IT and some college questions.

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by Pluberus, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. Pluberus

    Pluberus New Member

    I'm a senior this year and struggling to find an affordable college that offers a Bachelors in Information Technology. I have been doing hours of research, but I'm still stuck.

    Any colleges that offer a Bachelors IT for around $10,000/$15,000 yearly? I may end up just getting a CS degree because of the price difference (in-state university has a CS program but not IT), and then get specific certification before I enter the IT field as a career.

    I'm interested in a career doing Geek-Squad type work and eventually maybe managing groups or acting as a Systems Administrator for a bigger company.

    I've always been interested in computers (both the hardware and software aspects) and have decided to go for a career in computers.

    I do not really like programming, so I was looking to get a degree in Information Technology. What are some recommended schools? I haven't had much luck finding some, as IT seems to be relatively new compared to C.S.

    I took an AP Comp Sci course and found out I don't really like programming (or maybe it was the lack of a knowledgeable/accessable instructor - I don't really know). IT seems to be more related to application of already available software to real-life situations.

    How big of a deal is it if I get a degree in Comp Sci, then get a specific certification after that for money's sake? I'd prefer to work in a Geek Squad type job or some sort of system maintenance/management position. Also, I've heard that IT and IS are basically interchangeable? Is that true?

    So main questions (TLDR version):
    1. IT/IS are interchangeable?
    2. Affordable (10/15k a year) colleges with IT programs?
    3. What certifications should I be looking into?
    4. Do colleges with IT degrees allow you to earn your certification at the same time?
    5. If all else fails, is going for a cheaper college for a CS degree and then getting my certification in whatever before entering an IT job a viable option? (My local state university offers a CS degree for about 9k a year = 36k end-education debt {not including income} vs 15-30k a year for an IT degree = 60k/120k end-education debt)

    Thanks in advance!
  2. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

    Caveat: I have no experience with WGU's programs personally, I am only going by what information is on their website and from what I've read on these forums. I have no connection to WGU other than finding their approach and programs quite interesting.

    Western Governors University (WGU) offers several BS programs in IT, which you can view here (they have the basic program plus programs with concentrations):

    WGU is accredited regionally (NWCCU) and nationally (DETC):

    The cost is $2,890 per term, so $5,780 per year:

    WGU uses a competency model, not a traditional classroom model. Basically it's up to you to set your learning plan with your school mentor, learn the stuff at your own pace using WGU's resources, and then take the required tests to prove that you know it. This model sounds like it would be great for some students and horrible for others; it depends on your learning style, if you are not at all self-motivated you likely would not do well here. And of course a person who already has a lot of knowledge entering the program will have a much easier time than someone who doesn't. More info on their model:

    One advantage to WGU's programs is that part of the testing includes certifications (the costs of these are included in your tuition), so you're also earning these along with your degree:
    - CIW Professional
    - CIW Associates
    - CIW Database Design Specialist
    - CompTIA A+
    - CompTIA Project+
    - CompTIA Network+ (2009 Objectives)
    - CompTIA Security+ (2008 Objectives)
    - Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) – Windows Vista, Configuration 70-620

    It sounds like some of your previously completed credits will transfer, but perhaps not all of them:

    Here are some students reviews of the school:

    So, this is one option for you to consider. I'm sure others people on this forum will suggest other good schools, but WGU is rather unique in their approach so if this kinda program would work for you, you may wanna give it serious consideration.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2009
  3. Pluberus

    Pluberus New Member

    Thanks for the extensive/informative reply! I appreciate it!

    WGU does sound very appealing, but I have had some bad experiences with online courses in the past - do you by any chance know how many people have successfully completed WGUs IT program?

    I know this forum is for Online schools - but I also appreciate if you guys have any insight on an on-campus IT program.

    Thanks again Emmzee!

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    What state you're from? I am sure there are more than one schools offer what you're looking for, unless you want to school around where you live. Anyway, I don't know Western Governors University is a good choice because you don't have experience in the industries, and the testing out @ WGU more likely for those who have knowledge and needs a degree.

