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#1 tylxrsmith  Icon User is offline

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Different Degrees

Posted 02 April 2017 - 02:18 AM

Hey everyone,

I'm currently looking to enroll into an online university paid for by my work. I'm torn between a few degrees, when I was in high school I was extremely interested in computers. Once I graduated I sort of veered away from computers and such. I currently work in law enforcement so I was going towards a Criminal Justice degree, but recently I've really been getting interested in programming and computers again. I'm by no means gifted in programming, I'm a noob.

I feel as if I want to make a career out of something with computers rather than law enforcement. I am quite unsure on if I should get a broad degree such as Computer Science, or get a degree such as Software Application Development, Web Programming, or Cyber Security. I'm not quite sure what I want to do yet with computers, but I know it's something that's why I'm leaning more towards the Computer Science degree. I'd like to get your thoughts and opinions on this.

Thank you for taking time to view my thread.

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Replies To: Different Degrees

#2 Salem_c  Icon User is offline

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Re: Different Degrees

Posted 02 April 2017 - 02:34 AM

How long have you been in LE / away from academia?

Computer Forensics seems like a good mix between what you're doing now and where your interests are heading.

A full on CS degree will be heavily theoretical (and mathematical).
Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.
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#3 tylxrsmith  Icon User is offline

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Re: Different Degrees

Posted 02 April 2017 - 02:40 AM

View PostSalem_c, on 02 April 2017 - 02:34 AM, said:

How long have you been in LE / away from academia?

Computer Forensics seems like a good mix between what you're doing now and where your interests are heading.

A full on CS degree will be heavily theoretical (and mathematical).
Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.


Roughly 3 years, and yeah Computer Forensics seems interesting. Mainly I would like to have a degree, alongside self teaching myself, working towards a career at a big company such as Google, Amazon, Apple, and etc. I understand my entry-level job in this career path won't start me in the six-figure range, but I would like to be making a decent wage so I would be able to replace it with my current career path if you get what I'm saying.
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#4 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Different Degrees

Posted 02 April 2017 - 09:01 AM

If you're not sure what you want to do, a BA in CS might be the right place to start. That'll give you foundations for pretty much anything you want to do. From there, you might want to to an advanced degree to specialize, or just go for it and look for programming jobs.

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working towards a career at a big company such as Google, Amazon, Apple, and etc


What's the attraction of these companies in particular?
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#5 tylxrsmith  Icon User is offline

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Re: Different Degrees

Posted 02 April 2017 - 03:40 PM

Yeah, the two that I'm looking at the most are Computer Information Technology and Computer Science. I suppose I narrowed it down to those two as they're the broadest in my eyes. My attraction isn't towards those specific companies, mainly an idea. I would like benefits, retirement, good pay, and a firm/secure career in the future (of course not right off the bat).

This post has been edited by andrewsw: 02 April 2017 - 11:11 PM
Reason for edit:: Removed previous quote, just press REPLY

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#6 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Different Degrees

Posted 02 April 2017 - 04:08 PM

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I would like benefits, retirement, good pay, and a firm/secure career in the future (of course not right off the bat).


You'll get those things in any software job. I suggest you think a little more about what sort of work you want to be doing, and what sort of mission you want to be supporting with that work, and what sort of company you want to be working for, and proceed on the assumption that you will be reasonably rewarded wherever you end up.
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#7 tylxrsmith  Icon User is offline

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Re: Different Degrees

Posted 02 April 2017 - 04:34 PM

Ah, okay. I appreciate the speedy reply. I suppose I can see myself troubleshooting fellow co-workers computers, but I could also see myself writing code designing a website, but the thing is I have a very basic understanding of different programming languages (which I know I need to start self-teaching myself alongside college.) I suppose the type of company I'd like to work for would be a big, reputable company haha dream big.

This post has been edited by andrewsw: 02 April 2017 - 11:10 PM
Reason for edit:: Removed previous quote, just press REPLY

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#8 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Different Degrees

Posted 02 April 2017 - 06:09 PM

Size of the company is seldom interesting. You'll be working with a small team (by general agreement, optimal team size <= 10) and supporting the organization you're working for. Question is, what sort of company is it and what is it doing? Is it a financial services company like Omgeo, an internet backbone company like Akamai, an ed-tech company, or is it maybe something like a college or a museum or a foundation, or is it some sort of web-facing service like Pinster or Snapify or whatever they're excited about now, or what is it?

The reason I'm pushing this point is mostly for your benefit: when you sit down at a job interview, one of the first three questions you're likely to hear is "Why do you want to work for this company?". If you have thought about what sort of thing you'd like to do, you'll have a good answer for that - the exact nature of the answer is up to you, but you'll have something. It might be that they're solving a particular sort of problem that you find compelling, or that they have a corporate culture that you're interested in, or that you expect to find cool technical challenges there, or whatever, but it'd better be your answer. "I heard you pay well and offer good benefits" is not a particularly great answer*. Furthermore, in the mean time, between here and there, you're going to need something to guide your steps. What sort of courses do you want to take, what sort of languages do you want to learn, what sort of projects do you want to work on? All of those things can be usefully guided by thinking about where you'd like to end up, or at least your best guess as to where today-you thinks future-you might want to be.
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#9 tylxrsmith  Icon User is offline

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Re: Different Degrees

Posted 03 April 2017 - 09:18 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 02 April 2017 - 06:09 PM, said:

Size of the company is seldom interesting. You'll be working with a small team (by general agreement, optimal team size <= 10) and supporting the organization you're working for. Question is, what sort of company is it and what is it doing? Is it a financial services company like Omgeo, an internet backbone company like Akamai, an ed-tech company, or is it maybe something like a college or a museum or a foundation, or is it some sort of web-facing service like Pinster or Snapify or whatever they're excited about now, or what is it?

The reason I'm pushing this point is mostly for your benefit: when you sit down at a job interview, one of the first three questions you're likely to hear is "Why do you want to work for this company?". If you have thought about what sort of thing you'd like to do, you'll have a good answer for that - the exact nature of the answer is up to you, but you'll have something. It might be that they're solving a particular sort of problem that you find compelling, or that they have a corporate culture that you're interested in, or that you expect to find cool technical challenges there, or whatever, but it'd better be your answer. "I heard you pay well and offer good benefits" is not a particularly great answer*. Furthermore, in the mean time, between here and there, you're going to need something to guide your steps. What sort of courses do you want to take, what sort of languages do you want to learn, what sort of projects do you want to work on? All of those things can be usefully guided by thinking about where you'd like to end up, or at least your best guess as to where today-you thinks future-you might want to be.


I understand what you mean, I appreciate the thought. I feel as if I should aim towards Computer Information Technology as it requires less math then a usual Computer Science degree. I need to research further though.
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