UOPeople quality?

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by guitarmark2000, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. Time flies...it’s been nearly 10 years since I finished my IU MBA, and 15 since my Excelsior BS.

    As I’m getting older my needs have also changed, so I’m looking at something new, interesting and cheap.

    Has anyone started or completed the University of the People BS in Computer Science? Feedback?

    I figure I could transfer in a ton of electives from my Excelsior degree and then chip away at something new. Price is right too.

    FYI I have software development experience and math going back 20 years, so it’s rusty but likely serviceable with review.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Another degree from a lower-ranking institution does not add anything to your resume. What is your purpose for the new degree? Job opportunities? Instead of a new degree, try to focus on sharping your skills. Here is a true story; my half-brother never worked in IT his life. He did not complete an undergraduate degree, also dropped out of the Doctor of Pharmacy program too. He spent two years learning programming languages, databases, and software development as self-study. He landed a job as a Lead Data Engineer because of his knowledge.
  3. copper

    copper Active Member

    A Bachelor of Science in Computer Science even from a "low tier" school is a door opener. With that said, computer/programmer employers definitely value recent experience. If you have the aptitude, go for it!
  4. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    So here's some good news, and some timing considerations.

    1. They will take almost anything in transfer credit so long as they can make a good transfer case for it. There was no age out for credits last I checked.
    2. They do charge 17 dollars per credit in transfer fees though so your budget may impact your transfer because.
    3. You only have 7 days to decide on transferring in credits after you're accepted. They will not take credits after that period of time.

    If you have some specific questions please ask via direct message. I've got reasons for not going fully public with my relationships with UoP as they'd reinforce my answers, but they're not negative reasons.
  5. Totally for self improvement and interest. Not specifically for my resume.

    I started a MS in MIS in 2011 but dropped it as there was zero ROI.
  6. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Edit above as I experienced a comprehension error that needs to be corrected. Thanks to GuitarMark for pointing it out.
  7. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    While I cannot say I would recommend a second bachelors as a means of boosting a resume I would say that it isn't accurate to say that it it doesn't add anything to the resume at all.

    If the two degrees are in very closely related fields then yes, it doesn't add much value. I typically only include one of my bachelors degrees (but both Masters) on my resumes. If the second degree is in a different field AND that different field is relevant to the posting I'd say it certainly adds value. If the school of one of those degrees is a lower ranking institution then including them both paints a very different picture.

    If there were a candidate who listed this education for a position as an accountant:

    M.B.A., Accounting - WGU
    B.A., Art History, TESU


    M.B.A. Accounting - WGU
    B.A. Accounting - TESU
    B.A. Art History - Yale University

    I wouldn't say that second bachelors adds no value in the second case. Is it necessary? Not really. But it does paint an image of a person who went to college and then went back to pursue a different career and that's not a bad thing. For a newly employed person that can fill in some otherwise questionable gaps in the timeline. And for a seasoned professional you get whatever star power is behind the higher ranking school coupled with actually meeting the job requirements with the lower ranking degree.

    In my experience, a lot of people respect the heck out of anyone who earns a degree while working full time.

    That said, I think the second example is probably not the best way to utilize resources in pursuing a career in accounting. However, different circumstances could have led to that actually being the fastest way to enter the new profession. But it would certainly add something to your resume. The question is rather does the something it offers justify the investment of time and money?
  8. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Recommendation from a corporate hiring manager - put your most relevant and your highest quality degree on your resume. If you're going for an entry level position try to avoid putting graduate level degrees on your resume. If you're going for management, then put your most relevant graduate qualification on your resume. If you have a Ph.D and you're not going into an office where it's necessary for the role or definitely affects pay grade (research academia, teaching government, high end consulting) don't put it on there.

    Why? - because no employer is going to pay you for things that aren't relevant to the role and adding multiple degrees has three implications that cross our minds.
    1. Do I have to pay this person more for something I don't need?
    2. Is the candidate going to assume they're worth more than I want to pay when I have no value comparison to make?
    3. Does this person like the education and training more than the work or do they just make bad life choices?

    Where I'll agree unconditionally with Neuhaus is that I respect the heck out of anyone who earns a degree while working full-time. Unfortunately that doesn't affect my hiring decisions at all.
  9. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Have you looked into Georgia Tech’s Online Graduate program in Computer Science? While you may or may not meet the entrance requirements, it is highly regarded and from a flagship institution. They also experimented and made it incredibly affordable. The networking connections, if leveraged, would be worth the tuition alone.
  10. Thanks to all for your feedback so far, but I still would like my original questions answered as that’s why I posted.

