Considering continuing on to a CS degree, have a few questions

Kimura410Kimura410 Member Posts: 71 ■■□□□□□□□□
So basically, Ive been procrastinating on finishing school. I obtained my associates of arts last year, pretty much just to get it over with. Didn't know what I wanted to do career wise in the beginning, and when I landed on IT, I had one semester left, so it seemed pointless to take 2-3 more semesters to get an Associates in information systems or something IT related.

For a while, I didn't plan to get a bachelors. Ive heard of so many people who can't get jobs even with a bachelors. But these were mainly business or english related degrees. I still see computer science at the top of the "5 most lucrative/in demand degrees", so Im guessing a Computer Science degree is still a safe bet, let me know if I am wrong, please.

I guess Im just wondering what to expect if I decide to do this, mainly in regards to the difficulty of the degree, and a ballpark cost. My hope is that I can transfer with my associates from the community college nearby to an instate university. I live in southern maryland. Im currently unemployed and have a kid. I think I landed a part time job the other day, but it isn't IT related. It would be something to get me by for now though.

Ive been applying for entry level jobs, mainly help desk roles, for 9 months now. Ive only had 4 interviews, 2 were on the phone. One of those worked out and I received an offer, but I needed an interim clearance, and 3 months have gone by and haven't heard a thing. Not sure whats going to happen with that, but honestly, my experience/knowledge isn't excellent, just decent and I don't feel confident yet. I obtained the Security+, but other than that I only have personal experience, like building computers or troubleshooting network problems at home or for friends. Sec+ is the only reason Ive gotten those interviews, but I really feel like experience and a degree would be much more beneficial than a cert.

So thats why I'm considering a CS degree. I hope that I can at least get an internship when Im almost done with the degree, gain some experience and knowledge from that, as well as through coursework. Then with some experience under my belt and the degree, I feel that I would get more interviews and stand out a little more.

Am I just being ignorant to some things? Am I completely underestimating this degree's difficulty? Is it worth the money? People have told me having a kid will help me with financial assistance. My GPA isn't terrible, but not great. I was still in goof off mode when I first began my Associates, but the second year I got A's and B's because I started taking school a lot more seriously. Overall for my AA I believe my GPA is 2.95, which really makes me mad because I was so close to raising it to a 3.0, but what can you do.

Anyways, I apologize for the wall of text. Im in dire need of advice and I don't know anybody in real life with a CS degree and don't know that many people in the IT field. Most people I know just say they fell into it, which is so vague and doesn't help.

Thanks in advance.


  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,775 ■■■■■■■■□□
    First question I have is do you like IT?
    I only say this because it seems like your not sure what you want to do. It's not a good career for someone not interested in learning that's for sure.

    With that being said I would say that statistically you will be better off with a degree. If your just looking to try out the field I would say get your A+ and Network+. They would expose you to a lot quickly and give you a better shot at landing an entry level position.

    Good Luck!
  • JB3JB3 Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I went back to school after graduating HS in 2005 and am currently in the 3rd year of my CS degree. I have been programming on and off since 6th grade through. It is definitely not an easy degree to get though. Expect ALOT of math. Not just calculus, but linear algebra and alot of discrete math. I took Data Structures and Algorithms at a community college a few years ago and it is completely different at the university level. So far it has been all math. However, the hardest part for me is having to sit through Geology and all the other classes I know I will never use. Maybe you will get lucky though and be able to transfer straight into upper-division.

    A CS degree will never hurt you when applying for a job, but be prepared to work for it. There are some very successful people who have gone the certification route, and do not have degrees. However, I feel like in the long-haul a CS degree is an investment in your career. In the days of recruiters, there are alot of companies that your resume won't even make it to the technical team to look at without having a bachelors. I firmly believe that college is for some people, and it isn't for some people. If you feel like you are in a place to go for it - I say do it!

    What is your 'dream job'? If you were to get a CS degree, what types of jobs would you want? This will help answer your question on if a CS degree is needed/worth it. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.
  • RaisinRaisin Member Posts: 136
    Go back to your community college and sign up for a higher level math course than what you took for your AA degree and a OOP language like Java or C++. If you hate the experience or perform poorly in those classes then you should instead go for a IT/CIS degree. A CS degree is nice to have, but not really a requirement to work in IT.
  • tkerbertkerber Member Posts: 223
    First of all, you don't seem very motivated and IT seems like more of an option than a choice. I would like to stress the difficulty level of a CS degree from ANY university. CS is not for the faint of heart and the unmotivated... I have two friends that are pursuing CS degrees--both are very intelligent and have an absolute bleeding passion for technology and programming.

    Regardless, I'm going to just flat out say that if you pulled a 2.95 in community college you're in no shape to attempt a CS degree. I would pursue certifications and see if any of it even interests you and go from there.
  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    Though it is more difficult than some degrees, I do not feel that CS is as bad as some make it out to be. "I hate math" and made it through the program with a 3.65. There are plenty of people that hold that degree which means it is up to the individual to succeed or not. I fully believe you will be better off with a degree than not as it can be a limiting factor without sometimes.

    I truly believe that the information learned in a CS program will allow you to absorb new IT concepts, much easier as you will understand the fundamental building blocks.

    I currently work in a research facility where everyone has a degree, (BS to PhD and not everyone has an IT degree because of the type of research) I can tell you that the few that have a CS degree have much more versatile than ones without. There are other factors in that obviously and this is an observation of one research campus.

    School is something that gets harder to do as you get older, so if you have the time and motivation to do it now... do it, regardless if it's a CS, CIS, MIS or whatever.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 MCSA: Server 2012, MCITP: EDA KCMember Posts: 897 ■■■■■□□□□□
    If IT truly is your passion, then definitely get your Bachelors Degree. If it's not? Well, still get your bachelors degree. One thing that it shows is that you stick to your commitment and will follow through to completion, no matter how hard or easy it may be. Now, would CS be the best path for you? Or would MIS/CIS be a better path? Or is your true enjoyment with work not IT related, in which case go that route. If you are choosing IT just because you can make alot of money, it's not the right reason nor path. If I were not into IT and strived and desired to be successful in this career and it was all about the money, i would choose something different. Basically if you want to make 6 figures as fast as possible, you'd be better off going to school and become a Physicians Asst. You can easily make 100k working in an ED within a year of graduating. With IT, you would need a bit of luck and some damn solid experiences/intelligence/connections to break that threshold that quickly.

    Either way, get your bachelors degree. Just don't get it in something oversaturated where you will be more likely to say "Would you like fries with that?" after graduation then something you actually studied and earned your degree in.
  • Kimura410Kimura410 Member Posts: 71 ■■□□□□□□□□
    You know what, everyone made some good points. The guy that said I don't seem motivated struck a nerve at first, but after a lot of reflecting, he is right. I really wasn't motivated because there was no passion backing my plan at the time.

    I think IT as far as being a technician or support of some sort is not something I really care about, it just seemed safe. The thing that made me consider IT in the first place was due to the fact that when I was 13, I built a fan website for a video game I really liked. I had more fun making the website than I did playing the game! I did it with geocities but I still had to learn some basic programming skills. Maybe I need to start looking in the direction of coding.

    Anyways, thanks. This really opened up my eyes.
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