BS in CS or SD or Certificate?

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by BlueMason, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    Alright - I'm ready to do a coin-toss and thought I'd get some input:

    FHSU: BS in CS w/ Business Track ( online BSCS has two options: Business Track or Networking and since I already have the Networking side (BS INT w/ Networking major), I am down to the Business track. I'm ok with that (I own a small business, so taking Accounting and Marketing courses would be alright).

    This would give me a pure CS degree and foundation to build on.

    WGU: BS in Software Dev.
    They'll give me credit for my Gen Ed courses and my Certs (bonus!) and I'll get a couple of Certs (Java) as well.

    This would give me a solid foundation as well as a couple of recognized certs.

    These would have name recognition and give me solid foundation.

    Certificate: Harvard extension has 2 certs: Computer Programming & Software Engineering

    (Those that don't know, I already have an undergrad and a Masters in Computer Forensics)

    What is my ultimate goal?: I have gone thought about and thought about it some more x3, and I'm a geek - I love computers (thus working as a forensic analyst now) and a complete career change to an entirely new field is not realistic, but I do want to open my options and write code. Not only that, but I want to be able to apply for software development related jobs (remote - goal is to work from home).

    So, I need formal education to bridge the gap (else I'd go the free route). Time is not of essence (I am gainfully employed), it is self funded (limited budget) but I want to maximize the ROE with opening doors for career expansion into the private sector.

    Who wants to help the 3-sided coin toss? :)
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  3. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Why do you want to go back an earn another Bachelor's degree when you already have that and a Master's?

    If there's an education void or resume gap you want to fill, a for-credit graduate certificate is probably the way to go.
  4. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

  5. jamesb

    jamesb New Member

    If your goal is software development, figure out what area in software development you like and pursue that. Development is a very broad field and to be successful you need to narrow your focus. Spend time looking at Udacity and Coursera. If you want to splurge a little, look into, which has not only development video's but also training on the tools the programmers use such as an IDE's, Git, debugger, etc...

    I wouldn't get another bachelors. I think certificates would help after you decided which direction, but certs can be had cheaply. Udacity and Coursera offers certificates, but you'll also want to consider vendor specific ones if you are interested in those areas. Example: A cert from Microsoft in C# is worth more than a C# cert from Harvard.

    After you get a cert or two, you might want to get a masters in computer science if you are looking for a real foundation. Probably have to take a few extra courses to meet the prereqs, but still much quicker than trying to get a full undergrad degree. I would recommend computer science over software development.

    In my opinion you don't need a degree in CS to get into software development. I would look at your current employer for opportunities to use skills you learned online. Even if its a tool that helps you in your current job, you can show your boss what you created and if he/she sees value in it you'll be asked to do more. I'm sure in your current job you can find at least a hundred things to automate and these are resume items you can use for your next job.
  6. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    You're right - I already started a couple of courses through edx, udemy and stackskills as well as codeacademy.
    Good point re MS vs Harvard - I'll look into courses offered by MS.

    Thanks for the feedback - it's appreciated :)
  7. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    It is just cheaper, I have completed an AS degree after a doctorate in Networks as my local college is free. I completed few BS degrees after my doctorate just to use credits that I accumulated over the years that I never used.

    In IT, most employers do not care about MS or PhD, a BS is enough in most of the cases.
    Also, showing a MS or PhD in your resume can make you a difficult sell, the vast majority of the jobs require a BS degree so getting a MS can be an overkill.

    Finally, completing a second BS is a lot easier than completing a MS. I have completed undergraduate courses in two days while most of the graduate courses require endless essays and readings.

    If knowledge is all you need, the second BS does well the job.
  8. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I agree, since the OP has already an IT related degree, Coursera cheap certificates can do the job. If the OP insists in a second degree, he or she can complete few Microsoft or JAva certifications and then convert them to credits in order to get a second degree from one of the Big three (OAK, Excelsior or TESU).
    I agree than a degree is not required for software development, many of the software developers have degrees in unrelated subjects but employers prefer quantitative areas (e.g. Math, Engineering, economics).
  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I don't really understand why you'd prefer a credit course either. And I agree with James B., I'm familiar with and they're definitely worth a trial.
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Coursera, lynda or any other online course provider is fine for knowledge but employers in IT prefer specific IT certifications from vendors like Microsoft, CISCO, etc or non vendors such as SANs, ISACA, etc.
    I did not complete credits but completed certifications, these can be converted into credits as some schools recognize them for credit.
    The problem with IT certifications is that they have a short life span so credit conversion makes sense as at least you can get a degree that can be used to show knowledge in the long term.

    At one time I was working at a community college so the more degrees the higher the pay rate and the more subjects you can teach. My community college did not recognize level (MS, PhD) but just years of post secondary school, I believe is the same in the US for some CC and high schools.
    I reached the top of the payscale with cheap BS degrees but later one moved into University that did not recognize multiple bachelors but just the doctorate.

    In few words, every situation is different, the OP might just as well benefit from watching youtube videos and this might be good enough but he might want to aim for IT certifications that are good to break into a different IT field and later on cash them for a second bachelor. Charles Sturt in Australia used to have a MS degree and gave half for IT certifications, I tried them at one point but they wouldn't take older certifications so I used them for a bachelors instead.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2016

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