Part-Time Degree or Extra Courses?

noobman

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 15, 2005
Messages
1,475
Hey all,

I'm a little unsure of what to do. Some background info might help put this into context:

I'm about 1.5yrs away from completing a B. Comm in IT Management (specialization in Applications Development). Unfortunately for me, I've always known that I've wanted to write software for a living. For whatever reason, I allowed the people around me to talk me out of it as an impressionable 17 year old applying for university (it was the whole "computer science jobs are going to India" speel).

I've come to realize two things since then:
1) Good developers are always in demand
2) I enjoy the software development process enough to make a career of it

I have worked two jobs through internships in software development, and two as an IT analyst. I much prefer the software jobs. I would like to get into product development (coding end-user products as opposed to writing vacation management software for a bank) with the potential to move into product management (hopefully that B.Comm comes in handy then).


I can (and have) learned a lot through both internships and on my own. I still feel like I'm going to need something to prove that I would make a good developer on my resume, beyond just 12 months of work experience as a developer and a few lines in my cover letter. I see a few options here:

1) Take night school classes offered at my university from the school of computer science. I have enough time to do the equivalent of two years worth of a computer science degree thanks to the large number of transfer credits I'm eligible for on some of the math classes. I wont' have a comp sci degree, but I'll have a somewhat related degree and a number of courses + experience as evidence.

2) Finish my degree, then do a CS degree part-time while working. This way I'll have a full CS degree, but it will take a LONG time. My relevant work experience will have become stale by the time I've finished.

3) Continue to self-teach myself everything. This is the least expensive option and certainly viable for me, but I won't really have anything to put on paper that proves my knowledge beyond whatever it is I claim. Besides, I've done enough self-teaching to understand the value of a well crafted course and an experienced instructor :)


Any words of wisdom?
edit: Yes, I've read the essay for programming students.
 
Last edited:

AlienKing

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 20, 2001
Messages
274
If you switched to CS right now, before starting this semester, how many semesters would be added to your graduation date? How about double-majoring?

One of my friends double majored in CS and business admin and made it out in 4 years, doing 16 or 17 credits each semester. I'm not sure if that's possible for you at this point, but if it only adds a semester or 2, it'd be worth it IMO.
 

eon

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 11, 2003
Messages
2,218
I'd look into what it would take to become a major in CS and minor in IT management
maybe you have only 1-2 more classes to earn your minor and then you can dedicate the rest to getting your CS degree.
 

ameoba

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
6,413
No harm in changing your major - a lot of people do it. Nobody graduates in 4yr anymore, don't worry about that.

A fresh grad with a year of real experience is going to stand out from the rest of the new grads - don't worry about that.
 

BDV

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 12, 2006
Messages
1,957
Degree, as long as you have one, means very little after you get work experience.
 

noobman

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 15, 2005
Messages
1,475
Thanks for the replies, everyone.

If you switched to CS right now, before starting this semester, how many semesters would be added to your graduation date? How about double-majoring?

One of my friends double majored in CS and business admin and made it out in 4 years, doing 16 or 17 credits each semester. I'm not sure if that's possible for you at this point, but if it only adds a semester or 2, it'd be worth it IMO.
If I were to start computer science in September, I'd have ~3 years without taking summer courses. I could certainly look into double-majoring.
I'd look into what it would take to become a major in CS and minor in IT management
maybe you have only 1-2 more classes to earn your minor and then you can dedicate the rest to getting your CS degree.
My faculty is rather peculiar about that. Minors are tied to the type of degree you have. As a student doing a B. Comm, I can only do business-related minors.

CS students can minor in mathematics, different sciences, some art programs, or some business-related minors.

No harm in changing your major - a lot of people do it. Nobody graduates in 4yr anymore, don't worry about that.

A fresh grad with a year of real experience is going to stand out from the rest of the new grads - don't worry about that.
Good news... how refreshing :)

Degree, as long as you have one, means very little after you get work experience.
Thus far I've had difficulty getting *interviews* for development jobs. I fear that with a B. Comm beside my name and 1yrs experience, employers looking for software developers will just toss my resume in the bin and go for a new grad from computer science.

I was moved from my initial QA position to software development in my first job because they hired some lacklustre students as software developers. I don't know how I managed to land an interview for my second job, but I did really well in it. I beat out some students from one of the top CS programs in the country!
 
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