intend to get the degree from.
    5. Transfer all your credits and start working toward completing the in residence requirement. If you're going to be working full time you probably won't want to take more than two classes at a time. Though, you can also do this during the summer, meaning you can complete about 18 credit hours per year. That means it will take you ~3 years to complete the in-residence hours plus however long it took you to amass the 60-70 hours of transfer credit.

    If you're dead set on working full-time during the entire affair (and I can definitely see the appeal) it's hard to imagine your being able to complete a degree in fewer than six years from start to finish. And that's a stretch.
    • by rgbscan (321794)

      ^^ This is a good plan. Transfer credits are a big plus.

      FWIW, I think you need to keep looking. Here in Minnesota I'm enrolled in a nights and weekends college program for working adults at Augsburg College (no online though I'm afraid), and it's a real, accredited, 4 year school. Getting my company to pay for it too through tuition reimbursement.

  • by kenh (9056) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:38PM (#42420015) Homepage Journal

    Software development company with 50K employees?

    If career advancement is truely a concern, by first suggestion would be to review job descriptions for higher positions in your projected career path - do the require college degrees? As I recall, MS (if that is where you work) had a couple of very senior executives without college degrees, they most likely included wiggle-room in their job descriptions to allow for alternative education paths.

    Finally, you are already inside - typically the folks that care about technical issues like college degrees are in HR, and their main "contribution" is weeding out applicants - you've avoided that threat, and apparently the line managers appreciate your proven talents.

    I would have a plan to complete a college degree, but only invoke it if you find that a degree is really *required* for advancement.

    • by rk (6314)

      This. Many (most?) positions out there list BS/MS or equivalent work experience. I work in a NASA-funded lab AT a university, so you'd think a degree would be a hard and fast requirement, but although all our software engineers are currently degreed, we have had engineers in the past who didn't have theirs.

      • by mrbester (200927)

        If a company rates a degree as more important than five years of hands on experience coding for The Real World (TM) then to hell with them as they prefer inexperienced graduates they can churn through and pay less.

        All the bollocks about "where do you see yourself in 5 years time?" is rendered moot if that isn't as long as they envisage employing you in the first place.

    • Software development company with 50K employees?

      Software development companies just mean their products are primarily electronic. Thomson Reuters for example, has the Lexus/Nexus legal database. It's practically required for anyone in law; They employ well over that number, but most of them are data entry, editing, support, accounting, HR, etc. There's less than a hundred actual developers in the company... but they're a software development company because that's the product they sell: Software.

    • by lakeland (218447)

      Most JDs I know require a degree in a relevant field. It's used by HR as a quick filter to avoid wasting time screening out woefully underqualified people.

      So what the submitter says makes some sense. If you're dealing with the person who you'll be reporting to then they'll be far more interested in relevant experience. But occasionally you have to get through HR filters too - larger companies require them for major promotions, and he might need to leave his current job if his boss gets replaced with a ra

  • They're fully accredited and make you actually study. wgu.edu
  • Suggest Night School (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Benedick (737361) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:45PM (#42420087)

    Listen well to the voice of experience. I went straight from high school to work as a programmer. Anyone who tells you that lack of a degree will not hold you back or will not get you a job - or that you wouldn't want those jobs anyway - has been fortunate or short-sighted. You need the degree for upward mobility and continued job security.

    I worked full time while getting two associates, a bachelor's, and a master's (of sorts - long story). It's hard, even harder if you're married and have kids, but this is something you have to do for yourself and your family.

    If you live in any sort of a big city, there's bound to be a college that offers night classes. That's the right way to do this. It won't be a diploma mill but the professors will care about you and will not be trying to wash you out or just see you as a paycheck. One side benefit is that you'll learn while going through the process. Maybe you know all there is about computers, but learning all the other courses you might think are BS, they'll help you think and speak and write.

  • More state universities are offering online courses. You can your classes online on your own time and get the same degree as the students that went to the classroom. The universities are accredited and you'll have a degree that will allow you seek post-graduate education if you are inclined.

    The few classes that aren't offered online can be taken during night or weekend sessions (usually a couple of hours on Tue and Thur night).

