Author Topic: Too much education? computer people...?  (Read 3477 times)

resy

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Too much education? computer people...?
« on: March 10, 2015, 06:01:03 PM »
Hi,
This is a question regarding my husband's career/school path. I am barely working on my first B.S. so Im still new to a lot of this PLUS his professional interests are very different than mine and since he is the type that I seem to see a lot of here maybe some of you super smart mustachians can help us :)
Long story short:
He has a B.S. In operations management from a good university but when he graduated he couldn't find a decent job in our area so he started his own small service based business 2 years ago. During this time he realized his true passion is computers and he is turned off by business.
He has been back in school a term pursuing a second degree, this time in information technology with an app development emphasis (or whatever its called- can u tell Im so not into computers? Lol).
THE QUESTION IS: is a second b.s. needed? He is really good at this shit, he is smart (4.0) and truly loves computers but we need to be practical as we are paying out of pocket. He is so disappointed with the outcome of his first degree (kinda useless) that he is doubting what path to take.  Does he continue at his current school where he has roughly 1.5 years left to go get the degree (same school he went to before) or would an accelareted postbac program in computer science work (Seems to be our next best option)? Postbac is suuuuper expensive though.
Anyone with experience that might offer some advice?
*edited for typos
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 06:12:45 PM by resy »

caliq

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2015, 06:13:49 PM »
What school is his degree from/is he at now?

resy

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2015, 06:28:15 PM »
Answered question through pm :)

caliq

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2015, 06:33:33 PM »
Answered!  I think honestly he should just try actually developing some apps and putting them out there.  He might not have to finish school if something takes off. 

But like I said in my PM, don't quote me -- wait for someone who actually works in the industry to confirm/deny :)

GueroKC

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 07:09:41 PM »
You really can't go wrong here. I have a BA in English (was headed to law school). I changed my mind and went back and studied computer science--best decision I ever made. Lots of jobs, good money, work from home opportunities, etc.

The way I see it, he has three options:

1) Work as a programmer without going back to school
Financially, this is his best move. There are a lot of companies out there that don't care where or how you learned to code. They just want people who can code...period. Most of your smaller tech-focused companies operate this way. The downside is that there are some bigger companies that still require a degree in a technical field. Companies that sponsor foreign workers for visas are often extra particular about degrees due to some regulatory issues. Not having the tech degree will absolutely limit the jobs he can get, but not in a terrible way. Instead of 'Company A has good jobs and great jobs, and you need a tech degree for the great jobs' think 'Company A and Company B both have good jobs and great jobs. Company A requires a tech degree for both types. Company B doesn't require a  tech degree for either type'.

2)Work as a programmer after getting a BS in a tech area
This is the safe bet. A BS is more than enough for nearly any tech job in the country. Having this degree would be an insurance policy just in case he wants to work at the kind of company that requires you to have a particular degree to qualify for a position. Major downside of course is the time devoted to school and the cost of tuition, but it's pretty safe to assume there will be high quality jobs waiting for him when he's done.

3) Work as a programmer after getting a grad degree in a tech area (this is what I chose and now somewhat regret)
This is the most expensive option, and the vast majority of programming jobs don't require an advanced degree, nor do they offer extra compensation for having an advanced degree. Furthermore, if his passion is app development, graduate computer science degrees will not cover what he's most interested in.  As you might imagine, graduate programs tend to be more theoretical. One exception might be if he were to pursue the 'Big Data' field. It's a fad right now, but candidates with the advanced math, statistics, and machine learning skills that are taught in these types of grad programs will most likely be in high demand for years to come. People with those skills are compensated at a higher rate because they're much rarer than your standard app development skills.  This kind of 'programming' is very different than what it sounds like he's doing now. If he really gets into math and algorithms, it might be the way to go, but if he's more into application development, he should stay out of grad school. There are plenty of good jobs that will pay him to do what he already knows he loves.

Apologies if that was a bit wordy. It's awfully close to my own situation. It's impossible for anyone to give a definitive answer, of course, so take these opinions with a grain of salt. There may be other people in the industry who will feel differently.

Sarjoo

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2015, 07:28:08 PM »
In addition to what GueroKC said, there are 2 more options

4) Work as a programmer after getting a certificate in programming or application development
This is cheaper than 2 and 3 and has better employment options than number 1. There are MANY certifications out there. He would just need to research what he want to do and then do it.

5) Work as a programmer after doing a bootcamp or an Apprenticeship
I like these better if you already have some development experience and you are wanting to switch technologies, but this would be a good place to start to get your feet wet. He would also know right away if he liked it or not.

I personally went the route of option 3 and got my graduate degree in an Applied Computer Science program. It is much different than a theoretical degree where I had a lot of hands on learning. I am really happy that I went that route. Plus, in graduate school you can be a GA or TA and then usually the university offers a tuition waiver and living stipend.

octavius

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2015, 07:55:33 PM »

What part of the country are you in?  Near many large fortune 500 firms? 

