14 Replies - 2027 Views - Last Post: 16 May 2013 - 08:34 AM

#1 creativecoding  Icon User is offline

  • Hash != Encryption
  • member icon


Reputation: 928
  • View blog
  • Posts: 3,212
  • Joined: 19-January 10

Should I go to college?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 05:52 PM

Next year I will be a junior, so I still have plenty of time. But lately I've been thinking about whether or not I should invest in college. I'm afraid I'll go to it and end up where I started (well, where I started + a degree) with massive debt. I've chatted with some older people in jobs and such and they say it'd be better if I didn't, and to immediately get into work and gain as much experience as possible - saying that experience is valued over a degree. The area I'm planning on getting into is either web development (probably) or software engineering with Java (I've only recently started learning java, so my confidence is much lower with this area). Not to mention I'm pretty sure I'll be able to use my LLC + freelancing work as work experience, so I'll have some work under my belt as soon as I graduate high school.

I've also been thinking about starting my own startup company, but I figure college or not I could still do this later on down the road when (hopefully) I've secured more funds and such.

Basically what I'm afraid of is being 50 and unsure whether or not I'll have enough money to send my kid off to school or for him/her to have a Christmas that year etc etc.

So what it boils down to, in the web development field (and software engineering field if you'd like to answer), should I skip college and immediately go into work?

Is This A Good Question/Topic? 0
  • +

Replies To: Should I go to college?

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 9574
  • View blog
  • Posts: 36,262
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:02 PM

That's a stupidly tough question to ask. Who knows the factors.. are you willing to relocate? Have you investigated in getting a job in your local area? Can you generate enough work to support yourself? How about paying for insurance? Moving out? Are you motivated enough to be a freelancer when you have important bills to pay?

Then again there's always the Armed Forces. They'll getcha clothed, fed, paid, and a place to sleep. Plus you get to see the world and meeting interesting people.

Alternatives - there's this guy: The entrepreneur who's paying kids not to go to college
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#3 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

  • Self-Trained Economist
  • member icon




Reputation: 10807
  • View blog
  • Posts: 40,288
  • Joined: 27-December 08

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:08 PM

That's a tough decision. I'm of the opinion that education isn't wasted, and that college is really a good time where one can develop a skill or multiple skills. That being said, web development doesn't require a college education.

What are you thinking about majoring in if you do go to college? What skills do you want to develop further?

Also, since you have time and some experience, perhaps try internship hunting for the summer. That way, you can establish a relationship with a company and go from there. Would they be willing to keep you on after you graduate high school? What sort of benefits do they offer? Healthcare is big here, and it's better to be on an employer's group policy rather than your LLC's, as you get better rates with more people in the company.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#4 jjh08  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 55
  • View blog
  • Posts: 198
  • Joined: 13-July 12

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:24 PM

Since you have a high level of knowledge in web development, I would assume that you would be looking to get a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) type of degree.
This could work to your advantage but there are a few factors I would look at:
1) Money - If you are not able to pay for it yourself, or get a scholarship, I definitely would not recommend it. Stay away from the student loan debt trap.
2) Time - Most of the classes you will be taking in the first two years are (for lack of a better word) trash i.e. philosophy, sociology, political science, history, weight training (yes that is a class, I took it as a freshman)
3) Location - Are you planning on going in-state or out-of-state. If you go out of state, you will definitely need scholarships because that tuition will be a mean beast.

You also mentioned that you are thinking about a startup company. This could also work to your advantage because not only will you gain valuable experience, you will also have business knowledge. Employers will probably be intrigued by that.

Overall, IMHO, I think the most important factor is whether you can afford it or not (via scholarship or out-of-pocket) and if you have the patience to go through the process. The degree in, and of itself, is just a piece of paper. Nothing more, nothing less. However, it can open some doors for you depending on the type of job you would be looking at, but I would think that experience would be more valuable.
Here is a website I found that displays the negative results of going to college.
Hope that helps you :)

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 25 April 2013 - 06:08 PM, said:

Healthcare is big here, and it's better to be on an employer's group policy rather than your LLC's, as you get better rates with more people in the company.

Great point :)
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#5 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 9574
  • View blog
  • Posts: 36,262
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:51 PM

View Postjjh08, on 25 April 2013 - 08:24 PM, said:

2) Time - Most of the classes you will be taking in the first two years are (for lack of a better word) trash i.e. philosophy, sociology, political science, history, weight training (yes that is a class, I took it as a freshman)

Just to be clear - I call bullshit on this as some sort of hard or fast rule. Those 'trash' classes, as you so put it, were great in my experience and pretty integral to that whole "well rounded educational experience".

