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  1. #1
    darkonfire is offline Registered User
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    I have a BA in English and Literature, but now I want to be a web developer.

    Hi all! I'm new to this board and I have a question I hope you guys can help with.

    I have always been strong in languages, and recently I went back to school to get my degree. My company paid for me to get my BA in English Language and Literature. Unfortunately, I don't think I can do much with that degree except teaching (which I don't think I have the aptitude for). I regret choosing English and Literature as my major, but it's too late for that now. The good news is that my new degree will give me a salary bump and promotion at my current job. I started out at this company making $24K five years ago. Now, I'm making about $50K.

    However, I've been thinking more and more about getting a degree in something 'useful'. When I was younger (in my teens) I loved building websites and I taught myself HTML. Therefore, I'm keen to go back to school and learn how to become a web developer.

    I know about Khan Academy and I'm going to start there and at Coursera as well to get some basic knowledge (because I need to learn JavaScript and CSS). If I manage to get adept at it, I was thinking of taking community college classes online and getting a BS in web development . I wouldn't be taking on any loans, and I intend to save and pay for my own tuition.

    My question is: does it make financial sense for me to go back to school this late in the game and start an entirely new career? I'm a 33-year-old single female, and ideally I would like to leave my country (in South east Asia) and work elsewhere. I think having skills as a web developer would be far more beneficial for that, as opposed to having an English degree.

    Should I take the plunge? Or would I be throwing away lots of money on something that is foolhardy? Help!

    Also, Merry Christmas!

  2. #2
    nyvrem is offline Registered User
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    I personally don't think it's 'too late' ! It's never too late to start learning. I'm turning 30 next year and I've just started picking up programming myself. Hopefully getting ready to enter the world of IT.
    If you are considering to get a second degree in IT/CS, there are some cheap alternatives you can consider.

    U Mass online has a second degree in IT that requires 10 courses.

    Second Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology | www.umassonline.net

    Whole program cost about 11k USD .

    You could consider the big 3 (Thomas Edison State College, Charter Oak State College, Excelsior) to get a second degree in IT/CS.
    You will need to drop them an email to check how many credits you need ; and go about getting those classes tested out.
    Although I don't know if there is enough IT/CS classes to test to get a degree in IT/CS.
    Iirc, TESC needs 24 credits for a second degree.

    There are other alternatives to getting an IT/CS degree.

    University of Hertfordshire has an Online Masters in Computer Science for non-majors.

    Computer Science Online Degree For Non Computer Graduates MSc Pgd Pgc | UH Online

    It's 6000 pounds.

    Another way to earn an IT degree is to check if places around you let you take a second degree in IT. I live in Singapore and I know places like Kaplan (Singapore) give you module exemptions for a second degree. So you could complete an IT degree in less than a year.

  3. #3
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    I don't think another degree is necessarily the best thing for you to do, it's expensive and time consuming. One of the great things about working with technology is that you can get jobs in the field by being able to demonstrate your competence, such as through a public GitHub profile.

    So instead of a degree program, use Codecademy to learn JavaScript. You'll need it as a web developer, and this is a free and well designed learning resource to get you there. I believe they also have PHP, which you'll also need. (If you don't know HTML and CSS yet, apparently Codecademy has that now too, so start with that.)

    Good luck!
    BS, Info Sys concentration, Charter Oak State College
    MA in Educational Tech, George Washington University
    PhD in Leadership, U. of the Cumberlands (in progress)
    More at http://stevefoerster.com

  4. #4
    jumbodog is offline Registered User
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    Whether you get a IT degree depends on what you want. Steve isn't wrong when he talks about a Github profile. But the types of jobs one is going to be able to get with that way are contract or freelance work which may turn into something more or maybe not. Especially if you want to go into management you will need the degree if for nothing more than a box ticking exercise. I know someone who is getting a Master's in IT despite having a BA in it because every job he wants to apply for in the private sector requires a MS, even though he has a BA +15 years of experience.

    So Steve isn't wrong but his advice should be viewed with caution.

  5. #5
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    This is not my area so I'm just repeating things I've heard . . .

    Here on degreeinfo we've had numerous conversations about the necessity (or lack of necessity) for degrees in the IT field. Over and over we've heard people say that it's the certifications that count, not the degrees. Now that may be a debatable point but it has been said repeatedly. If, however, a person was to have neither the degree nor the certs I'd say that it could be easier to start with the degree. This might not be true for everyone but speaking for myself I learn/work better in a structured environment. Others are better at working independently and don't need the structure of a degree program. So, with that being said, if it was me then the first place I'd start would be my local community college and see what courses they offered in web development . I'd be interested in learning the skills but I'd be more interested in the courses if they could eventually lead to say, an Associates degree. That might give you a good enough foundation to do some job seeking and still add on certs or coursework as things progress. But that's just me.
    American College of Sports Medicine

  6. #6
    Lerner is offline Registered User
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    We hired an Engineer with the right skills and experience who has a degree in Music.

