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#1 jboogieman81  Icon User is offline

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What Degree/School to Pursue?

Posted 11 August 2013 - 08:33 PM

Hi guys,

I'm new here and this is my first post. Right now I'm trying to decide upon different school options. I currently hold a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and have over 4 years of professional business experience(not in programming or IT). After spending a few years out of the labor force for personal reasons(caring for an ill family member), I've found it tough to get back into the labor force.

Last year I decided that I needed to learn some new skills so I enrolled in a couple of courses at the local community college. After spending a couple semesters there, I found that I really enjoyed the programming courses and am thinking about trying to embark on a career in programming.

My question is this, would I be better off pursuing an AAS in CIS from my local community college or pursuing a MS in MIS from an online school such as University of Phoenix, Keller School of Management, or Western Governors University? Also I've researched the traditional B&M schools near me and they're not an option as none of them would admit me into their Graduate programs for CS, IT, or MIS without a Undergrad Degree in those subjects or 2-3 years of experience in those fields.

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#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: What Degree/School to Pursue?

Posted 11 August 2013 - 09:15 PM

I'm pursuing dual Econ and Math degrees right now, with a CS minor. I know graduate work in Economics requires a lot of mathematics. What is your math background at this point? You might consider expanding on your math work with relevant topics like numerical methods, linear algebra, and differential equations. You could learn some programming without going through the four year process for CS. If you do a CIS (business) degree, the Econ might help you with the general business classes, if your Econ degree was through the business school. Really, if you did the math route, you could probably shave a couple years off in getting a degree, depending on your math background.
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#3 jboogieman81  Icon User is offline

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Re: What Degree/School to Pursue?

Posted 11 August 2013 - 09:34 PM

Had a lot of Econ courses that were very math heavy and also had some math specific courses like College Algebra, Calculus 1, Finite Mathematics, and Statistics 1 & 2. My Econ program was also very business intensive even though it wasn't awarded by the business school. You think a CIS through the business school would be better based upon my previous background? I really want to learn how to program and I've heard that most business CIS degrees don't really go to much into the programming aspects. Guess I could always become a Self-Trained Programmer.
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#4 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: What Degree/School to Pursue?

Posted 11 August 2013 - 10:19 PM

I was just talking in terms of getting the general ed and irrelevant, but required courses out of the way. That's why I mentioned the business/CIS route.

Have you had multivariable calculus, or gotten a decent handle on it through your Econ classes? What about integral calculus? I know Intermediate Micro/Micro Theory pushes it a lot. The indifference curves are called level curves in Multi; and I thought learning them as indifference curves made more sense.

When you say College Algebra, do you mean Modern/Abstract Algebra (Groups, Rings, Fields) or precalculus and trig?

The Discrete Math is good for CS.

Did you ever take a senior or graduate course in Mathematical Economics? Can you fill me in on your math background more so I can advise you better?
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#5 jboogieman81  Icon User is offline

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Re: What Degree/School to Pursue?

Posted 11 August 2013 - 10:50 PM

Yes I had a Mathematical Economics course during my senior year. My College Algebra was pre-calculus and trig based. Ah yes those lovely indifference curves! My economics courses put a big emphasis on math especially in the upper level Micro & Macro Econ courses that I took. Had to do a lot of research and utilize math equations to solve problems. Math has always seemed to come pretty natural to me and is something I've enjoyed. However, all that said it's been a while since I last had a math heavy class so perhaps I should take one this fall at my local community college as a refresher. I see in their CIS program that Discrete Math is a requirement for the AAS degree.
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#6 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: What Degree/School to Pursue?

Posted 11 August 2013 - 11:33 PM

I'm taking Mathematical Econ this fall. The textbook really seems to emphasize Calculus, Linear Algebra, Diff Eqs, and Real Analysis as opposed to Discrete Math. The textbook is Simon and Blume, and it is a desk reference. I'd highly recommend it, as it accounts for most of my 1000-2000 math classes, and even my 3000 Linear Algebra class. The Discrete side probably comes in more with behavioral econ, experimental econ, and game theory (with applications in AI).

I've yet to see a ton of discrete Econ though. Macro theory covered some, but the heavy duty math and derivations were glossed over, as there were a lot of business majors in the course. At my school, there is an Econ degree for business majors (B.S. Economics), as well as a B.A. Economics (which is 10 classes, stats, and the rest electives; so more designed as a secondary major).

If that seems to come back to you naturally, you'll probably be able to test out of the basics and jump right into numerical analysis and numerical methods. You'll probably want to take a proof-writing class as well, since you'll have to take some proofs-intensive classes in addition to numerical analysis.

Most of the programming that you'd do in the workplace isn't very theoretical. I think that if you're a good self-study, an intro to Java (or C++, C#, etc.) class and a Data Structures I class might be sufficient. You won't get a DS II class at a community college. Design patterns are also good to study up on, as your numerical analysis classes will probably emphasize the math rather than software engineering aspects.
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#7 jboogieman81  Icon User is offline

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Re: What Degree/School to Pursue?

Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:03 PM

Thanks macro! The advice you've given has helped me out a lot. Good luck in your Math Econ course.
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#8 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: What Degree/School to Pursue?

Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:15 PM

Thanks! Glad I could help some! Good luck to you!
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