His operations management degree might not actually be useless if that includes solid math & stats; combined with an ability to write code (especially SQL) which isn't that hard to learn if he is bright.  There is a growing demand for people working in a field known as data science, that sits at the overlap between programing, stats, and business. Where I live, a lot of companies are looking for people with that skill set, but I know it is also in high demand in many major cities with any kind of a large tech or corporate presence (Boston, San Fran, Austin, NYC, LA, etc).


 

the_gastropod

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2015, 08:15:55 PM »
Software Engineer here. I went the traditional route (CS degree). Some of my best co-workers either have no college degree or have a degree in something completely unrelated (e.g., Japanese, Physics, and Biology). Since your husband already has a solid degree, I'd recommend just self-learning. Assuming he has a decent grasp of programming, his business experience will likely be very valuable, especially for a smaller startup company.

joekiser

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2015, 08:20:08 PM »
He can likely get a Master's degree in a technical field by taking a few undergrad classes (math, maybe some programming) and then getting accepted to the Master's program. The technical degree + business experience (which includes project management if it is an MIS degree) is a rare, understated combination.

resy

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2015, 08:57:56 PM »

What part of the country are you in?  Near many large fortune 500 firms? 

His operations management degree might not actually be useless if that includes solid math & stats; combined with an ability to write code (especially SQL) which isn't that hard to learn if he is bright.  There is a growing demand for people working in a field known as data science, that sits at the overlap between programing, stats, and business. Where I live, a lot of companies are looking for people with that skill set, but I know it is also in high demand in many major cities with any kind of a large tech or corporate presence (Boston, San Fran, Austin, NYC, LA, etc).

I think our location is part of the problem, we live in Oregon and the job market seems to be really limited. It also seems all the companiea around here want a b.s. in the field. The school he attended (and is attending again) is quite good so he got A LOT of math with his first degree, including statistics which he also likes.
Thanks for your replies you guys, I am going to show him this thread :) we are so lost and are both first generation college graduates (well, me not yet!) so this forum is the best way for me to get realistic input from professionals that know what they are talking about, have the experience and have no conflict of interest (such as school advisors) so I appreciate the guidence.

darkadams00

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2015, 09:30:56 PM »

What part of the country are you in?  Near many large fortune 500 firms? 

His operations management degree might not actually be useless if that includes solid math & stats; combined with an ability to write code (especially SQL) which isn't that hard to learn if he is bright.  There is a growing demand for people working in a field known as data science, that sits at the overlap between programing, stats, and business. Where I live, a lot of companies are looking for people with that skill set, but I know it is also in high demand in many major cities with any kind of a large tech or corporate presence (Boston, San Fran, Austin, NYC, LA, etc).

Data scientist here (previously an analytic engineer, an analytical consultant before that, a business analyst before that, and a statistician before that--names change with the wind, but the job is almost the same). We've moved from models to analytics to the cloud and on to big data. Don't get lost in the buzz words. Just focus on math, stats, statistical programming, and database programming mixed with a healthy mix of project management, communication, collaboration, and dedication. Jobs are in high demand, and 2/3 of our interviews are green cards because Americans are piling into the B-school instead of STEM. I get over a dozen job notices per month from acquaintances in the field, so the demand is there. Entry-level salaries are also solid for MS grads.

octavius

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2015, 02:34:00 PM »

What part of the country are you in?  Near many large fortune 500 firms? 

His operations management degree might not actually be useless if that includes solid math & stats; combined with an ability to write code (especially SQL) which isn't that hard to learn if he is bright.  There is a growing demand for people working in a field known as data science, that sits at the overlap between programing, stats, and business. Where I live, a lot of companies are looking for people with that skill set, but I know it is also in high demand in many major cities with any kind of a large tech or corporate presence (Boston, San Fran, Austin, NYC, LA, etc).

I think our location is part of the problem, we live in Oregon and the job market seems to be really limited. It also seems all the companiea around here want a b.s. in the field. The school he attended (and is attending again) is quite good so he got A LOT of math with his first degree, including statistics which he also likes.
Thanks for your replies you guys, I am going to show him this thread :) we are so lost and are both first generation college graduates (well, me not yet!) so this forum is the best way for me to get realistic input from professionals that know what they are talking about, have the experience and have no conflict of interest (such as school advisors) so I appreciate the guidence.

If you are in or near Portland, I'd think there would be a lot of demand, though I haven't searched it there, but it has Intel, Nike, and a handful of small & medium size companies that I know use data analysts and programmers.

If you are in one of the smaller areas, then I can see it might be harder to find a good fit.
 
Is moving an option?  ...even for a few years to help him get more experience?  Seattle isn't far a way and there is a ton of demand. 
« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 03:10:32 PM by octavius »

Kaspian

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2015, 02:45:07 PM »
"Software engineers" and "data scientists"?!!  I'm a plain old programmer/database guy.  (I just had to look up my official title and it's "Senior Technical Support Analyst ".)  I make ($93K) well beyond the average/mean in my city and with only a 2-year community college diploma.  My brother's a university grad doing the same thing elsewhere.  I think I make more?  Not sure.  (That said, there was nowhere near as much IT competition in 1994.)

