I need some help with where to go from here.

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Ayuyat, Oct 27, 2021.

  1. Ayuyat

    Ayuyat New Member

    I'm 23 years old now and I 0nly have a high school diploma and dead end job prospects. Times have been tough so I haven't been going to school. I want to enroll in a cheap(10-20k) bachelors degree for programming or coding(I have no prior experience) and graduate in a year or two and get a good job. Is that realistic? All suggestions are welcome and appreciated but please don't be negative.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    The price range is realistic, but the time without experience is unrealistic. Instead of focusing on college, you should go for a BootCamp and free courses online programming. Once you land a job as a junior developer, then continue to get your Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. Check-Out: Udemy, CourseRa, Udacity, Edx, Code.org, etc.

    Maniac Craniac and SteveFoerster like this.
  3. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    WGU has been spoken about a lot on this board. They have a BS in Software Development. $3625 per 6-month term, with unlimited courses. $22K would buy you 6 terms (3 years) to complete - of course you don't pay up front and since you can speed through material you already know in things like MS Office you can shave some time off. If you have low income, you'll likely qualify for the Pell grant and other standard financial aid.

  4. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Active Member

    You can definitely graduate in a year or two at that price point and that timeframe with a degree from TESU. I wouldn't suggest WGU since you have no experience and it's a competency-based degree. The more you know, the less a WGU degree costs (because you can go faster). But there's no sense spending $20k on a degree when you can get one for $7-10k from TESU.

    Honestly, though, I would suggest that you start off by getting the FREE Pierpont BOG AAS. This could allow you to get a (slightly) better job while you work toward completing your Bachelor's degree. The degree itself is free but the credits will cost about $300-ish. These credits can be used toward your Bachelor's degree.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I would NOT recommend going with the WGU route without experience or a job. WGU is designated for an experienced professional who needs a degree for promotion or career enhancement. I recommended my nephews start his higher education with StraighterLine and align the courses with Regis University's Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. After a year, he asked me there a more accessible program; I showed him WGU. He transferred to WGU, and after three years now, she has not found a job yet.

    You can check out:
  6. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    First question...

    Do you actually want to become a programmer or does it just look like a viable career path?

    Because I have to tell you, I see this trend and the disappointment it often creates. If I walk over to our programmers right now and ask them how many of them code in their off time they will all raise their hands. The people who seem to last the longest and be the happiest are the people who have been coding for fun and personal enrichment before they ever came near learning the stuff they needed for a job. Does that mean that no one should do it unless they've always been into it? Not at all. But a lot of people figure they should "get into coding" because of the paycheck and without any concern for whether they actually want to make a living by coding all day long.

    If it's just as good as any other option I would fully explore said other options as well. Trade training can be had relatively cheaply and quickly and get you earning more money straight away. I have machinists making $50k without a cent of student loan debt while I have marketing specialists making slightly less with hundreds of thousands in student loan debts.

    All of that aside, I agree that boot camp is your best bet. Your options without a bachelors degree will be somewhat limited when it comes to getting a job after. However, if your jobs are truly as dead end as you say, you will probably take a step or two up. From there, knock through a bachelors at TESU while working and you minimize costs and get the thing that can matter more than the degree in many cases; relevant experience and skills. As noted by everyone else, I would not recommend WGU for your situation at this phase.
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    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Highly recommend watching this YouTube video if you plan to get into Tech; especially without a college degree and experience.

    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  8. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Active Member

    Genuine question:

    Why do so many people suggest bootcamps are the first stop? They cost as much or more than a degree from TESU. Some of them cost more than spending many years at WGU!

    A bootcamp is a terrible idea for most people. At least if you get started on a comp sci/IT degree, you can get a degree in something else if it turns out you absolutely hate comp sci/IT stuff. Or you can leverage your comp sci degree to get a higher paying job in a field that is not comp sci. A bachelor's degree of any kind is, in itself, valuable. That's why BALS degrees exist and many people get them. If you wash out of bootcamp, what do you get? Nothing, except a huge debt.

    If you want to get started coding, there are a ton of free or low-cost resources out there. FreeCodeCamp.org, OSSU, https://www.infoworld.com/article/2614635/-200k-for-a-computer-science-degree--or-these-free-online-classes-.html

    Tackle one or more of these while getting your gen eds. By the time you've got enough credits for an Associate degree, you should know whether or not comp sci is for you. If it isn't, you haven't wasted your time. Just get a different degree. Your gen eds will be good for most degrees.
    Dustin likes this.
  9. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    A well selected boot camp can have a person coding to professional level by its completion and be job ready. This is not the case with a degree program. It is sadly very possible to graduate with a degree in CS with fairly mediocre coding skills. You can tackle a degree project by project, class by class and never really stack the skills necessary to become a fully proficient programmer by graduation. It's much harder to skate like that through a boot camp. When my company hires entry level software developers they will generally weigh someone who went to boot camp higher as the boot camp coding experience is more akin to actual programming experience than having completed a bachelors program.

