Need Advice: Second Bachelors or Masters?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by mousouchop, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. mousouchop macrumors 6502a

    mousouchop

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #1
    OKAY! So for anyone who is willing to listen... here is my problem:

    I am a senior at a Niagara University about to graduate from the CIS (Computer Information Sciences) degree program. This is a very SMALL program at NU; in my senior seminar class there are only 4 other students. I am trying to decide what my next move will be upon graduation.

    The OBVIOUS choice would be to go get my Masters, seeing as I will have a BS... but here's the thing, I really don't think I am prepared for this. What do I mean by this? I mean that my BS in CIS from NU is worth less than the paper that my diploma is soon to be printed on. That is right!

    About the only thing that I have been prepared to do with this degree is manage MySQL databases.... I jest not. Aside from EXTENSIVE courses in SQL... I have had 3 courses in VB (Visual Basic), and 1 in Introductory PHP course (which was an OPTIONAL elective). I have since done an internship where I programmed exclusively in PHP that-- surprise, surprise!-- had me programming a web interface for managing an SQL database.

    At no point during the securing of this degree was I required to take a discrete mathematics class, C++ or anything else that I would equate to something that I would like to do in my career ahead. I suspect that the CIS program is converting to an MIS (Management of Information Systems) degree, and I was the unknowing guinea pig.

    SO, as stated before, I would like to do something with some pretty intense legit programming in my future. With what little exposure I have had to it, I like it very much! But, as you could assume-- I don't feel prepared at ALL to enter into a graduate program with the skill set I have gained at NU. I don't even know that I would be accepted into certain programs!

    I now face a difficult decision, do I TRY and take on a programming and mathematically intensive degree program, one for which I have not been properly prepared? Or do I go for a second Bachelors degree that will better prepare me for the dream that I hold?

    More specifically, for option B, I am considering Full Sail in Orlando, for their Game Development program. I love art and games, and considered the Game Art program-- but feel that I would flourish better in the Game Dev department. (I also have friends attending FS that say the devs make better money than the artists. ;D).

    I have been told the pursuit of a second Bachelors degree would just be pissing money away. Thus far, I have only accumulated 10k in subsidized student loans from my 3 year time at NU (graduating a year early-- woohoo!). What do YOU think?


    For anyone who actually read through that monster of a story-- some mature advice is welcomed.
     
  2. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #2
    Many of your credits would likely transfer to a CS program. You might look into how long it would take you, probably another 2 years due to pre-reqs.
     
  3. mousouchop thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mousouchop

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    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    By this you mean a masters will take me 2 years total? Or it will add 2 years to a masters program? haha. If it were to add two years, then I might as well enter into a 2 year accelerated bachelors, no? I don't think I got what you actually meant, probably the former. ><
     
  4. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    norcal
    #4
    At my old school, they had a Masters of Software Engineering which was designed for those who did not get their BA or BS in that field. Many schools can offer this option.

    But if you go for another bachelor's, that's not a bad thing. You certainly have more skills than many who have a CS degree from the days of old in the '80s and '90s. Back in my day, a CS degree required very little programming and was primarily taken up with math classes. It took my university years to actually get a piece of machinery that could print out results. It was all dummy terminals and going through poorly written manuals.

    Unfortunately with this field more than any on earth, keep your skills current, whether it's getting that master's, second bachelor's, or industry recognized certifications.

    As a former HR person, the only degree I consider as one with a shelf life on it is one in computer science. Most Silicon Valley employers want results since it's the cutting edge of high technology, and they don't care if you are like Woz was, with mad skills and no degree, with an associate's but with real world application skills with your knowledge of programming, or a person bachelor's in CS who can deliver.

    A person with 20 year old computer languages (even 10 years old) on their resume with a BS or MS in CS with little or no progress since then is hard to hire (maybe impossible to hire). My old professor's friend became the world's expert on J++. He did his dissertation on it and wrote books. It got him nowhere. So know what's current, and if you are not in a high tech center like San Jose, Dallas, or Boston, shoot for obviously practical over getting lots of pieces of papers to hang on your wall of obscure stuff which may look good to everybody buy employers. ;)
     
  5. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #5
    I'd reconsider going to Full Sail for a second bachelors if that is what you decide to end up doing. You could save money and get a better education going to a school whose sole purpose is making money. Find a state school (you're in NY, right) where you could go. You'll almost certainly get a better education at a better value than going to a diploma mill like Full Sail.
     