It's all about what you can do, I think?  And proving that?  I've read code from newbies which was elegantly brilliant and read overly complicated code from degree holders which made me want to vomit. 
« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 02:46:58 PM by Kaspian »

lil_miss_frugal

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2015, 03:01:34 PM »
I'm a programmer myself, though I do have a degree, in this particular field it isn't always required. Sounds like your husband has some experience with developing already and if that's the case he can get his foot in the door with his experience. The good thing is he already has a degree. A degree(doesn't matter the major) plus some experience is definitely a plus.

Also, some companies are willing to pay for extra schooling whether that's a degree or certifications. He should keep that in mind as well, it'll definitely save a lot of money!

mm1970

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2015, 03:14:58 PM »

What part of the country are you in?  Near many large fortune 500 firms? 

His operations management degree might not actually be useless if that includes solid math & stats; combined with an ability to write code (especially SQL) which isn't that hard to learn if he is bright.  There is a growing demand for people working in a field known as data science, that sits at the overlap between programing, stats, and business. Where I live, a lot of companies are looking for people with that skill set, but I know it is also in high demand in many major cities with any kind of a large tech or corporate presence (Boston, San Fran, Austin, NYC, LA, etc).

Data scientist here (previously an analytic engineer, an analytical consultant before that, a business analyst before that, and a statistician before that--names change with the wind, but the job is almost the same). We've moved from models to analytics to the cloud and on to big data. Don't get lost in the buzz words. Just focus on math, stats, statistical programming, and database programming mixed with a healthy mix of project management, communication, collaboration, and dedication. Jobs are in high demand, and 2/3 of our interviews are green cards because Americans are piling into the B-school instead of STEM. I get over a dozen job notices per month from acquaintances in the field, so the demand is there. Entry-level salaries are also solid for MS grads.
So "data scientist".  I am interested in this.  One of my coworkers has been taking an on-line course on the side.

What is involved, really?  I'm a semiconductor engineer, and part of my job here and there has been data analysis, statistics, databases.  Programming is my weak spot but I've thought of trying to strengthen that (in my "free time" outside my FT job, two boys, and PTA work, ha!)

octavius

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Re: Too much education? computer people...?
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2015, 11:17:07 AM »

What part of the country are you in?  Near many large fortune 500 firms? 

His operations management degree might not actually be useless if that includes solid math & stats; combined with an ability to write code (especially SQL) which isn't that hard to learn if he is bright.  There is a growing demand for people working in a field known as data science, that sits at the overlap between programing, stats, and business. Where I live, a lot of companies are looking for people with that skill set, but I know it is also in high demand in many major cities with any kind of a large tech or corporate presence (Boston, San Fran, Austin, NYC, LA, etc).

Data scientist here (previously an analytic engineer, an analytical consultant before that, a business analyst before that, and a statistician before that--names change with the wind, but the job is almost the same). We've moved from models to analytics to the cloud and on to big data. Don't get lost in the buzz words. Just focus on math, stats, statistical programming, and database programming mixed with a healthy mix of project management, communication, collaboration, and dedication. Jobs are in high demand, and 2/3 of our interviews are green cards because Americans are piling into the B-school instead of STEM. I get over a dozen job notices per month from acquaintances in the field, so the demand is there. Entry-level salaries are also solid for MS grads.
So "data scientist".  I am interested in this.  One of my coworkers has been taking an on-line course on the side.

What is involved, really?  I'm a semiconductor engineer, and part of my job here and there has been data analysis, statistics, databases.  Programming is my weak spot but I've thought of trying to strengthen that (in my "free time" outside my FT job, two boys, and PTA work, ha!)

As dark wrote, the term is a bit of a buzzword -- the type of work has been around for a long time -- but the demand has boomed in the last few years with all of the data that is collected today (billing data, web usage data, cell phone data, marketing site click data, etc), and with companies realizing that the data has a lot of value in analyzing behavior, or even trying to predict behavior. 

I don't know that there is a universally agreed definition of data scientist, and I suspect that people that got into it from the stats profession might not agree 100% with the definition of those that got into it from the very large DB profession (hadoop, Teradata, etc).  But I think the outcomes are similar. 

I'm a bit of a cynic about the label data scientist, and I think it is being used in part by the education industrial complex to help sell their graduate certificates and degrees -- seems like there is a boom for that degree from many institutions now (part of the current education bubble), but since it is catching on -- I decided I might as well use the term too. 

Essentially, if you can do quality stats, and math, and can work with very large data sets, and tools like R, SQL (sometimes hadoop or other forms of non-SQL), and even at times Excel instead of R (or both together), you can probably get into data science.  The guys with PhDs in Stats might not think you are a data scientist like they are -- but if you are good -- who cares what they think. 

The thing I've noticed (my company uses a lot of 3rd party consulting companies for special projects) is that every single one of these companies likes to brag that they have a data scientist on staff now -- this wasn't the case 4-5 years ago.

But the main point to the OP -- is that if her partner has a good stats & math background, and can program, it is a field he might look into -- because it is currently red hot.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 11:20:14 AM by octavius »