    I think you may be overestimating the utility of an IT degree outside of IT. Sure, it would qualify you for any number of jobs where a bachelors in anything is required, but if you are truly an IT washout then it's going to show. Can it be leveraged? Absolutely. You have to remain adaptable. But if you take a person in a dead end job and slap an IT degree on them without any demonstrable skills what you have is a formerly unskilled employee with a spotty resume and fewer new skills than the time invested in that degree would suggest.

    Hiring comes down to narrative. If you worked as a sanitation worker from January 2021 until June 2021. Then from June 2021 until September 2021 you attended coding boot camp and, here in October, are seated in front of me for an interview then it tells a pretty clear story. If it's a well known boot camp with well established outcomes, you have a very good shot.

    If you were a sanitation worker from January 2021 until June 2021 and from June 2021 until June 2024 you were a sanitation worker while concurrently enrolled in a B.S. program at TESU and are then seated before me for an interview in July 2024, the narrative is far less compelling unless your journey to a degree has resulted in you building up a sizable portfolio and stacking certifications and other verified experiences (learning and otherwise). Now, it's quite possible that is exactly how a person going through TESU might do their thing. Maybe they went for a portfolio evaluation based on earning some Microsoft Certs. It's certainly a way to do it.

    But it's a much slower and much less straightforward path.

    If you are going to decide you want to be a programmer and then decide, after some experience, you don't. Personally, I think it is better to invest the time in the boot camp and then reassess. Going through a full bachelors program only to, years later, say "Wow, this isn't for me" doesn't put you ahead. That's time you could have spent pursuing something that was a better fit for you. Instead, in the scenario you present, it locks you into an alternate pathway of "making due" with a degree in a field you have not enough passion to pursue.

    If degrees were largely focused on the credits for the respective major then I think you might be onto something. But you can be two semesters into a degree program without touching a single course of relevance that will help you in the short term. And if your current job really sucks you should strategize to get to a less sucky job as quickly and efficiently as possible. Not just run out and get degrees for the sake of getting a degree and then figuring it out later. That's what has caused the current crisis with student loan defaults.
    Dustin likes this.
  10. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    That only serves to point out that it’s important to perform due diligence and carefully select any training or educational program that one is entering… There are a lot of poorly ran degree programs and there are a lot of poorly ran boot camps. There’s also a lot of phenomenal degree programs and boot camps.
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  11. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Active Member

    Most people don't get jobs related to their degrees. Having a degree at all is still going to put you ahead of the people who don't have degrees. Maybe you don't get a sweet coding job right after graduation due to the lack of a portfolio, but you can still qualify for a slightly better not-quite-so-dead-end job now that you have a Bachelor's degree. Build a portfolio and work your way up. Or just use your Bachelor's degree to leverage better job offers. Maybe get a cheap Master's degree from somewhere like Walden or WGU. It doesn't have to be a CS Master's if you find you don't like CS after all.

    See, that's not how it works with a TESU degree. It doesn't take that long. Let's say you start from scratch. You can get the Pierpont Associate degree (with an emphasis in Information Systems, if desired) in 1-2 months. Another month or two for the degree to be conferred. While you're waiting on that, you work on getting your next 44 credits. If you apply yourself, you can probably get these 6-8 months after starting. Enroll in your final 16 credits at TESU. Be finished with your whole degree in 12-16 months.

    I've had HR people tell me directly that they're not impressed by bootcamp graduates anymore because there are so many terrible bootcamps out there. The portfolio is king. They don't care if you graduated from anywhere or nowhere at all, you NEED a portfolio. But a Bachelor's degree is also going to push you ahead of other candidates at the smaller companies where a newly minted programmer is more likely to be hired.

    In addition, bootcamp skills age poorly. The hot skill you learn today is old news tomorrow. The skills you learn in the process of getting a Bachelor's degree, on the other hand, will stay relevant for a much longer period. Meaning you stay hireable for a much longer period.

    Short term goals? Maybe a bootcamp can be useful. Long term? Get a degree or you could wind up stuck in another dead-end job, this one in programming.
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  12. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I only recommend Bootcamp only if the Bootcamp institution has no upfront tuition and guarantees only paying if landing a job with a specific amount of salary. I would not recommend going for any BootCamp.
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  13. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    But… what if it’s very expensive and has a big name behind it? Doesn’t that ensure quality?!