I met a plethora of different people, clashed on different opinions, networked, and even saw things in a new new way that a heads down / nose to the keyboard path would have escaped me. I balanced my comp sci classes with my humanities, social sciences, diversity, etc and found an almost euphoric joy out of beating my head with comp sci theory, and then using a different part of my brain/being/brain/thought paths with the other classes.

Spoiler

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#6 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

  • Self-Trained Economist
  • member icon




Reputation: 10807
  • View blog
  • Posts: 40,288
  • Joined: 27-December 08

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:01 PM

Quote

2) Time - Most of the classes you will be taking in the first two years are (for lack of a better word) trash i.e. philosophy, sociology, political science, history, weight training (yes that is a class, I took it as a freshman)

I tend to agree with Modi's point regarding these classes. Some of them, yes, are rather pointless. Some of them are good training though. A few years back, my dad worked with a firm to get some new software for the business. His biggest complaint was that they couldn't get the accounting stuff worked out, since the developer being flown in didn't understand accounting. Even if you don't go into politics, having a political science class to understand the way our government works (or doesn't) is good to have. Psychology and sociology are about how people think and operate. Given that the stereotype for us IT folk is that we're socially awkward, I don't think those types of classes could hurt. Nor could public speaking or technical writing.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#7 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 9574
  • View blog
  • Posts: 36,262
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:05 PM

.. and let's face it - smashing philosophy kids at their game, being that brutal MLA nazi in the English Comp 3/Technical Writing, and riling up the newly discovered blowhards in the odd gender/ethnic/religious studies class is pretty darn fun.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#8 jjh08  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 55
  • View blog
  • Posts: 198
  • Joined: 13-July 12

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:41 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 25 April 2013 - 06:51 PM, said:

Those 'trash' classes, as you so put it, were great in my experience and pretty integral to that whole "well rounded educational experience".

I had a feeling this might happen when I wrote that comment so let me clarify. I do not think it is anything wrong with learning political science, philosophy, history, sociology, weight training, etc. However, IMHO, why do I need to pay for a 16-week course on learning how to lift weights or understanding American history, or Plato, etc when I can just go to the library, or google, or buy a book on Amazon, etc. That's the point I was trying to make for the time factor.
Perhaps 'trash' wasn't the correct word. I should have said useless from a time standpoint. Do you honestly believe that paying for these types of classes is a necessity to be well rounded?
Who makes you well rounded...the professor or yourself?
If you believe the former, then by all means, pay for those 'useless from a time standpoint' classes.
If you belive the latter, go to the library, google, or buy the book of interest on Amazon.
Knowledge is power right? :P
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#9 VeronicaB  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 4
  • View blog
  • Posts: 31
  • Joined: 23-April 13

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:01 PM

Id say go for it! College is an experience, I'm going to be entering my Junior year this fall and so far so good. Just if you're planning on majoring in Computer Science or a related field find a school where that major isn't a tiny program.. I go to a local University and my only problem with the school is that the CS and CIS departments are tiny and almost hidden. I feel like the school only focuses on the larger majors (in my Uni's case CJ and Education) which makes sense but really leave the smaller majors with nothing. Now I have less than a handful of classes to chose from and the major classes I WANT to take I cant because of lack in staff and other reasons. Ah well, too late to transfer, but I'm still gonna get my degree.

So yea, I'm someone who would suggest going to college, just look into schools where the major is somewhat prominent, but ultimately its up to you! Good luck! B)
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#10 creativecoding  Icon User is offline

  • Hash != Encryption
  • member icon


Reputation: 928
  • View blog
  • Posts: 3,212
  • Joined: 19-January 10

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:39 PM

@modi123_1
Yeah, should have included more information. I'm willing to relocate (well, within the US at least). I have looked into getting a job around my area and as soon as I get my license I plan on finding some work. Hopefully I can get something in my area that'll work with my schedule. So far most of the stuff I've looked at that I feel like I could land have been in the $20/hour range, which is what was suggested to me as the minimum. I'm unsure whether or not I could make something like that work with my schedule. I feel like not having graduated high school is pressing my luck, and having a unique schedule will only strain that - if you get what I mean. Work during college would be the same.

