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Computer Science vs Information Systems vs Certifications
#1
I may have mentioned this another time but I will bring it up once more, hopefully with a little more detail.

I am kind of considering something in teaching technology related courses but beyond K-12. Without doing much research, it seems K-12 education requires an education degree. I also spoke to one of the instructors who was also my advisor... OK let me back up real quick... I work where I went to school in the IT department, I got an Associates in Applied Science for Computer Information Technology. So there is an in field advantage there. I got the idea that it would be a neat job to teach this stuff to college students at the community college I work at or something similar. I do have a passion for it and I like talking about it. I have also been tutoring a student who wants to lean programming, so I have been working with her here and there with Python.

So I also kind of like the programming, database and logic side of things more so than I do with the Information Systems, particularly the management and business stuff. So I figure something like Computer Science would be better suited for me, or something along those lines. I know at least two of you here... [MENTION=19807]SilverBullet[/MENTION] and [MENTION=22879]kindy64[/MENTION] either have or will soon have a degree in Computer Science...so yeah the cat's out of the bag for you two lol With that being said I know there's a good bit of mathematics involved. So I thought it would be a good idea to take a single course next semester, pay for it out of my pocket and take Pre-calculus as a measure of what in the holy f*ck I'm signing up for. I have never taken a higher math beyond Algebra for the most part, so most of this when I get into it will be new to me.

Now for the fun part. Provided all goes well with the math class. My plan would be to do one of two things. I could take whatever necessary courses so that I can get credits transferred from where I work, 2 year college to a 4 year college where I would finish a BS in Computer Science.... or something like Information Technology. Here's why there is the "OR" in this. No school that I have come across offers a BS in Computer Science as an online program, they all offer other similar majors like Information Systems and so on. If I were to do Information Systems I don't know if Math is much of an issue at that point. The problem of course with me going the traditional route is that means I have to commute 1:15....65 miles to the nearest 4 year school and I'm probably going to miss out a lot of work because I don't think there are any schools that offer "night" classes these days. I think that crowd went the online route. Now it is possible that I can work something out with my boss and be able to do all that but I really can't afford to take a pay cut either especially having to take out student loans and try to do all the course work, capstone and maintain a full time job making full time pay....

Then someone said focus on certifications. Now I like that idea, I'd say that would work to my favor in a lot of cases, not sure about going towards an instructional position, but abroad a lot of employers want people who have been and done stuff in the field. I have, almost 10 years but I don't have any fancy papers... I have a 2 year degree, I have an A+...ok so I know a little bit here and there and probably in better shape career-wise than a lot of people because I have the experience and I have dabbled in a lot of stuff. The big thing I have about certifications is the cost and the big thing lately about having to renew them....and then you have cases like Novell who basically don't matter, everyone is moving away from Novell and migrating to Active Directory for instance... I mean GroupWise? Seriously? Anyway, the other thing someone told me was to "get your employer to pay for your certifications." I might be able to pull something where I work now, but before I was doing good to get the time off to go to Atlanta to take the test...and I did find the A+ pretty easy, easier than what is in the books at the time.

Anyway, that's kind of some of the ideas and where I stand with things...hopefully there is a good or better direction to take with what I want to do or figure something else out... 9 years ago I should have been a realtor, could have made bank...and then the bubble burst.
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#2
I guess it's time I came out of the closet and admit I do have a bachelors in computer science from an ivy league institution. I worked in the field as a programmer for a long time, before I decided I'd had enough of it and threw it all away to start an organic farm.

A lot of your questions can be answered by the department chair at the school you are interested in attending. If they are not directly accessible, then start at the admissions office and go from there.

I think your idea of more math is a good one. Stopping at algebra is way early in the math field. However, depending on what kind of programming you will eventually do, math may or may not be very relevant. I was involved in the very early stages of computer animation, so math was indeed very necessary.

What a CS degree really does is take you from being a hacker to being a real programmer. It teaches you how to elegantly structure a program so that it is easily modifiable and extensible. No program is ever really done, so you have to write in in such a way that other programmers long after you are gone can use your code and build upon it. Learning how to properly structure a program to anticipate future needs is a huge leap from doing a bit of database programming. You are graded based not on if the program spits out the right answer, but if the program spits out the right answer and is structured in an efficient and logical fashion that makes it easy to extend and improve without massively rewriting what you already wrote.

So back to math, for my CS degree I was not required to take math past calculus but I did do linear algebra and logic. I don't think I understood anything in my logic class at all, so I stopped math at that point and took more of the computer science curriculum. Math is needed but perhaps less than you are thinking.

Early computer science classes are designed to weed out a good percentage of the students so the faculty's workload in manageable. If you have group assignments choose your group members carefully.

I don't know how you could swing a full time job and a bachelor's degree. Maybe others can help there. I feel that programming is a young man's profession, and it wouldn't be long before you'd be promoted into a management position. So look at other course work at the school that would be applicable to management. Being organized, having the social and leadership skills to deal with a diverse team, learning how to manage other team members and get work done correctly and on time, that makes you a very desirable employee.