    “Has anyone started or completed the University of the People BS in Computer Science? Feedback?”
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    As extensive as our membership might be, we don’t have people in every program One thing you might consider is to visit the school’s FaceBook page You can often connect with people who are currently enrolled in the school.
  12. Understood, but this has always been a trustworthy resource for me. Hard to tell on FB who’s a shill or not.

    Whether this gets a response or no response it looks like an interesting program and approach.
  13. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Knowing what we know about FB it's reasonable to be suspicious. In these cases I follow people back to their homepages and look to see if they're real or not. Beyond that I can say that I generally like UPeople. I think of it as a bare-bones school that offers an opportunity to people who otherwise would have none. I have said before that if I ever did an MBA program (I have no real interest) I'd do the UPeople program because I'd get the basic info I want, with some structure, at a good cost. I think your goal is reasonable and it's probably worth taking a shot.
  14. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member


    1. I have immediate family in the program and they're pretty far along.
    2. Classes generally are a ton of reading, a weekly learning journal post, a deliverable and perhaps a quiz or test depending on what week it is.
    3. Grades are generally a combination of peer grading and objective quiz and test grades.
    4. The peer grading is the biggest joy or pain depending on how you look at it because many times you'll get students that are idealistically opposed to giving top marks and some that troll. You figure out who those students are pretty quickly and come up with strategies to avoid giving them the opportunity to grade you.

    Ex. Tom is a pain in the rear end that routinely grades his peers low. Grades are anonymous but you can sort of figure out who is grading whom by developing friendships in the courses, noting log on times and tendencies. So knowing that the requirement is to post your deliverable and then peer grade three other students; you note when you're being graded poorly and change your posting times to avoid the person doing it. Generally this results in waiting to the last minute to post or figuring out who the cool people are and grading quid pro quo.

    Not to say that this is entirely common, but it's the conversation of highest likelihood at the dinner table for more than a few semesters over the last couple years. (There was one set of three terms where many students took the same courses and "F Tom" was a common refrain)

    - Tom's name has been changed to protect those unable to control their Tom-ness -

    5. If you get hosed by the peer grading model, you can appeal grades at the end of each week but expect things to be fixed by end of term.
    6. Professors are volunteers, though they are now getting an honorarium of a few hundred a course. What this means is that most everyone teaching is cool and their heart is in the right place, but it also means that sometimes you get someone that goes radio silent for a week. Be patient.
    7. Course material for some courses can be disjointed. Most material is sourced from free sources and some courses can suffer from broken hyperlinks and missing information. Professors do a reasonably good job of fixing the matters that arise as they're made aware of them.
    8. Outcomes are dependent on the student. I come from an academic family and the person in my life who is in the program is both brilliant and an experienced academic. As a person who codes and has been in IT building tools for years, and knowing their skills going in, they've grown leaps and bounds from taking the courses. However, this person will do ALL the reading and slave over the assignments.
    9. My opinion is that five week classes are too short, but there's value if you do the work.

    Your mileage may vary. Hope this counts as feedback. When I asked for specific questions in an earlier post I was trying to avoid writing a wall of stupid. :)

    Be well
    TTS, heirophant and SteveFoerster like this.
  15. ITJD, thanks for your helpful feedback!
  16. Thanks - appreciate the feedback
  17. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    You're welcome.
  18. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    A PhD is an extreme example. It's highly unlikely that a person in a corporate setting is sporting a PhD in a field so wildly unrelated to the job they're applying for that this advice would come into play. Does it happen? Sure. I briefly overlapped with an administrative assistant who had a PhD in Literature (I believe it was). Husband was an engineer, he took his engineering job and she took the only job she was even remotely qualified for in the building.

    Was it necessary for the position? Of course not. Should she leave it off? No. There is no reason to leave it off and, if I found a candidate was concealing a doctorate, while not grounds for termination, you can bet your ass I would be digging in to find out why someone would conceal a degree from their employer like that. Is this a professor who lost tenure for doing one of the three bad things that cause professors to actually get fired? I don't know, but it's now an investigation. No resume has such precious little space that you cannot list out your formal education. Should you list multiple degrees of the same level? No, that's clutter. But yes, you should list any degree at each level at the required level and above.

    Well, corporate hiring manager, corporate HR director has some advice for you:

    1. I have never seen a company, and I've worked at a lot of them as both a recruiter and staff HR, feel they had to pay someone based on having a higher degree. If the position requires a bachelors degree and the applicant has a PhD, there is no reason why that would prompt a need to pay more. Positions are budgeted. They have a hiring range. It's usually a fairly tight range except for super niche, hard to fill roles. So if the difference is a salary of $48,000 and $52,000 then, even if you felt you were "paying for that PhD" you're still only paying up to the amount that the role was budgeted for. That's it. What you feel warrants the higher end of that spectrum is another matter.