As for as a freelancer - I'm unsure. I feel very confident in my skills, however I do not feel confident in the ability to land a job every month to pay the bills.

Joining the army (or something else) is actually an option. I might just do that if I completely mess up whatever plan I have (or if I just don't have one).

@macosxnerd101
I was thinking about Management Information Systems. Like mentioned I have hopes of possibly starting my own business, and the stuff MIS should teach seems to fit the profile. As for skills, I feel my programming can be vastly improved by nothing more than a working computer and an internet connection - so that isn't of too much concern for me. What I want to learn more about is the management. Managing a business, a system, a project, etc etc..

@jjh08
Definitely cannot afford it - which is the problem here. I have to decide whether or not the debt will be worth it. And hey - I took a weight training class. Classes like that should be required.

@VeronicaB
That was actually something I was told. You're not just paying for the piece of paper - you're paying for the experience. Don't know if a handful of friends and some parties are worth what I'd be paying however.

This post has been edited by creativecoding: 25 April 2013 - 10:39 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#11 jjl  Icon User is offline

  • Engineer
  • member icon

Reputation: 1112
  • View blog
  • Posts: 4,619
  • Joined: 09-June 09

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 27 April 2013 - 01:45 AM

Quote

saying that experience is valued over a degree.

To get quality experience you need a degree to get your foot in the door (unless you're in your own start up business). I say, go for college. Get a job after and get quality experience, and then move up. Paying off college debt is much easier if you are in a computer related field these days, unlike philosophy majors.

This post has been edited by jjl: 27 April 2013 - 01:45 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#12 mgcdrd  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 5
  • View blog
  • Posts: 83
  • Joined: 22-November 09

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 27 April 2013 - 07:39 AM

honestly, the military thing is a good viable option. I spent 9 years in the air force and they are the only branch that has the word "cyberspace" in their mission creed. I'm not saying the others don't have "computer positions, they do; however, to get what you might want the AF is the way to go. There are also options to attend school before hand, ROTC being one, but there are trade offs. Usually, you have a rigorous schedule while at school, and then upon graduation you serve so much time as an officer.
As for the gen ed classes, a BS degree is designed to give a "well rounded" student. They are their so you don't have just a technical background. Kind of a stimulation to think about other things. If you want to avoid those, you have technical schools. Usually you earn a Bachelors of Applied Science with those. You skip most of the gen ed classes, and get the basic writing, math and move onto the core material.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#13 W4tchM4ker  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 4
  • View blog
  • Posts: 34
  • Joined: 18-October 12

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 27 April 2013 - 10:13 AM

Going to have to agree with mgcdrd. I'm in the Army and I do IT work, but nothing like cyber security or coding. The Air Force is a viable option, if you wanted to do this, but then again, so is the Navy. The Navy actually have a Computer Science job, not just plain ole' IT stuff. IF, however, you wouldn't mind the looooong wait to get into one of those services. Have you thought of Certs or anything like that to reinforce/show what you know?
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#14 peace_fixation  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 46
  • View blog
  • Posts: 198
  • Joined: 01-November 11

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 15 May 2013 - 05:24 AM

Having just completed a comp sci degree, I'm of the opinion that it was time very well spent. I'd been learning programming in my own time for some years, but doing hard theory courses at uni was an eye opening experience, and it's taught me things that I would never have learned on my own.

I don't think you *should* get a BS, but if you do get one and put your head down you will be rewarded with a lot of good knowledge. It's expensive, and all the information is available in other forms (i.e just buy the books), but the structured learning environment is a big plus.

Any learning you do in your own time is definitely time well spent. Regardless of what you do, you should get yourself some good books. Get a Java book (or whatever language you prefer), and if you're keen, get books on algorithms and operating systems to formally present some important programming concepts.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#15 symmetrick  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 1
  • View blog
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: 04-May 13

Re: Should I go to college?

Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:34 AM

I've just finished my first year of a Bsc in Game programming and I've loved it. It seems that we have very different backgrounds of learning as I've never had any knowledge of computer science and I live in a town which doesn't have much industry opportunities in terms of computing, but it seems like you are the exact opposite!

It also depends on if you can get any sort of financing. I am paying for it with student loans, but I don't have to pay it back until I'm earning over 21,000 pa.

If you have the opportunity to go and you'd be financially stable enough to fully focus on your studies, then do it! There's nothing to stop you doing a bit of freelance work as well too.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

Page 1 of 1