  • "what really concerns me is the ability to find another job in the field without 95% of companies discarding me for lack of formal education"

    You are 26 and working for a company with 50K employees, some of whom are both in high positions and enlightened enough to have recognized your intelligence without needing to see a "credential." Any company like that ought to have many subdivisions to choose from, so you have your own little constellation of possible new employers, all within this company.

    And, should

  • University are not really setup for working pros the tech schools like DeVry due offer night classes. Univ. of Phoenix and others offer online.

    But you have years of work skills in the field so that should count for something. Also lots of University force you to take filler and fluff classes. Some even force you to live on site at high costs.

    At least at some tech schools you can test out of classes. But with 5+ years of in the field work is so far a head of what you can pick up at University and if you wher

  • A math degree would require less laboratory classes and less projects. You could do the studying to learn u/g level mathematical concepts at your own time and you would mostly have to worry about homeworks, midterms and exams and not so much about big (team) projects.

    Projects in CS curriculums are extremely time-consuming. And most importantly, after all these years of s/w engineering experience, you don't need them. You have already acquired most of or more than the skills that these classes are designed t

    • Nether math nor CS courses will help you be a better engineer. They might make you a better programmer.

      Study engineering to learn engineering. Don't wimp out in CS. Are you afraid of a little more math?

  • You don't really need a formal CS degree. Most companies don't seem to care WHAT subject is studied as long as you got a degree. Many of the most competent programmers I've met had no formal CS degree. They had other degrees and sometimes just took a couple of formal classes in programming or other CS-related subjects that interested them and sometimes not. A motivated person can easily learn what they need online these days if the goal is just to crank out code.

    The fact that your current gig will pay f

  • I started looking into local community colleges and universities, and much to my dismay, they offer neither nighttime or online courses for computer science.

    Why does it have to be so nearby? My online CS degree was like 50 miles away. Made for a long drive at finals time for the proctored exams, but its only about 3 times per year. They had procedures if you're too far away, but visiting campus provided an interesting excuse to meet the profs etc. Most non-CS classes were written essay exams (no problemo, sit down and scribble for an hour), but most CS classes were large project (exhausting endless hours). Also if your local state U 2-year college doesn't

  • If you want to rise in your current company, you might consider finding out what skills you need to rise to the next level on the corporate ladder and then target those skills with individual courses. For example, my Mom was a "senior programming analyst" for about 20 years. She was told that she needed personnel and project management skills to rise to the next level of project or group leader. She decided she was having fun where she was, so her continuing education focused on a couple of courses that

  • A company with over 50,000 employees has probably had a few folks who've been in the position you are in. Start with your HR resources, and ask them if they can connect you with people who've done a degree part-time.

    I did both an MS and a PhD part-time, paid for by my employer. Obviously, that's different. A part-time MS is a well-trodden path. A part-time PhD is not quite so well trodden, but it's been done. (Although my adviser told me flat out that nobody finishes ... if that was meant as a challeng

  • by Anml4ixoye (264762) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @01:20PM (#42420357) Homepage

    I've been in the industry nearly 15 years now. I think not having a degree has only come up maybe one or two times. Sure didn't stop me from getting recruited by Microsoft.

    What I would focus on is a couple of things:

    1. Expand your horizon - learn the basics (See Michael Feathers Self-Education and the Craftsman [vimeo.com] talk from SCNA 2009). Then learn things like Functional Programming, Dynamic Typing and other languages.
    2. Do other things - Make programming a hobby and a career. Start an open source project. Contribute to others. Scratch itches that bug you, but do them with software
    3. Play Both Ends - Learn back end development. Learn front end development (CSS/Javascript). Do some hardware development (SparkFun's Arduino kit is fun, as well as the Roomba robot kits).
    4. Read, Read, Read - Find books on software engineering. Reverse Engineering of Viruses. Design Patterns. Project Management. And go outside - books on Business topics are especially good, because you get to understand the tradeoff that often gets made.
    5. Practice, Practice, Practice - Do Katas. Create projects. Explore ideas. Do things like Ludum Dare [ludumdare.com] and hackathons. Build an iPhone app, then build an Android version.

    I'm not trying to knock a college education - if you want it for the education. If you want it just for the advancement, the things above are going to have a much bigger impact on your career and your ability to find employment in many cases.

