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#1 robostealth  Icon User is offline

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Need some advice about my "trade school" CS program

Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:47 AM

Alright, i guess i should introduce myself a little bit first. I've been aspiring to be a programmer ever since we got our first computer in 2002. I would have been about 8 at that point, and honestly i didn't even know how computers worked, but i guess that's where my fascination started. I've been a video game junkie ever since and i guess i got my intro to programming by (trying to) make mods for Fable shortly after it came out, but i took my first REAL programming classes in my sophomore year in high school. We had an amazing tech center that offered everything from nursing, IT, teaching, and a full auto shop. I've heard we have one of the best public school tech center in my state (no sources to confirm). pretty much it was an amazing start to my dream. I'd had the chance to take a VB, C#/C++, Java, and a PC servicing class before i even graduated, and got the chance to compete in Business Professionals of America, where i placed 1st in VB and C# at regionals, 2nd in C# at the state level, and 4th in C# at the national level. I really felt like my programming knowledge at the end of high school was going to be a huge catalyst in helping me reach by dream job of being a software engineer, and optimally having a job in a video game studio. What i didn't know at that point was how much WHERE i continued my education after high school was going to affect me.

Every year, at my tech center, we had a representative from a school called Baker College who told us how awesome their school was going to be for people like me. They fabricated a bunch of stuff about how 98% of their graduates have a job in their field of study, and how we could begin on day 1 taking tech classes there for our major, and how their institution is accredited so i could transfer my credits later. this appealed to everyone there because it made their school seem glamorous as opposed to everyone else in our graduating class who was going to a community college and basically "retake" high school after they graduated. in my naivety, i did little research into other colleges and jumped on the bandwagon.

:stupid:


I'm extremely unhappy here though. Most of my classes, i've realized, were really a means for the school to suck money out of me and giving me little in return. even the gen. ed. classes are severely under par here. my english classes taught me little to nothing about how to write. instead they pounded in APA formatting into my head for 2 semesters, and all we were graded on was our ability to format cover pages and cite sources correctly. of my IT classes, they're even worse yet. every single one of them ends up teaching "intro to programming" for the first half of the class again, and our test are all vocabulary and no practicality. My high school classes taught at a higher standard than these, and we had a programming challenge every single week to help mold our base knowledge, and give a better understanding to programming as a whole, which is how i believe a college-level class should be taught as well. I know the flipping syntax already, i know how to comment my code, and for god's sake you don't have to teach me how to save my projects to my flash drive, which was the topic of discussion for the past two weeks in my VB class. And to make matters even better, i found out the guy teaching the class has only been programming for 4 years himself.

I'm really disappointed in myself for not doing a little research before i signed those enrollment papers, because now it's not even about the crappy classes. I came to find out that the ability to transfer my credits to another college is zero. They're all about selling you a diploma, and the schools AND businesses around here know that. employers that see a degree from baker college don't even look twice before they move on to the next resume. I have, in every essence of the term, wasted the past 2 years of my life here. granted i'm only 19, but that is still really disappointing. the biggest challenge i have right now is figuring out where to go from here. I think the best thing for me to do is to go to a community college and get all of my gen eds out of the way where they'll be cheap and well taught. the college in question here IS regionally accredited and a whole lot cheaper than Baker, and after another year or so, i think i'll be ready to transfer elsewhere.

I suppose what i'm asking is why this is even allowed to happen? Baker College offers a whole slew of majors like nursing, business, computer science, auto mechanics, and a few others, and they offer up to a whopping Masters degree in business, but the ONLY thing they have accredited is up to their bachelors degree in business, and no others. i have nothing to show for the past 2 years of my life <_<

I couldn't think of doing anything other than programming as a career and because of this bull i have to spend that much longer flipping burgers at Wendy's.

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Replies To: Need some advice about my "trade school" CS program

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Need some advice about my "trade school" CS program

Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:12 PM

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I suppose what i'm asking is why this is even allowed to happen?

It's a business and you didn't do you research. Their reviews are not overly horrible (but far from stellar), and it does seem to sound like people are getting skills based training from this place. Some fare better than others.

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Baker College offers a whole slew of majors like nursing, business, computer science, auto mechanics, and a few others, and they offer up to a whopping Masters degree in business, but the ONLY thing they have accredited is up to their bachelors degree in business, and no others.

Yup.. mentioned on their website.

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i have nothing to show for the past 2 years of my life <_<

Really? Nothing? You have learned absolutely nothing from this school? You have learned absolutely nothing from programming outside of the homework/classroom trough these last two years? It's a bit hard to be directly angry at the school for that one. Where's your side work? Side projects? Half ran ideas? Two years is a long time to have not learned something.