  6. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #6
    Actually a diploma mill is more like a school who will make you write one short essay, give you most of the credits needed based on life experience, and for $100-$200 dollars they will ship you a diploma in two weeks.

    Some great schools, like UC Berkeley, have been called diploma mills because where a large class used to take up no more than 20 people and had a Nobel laureate teaching the class, that same class today may have hundreds being taught by a teacher's assistant. The old Cal crowd is not proud of that and some of them consider today's University of California, due to using sketchy practices such as these, no better than a diploma mill. Living near the school and having seen it's huge expansion, the world "diploma mill" was first attached to this still great university. But I do respect those who went there at a much earlier time, who did rub shoulders with those Nobel laureates, who think Cal is just a shell of itself.

    I don't blame Cal for sticking some TA with a bachelor's degree teaching the class, but put more blame to the many governors who have found the university system to be lower and lower on the priority list.
     
  7. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    #7
    I agree. Don't go to Full Sail. Find a regionally accredited Master's program you can attend and go to that. Regional accreditation is what the vast majority of "real" universities have and many won't recognize your credits or even degree if you aren't coming from another regionally accredited program. There are plenty of people out there who consider Full Sail to essentially be a money grabbing scam (google "Full Sail University Scam." I'd be inclined to change my school choice if when I googled its name Scam appeared as one of the top searches) and without regional accreditation your diploma is essentially a $40k piece of paper.
     
  8. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #8
    Where I would agree 99% percent of the time that the school should be from the six regionally accrediting agencies, there are some schools that have a reputation outside of them.

    Around here (Silicon Valley), before they got their WASC papers, the Master's Institute was a hot ticket and got people big money jobs. They closed along with the dot.bomb that hit the industry, but in good times, people went to Oracle, Microsoft, and Cisco right out of Master's Institute. Full Sail gets people jobs, too.
     
  9. CP123 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    #9
    You've got some really good advice so far. The most important thing is to learn the languages you didn't get in college. If it means going to take courses in another school, do that. If it means teaching yourself, do that. If you feel like you need a CS degree because you feel unfulfilled, then by all means, look into going back to school to get the CS degree. However, I would tell you to get a job and go to school part-time. That way you'll have the degree and practical experience.

    Either way, good luck.
     
  10. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    #10
    Have you at all considered pursuing something in the realm of information security? It is obviously computer related, but does not require any heavy coding or deep math skills. Yes, it is not the game development that you like, but it may give you a good set of skills that are likely to be very useful in the future.
     
  11. kernkraft macrumors 68020

    kernkraft

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    Jun 25, 2009
    #11
    How about finding a job, earning money, getting away from the student life and then deciding upon actual knowledge of your needs, competency, etc.?
     
  12. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    Jul 24, 2006
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    #12
    I would either get a Masters degree or find a job. A second bachelor's degree would indeed be quite the waste of time, in my opinion.

    That depends on what area of infosec you get into. You can certainly get involved in various areas of infosec that require high competence in programming and mathematics.
     
  13. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #13
    That's definitely how it works at all the UK Universities I've applied to. I'd go for a Masters myself.
     
  14. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    #14
    I very much agree with your first opinion. As far as your second comment, you're absolutely correct. I was really referring to something more applied, rather than research oriented.
     
  15. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #15
    Generally speaking, it's a natural progression from high school, to either junior college or college, and then after four years are completed, to go to a master's or PhD program. Computer hardware engineering, chemistry, and physics are a few subjects I have known people to go into a PhD program right after their bachelor's.

    With the University of California's PhD program, you win whether you complete it or not. If you don't make it through the dissertation and all the course work, you are still awarded an M.S. in computer engineering. But if you can stay the full five years, you get your PhD. This program is specifically designed for computer hardware as it relates to wide area networking and the major financial backer of this program is the nearby company Cisco. Touting their mastery of wide area networking and the internet, much of this program can be done entirely online. As more schools go online, Cisco wants to be front and center on that trend.

    In the Master's of software engineering that used to be at my college, it was heavily geared towards Oracle, who not only funded the program, but donated a million dollars worth of gear and software to the school back in the early-90s. That master's was kind of a feeder program Oracle used to get master's level software engineers much like Cisco uses the University of California to get router engineers. Of course, Oracle is close in proximity to my school so they know they are not training people to go work for a competitor in another region.