    • I completely agree with this. I have a high school diploma and make well over $100k as a developer. The degree is only needed to get you in the door if you don't have experience but experience completely trumps the piece of paper once you have it. Everyone in this industry knows that college does not prepare you for real world software development so the degree is pretty meaningless. That said, there are a couple of exceptions. If you want to do scientific programming that requires a great deal of math

    • by tgd (2822)

      I've been in the industry nearly 15 years now. I think not having a degree has only come up maybe one or two times. Sure didn't stop me from getting recruited by Microsoft.

      IMO, all things considered, that being on your resume would help more than any degree. Say what you want about Microsoft, the company, or their products, but if there's one thing they do well its hire and mentor engineers. Microsoft experience trumps degree any day when I'm hiring.

  • You got a "Senior Software Engineer" title at age of 26? O.o

    Sorry, pal, but I think your company had spoiled you badly.

    On the other hand, KUDOS for your approach to the problem (it is instinctive? How did you realize it?)

    Formal education is a need (I know, I did'nt complete my own - besides having a excellent technical formation and experience : I'm entitled to get a PMP title if I apply for it), and you're 150% correct on concerning your future. Don't let the size of your company eludes you, it appears to

  • ECU.edu, almost all their degree programs are online. You may need to get a proctor for the midterms and finals however.
  • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @01:27PM (#42420425)

    Not online, though. I was fortunate to live near a great school and started taking part time classes before transitioning to full time classes. A full time, daytime course load while working full time IS possible if you have an understanding employer and your work schedule can flex. I'm not going to say it was easy. Less sleep happened than I'd like and my life was basically work and school, but I got through it.

  • I worked full time while I got my degrees.
    NOBODY has ever asked me for my degrees.
    All they care about is that I can solve their problems.

  • While not the right fit for everyone Harvard Extension School.

    http://www.extension.harvard.edu/ [harvard.edu]

    At the bachelor's level they on offer a Bachelors of Liberal Arts (ALB), but they offer a great deal of flexibility in selecting courses including many interesting computer science courses. A considerable number of courses can be taken on-line, but there is a residency requirement. Although it is fairly common for people to commute from quite a distance to attend courses to meet the residency requirement, personal

  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @01:32PM (#42420467) Homepage Journal

    Once you have that 'or equivalent' it doesn't matter. I never did cobble together a degree despite several years of college (changed majors a lot). I've held jobs that 'required' everything from a BS in CS to MIS and/or an MBA. Nobody ever asked questions. If you can put the experience on your resume and do the job you can get the job, with very few exceptions.

  • You can do a BSc entirely by distance learning through London Uni (apart from the exams which you sit at a British Council office anywhere in the world) and it is also relatively cheap.

    http://www.londoninternational.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/goldsmiths/bsc-computing-information-systems-bsc-diploma-work-entry-route [londoninte...onal.ac.uk]

    They have many other undergrad & postgrad courses too.

  • I got a master's degree in software engineering from the University of Bordeaux, in France (a relatively good university) while working full-time in the UK.
    I registered normally as a student then I told them I had a full-time job and couldn't attend classes. As a result I only needed to come for exams, which I passed without any issue whatsoever.
    I got my bachelor's degree in computer science the normal way, though.

    I also looked whether it was possible to do a PhD thesis quickly, and apparently it is possibl

  • The quick answer - If you want to broaden your options of where you can work get a 4yr degree in any IT related program that you can. See it for what it is, an accomplishment, not an education that will make you an IT rock star.

    I am an IT manager that has worked his way up the IT ranks over the last 20 years. I was very fortunate to break through the no degree non-sense as an experienced hire in the late 90's IT hiring frenzy. Then the IT crash happened in early 2000's and bam...out on my butt and in ser

  • I just finished my university studies while also working full time, but my situation is still quite different I think. I defended my CS PhD a couple weeks ago in the US where I also work full time as a software engineer. I had a math degree from my (non-US) home country, which was/is not properly recognized. (Should be M.S. equivalent, but there are arrogant and ignorant administrators in the US. Meanwhile my opinion (that I refrained to yell to them) is that the US B. S degree is equivalent to an above ave

  • As long as the online school is accredited from its regional accreditation board, then you should have no fear in attending. This goes for the online, for-profit schools.

