9 Replies - 5301 Views - Last Post: 16 September 2010 - 02:56 PM

#1 Cowhm  Icon User is offline

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Graduate School

Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:28 PM

So I looked around a bit and didn't really find anything similar to the question I have. Quickly about me, I graduated with a BA in econ and now want to pursue programming and software development. So, the question being: should I go to grad school to learn and develop as a programmer, or am I better off learning on my own and getting a job at a startup/freelancing. I should note that I'll be learning on my own in my free time, but I'm wondering if the structure etc. of a grad school would be more beneficial? Any grad school stories would be greatly appreciated, as would an feedback from folk who got their undergrad in something other than cs.

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Replies To: Graduate School

#2 Nikitin  Icon User is offline

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Re: Graduate School

Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:13 PM

Wait, so you don't have an undergrad degree, nor a solid knowledge of software development, and considering grad school as a choice?
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#3 Cowhm  Icon User is offline

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Re: Graduate School

Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:52 PM

View PostNikitin, on 15 September 2010 - 07:13 PM, said:

Wait, so you don't have an undergrad degree, nor a solid knowledge of software development, and considering grad school as a choice?


Correct, I do not have an undergrad degree in cs, and my knowledge of software development is derived from what I have learned on my own. Sorry I didn't make that clear?
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#4 Nikitin  Icon User is offline

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Re: Graduate School

Posted 15 September 2010 - 10:01 PM

Apology accepted. Usually the people I've seen go straight to grad school were mathematics of physics majors who either minored in cs or have done some major programming in their free-time. In this case, I think it's better to debate undergrad school (as opposed to grad) and self-studying.
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#5 javadork  Icon User is offline

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Re: Graduate School

Posted 15 September 2010 - 11:47 PM

I am aware of one person who had their BS in Chemistry and then a few years later got his MS in comp sci. He's doing pretty well now as a software engineer, Linux kernel stuff.
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#6 Cowhm  Icon User is offline

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Re: Graduate School

Posted 15 September 2010 - 11:50 PM

View PostNikitin, on 15 September 2010 - 09:01 PM, said:

Apology accepted. Usually the people I've seen go straight to grad school were mathematics of physics majors who either minored in cs or have done some major programming in their free-time. In this case, I think it's better to debate undergrad school (as opposed to grad) and self-studying.


Yeah that's generally what I have heard, but fortunately I went to a pretty solid liberal arts school and it's feasible for me to pursue what I'm interested in. Not gonna go undergrad, more apt to put in the time for the pre reqs (which I should be able to do at this point easily) and do grad school.
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#7 javadork  Icon User is offline

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Re: Graduate School

Posted 15 September 2010 - 11:58 PM

How much pre req work will you have to do? Curious, because my undergrad degree is not CS (only minor) and thought about going back for my MS in CS.
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#8 Cowhm  Icon User is offline

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Re: Graduate School

Posted 16 September 2010 - 01:08 AM

View Postjavadork, on 15 September 2010 - 10:58 PM, said:

How much pre req work will you have to do? Curious, because my undergrad degree is not CS (only minor) and thought about going back for my MS in CS.


Depends on where I get into, but it looks like 3-4 classes. That said, if I were to utilize my time now on projects etc I might not need as many. Realistically though it boils down to my references and GRE score. (I'm really interested in grad school because of it's structure, resources and how much it will help my job search down the line.) But if I can get all that or just the resources necessary I would love to pursue another avenue.
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#9 cfoley  Icon User is online

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Re: Graduate School

Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:07 AM

Plenty of people do masters in computer science subjects. They get their degrees and probably a job afterwards. Just bear in mind that even if you work hard you will only have a year of experience under your belt, and you won't have the background computery knowledge people who did their BSc in CS do.

However, (and this is important!) you will have specialist knowledge in two trades. You may never be as good or as skilled as someone who specialised completely in one field but you will fill a niche and that could make you very employable and a valuable member of a multi-discipline team.

I did my first degree in Chemistry; programming has always been my hobby and I am now doing a PhD in bioinformatics. Obviously I can't tell how my job hunting will go afterwards but right now I'm having a blast!
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#10 Programmist  Icon User is offline

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Re: Graduate School

Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:56 PM

A BA in economics will not help you much with a MS in computer science (CS) or software engineering (SE). You would end up having to take a lot of prerequisite courses (probably just undergrad courses with graduate numberings) just to gain entry into most grad programs anyway, so my advice would be to go for a BS in SE or CS. The choice between the two depends heavily on your goals and the college you go to (which has been covered on D.I.C. in depth). One caveat, however, is that you will definitely want to do plenty of self-study (and work if you can get it) concurrently with either of these degrees because they will probably not teach you anything close to the current state of the art. They will, however, give you a good foundation in CS or SE theory and practices. Also, they will get your foot in the door for jobs that you might otherwise be overlooked for - especially if the market is down.


View PostCowhm, on 15 September 2010 - 09:52 PM, said:

Correct, I do not have an undergrad degree in cs, and my knowledge of software development is derived from what I have learned on my own. Sorry I didn't make that clear?
I thought you made it very clear, but then again I read your post. :)
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