    There were a few WAN startups nearby but good ol Larry wrote a check and bought them out. :)
     
  16. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

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    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #16
    Back in 2002 I finished my (Bachelor equivalent) engineering degree in Computer Science (software development) at College.

    Since the whole IT market had crashed the year before there was - literally - just a handful of jobs available (maybe for 3-5% of the graduates), so I figured I'd continue studying at the local University.

    Now, the wise thing would probably be to continue with a Master in Information Science or Informatics (the latter of which I actually applied for to get a way into the University, and I took some - actually all - of the required subjects, except the Master thesis itself, but that's another story).

    I figured I'd rather enjoy myself and took another Bachelor in Cultural studies with Religious studies as my specialization.

    I'd always wanted to take some history and religious studies at that level, and figured it was "now or never".

    So, I'd quite possibly have a better job** or at least be better paid today with a Master than two (up until now unrelated) Bachelors, but given the choice again I'd done the same.

    A waste of time, maybe, but very rewarding in its own way. :)

    ** Note: I love my job, even if I - especially on bad days - can think of ways to improve it, and even if my wages are (slightly) below average for my age/profession/education/etc, but I wouldn't give it up voluntarily unless I get an offer out of this World.
     
  17. Orthodox macrumors newbie

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    Jan 7, 2010
    #17
    The thing about CIS is that in ANY program, the info you learn in your first year is useless by the third year due to the exponential growth of technology.

    Use the paper to get a job or go get your masters in CIS from a better university. That gaming program sounds awesome. I truly believe that you won't learn much going back to get your second bachelors for the fact that the information will be completely new anyways. Most CIS jobs put you through constant training.
     
  18. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    #18
    That sounds pretty good. The networking is already huge, and it will only become bigger. And with Cisco pretty much owning the enterprise segment, aligning yourself with an industry leader could result in a good applicability of your knowledge.
     
  19. mousouchop thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mousouchop

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    Oct 22, 2008
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    New York
    #19
    WOW! I am so very grateful that you all took the time to read my post and give some thoughtful answers!

    I am leaning more and more away from the second bachelors, indeed realizing (thanks to responses here) that I can get a Masters that DOES properly prepare me, even if this means taking prerequisites before I can be a matriculated student.

    Teaching myself languages on the side while getting a job with my current degree could be a possibility as well. I mean, if I get a job that I hate enough, that should self-motivate me enough to teach myself, no? Hahaha. ;)

    But in all seriousness, there are TONS of free resources for learning all computer languages... It would be most advantageous to my wallet to take this option. I love the structure of the classroom though!

    My only problem now is finding a Master's program that I like. I am not sure whether I should stay local or not. I live in the Buffalo region in WNY.

    DECISIONS, DECISIONS!!! ><
     
  20. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #20
    With the nation's largest public higher education program, 64 SUNYs, and a whole host of private colleges in your state, I am sure you can find a master's degree program relatively close to you, and possibly one that is not too costly. But if Cornell or Columbia come calling, then I would say make the move, take out the loan and you won't be sorry, even if what you really get from it is connections.
     
  21. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #21
    Its not really about the languages to tell the truth, after you have learned a couple you will realize that the languages are just a tool, its the thinking that is important. Most people who are much better at programming than I am can learn a new language within a couple weeks, its the problem solving that is important.
     
  22. splitpea macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    SUNY Buffalo is a pretty darn good school, for starters. If you're a NY resident, tuition is even reasonable (well, as college tuition goes).
     
  23. mousouchop thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mousouchop

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    Oct 22, 2008
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    New York
    #23
    Hmm... Cornell does seem pretty highly ranked as far as CS schools go. I have had mostly As and a couple of Bs so far, probably get a couple more Bs this semester unfortunately... I wonder if I could get accepted there. I don't think I have ANY of their prereqs satisfied though. >< I should call there and ask around.

    I suppose I should take a look at SUNY Buffalo too, as someone else stated that they were a pretty good school.

    You never look LOCALLY when you think of schooling. I always assume that the good schools have to be elsewhere... haha.
     
  24. chstr macrumors 6502a

    chstr

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    #24
    get a bachelors from a school that has a name someone will actually recognize. Then think about grad school
     
  25. CP123 macrumors regular

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    Dec 22, 2008
    #25
    Niagara is a known university in the Northeast, especially in NY. It's a good college. It's a relatively small Catholic university. The OP doesn't need another degree from a more known school just to say he/she has a degree from a school people heard about.
     

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