    The best way is to learn by doing. Training usually provides 20% the 80% comes from learning by doing, be it at work or other environment.

    You may want to start with Udacity or Code Academy if you want to do programming or Software development.
    You can get some certifications by vendors as well.

    Some do certificate study in computer science or IT etc.
    For example University of California had DL certificate in computer science ,
    The certificate is basically all the computer science classes from the Bachelors degree in CS.

    UMUC also offers specialized online degrees and certificates in the fast-growing fields of cyber security and data analytics.

    Online Certificates in IT and Computer Science | UMUC


    ONLINE CERTIFICATES IN IT AND COMPUTER SCIENCE
    Boost your credentials with an online IT or computer science certificate that can be applied toward a degree.

    If you're looking to build credentials quickly, certificates 1 are a great option. You can earn a certificate in IT or computer science in just 12 to 24 credits, and credits can be applied toward a degree.

    UNDERGRADUATE CERTIFICATE IN IT AND COMPUTER SCIENCE
    Computer Networking certificate
    GRADUATE CERTIFICATES IN IT AND COMPUTER SCIENCE
    Database Systems Technology certificate
    Foundations of Information Technology certificate
    Health Informatics Administration certificate
    Informatics certificate
    Project Management certificate
    Software Engineering certificate
    Systems Analysis certificate
    Systems Engineering certificate
    Telecommunications Management certificate


    Career-focused programs for tomorrow's data analytics jobs.

    UMUC's master's degree and certificates 1 in data analytics are designed with input from leading employers and analytics experts to give you a competitive advantage at your company—or wherever your career takes you.

    Learn powerful skills: Apply predictive modeling, big data analytics and data visualization to projects from a range of industries.
    Master cutting-edge software: Develop expertise manipulating large data sets using IBM SPSS Modeler, SAS Enterprise Miner and Tableau, among others.
    Get ready to drive decisions: Build key leadership competencies in presentation, persuasion and negotiation.

  7. #7
    instant000 is offline Registered User
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    As someone who works in IT, I would suggest that if you're trying to be a web developer, then work on web development skills:
    HTML
    CSS
    Javascript
    PHP
    MySQL

    You can go to school on the back end, if you want the credentials to flesh out your resume, but the key is being able to demonstrate your skills, and you can do that with practice.

    Some links that may be helpful to you:

    When are you too old to become an engineer?

    How can I start learning web development?

    web applications - Book / resource suggestions for learning web development? Where to start? - Webmasters Stack Exchange

    Webmasters Stack Exchange

    Hope this helps.
    MS, Information Security and Assurance, Western Governor's University, 2013
    BS, Information Systems, American Sentinel University, 2010
    CISSP | CCDP| CCNP | CCDA | CCNA | CCNA Security |ITILv3F | MCSE | MCSA | MCP | Security+ | A+ | Network+ | Server+
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  9. #8
    madameinternet is offline Registered User
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    Going to chime in here. I'm a Director of Front-End Development for a large financial agency, and I definitely don't hire people based on having a degree in the field. In fact I don't think anyone on the team even has a related degree (the CTO for the company is an ex-nuclear engineer ).

    I would suggest you use resources online and learn how to do web-dev. Then take small contracts based on your knowledge, and just build a nice portfolio. If you live in South East it isn't unusual or hard to get hired to work remote for an American company. We have several freelancers in KL, they make about $46k annually and don't work fulltime.

    If you have any follow up questions let me know, the beauty of the internet is the freedom of knowledge. If you want to learn to do dev that is just on you, no degree required just good solid professional experience. I believe in you. :]

  10. #9
    Ted Heiks is offline Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkonfire View Post
    Hi all! I'm new to this board and I have a question I hope you guys can help with.

    I have always been strong in languages, and recently I went back to school to get my degree. My company paid for me to get my BA in English Language and Literature. Unfortunately, I don't think I can do much with that degree except teaching (which I don't think I have the aptitude for). I regret choosing English and Literature as my major, but it's too late for that now. The good news is that my new degree will give me a salary bump and promotion at my current job. I started out at this company making $24K five years ago. Now, I'm making about $50K.

    However, I've been thinking more and more about getting a degree in something 'useful'. When I was younger (in my teens) I loved building websites and I taught myself HTML. Therefore, I'm keen to go back to school and learn how to become a web developer.

    I know about Khan Academy and I'm going to start there and at Coursera as well to get some basic knowledge (because I need to learn JavaScript and CSS). If I manage to get adept at it, I was thinking of taking community college classes online and getting a BS in web development . I wouldn't be taking on any loans, and I intend to save and pay for my own tuition.

