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#1 Ninjonxb  Icon User is offline

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Degree questions

Posted 29 May 2013 - 11:57 AM

Hi,
First a little background before I ask my question:
I started going to a community college to get a computer science degree. Due to life I had to drop out and get a job. I have been lucky enough to now work as a Automation QA.
I still have to work but I am looking to get back into school because for a long time I have wanted to get a PhD.

So my question.
I have been having a hard time figuring out how exactly I am going to continue school. I am trying to avoid going to University of Phoenix at all costs.
There are 2 schools I am currently looking at. Both well regarded that offer IT-Programming degrees online. WGU and Champlain.
What I am trying to figure out. Am I shooting myself in the foot by getting an IT-Programming degree if I plan to continue into 2 masters and a PhD or is it just a stepping stone so once I finish my Bachelors I may be able to get a job with the flexibility to go to a "traditional" school for a Computer Science degree?

I have looked around for night classes, calling all of the schools in the area (Boston MA area) and they only the core classes during the day, which does not work when I work a 9-5 job.

I am hoping this is an ok place to post this.

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Replies To: Degree questions

#2 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Degree questions

Posted 29 May 2013 - 11:59 AM

well you cant get a masters without a bachleros so you do the math
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#3 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Degree questions

Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:17 PM

If you want my opinion, it's going to be hard to do a serious CS degree program while working a 9 to 5, no matter what time of day you're in class. There's just not that many hours in the day.
If you want to go to academic life - which is what Ph.D suggests to me - then you might have to bite the bullet and find a combination of loans and shightwork and cheap living that'll get you through to a degree. You'll be a long time getting there if you do it in between hours at a day job.

Since you're in Boston, I should put in a plug for the CS program at UMass Boston. Excellent instructors, and a pretty serious program.
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#4 Ninjonxb  Icon User is offline

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Re: Degree questions

Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:27 PM

I have looked at the UMass system. (I live in Lowell). I was hoping that if I got my Bachelors in IT. I could get an engineering job and either work part time and go to school full time or other way around.
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#5 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Degree questions

Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:29 PM

Always an interesting side question - *why* do you want to get a PhD? What ends will that provide?
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#6 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Degree questions

Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:30 PM

I worked full time and went to school to get my bach degree. It didnt leave much time for anything else.....however it makes sure you are dedicated and organized in order to complete all the tasks at hand.
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#7 Ninjonxb  Icon User is offline

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Re: Degree questions

Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:31 PM

I guess I should have probably gone into that. I just didn't think it was really relevant towards this.
My ultimate goal is to get into research on AI. My plan is to get 2 masters, been doing some looking into what a good second master would be. I have some ideas but I have not really seen anything concrete.
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#8 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Degree questions

Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:35 PM

If you want to go to graduate school for CS, that's very theoretical and research-based. An IT degree is usually very practical and hands-on. You really want some sort of a technical degree in CS, Math, the hard sciences, or Econ with a hell of a math and programming background before pursuing a Master's in CS. If you do take the route of an IT degree, make sure to complement it with a strong CS and math background. I would strongly consider minoring in both. The CS side of things will offer the low-level architecture, algorithm theory, and data structures background you want. The math side will really push you to think abstractly and get you writing quality proofs. Both are critical for a graduate degree. Though at that point, you might be better off biting the bullet and just majoring in CS.

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My ultimate goal is to get into research on AI.

Even more reason to emphasize the math and CS side of things. IT is a business degree, and isn't going to cut it, unless you really supplement.
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#9 Ninjonxb  Icon User is offline

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Re: Degree questions

Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:39 PM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 29 May 2013 - 12:35 PM, said:

If you want to go to graduate school for CS, that's very theoretical and research-based. An IT degree is usually very practical and hands-on. You really want some sort of a technical degree in CS, Math, the hard sciences, or Econ with a hell of a math and programming background before pursuing a Master's in CS. If you do take the route of an IT degree, make sure to complement it with a strong CS and math background. I would strongly consider minoring in both. The CS side of things will offer the low-level architecture, algorithm theory, and data structures background you want. The math side will really push you to think abstractly and get you writing quality proofs. Both are critical for a graduate degree. Though at that point, you might be better off biting the bullet and just majoring in CS.


Thanks! Ultimately I want to major in a CS. Maybe it is time to do more looking around and talk to my managers again about changing my schedule a bit so I can actually attend classes. I was just hoping that IT could be a means towards a job with slightly more flexibility while I make up what I missed by getting an IT instead of a CS before I continue onto a Masters.
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#10 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Degree questions

Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:42 PM

If you're looking at AI, you'll want to focus on courses like Combinatorics, Graph Theory, and Game Theory. The Game Theory course is often found in the Econ department, so you might want to check that out. A lot of Econ is very mathematical and arguably a good foundation in mathematical psychology, so you might benefit from a course like Intermediate Microeconomic Theory. You might want to talk to an adviser or a professor that does research in this field.
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