    2. This is a very realistic concern. Hiding your education, however, is not how you overcome that objection.

    3. This is the sort of editorializing that HR tries desperately to keep at bay. Frankly, it's none of your business. And before you throw out a "Yeah, well, it still factors into how I hire people" I would strongly recommend you keep that tidbit to yourself. Because I have to tell you, I have fired more than a handful of "corporate hiring managers" for making casual candidate disqualifications. We have processes for a reason. We have acceptable rubrics for a reason. The main reason is to protect the company from liability. That protection is much harder to do when IT people try to play psychoanalyst.

    The advice you're giving isn't necessarily bad. In the situation as you describe it, yeah, it's probably fine. The problem is that the hypotheticals you've presented are not anywhere near something that can be called a common occurrence.

    Interesting, considering you also said...

    So your capricious hiring practices are also inconsistent? I'm sure you're a darling of both HR and your company's General Counsel.

    Everyone has bias. And that bias colors all decisions, including hiring decisions. You admit here that seeing certain degrees would make you question a person's judgment. You might not disqualify a candidate for having a PhD, but it's entirely possible for you to disqualify a candidate because you've formed a less than stellar opinion of them informed, at least in part, by the PhD and how you perceive it fits into their past, present and future. Likewise, you might not hire a person because they earned a degree full time. But if you respect the hell out of something they did, it's going to favorably color their candidacy.

    Part of responsible and successful hiring is acknowledging that we have biases and managing them so that we aren't engaging in discriminatory behavior. I don't want to dismiss your observations. You're a hiring manager. You hire people. You have relevant things to say. However, you do not speak for all hiring managers just as I do not speak for all HR Managers. The difference is that I work with MANY hiring managers and have for many years. I have also hired many more people than you in many more industries than you. I take it to heart when people give bad advice to job seekers. "Leave a PhD off of your resume" is right up there with "ALWAYS wear a tie to a job interview even if the job is flipping burgers!" No, don't do that. It's a bad idea and has resulted in many qualified people not getting jobs they were qualified for. My greatest solace is, as I've noted, that the hypothetical situation you've presented is so unlikely I cannot imagine anyone following your advice.

    But seriously, for the good of yourself, your career and your employees, you need to acknowledge your inherent biases and manage, not deny, them.
  19. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Hi Neuhaus,

    Fair reply. I sort of expected some discourse on my post from noting your education in your signature. I did not expect as much, so I think it only fair that I respond in kind, but I'll be as brief as possible while still being respectful.

    Multiple degrees of the same level can be omitted but a Ph.D that isn't relevant for the same reason can not be? This is your preference. That's fine. But I don't see it as appropriate to use your preference which is just as guilty of obfuscation as my preference simply because you're an HR Director, when I'm the guy that needs to work with the example person on a day to day basis. .

    Investigations, etc. Fair but it's really not our business unless we have cause and shouldn't be doing investigations without cause. Omitting something that is not relevant to the position is not cause. That's why criminal background checks and credit checks are done on everyone. Keep the Ph.D in if it's relevant. Otherwise it's not needed.

    Fair. I live by the rule of not insulting my candidates with low ball offers based on their previous salaries. It's fairly common for me to see career switchers into IT from liberal arts careers. The expectation of most of these folks is that they're leaving their 48-52k a year job and will be making more than 50-60k with no real experience after taking a degree program. This is false. There's also the case of folks with 80-90k roles that switch wanting to make 120 and they still need the entry-level role to get their legs. I can't hire entry at 80-90k, so I avoid that. The point is, I see all resumes and I do judge the nature of the candidate off of them as every other hiring manager does. Therefore, only put things that matter for the role you're applying for on the resume.

    Sure. I get that you're defending your opinion. I've already pointed out you're ok with omitting multiple masters or bachelors. I don't consider omission for the purpose of relevance "hiding". It's actually courteous and shows me that you're considering your worth to the role as you're applying to it.

    Completely agree with you here in a business sense. I won't admit to this sort of thing to a candidate and it's not something that will ever appear on a formal business communication that's discoverable. However, we're humans and this sort of thought process is common. The whole hiring process is designed to find humans who have skills that can get the job done. Those humans have merits and flaws and you have to make a decision about whether or not you're going to own those merits and flaws for the duration of when they're working for you. We have laws to keep things fair and get candidates in the door, but after you start the process of vetting, starting with the resume - everything that is documented is fair game for interpretation, just like everything that isn't. I'm not going to deny gut interpretations built on 20 years of interviewing people just because the HR director gets their knickers in a twist, but I'm also not going to put the HR Director in the position where their knickers get twisted.