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I couldn't think of doing anything other than programming as a career and because of this bull i have to spend that much longer flipping burgers at Wendy's.

It happens. Heck some people do not find out what they want to do until they are in their forties. Two years isn't the worst of a time sink at 19, but I am not sure how much longer you have until you were to be done.
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#3 robostealth  Icon User is offline

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Re: Need some advice about my "trade school" CS program

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:13 PM

Most of what I know, programming-wise, I've done outside of the classroom, or it goes back to my high school classes. I will admit I had a really great teacher for MySQL and a decent one in Advanced Java, but what i meant is i have nothing to SHOW for it. If i were to continue here, my degree would be a pretty piece of paper and not much else. No legitimate business or school gives a hoot. Yeah, it's my fault for buying into their scam, and maybe their other programs are a little bit better. From what i've gathered while being there, the school is aimed at a demographic completely different than what i'd say i fit in. 90% of the students there are lower-class 30-50 year olds that need a school that isn't going to turn them away.

I'm always programming in my spare time, or doing something tech-related. I've been infatuated with the hardware side of computers lately, and am in the middle of building my own computer. I've spent hundreds of hours working on programming projects on the side, things i know i'll never release but its still fun for me to figure out how things work. I learned a lot about servers by running my own minecraft server for a year or so, and got quite a bit of networking and java experience out of that. So i haven't just been hibernating for the past two years, but i don't have much to put on a resume either.

I've been doing a lot of thinking, and i'd REALLY hate to be stuck at a fast food joint while i go back to school somewhere else, but i don't think i have quite enough experience to land an actual tech job. If i were to go out and get a few certifications (i know i could pass A+ and SCJA at least, and possibly an entry level microsoft cert or two, with some studying to refresh myself), would that be sufficient to get into an office? Hell, even if i were doing IT it'd be awesome. I really want to take it to the next level, but i'm not really sure how to do that until i can get into a good school. I'm looking at Wayne State right now, but that really doesn't mater just yet.

tl;dr
Are certifications alone enough to get an entry level position dealing with computers?
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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Need some advice about my "trade school" CS program

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:04 PM

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If i were to go out and get a few certifications (i know i could pass A+ and SCJA at least, and possibly an entry level microsoft cert or two, with some studying to refresh myself), would that be sufficient to get into an office?

Maybe.. I don't know where you are or what the job market is like, but in some instances, yes.. people have gotten jobs with just certs alone.. the problem is how to get across you have quantifiable knowledge that will let you hit the ground running. Typically that's the degree from a school, or a whole mess of doing side work/freelance bit.
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#5 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Need some advice about my "trade school" CS program

Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:07 PM

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....massive wall of text....


You know some of us are notorious for having the attention span of a squirrel on cocaine right? One thing I can say from that is that you need to pay more attention to your writing style, brevity is the soul of wit. Posting massive walls of text is a good way to get anyone on here with experience to TL;DR and close the tab, which is unfortunate considering some of the amazing experience around here.

You do programming projects on the side. Good. Get that code on GitHub, now. Do more of it.

Now if we really want to get into College choices here, I can tell you it makes next to no difference where you go for undergrad. Of course, this assumes you've actually done something other than school.

I went to a college in Missouri, king of RPG and COBOL, home of the traditionalist good ole' boy businessman. Now what self respecting company with any type of technical clout would look at an admittedly country and hick area as a place to look? I knew this, so I didn't spend my time jerking off and moping about it. I grabbed every book I could afford off of amazon and read, and read, and read some more. I learned, I applied, I did everything I could think of to bolster my skillset.

You know what it really comes down to? Passion. If you're passionate about what you do, you'll get places.

"Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero" - (Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.)

Don't dwell on what's wrong, seize the day to make a brighter future for yourself. It starts now, not tomorrow or in a week. Resolve to do something and by god go out and do it.
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#6 robostealth  Icon User is offline

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Re: Need some advice about my "trade school" CS program

Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:25 PM

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You know some of us are notorious for having the attention span of a squirrel on cocaine right? One thing I can say from that is that you need to pay more attention to your writing style, brevity is the soul of wit. Posting massive walls of text is a good way to get anyone on here with experience to TL;DR and close the tab, which is unfortunate considering some of the amazing experience around here.


Yeahh, i kinda get a lil carried away sometimes lol. I really appreciate the input from you guys, this school has just become such a big pain in the ass.. Hell, if they taught me anything, it's to never take the word of a businessman. *le sigh* I think i like your advice though. I suppose i'm gonna go fish out my java books and start studying for that cert!
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