B.S vs. B.A degrees

What's your opinion on this? Which one do you think can do more for someone trying to get their foot in the door? B.S programs are usually more expensive but have more training towards a specific subject while B.A programs are more well rounded but might not training someone as effective as a B.S degree can in a certain subject. For most of us technical guys, the B.S is certainly the way to go but does it attract growth and promotions the way a B.A degree can.


  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,544 Admin
    Speaking as a professional software engineer who has a B.A in Cultural Anthropology and nearly a minor in Music, I would suggesting going for the academic major that best fits your career goals and not worry if it's a B.A. or a B.S. Rarely does a major offer an option to go for either an arts or a sciences degree, so it's usually not even a consideration if you already know your field of interest.
  • texicantexican Member Posts: 19 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Two resumes on my desk for a tech job with relative similarities between the candidates, I would choose the one with the B.S. without a second thought. I think that would apply more the lower down the employment food chain the position was for. Generally, for a job that requires less experience, the experience level of the applicants tends to be a wash so you'd have to find other factors to differentiate them. Picking someone who probably went through a more technical/difficult route to a B.S. is an easy choice over the B.A in that situation.

    In general though, don't look that far down the line. Find a program you like and gain the experience along the way so it doesn't come down to a toss-up when applying for a job. Make yourself stand out.
  • Main EventMain Event Member Posts: 124
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,544 Admin
    texican wrote:
    ...someone who probably went through a more technical/difficult route to a B.S. is an easy choice over the B.A in that situation.
    Getting a BS is probably more difficult than a BA, you say? You need to check out the Hell a good music program will put you through for only a BA. There is no possible way to **** when demonstrating musical performance or composition. And I took a lot of classes in the "hard sciences" to get my anthro degree, but I wasn't awarded a BS for the effort like all the chem and bio majors were.

    I think think the Bachelors-level "trial by fire" is pretty much equal between the arts and sciences.
  • texicantexican Member Posts: 19 ■□□□□□□□□□
    No disprespect intended, and my apologies if it comes off that way.

    Of course a performance art is in a different class. Then again, if someone who went to Julliard drops a resume on my desk, I'll applaud them, ask for tickets to their show, then put their resume in the trash, because it's the wrong skill set for a tech job knowing that someone who has spent most of their time working on their performance skills probably didn't spend the same amount of time with their technical skills as someone with a B.S. in a computer related field.

    It also depends what the B.S. is for. Someone with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering obviously has the mental aptitude to handle a tech job, but again, may not have the same skill set as a B.A. in Computer Science. All things being equal and comparing two majors that don't have a computer-laden courseload, a rigorous (and no doubt difficult) history or anthropology background shows a definate ability to comprehend and analyze copious amounts of information, but it doesn't display the same degree of ability to take a concept and apply it to different situations. It's two different types of critical reasoning, and in my opinion, the latter lends itself better to the various technical fields.

    Sometimes when it comes to offering a job, you have to split hairs, and this is a relatively easy one to split in my opinion. The odds of the decision coming down to B.S. vs. B.A. is very unlikely. There are just too many other factors to consider. But you never know what the mindset of the person doing the hiring is. Like I said, just get all the experience you can, build your skill set, and the B.S./B.A. discussion becomes academic.
  • TheShadowTheShadow Member Posts: 1,057 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Not so sure that you would not miss some great talent. I will not resist on the hardware end but you will find that some of the best programmers for example tend to lean toward music and arts. On the hardware side they make excellent firmware creators. I suspect there is not much difference in the mental process between fiddling with bits and fiddling with music notes. When I was working in big iron design, the software side of the building was heavy with BA's. Of course that was the days of show me what you can do verses show me what you took so any degree would do.
    Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of technology?... The Shadow DO
  • keatronkeatron Member Posts: 1,208 ■■■■■■□□□□
    JD I never knew you were into music. I'm a Jazz pianist here in Chicago (on the nights I feel like going out). My father was a Jazz pianist by profession, and my grandfather was a blues guitarist. I've really only had formal training in high school (my band director and chorus director begged me to major in music), after looking at the curriculum and the performance requirements, I decided Computer Science would be easier. Don't ever think because it's arts it's easy. Like JD said, when you get on the stage to play, or in front of people to play, there's no cert to stand behind, no degree to help you look better, and no trusty google to help you find the "answer". It's you and the instrument, no where to hide, either you can play, or you can't. Not to mention, many of the best people I know in IT are arts majors. Our very own JD is a classic example. You will not find many people with a more well rounded basket of IT knowledge than Mr. Murry.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,544 Admin
    keatron wrote:
    JD I never knew you were into music.
    Yup, I did the band thing through middle and high school, and music was a natural major for me in college until I found out what I really wanted to do. Although I decided on a technical career, I wouldn't have passed up my musical training or experiences for anything (but I don't miss the endless hours locked in a practice room with only myself and a bass clarinet). I envy the musical family background that you have. Except for my aunt who was a church organist, people in my family were lucky if they could learn how to hum. :)
    keatron wrote:
    You will not find many people with a more well rounded basket of IT knowledge than Mr. Murry.
    Well, thank you very much! icon_redface.gif I attribute this to a life-long preoccupation with collecting useless information and never having the same kind of job twice. Just when I think that I've found my specialty niche, I end up changing jobs and looking at a new field of interest. Luckily, it's almost always involved some aspect of IT/IS or software engineering.
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