    Well, I would recommend you to attend school on campus because you might want to have college experience. However, if you still want distance learning...Fort Hays State University offers Bachelor of Science in Information Networking and Telecommunication Computer Networking with $168.00 per credit... or 30 credits per year = $5,040. Besides that you can test out the General Education by using CLEP & DANTES.
  5. Pluberus

    Pluberus New Member

    I'm from Kansas, but not opposed to going nearly anywhere in the Continental US.

    Are there any on-campus programs with similar course/certifications/classes as the WGU program or the FHSU IT programs? The curriculum they offer for IT strongly appeals to me. =)

    Thanks again for all the input!

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Well, Fort Hays State University has B&M campus, and it Kansas' public school. Another school is Kansas State University, where general education can be earned online.. about $7,000.00/year.
  7. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

    Another option: The "big three" allow you to earn credits wherever you want and transfer them all (except maybe a few) in to earn your degree ... you can earn them at local colleges, online, via testing out, sometimes by earning certifications ... basically you just need to make sure the credits match up to the school's degree plan and then you can earn the credits wherever you want.

    Here are the relevant pages on each school's site:


    Thomas Edison:

    Charter Oak:
  8. major56

    major56 Active Member

    If residence is also a viable option for you, possibly consider Ottawa University; a B&M offering the Bachelor in Information Technology Systems from its campuses in Kansas City, Arizona or Wisconsin.
  9. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    Well Geek Squad is ain't gonna get ya to systems administrator unless Geek Squad is a part-time job while earning your degree and you get a help desk / desk-side support role after graduation. However, be warned if you remain in a help desk or desk-side support role for more than 1-2 years you might get pigeon-holed and never escape.

    In which case you might be better served with an IT-oriented degree rather than a CS degree. Others have suggested Fort Hays State University offers Bachelor of Science in Information Networking and Telecommunication Computer Networking and based on your location and stated preference to avoid online courses. You earn various industry certifications along with the degree. You should also learn a couple scripting languages (Perl, WinScript, Korn Shell, BASH, etc.) to automate administrative tasks, and make sure you have exposure to Microsoft Windows and some variety of UNIX such as GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, or Open Solaris.

    Broadly speaking this is true. In the workplace, however, employees with CS/IT/IS degrees usually end up doing the same types of jobs. Even systems administrators have to occasionally develop small programmes called scripts from time to time.

    Aim higher sonny boy! You will not be able to move out of mom's basement on a Geek Squad salary. :D

    Overall, the only advantage a CS degree has over an IT degree is the CS degree teaches you how to think in abstract terms and translate problems into solutions, while the IT degree is typically an applied, vocationally-oriented course of study. Create systems versus deploy and integrate existing systems. This is merely a generalization and not necessarily applicable to every CS and IT degree offered by every school.
  10. Pluberus

    Pluberus New Member

    Thanks for all the replies! Very insightful. Does FHSU offer that course on-campus? The link you posted seems to refer to the online course.

    Thanks again!
  11. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    I think the Bachelor of Science in Information Networking and Telecommunications with a concentration in Computer Networking and Telecommunications degree offered on-campus is the equivalent of the on-line programme discussed earlier in this thread. The web site has undergone a significant revamping therefore I am providing the URLs to both the on-campus and on-line versions of the Bachelor of Science in Information Networking and Telecommunications. HwyRogue is currently enrolled in the on-line version of the Bachelor of Science in Information Networking and Telecommunications and based on his messages on this forum he has been very satisfied with the school, the instructors, and the curriculum.
  12. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    You could also try Southwestern College (my alma mater) which is in Winfield, KS with campuses in Witchita and I think elsewhere. Either way their main campus is in Winfield, and they're online programs are pretty awesome in my experience
  13. rickyjo

    rickyjo Guest

    I think that what he meant by a "geek squad type job" is that he could fix computers on the go, which is what I do. I work for myself. I will tell you this, although geek squad people (I know a couple) start out making small dollars it can become somewhat lucrative with seniority...but that will never make the job suck less. Also you can start there and then move upwards with better organizations....if you can live with the guilt of fleecing people for best buy for a year or two.