I have no knowledge of what CIS degree entails.

I probably didn't answer any of your questions, but maybe I gave you something to consider.
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#3
I went to college straight out of high school, chose to major in Computer Science and Information Systems, with a few summer classes for Spanish (which I barely passed,) I was able to graduate with my degree in just 4 years. 3.8 GPA in my major, 3.1 overall. The only real experience I had in high school with computers was messing around on the couple of Apple II's (II's, not II+) they had in the back of one of the math classes. I had excellent grades in math, did very well in math on the SAT. One of our math teachers pointed me in the direction of programming, my other thoughts at the time were automotive engineer (loved to draw and design cars,) or the military service.

So, I sorta lucked into a career for which my mindset is perfectly suited. Logical, a problem solver, able to quickly follow other peoples work, able to solve mathematical proofs in innovative ways. A most favored memory from college was our math professor in Abstract Algebra putting up one of my proofs to show how there was always more than one way to "skin a cat." Many of the students in that class used my tutoring services that year, and I ran a study group.

Now, there is great value in getting a degree, the knowledge I learned about computers, programming, systems, and how to structure everything was invaluable. My parents paid for probably half my education, I got maybe a third as grants or work study, and then had loans for the rest. The loan payment was reasonable, so except for several lean years, I was able to make the payments.

Now, if what you are interested in doing is more the programming, database, or front end design, don't go for a degree. Learn what you need to as far as languages, databases, tools, and methodologies. You can take online courses, night classes (look for continuing ed,) or even college courses. Then get the certifications which "prove" you know the material.

Want to know what you need as far as certifications go, look for jobs you're interested in on the big job posting sites.

The benefit of doing things this way are, lower entry cost into the job marketplace, and quicker entry into the job marketplace. You also don't have to pay for classes which, while they may broaden you as a person, aren't going to help you get a job. Much as I loved my time in school, and the classically liberal education that I got, I wouldn't saddle myself with that much debt. You end up finishing school and being in a great big hole of debt.

This is the advice I'm giving my son as well, I really don't think he has the focus he would need to survive 4-5 years at a college. He is a smart kid, but his ADHD is a hinderance to his academic achievement. Something that focuses him on just what he needs to get a career will be better suited for him. YMMV of course, and this is only my opinion. I was also honored to have a guy I dated choose to go for a CS degree because of me. According to him, I "was implicate in that decision."

I've known plenty of programmers in my 30 year career. Some of the best were self-taught, or only had a smattering of programming classes.

Now, if you are thinking of going for teaching, that's a whole other ball of wax. I've been considering going for a teaching degree, and after chatting with you (axle) about wgu I looked up their requirements. They aren't to awful, and I may actually consider it. I'd probably be comfortable teaching math and computer science at the middle and high school levels.

I can post some resources which can help with the learning side of things when I have more time. Got to get to sleep now, have to be up at 5:45 am so I can get the kid to school, and my roommate to work, before coming back home and working in my home office.
Those who have HATE in their heart are HATEFUL PEOPLE
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#4
As far as why math is featured so heavily in CS programs, it helps develop the logical form of thinking you need to solve problems. The heaviest math programming I've done has been tax calculations and amortorization on loans. 90% of the programming I've done has been with data entry systems.

A good friend of mine had a more engineering program at his school, and he did work closer to the hardware level, even going so far as to program specialized functions in assembler because math at any other level was to slow for the projects he was working on. I think that was a spectrum analyser of some sort for a defense contractor.
Those who have HATE in their heart are HATEFUL PEOPLE
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#5
[MENTION=20941]Camfer[/MENTION] made a few good points about CS, not only do you learn how to write something but they go to great detail of how to write something WELL IE when to do polymorphism, inheritance and design patterns. When is an array better than a linked list and vice versa how to calculate the big oh of your run time, big alpha and omega for normal and abnormal data sets and how to improve it (here is where math starts to factor in) oh and graphics take a good deal of math, matrix multiplation and such then you got datasets and if your made to hand calculate centroids and such but most of that is simple math just allot and as kindy mentioned assembly language bwahahah its soo bad you will have comments on every line of code! AHHHHH!! we had to write a recursive method with nested for loops, was given a c++ example and told to duplaicate it... the example took like 10 lines of code, the assembly code took like 2 pages, *quivers*.

Maybe WCU is alone in its mathematics requirements, if other places only require calculus your in good shape. IMHO math doesn't get hard till writing proofs Wink. I have often said if i knew how hard Discrete was going into it I would have did CIT.
"When you think all is forsaken,
Listen to me now
You need never feel broken again
Sometimes darkness can show you the light
" ~Disturbed
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#6
kindy64 Wrote:I went to college straight out of high school, chose to major in Computer Science and Information Systems, with a few summer classes for Spanish (which I barely passed,) I was able to graduate with my degree in just 4 years. 3.8 GPA in my major, 3.1 overall. The only real experience I had in high school with computers was messing around on the couple of Apple II's (II's, not II+) they had in the back of one of the math classes. I had excellent grades in math, did very well in math on the SAT. One of our math teachers pointed me in the direction of programming, my other thoughts at the time were automotive engineer (loved to draw and design cars,) or the military service.

