Is a Comp Sci degree a waste of time these days?

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by scotty, May 27, 2005.

  1. scotty

    scotty New Member

    Everywhere you look, you see complaints about IT salaries falling and jobs disappearing in the States. If I want to continue my career in IT, I need to get a formal IT degree of some sort. But I am considering switching to the accounting field, or some other business-related field. Should I stick with IT in the hopes that something will turn around? I am a networking guy, not a programmer. Would I be spinning my wheels if I decided to go for an MS in IT instead of an MBA? I realize only I can answer this question for myself, but I'd like to get some feedback from others on this board about what they feel or have experienced regarding the future of IT careers in America.
  2. While there is a lot of outsourcing, there will always be IT jobs in the US - unless you move all of the hardware overseas as well.

    Also, as a US citizen, there are certain fields/jobs that would lend yourself an upper hand over a non-citizen, such as network security, etc.

    Ultimately, I believe you need to do what makes you happy, which in turn will pay the bills. If you have a love of accounting, by all means switch. But don't think for a second that accounting jobs aren't outsourced either!

    There are IT fields such as project management, for example, that have remained strong. Depending on your level of interest you may want to combine your IT skills with some management training/schooling and work your way up that way.

  3. scotty

    scotty New Member

    Thanks Mark, that is some good advice. I have been looking for opportunities to combine my business education with my IT experience. I will investigate IT/Project Management.
  4. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    My opinion - if you want to work as a programmer or pure network guy, go for the MS-IT. If you are more interested in the business aspect, go for the MBA/IT.

    I think technology changes so fast, the knowledge you gain from an MS-IT is outdated in a year or two. When technology changes you need to relearn everything. The business world does not chanethat fast and an MBA has more "staying power".

    Take it for what it is worth.
  5. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    Aspen University has good graduate programmes (MBA, MSIT, MSIM, etc.) that might match your interests. The course fees are reasonable and you could finish in as little as 12 months.

    If you do not have a bachelor degree, check Fort Hays (Fort Hayes?) State University ( which has low tuition and many people on this board recommend the school. They offer a degree focusing on networking.
  6. scotty

    scotty New Member

    I've always felt that way, too, which is the whole reason I am thinking of jumping out of IT and trying to get into the Business realm. I am so sick of buying 1000-page tech manuals every year, reading them and then not getting credit for the knowledge unless I pass some $150 test at Prometric.
  7. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    There are still many IT jobs. It would be interesting to see unemplyment rates between IT and accounting. I'm guessing that it would not be so bad now.

    Regarding the outsourcing, I'm guessing that we're nearing a plateau on this. salries have been moving up so fast overseas that the salary gap is quickly narrowing.
  8. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    This is why many (if not most) Computer Science programs try to concentrate on math and theory rather than specific technologies. It takes a long time before these two aspects become obsolete. With the math and theory behind you, picking up a book a passing a certification exam becomes a lot easier. At least that's what I believe based on taking certification exams before and after (sort of, I graduate this semester) having a degree in Computer Science.
  9. marcuscarey

    marcuscarey New Member

    Comp Sci grads are best prepared to go into the workforce. It provides the grads the soundest foundations since they know engineering, software development, and computer systems. I make this claim based on my last position with my company where I headed an intern program.

    The Comp Sci kids blew everyone away in grasping new concepts, programming languages, and technology. The second best was Electrical Engineering grads. That's my opinion formed from actually recruiting, interviewing, and managing college students.
  10. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    I would also suggest taking Certifications - CompTIA are internationally recognized and can only help you getting a job...

    See CompTIA's website for the various Certs.

    Also consult TechExams which is a great resource when it comes to Certs and which to pursue and what to use to study...

    CompTIA Certs, however, are mostly for entry level positions - check out for Certs comparison ( dollar value and effectiveness ). At the Cramsession website you can select a Career track and it'll tell you what you should look at getting....

    Hope it helps :)
  11. Online Student

    Online Student New Member

    I don't think salaries have been falling lately, maybe a little flat and smaller increases than the past.
  12. stock

    stock New Member

    I am currently doing my MS in IT for the simple reason that I like to work in IT and for that I need a advanced degree in the same field. That is a requirement ( over certifications ) nowadays. Yes, while the technology does change rapdily and what they teach during the course might be outdated within 2-3 years, a formal degree DOES HELP. Also I have been a programmer and would like to be a Systems Analyst which this degree will help.
  13. Online Student

    Online Student New Member

  14. Dool

    Dool New Member

    I'm confused.