    My personal opinion (although I have little basis or credentials to make this assertion) is that computer science degree combined with some IT certs would not look worse, perhaps even better. Being well rounded is a desirable quality and the certs should remove any speculation as to whether or not you know the more specific issues of IT. You also gain the flexibility to change jobs later.

    I would say this with one word of caution...if you dislike programming and things in that vain you may be unhappily forced into learning more of this type of thing with a c/s degree.

    I'm in the same boat as you in that regard, love computers, love what I can do with them, hate programming.
  14. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    The last I looked, I think one of the big 3, perhaps Thomas Edison, offers a BS in Computer Information Systems. As others have suggested, this could be a great approach, allowing you to take courses at a number of different places and combine them together into a degree that covers the things *you* want to study.

    You may also want to take a look at chemeketa community college in Washington. They offer a number of CIS-related courses and I believe they have (or had) good out-of-state tuition rates for distance-based learners.
  15. dzzwhut

    dzzwhut New Member

    If interested in a career doing geek-squad type work, a degree is most likely not required.

    I would focus on getting a few entry level certifications while you are a Senior.

    - A+
    - Network +
    - MCDST
    - (a Microsoft server cert)

    You will need the degree for further advancements and higher paying careers.

    good luck,
  16. rickyjo

    rickyjo Guest

    Also if you get the certs first you can usually put them towards a class or two at many colleges.

    Getting just your A+ will put you above many applicants at your average computer repair shop or geek squad.
  17. ITJD

    ITJD Guest

    In direct reply to one of the questions the original poster had.

    I'm a WGU Alumni carrying a BS in IT focusing in Network Management. The program has changed a little in terms of the curriculum since I graduated, but the methodology is the same. If you find yourself looking into them further, feel free to PM or ask questions in the thread. I'll be happy to answer.

    What I'll say about them at the moment is: If you're diligent and self-motivated to get things done, you'll have no problem. If you're not a self-starter, then look elsewhere. The programs are achievable and worthwhile.
  18. djacks24

    djacks24 New Member

    I am doing break/fix work in an Apple shop barely making a living with no benefits. Its all that's available and I have several associate degrees and a BS from well-known regionally accredited traditional brick and mortar schools. Things are really hard out there for IT. I love what I do, but can't see myself making much more money doing break/fix work. It is either this or phone tech support and I did phone tech support for a couple years and hated it. Even doing phone tech support there were several IT/CS grads from real schools that couldn't find anything along with several ITT tech grads that were buried in student loans with no transferable credits. I've been doing break/fix now 2.5 years and still can't find a way to more money or a decent IT position. Just letting you know to choose your program wisely or another career.
  19. rickyjo

    rickyjo Guest

    It's true that it's tough right now but job growth is expected in IT. It always is. It's also a vocation that varies from city to city. Like my city lost Intel and HP and we are swamped with out of work techies, fortunately I'm somewhat immune to this being self employed (for now ^_^).

    I also love what I do and I think right now lots of people are making way less than they deserve in many industries. So I would not worry too much.

    The other good thing about IT is that you can build a craigslist empire if all else fails. If you lose your job you can flip computers on craigslist until you find a new job! I've been there a many times during slow months in my bussiness! Buy a machine for $10 sell for $60. Buy it for $20 sell it for $80.
  20. Pluberus

    Pluberus New Member

    Thanks again for the replies. Very helpful and informative. Coming from a low income family - I'm not concerned with making money like many people. I prefer an enjoyable job (in my case - IT) over a lucrative job (programming, etc).

    FHSU is very appealing to me. My current list so far is:
    Abilene Christian University - Majoring in IT
    Old Dominion University - Majoring in IT
    FHSU - Majoring in Informatics? Concentration in Computer Networking and Telecommunications concentration?

    Btw, my final ACT score just came in: 31.

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