    Point is, we're all experienced, not just HR. The reason HR exists is to make sure the company doesn't get screwed by the people in it and consult with the employees to get things done in a timely and sane way. The reason why I exist in this context is to get the right people into the role and make the decisions that HR can't.

    Thanks. I think I'd write your line slightly differently. "The problem is that the hypotheticals I've presented are unique to me and are rather common in my life so I may be projecting." I'd also add to that "I have no evidence to suggest that my projecting isn't relevant to other folks or other companies that we have no experience with, but I'm pretty sure from having chats with friends in the same roles in my field that we think similarly."

    Not at all contradictory. I can respect the work ethic without thinking that their judgment is sound. Two different things.

    See now, here you're making an assumption based on your lens and experiences. I forgive you. :)

    The purpose of a cover letter and resume from my perspective.
    1. Tell me how to contact you and where you're from.
    2. Tell me why you're interested in my open requisition and why you're a good fit for it.
    3. Show me your qualifications that are relevant to the role so that I understand that you understand the job description.
    4. Tell a story that makes me think you're a good fit for the role and a good fit for the team.

    That's it. Period.
    If I have a mid-career changer with a lot of non-relevant education and a salary history that puts them out of the scope of the role I'm going to bin the candidate.
    If I have the same person with a lot of non-relevant education job hopping in and out of those job paths, I'm going to bin the candidate.
    If that same person only puts relevant things on a resume and looks right, I'm going to start a conversation. Then everything is going to come out anyway as part of due diligence and I can make my own assumptions about their judgment at that time.

    The point is, don't do things that get you filtered out before you even start a conversation.

    Thank you, this is sensible.
    I won't give you directive or prescriptive advice as I find that sort of thing really gauche when I don't really know you. I'm glad you find solace. The more problematic thing is that you needed to find solace; and I'm sorry to say I can't help you there.

    Be well,
  20. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Because it isn't my "preference." Companies take material concealment very seriously. If you have two bachelors degrees, hey, that happens. You don't just happen into a PhD. Years of work go into that. At a minimum, omitting it could leave a massive gap in your resume.

    There is a difference between simplifying what you put on your resume and, essentially, lying which is what you are pitching here.

    Companies routinely investigate employees. "But it wasn't criminal!" might work in Congress but it doesn't hold water in a corporate setting. If you do something that looks shady then you're playing an oddly risky game that didn't have to get played at all.

    Or you could just be up-front with salary expectations prior to the interview. "This position pays $50k." "Oh, I was looking for a position that pays $120k" "OK, so this isn't a fit for you would you like me to hang onto your resume if a $120k position opens up and it looks like a fit for your qualifications?"

    It's a very common conversation. It needn't be complicated by degree levels. The pay bands are what they are. The budget is what it is.

    I'm not defending my opinion, I'm pointing out that your advice is potentially detrimental to a candidate and should not be followed as written. Different sort of thing.

    If a person has two bachelors degrees, say, in English Lit and Accounting and they are applying for a job as an accountant, I see no reason they cannot leave the unrelated degree off of their resume. If the candidate has an MA in English and an MBA and is applying for that same position, go ahead and leave the MA off if you really had to. There is no world in which the broader hiring community would say that omitting a PhD, even if in an unrelated field, is "courteous" to the interviewer or in any way helpful to the candidate.

    How very thoughtful of you. I, personally, don't like getting my knickers in a twist and so I appreciate the efforts of anyone who wishes to avoid knotting my undergarments in the course of their own duties.

    I don't agree with the way you worded either of these but I'm just going to let most of this slide.


    I won't give you directive or prescriptive advice as I find that sort of thing really gauche when I don't really know you. I'm glad you find solace. The more problematic thing is that you needed to find solace; and I'm sorry to say I can't help you there.

    Be well,

    I'm not really going to do a point by point here as the passive aggression dripping from your commentary isn't really worth an adult reply. It is a shame that there are hiring managers with malignant attitudes toward hiring who think that their instincts trump everything, including objectivity. The solace, though, is that many of them have only their own hubris to blame when they are suddenly shocked that the rope they have carefully been wrapping around their neck for decades suddenly presents a serious impediment to their continued survival.

    His judgment cometh and right soon.

    Best wishes.

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