4 Replies - 1170 Views - Last Post: 05 July 2015 - 05:07 PM

#1 Jrlanear84   User is offline

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Am I enrolled in the right program?

Posted 03 June 2015 - 05:45 PM

Hello all!

I am currently enrolled at the University of Phoenix for Software Engineering. I am also a mother of four working full time from home so I don't have much time to attend a physical campus. My concern is whether I will be passed over when I graduate just because of my attending a for-profit college strictly online. I have read in several threads that gaining experience may make a difference in whether I am passed over. I have not started any programing classes yet so I am hoping to get some advice.

Do you think I will be passed over? Will experience make a difference and if so, how do I gain experience? If UoP is not the right choice, does anyone have any recommendations for a better online program. I am spending a lot of money to get my degree so I want to make sure I will be able to use it.

I really appreciate any advice that you can give.

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Replies To: Am I enrolled in the right program?

#2 macosxnerd101   User is online

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Re: Am I enrolled in the right program?

Posted 03 June 2015 - 06:04 PM

Moved to Student Campus.

I can't speak to UoP's credibility, as I'm not familiar with them. Personally, I tend to shy away from for-profit programs. Old Dominion University in Virginia offers an online CS program at $345/credit hour to out of state students. It's a solid online program and a reputable degree. So that's a plus.

My advice is to go through a community college, though. Not everything needs to be done in person, but I'm a big advocate of taking programming classes in person. We see a lot of folks come through here taking online classes, and they are very frustrated if they don't have prior programming experience. One of the benefits of a physical classroom setting is human interaction. Much of what you will learn in computer science comes from your interactions with your peers. Especially early on, this is important. I can empathize that it is hard for you to make it to a physical campus, but I would definitely advocate trying to make it to a physical campus for some important classes.

The important classes to take in person are Intro to Programming, then the follow up course on Data Structures and Algorithms I. Aside from these courses and any required math courses, the rest of the CS curriculum is really project-based learning. I've found myself to be very autonomous in these types of courses.

In order to be ready to program at a conversant level, I'd suggest the following:
-Intro to Programming
-Data Structures and Algorithms I
-Discrete Math
-Data Structures and Algorithms II
-2-3 courses at the junior/senior level that are project intensive

So to bottom line it, I'd suggest going to a community college for a few courses. Then if you want a BS CS, transfer to ODU online. If you want purely online, I'd look at ODU, as I think it will be cheaper and higher quality than UoP.

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Will experience make a difference and if so, how do I gain experience?

Experience in many cases makes a bigger difference than a degree. I'm presently at a big company (a name you would recognize), and I have coworkers doing software development that majored in Journalism. Craig328 was a history major in college. So experience is a big deal. Generally, the way to get experience is through an internship, which are generally paid.

Another way to get experience is to work on personal projects and showcase them on github or a personal website to serve as a portfolio. This is less valuable than an internship, but still important. It goes a long ways towards showing employers you can write clean, maintainable code.

Hope this helps some!
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#3 jon.kiparsky   User is online

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Re: Am I enrolled in the right program?

Posted 03 June 2015 - 06:30 PM

A lot depends on you - who you are, what your motivations are, what your background is, and so forth. Different people thrive in different situations. However, like mac, I've found that a live class setting is often the best way to pick up the fundamentals, if the teacher is at all decent as a teacher (they don't have to be a brilliant programmer, as long as they know more than you, but they have to be engaged in what they're doing, which is sometimes lacking) and there are at least a few students who are there to learn and not just to get the credits and the degree. Learning is a communal activity, and it works best when you do it with others, in real time. If you get a misconception in your head, and you're talking with others, it'll get cleared up pretty quickly. If you don't have those other heads around you, it's easy to keep a wrong idea for a long time.

However, I think it's possible to learn just about anything you need, if you're serious about your work and you really care about the material. Make lots of mistakes, you can learn a lot from them. And participate in forums like this one! You can learn a lot by asking good questions (see Eric Raymond's essay "How to Ask Questions The Smart Way") and by answering them - and you'll be surprised how quickly you find that people are asking questions that you've already struggled with.
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#4 AnthonyMcqueen21   User is offline

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Re: Am I enrolled in the right program?

Posted 05 July 2015 - 02:38 PM

View PostJrlanear84, on 03 June 2015 - 04:45 PM, said:

Hello all!

I am currently enrolled at the University of Phoenix for Software Engineering. I am also a mother of four working full time from home so I don't have much time to attend a physical campus. My concern is whether I will be passed over when I graduate just because of my attending a for-profit college strictly online. I have read in several threads that gaining experience may make a difference in whether I am passed over. I have not started any programing classes yet so I am hoping to get some advice.

Do you think I will be passed over? Will experience make a difference and if so, how do I gain experience? If UoP is not the right choice, does anyone have any recommendations for a better online program. I am spending a lot of money to get my degree so I want to make sure I will be able to use it.

I really appreciate any advice that you can give.



I just completed and graduated from UOP with that degree and i can tell you from experience it was worth it cause you learn from you class / teammates more than with the professors. i went one day a week and collaborated with my class mates online completing assignments and so on it was worth it to me. As far as experience i suggest program and program whenever you can while your in school along with your assignments and if you could land a solid internship that will add valuable experience once you graduate.

Hope this helps ?
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#5 Martyr2   User is online

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Re: Am I enrolled in the right program?

Posted 05 July 2015 - 05:07 PM

You might get some use out of my recent blog article titled "6 Helpful Tips on How to Learn Programming" where I break down what kind of resources are good to have when learning to program. Unlike some of my fellow colleagues here, I am mixed on in person classes. Some can be great if the professor knows their stuff, but they can also be bad and a waste of money. I have had professors who wasted more time on keeping the class on task than actually learning the programming.

As for your question, the main thing is that you practice the material and work hard to learn stuff. While learning always keep a portfolio in mind. You want to be building one of your projects (both in class and practice stuff you did) to show future employers. Employers are only going to pass you over if they feel you don't have the skills to do the work. Right now the field is such that if you are even remotely good at the skills they will hire you. The whole sector is hurting for qualified candidates. Make sure you are qualified and they won't care if you got your degree from MIT or out of a box of lucky charms cereal.

If they ask you to write a sort function and you quickly write a sort that is not bubble sort and they will raise an eyebrow in interest, dazzle them with finding a decently difficult bug in some popular open source software and how you would fix it, then you are in the door.

It is all about what you know, not how you learned it. A portfolio is going to show them what you know. Prove it and you are already ahead of other candidates. :)

This post has been edited by Martyr2: 05 July 2015 - 05:10 PM

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