    This chap went from programming to consulting for BCG. Is this not an IT job?

    He gets paid more, interacts at a higher level, and uses his technology education.

    Isn't this the point?

    This gloom and doom on IT has me befuddled. If I had 20 competent IT professionals with skills in any of a myriad of technologies (servers, storage, data center operations, networks, etc.) sho up at my door, I'd hire them all on the spot at six-figure salaries - and feel fortunate to have found them in the first place.

    It's like I'm taking crazy pills.
  15. scotty

    scotty New Member

    Hey Dool,

    What is your address...I'm sending you my resume!
  16. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    I sympathize with Dool's confusion. Here is my take....

    If you are a programmer whose idea of a days work is to take (or even create) technical specifications and implement those into a program (i.e. you are a programmer) I think your profession's growth opportunities will be less robust than in years past. However, if you are a software engineer -- i.e. someone who understands and can manage the full life cycle of product development (i.e. project management, requirements engineering, programming, quality assurance, costing and budgeting, etc.) and especially if you have domain specific expertise, I think the prospects for your career look good. It seems that companies prefer to have well rounded individuals who can participate in all aspects of business than a pure technologist who barricades themselves in their cubicle, gets pizza thrown over the wall and then throws completed code back over.

    In addition, I think there will always be places for those top 2% of individuals who technology companies will need to create the next new thing. However, it seems to me that these positions are being filled more and more by people who have advanced degrees (i.e. MS or PhD) and less and less by people who have only a BS or perhaps no degree.

    So, unless you feel you are in the top 2% of computer scientists in terms of intellectual acuity, you better make sure you are a well rounded employee who can play a versatile role in business. This is why I am going to pursue a business oriented degree after I complete an MS in Computer Science. I believe I need to be well versed in business-oriented skills to protect my investment in my carreer up until my retirement.
  17. Dool

    Dool New Member

    Here are some more crazy pills...

    I can't fill roles at $150+/hr for in Chicago, Atlanta, and Texas for SAP development (all areas) and infrastructure. So I attempt to fill this work with resources out of India. Price is not the motivator, finding the skills are.

    Guess what? India is sold out too.

    Yeah, I've got IT gloom and doom. - 'cause I've got to turn down work. :mad:
  18. bing

    bing New Member

    Being from Chicagoland, and having most of my family back there, I look for work from time to time in the area.

    I'm very skilled and experienced in C#, Oracle, VisualStudio.NET, Java, WSAD, have PMI cert, and have worked as a Rational Architect of late, managing a group of Configuration Managers and Architects. About the most I have been seeing in Chicago is around $85-90/hr on a 1099. Some calls I get are in the 75-80/hr range as a W-2. All are fairly short term projects, too, with 6 mos being about the most.

    A buddy of mine went up there and took a 6 mos gig as a ClearCase UCM Administrator. He has a fair amount of experience and he has found that jobs up there in Chicago say 6 mos but they mostly end up being 2-3 mos(He was in Atlanta before that and said the pay was lower there but the gigs ended up being about the same as Chicago). Just long enough for him to come in and set it up for them. Then, they bring in someone cheaper to maintain. The most he got was 71/hr on a W-2, no benefits.

    So, the market for SAP dudes must be a killer then. My company has a lot of SAP work and they were getting rid of the temporary SAP hires about 6 months back. I didn't know anyone who was not from India that worked in that department.

    A hot field in the DC area is Oracle Financials now. It's very hot from what a few pals tell me. Working for a company there, though, nets you about a 100K job with benefits. A friend left my company and took a job with BearingPoint out there making about 100K. He says it' like a 55K job back here due to the cost of living there...but it's back home for him.

  19. rolen

    rolen Guest

    Over the time, IT has evolved and big jobs are now demanding not just a computer science degree but a specialization. You got to have a skill in something IT-based.

    If you'd like to investigate further, there's big money and big-time jobs now in IT and Network Security. Every organization's network out there feels highly threatened and are willing to pay over the ceiling to get those specialized in IT security.

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