    My question is: does it make financial sense for me to go back to school this late in the game and start an entirely new career? I'm a 33-year-old single female, and ideally I would like to leave my country (in South east Asia) and work elsewhere. I think having skills as a web developer would be far more beneficial for that, as opposed to having an English degree.

    Should I take the plunge? Or would I be throwing away lots of money on something that is foolhardy? Help!

    Also, Merry Christmas!
    And a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Good Ramadan, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year to you! Hopefully, this will actually post this time. This is only the fifth time I'vbe tried to answer this post. You don't say what level of education /training you are looking for, so here goes. If you are looking for some kind of non-credit bearing short-term training, there are quite a few such programs on facebook. A couple that readily pop to mind are Lynda.com Online video tutorials & training | lynda.com and Weebly Weebly: Create a Free Website, Online Store, or Blog. If you are looking for an associate's, Owens Community College www.owens.edu from the Great State of Ohio offers an online AAS in E-Commerce and Texas State Technical College www.tstc.edu from the Great State of Texas offers an online associate's in e-commerce/web design . If you are looking for a bachelor's, Champlain College Champlain College | Degree Programs | Colleges in Vermont from the Great State of Vermont offers an online BA in Web Design and Ashworth College (DETC only) www.ashworth.edu offers an online BS in E-Commerce. The program at Champlain is kind of unique. In their "upside down program," you take the major requirement in your first and second years and graduate with an associate's in passing and then do your freshman requirements in your third and fourth years and then graduate with your bachelor's. If you are looking for a master's, DePaul University DePaul University from the Great State of Illinois offers an MS in E-Commerce and Stratford University (DETC only) Stratford University: Online and On Campus Programs and Degrees from the Great State of Virginia offers an online MBA in IT & E-Commerce. If you are looking for a doctorate, both Capella University Online University Accredited Degree Programs - Capella University from the Great State of Minnesota and Northcentral University Accredited Online University & Graduate Degree Programs | Northcentral University from the Great State of Arizona used to offer online PhD degrees in E-Commerce; unfortunately, both programs have since been abolished. Since there are no longer any online E-Commerce docs on offer, I've been told that the thing to do is to get a PhD in IT and write an E-Commerce dissertation. Dakota State University Dakota State University from the Great State of South Dakota is a favorite around here when it comes to IT docs. I've looked at their program and they do have one or two ecommerce courses.
    Last edited by Ted Heiks; 01-03-2015 at 10:57 AM.
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  11. #10
    jumbodog is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lerner View Post
    We hired an Engineer with the right skills and experience who has a degree in Music.

    The best way is to learn by doing. Training usually provides 20% the 80% comes from learning by doing, be it at work or other environment.
    I am sure that is true but it begs the question as to how the person got the experience in the first place. There is no dispute that even someone with a music degree can develop the skills necessary to succeed in the computer world without earning a degree in the field. The question is whether that is the best alternative for a mid-career professional. Not everyone is going to succeed in a autodidact environment and the may not be able to succeed financially either. The whole point of education and certification is to demonstrate that one has the knowledge that would otherwise be gained from OTJ experience. So the question boils down to what is the best learning mechanism for each student given their own personal situation.

  12. #11
    Lerner is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumbodog View Post
    I am sure that is true but it begs the question as to how the person got the experience in the first place. There is no dispute that even someone with a music degree can develop the skills necessary to succeed in the computer world without earning a degree in the field. The question is whether that is the best alternative for a mid-career professional. Not everyone is going to succeed in a autodidact environment and the may not be able to succeed financially either. The whole point of education and certification is to demonstrate that one has the knowledge that would otherwise be gained from OTJ experience. So the question boils down to what is the best learning mechanism for each student given their own personal situation.
    jumbodog, you bring valid points.

    First I will address the requirements for the position, an accredited Bachelors degree
    in Computer Engineering , Computer Science or equivalent work experience.
    Second, in this field a person can be called XXXXXX Engineer but its not like a P.E.

    The certifications and experience in the field counted more, team player and the ability to hit the ground running.

    As to the subject of this tread.
    Udacity and Coursera can be a god starting place.

  13. #12
    potpourri is offline Registered User
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    I don't see the need for you to get another Bachelor's degree. I think what you need to do is to get some introduction to technology and web design .

    You can learn Java as well as other codes on how to put a web site together. Have you actually sat down with someone who's in the field to get an understanding of what it comprises of? You have English and that would be a great asset to have when it comes to writing things.

    I think you should sincerely look at moving up to a Master's degree of you can as the more you move up the better off you will be in my opinion.
    Last edited by potpourri; 01-13-2015 at 02:20 AM.

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