    In all seriousness, I’m sure there are some decent or even high quality boot camps out there and that they can serve niche purposes. As a society we have transitioned away from the notion that Higher Ed simply provides the foundation for life long skill and knowledge growth to an expectation that it’s immediate gratification. Business and Industry have latched on to this transition, in an effort to avoid historical training cost and employee development. It’s to easy to forget these days that someone coming out of engineering school is only an engineer in training… a graduate of med school is now serving a medical apprenticeship/residency, etc. Even skilled trade related associate degree programs only provide the theory and foundational skills of their respective apprenticeships and font lead to journeyman skill sets. Computer Science degree programs, even just the mediocre ones, provide foundational knowledge and theory that will traverse new programs, operating systems, etc. Even than though, even moderately decent programs will generally build skills in current programming languages, concepts, and the opportunity for robust portfolio building. There are a lot of boot camps out there that are only teaching a basic skill to pass this weeks requirements, which is a disservice to the profession and individual. There’s also a lot of bootcamps being run… simply to cash in on people who don’t know better…

    Even the great Woz ran into issues…

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  14. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Right, see also massive underemployment and crippling student loan debt. I'm not talking about what most people do. I'm talking about how people get jobs. Sadly, those are not the same thing.

    While technically true this is, unfortunately, a bit of conventional wisdom that needs to die an unceremonious death if we, as a society, want to not be destroyed by our own degree inflation. Degrees are good. And for some jobs, they are absolutely essentially. What matters most, however, is meeting a job requirement. As TEKMAN mentioned, there are a good many reputable coding camps with no upfront tuition and you don't pay until you get a coding job. Less time and you get right to work. I fail to see why this would be a bad thing.

    But why?

    Let's talk culinary arts for a second. You're 18 years old and you want to be a chef. You have two paths ahead. You can go to a no-name culinary school or you can get a job as a line cook in a Michelin star restaurant. Can you get the culinary job and build experience and work your way up? Of course you can. And you'll work your way up to a Michelin star rated restaurant that you could have been working at all along.

    First of all, thank you for explaining to me how to earn a degree I had already earned. One part that you seem to be ignoring is cost. If you are truly in a job with abysmal pay the idea of self funding a TESU degree, no matter how you do it, can be quite far out of reach. Versus pay nothing and get a job in-field.

    Right, like me. I am an HR professional telling you this directly. A boot camp will get you to a portfolio faster than a bachelors degree. So I'm not sure why you would argue to the contrary.

    Not without a portfolio it won't. I am an HR Director at a Fortune 500 company. I have, over the course of my career there I have hired all manner of engineers and developers. Here's the thing about a small company....they don't have the luxury of teaching you how to do your job. Larger companies have larger staffs. And those staffs have more nuanced roles. Take HR, for example. In my shop, we have nearly 50 employees. We have people who specialize in specialized areas of benefits (for example, only retirement plans). In a smaller company you get a smaller staff and people need to wear many hats. Same with software development. We have the luxury of an entry level developer role where you start off small and build a career. But you're not getting in without a portfolio.

    You don't need the skills to age well. You need the skills to get a job. Once you have a job you will adapt. No one fulfills a complete career using only the skills they started with on day one.

    Ehhh....degrees die. Especially tech degrees. And when they die they can make you untouchable by hiring managers. That portfolio is what keeps you alive through a career. As long as you're coding you should be fine.

    This makes zero sense. Zero.

    I never said boot camp OR a degree. I said boot camp to get yourself out of a short term crappy job situation. THEN get the degree and advance your career. So I'm not sure what exactly you're arguing against at this point.
  15. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    This might be your view (and it's one potentially winning strategy among several), but people who promote boot camps often do so by saying that they are a replacement for an expensive and clunky undergrad degree that doesn't translate to career skills, which I think was the viewpoint Rachel83az was addressing. Personally I like the degree first, then boot camp strategy to make sure you have the foundation you need but also the portfolio and skills you need to hit the ground running.

    In Canada we have career-focused diplomas in subjects like Accounting, Child and Youth Care or HVAC Technician, and it's pretty common to see people complete a university degree in a field like Psychology or Business Administration and find they don't have the specific skills they need to be job-ready so they'll go to college and complete a diploma. That combo is often much more potent than the degree or diploma alone.
  16. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    The question was "why do those who recommend boot camps do so?" not "please defend the marketing strategies of some, but not all, coding boot camps" so I gave my answer. That's my recommendation. People can follow it or not. I am sure that a person could do just fine with the degree first then boot camp model or some third or even fourth path. There is no singular path forward and no one right answer. That said, my point is that if a person is in a truly horrific job and they want out NOW then a degree is NOT the most effective means of making that launch. Never has been.

    Some other variables to consider here, though, would also be whether there is a change of industry or just a change of roles. Not to mention personality types, how nicely resumes are put together, leveraging networks to help get interviews etc. It's difficult to compare two hypothetical candidates because candidates are never as neat and clean in reality as they are in hypotheticals. Still, my vote would be for boot camp first generally.
  17. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    This gentleman earns $500K per year as a Software Engineer at Airbnb without a college degree. He learned from BootCamp and self-taught.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  18. Ayuyat

    Ayuyat New Member

    Which of the deferred tuition boot camps do you think is best and I should go with?
  19. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I don't have experience with any of them. Highly recommend taking free courses to find out what is your interest.
    Free Code Bootcamp at freecodebootcamp.org
    And its YouTube channel

    Follow this Programmer to see if this is a lifestyle you want.

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