    I dropped out of college in the middle of my senior year of getting a BA in Music Education to pursue a tech opportunity. Once I settled in to that job, I went back to one of these for-profit colleges to complete a BFA in Visual Communications degree. They let me transfer over most of my credits, so all I had was a year or so of major class

  • I'm getting my CS degree from them right now, while working full-time. It's not great for learning, but if you already know how to program, you can definitely check the box there (and probably get a 4.0 to boot).
  • by pclminion (145572) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @02:16PM (#42420827)

    Sounds like you're doing quite well already, in a large org, with a nice title. Not that titles mean a whole lot. But if you approach another company with the experience you seem to have gained already, I don't think your education is going to be high on the list of interview topics.

    If you start double-punishing yourself with school, you risk fucking up your work performance and that WILL reflect on you. Unless your current job is a real shit hole, stick it out for another two or three years and then start poking around. See if you can climb any higher at your current place, too.

    You're 26 and have a "Senior Software Engineer" title. I say your whole body is well inside the door by now, not just your foot. Don't worry so much.

    • by cpghost (719344)

      But if you approach another company with the experience you seem to have gained already, I don't think your education is going to be high on the list of interview topics.

      Sorry to bust your bubble, but this is just plain wrong. It was wrong when companies were hiring like crazy during the dot-com boom, it is even wronger today when recession hits. People without a degree are not only the first to go, they are very unlikely to get a job interview, no matter how much professional experience they have.

      My ad

  • I think one of the University of Illinois campuses does a CS degree completion, though you need some courses completed before coming in. University of Massachusetts at Lowell does an IT degree online, which is obviously not the same as CS, but you can take several computer science courses and it will get you a Bachelor's same as if you attended the school; it is not an 'Online' degree and there is no differentiation. I traveled a lot at the time so attending on campus was not an option. I was literally wri
  • Rather than doing an undergraduate degree, why not look at a Masters? You have experience, and the open university offer distance diplomas that then give you access to Masters courses. Open University - open.ac.uk

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @02:59PM (#42421127)
    Western Governor's University is an online school which is a state school in at least twenty states. So like University of Texas, UC, and other state schools, it's quite reputable and the cost is lower than private schools, if you're a resident of one of the sponsoring states. They offer several IT degrees.
  • I got a masters in CS from scratch (started with a BA in Psychology) while working full time. The University of Texas at Dallas had a fantastic commuter program, enabling me to take all of my courses at night. I did it when I was about your age, too. So go for it. The worst you can do is not try.

  • I'm 26 as well currently attending a UC as a junior.I've been taking 16 units and have been able to work about 15 hours a week and still managed to get all A's.Ive chosen to focus on school right now. Since I can draw on my work experience, I probably study a couple of hours at most for each test and homework assignments are easy.Most universities will make you petition for a deficient load if you take less than 12 units, but it may be possible to get units for working.A flexible work schedule is necessary

  • and do you have kids? I was nearly in the identical situation to yours...30 years ago...though luckier to have Northeastern U. programs available and a Masters CS degree program in evening division of Boston U....but that was not enough. The realities of family life include MUCH less "free" time than a bachelor with a job can devote to studies. I racked up 22 credits...most of a MS CS degree but just could not get it done in the time required...even though my employers were reimbursing my tuition.
  • 5 years is a good time span at any one company, anything over 2 years looks great on a resume. My personal experience was that nobody mentioned my degree after my first job, networking is far more important than a degree. Networking is also more important than kissing management butt to claw your way up the chain of command. When your co-workers like you personally and respect your work ethic in addition to you skills then you will eventually old buddies regularly calling you to see if you have any inter

  • by hax4bux (209237) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @04:01PM (#42421489)

    It took a few extra years. And you end up taking courses based on schedule rather than what interests you. Honestly, being that busy is not a good way to learn but it can be done.

    Near the end, I had required classes which were not given in the evening (these were typically science classes w/lab sessions). By then I was working as a contractor and I would work summer and a semester, then quit working and attend classes for a semester. This allowed me to stay enrolled and not starve.

    When I graduated I already had a great resume and zero debt.

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