So, I sorta lucked into a career for which my mindset is perfectly suited. Logical, a problem solver, able to quickly follow other peoples work, able to solve mathematical proofs in innovative ways. A most favored memory from college was our math professor in Abstract Algebra putting up one of my proofs to show how there was always more than one way to "skin a cat." Many of the students in that class used my tutoring services that year, and I ran a study group.

Now, there is great value in getting a degree, the knowledge I learned about computers, programming, systems, and how to structure everything was invaluable. My parents paid for probably half my education, I got maybe a third as grants or work study, and then had loans for the rest. The loan payment was reasonable, so except for several lean years, I was able to make the payments.

Now, if what you are interested in doing is more the programming, database, or front end design, don't go for a degree. Learn what you need to as far as languages, databases, tools, and methodologies. You can take online courses, night classes (look for continuing ed,) or even college courses. Then get the certifications which "prove" you know the material.

Want to know what you need as far as certifications go, look for jobs you're interested in on the big job posting sites.

The benefit of doing things this way are, lower entry cost into the job marketplace, and quicker entry into the job marketplace. You also don't have to pay for classes which, while they may broaden you as a person, aren't going to help you get a job. Much as I loved my time in school, and the classically liberal education that I got, I wouldn't saddle myself with that much debt. You end up finishing school and being in a great big hole of debt.

This is the advice I'm giving my son as well, I really don't think he has the focus he would need to survive 4-5 years at a college. He is a smart kid, but his ADHD is a hinderance to his academic achievement. Something that focuses him on just what he needs to get a career will be better suited for him. YMMV of course, and this is only my opinion. I was also honored to have a guy I dated choose to go for a CS degree because of me. According to him, I "was implicate in that decision."

I've known plenty of programmers in my 30 year career. Some of the best were self-taught, or only had a smattering of programming classes.

Now, if you are thinking of going for teaching, that's a whole other ball of wax. I've been considering going for a teaching degree, and after chatting with you (axle) about wgu I looked up their requirements. They aren't to awful, and I may actually consider it. I'd probably be comfortable teaching math and computer science at the middle and high school levels.

I can post some resources which can help with the learning side of things when I have more time. Got to get to sleep now, have to be up at 5:45 am so I can get the kid to school, and my roommate to work, before coming back home and working in my home office.

That's my biggest worry is a pile of debt. I mean it's probably going to cost in the order of $30k if I did something like WCU, maybe a bit less online...

So everything I am seeing is really pointing me away from doing a Computer Science degree, I don't know how I can keep a full time job, take classes, commute and then do the course work...

As far as certifications, I could probably go ahead and get a couple from Microsoft, for as much as I deal with Office 365 and powershell it shouldn't be all that bad.

As far as what I want to do, community college instruction, certifications probably will help but not by themselves, I will probably want a CIS/CIT degree in that case. I can at least do it online and if it takes longer than expected then I'm fine with that. I think I have exhausted what a 2 year degree can do, could be wrong but sure seems like it. I don't think I can have any instructional position with a 2 year degree, perhaps in continuing education stuff but more than likely not curriculum stuff..
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#7
juxtapose Wrote:have you considered up rooting your self, get a new job, same field but in a larger metro area.

Yeah but, I don't really like big cities. I could move to Atlanta, but that isn't my cup of tea... I could do somewhere else in the state. Idk. I don't even know if my 2 year degree really holds any weight somewhere outside of NC, it should, but I think standards vary a lot of those across the country...

Then where would I move to? I have though about everything from Asheville, NC to the UK lol

I'll admit I need a change of scenery... Right now good old credit cards are going to keep me from doing anything anytime soon. Hoping I get a tax refund this year...Or a big xmas bonus, something. Anything to help take a chunk out of one particular card will be a big big help...
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#8
http://www.popsci.com/freeschool?page=4 << article about free online education

http://lifehacker.com/5188342/top-10-too...-education
https://www.udacity.com/
https://www.khanacademy.org/
https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm
https://www.thinkful.com/a/unbounce
https://www.edx.org/
https://www.codecademy.com/learn/all
https://www.codementor.io/learn/coding
Those who have HATE in their heart are HATEFUL PEOPLE
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#9
A few more resources...

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/201402192...ege-degree

http://www.wgu.edu/blogpost/it-degree-or...ifications << of course, this is also an ad for their own course offerings... but $2,890 per six-month term is a good deal.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/default.aspx
Those who have HATE in their heart are HATEFUL PEOPLE
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#10
Are there any computer experts here? And if so may we chat in private message?

But then your time is valuable and how the hell am i to ask anything.
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