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The future

I am looking for some advice, and being that I respect this forum and its contributors greatly, I think this is the place to start.

I currently have an undergrad in computer science, work as an application developer (win32 c++) for a rather large retail company.  I love learning and really enjoyed school when I was there (only 2 years ago).  I am looking at going back to get my masters but I am confused about it.  I really want my masters in Computer science, but the only good program that I can find is during the day and I cannot take that time off.  (I found one OK program that is during nights, but it requires me to be away 4 hours a night 2 days a week, and I am not going to do that to my marriage). 
I was really hoping to find an online Masters in Computer Science, but the only one I can find is the univeristy of Pheonix and I have heard not good things about them (and they are expensive).
I guess I really could just do some studying and stuff on my own based on what those cirriculum's are, but I would really like to get something out of it. 
I am just about finished up with my MCSE, and was thinking of maybe just starting my MCSD. 
There is also an online MBA program I could take.  It sort of intrigues me, but I have some major worries.  I worry that I will never be able to get another technical job because I will completely be labeled as a Management guy.  I do want to do Software Development management in the future, but that is sort of hard to get into.  Is this a valid concern?
What do you think?  Has anyone been (or is anyone) in the same situation?  What did you do?  What are some good options?

Thanks!

Matt Watson
Wednesday, January 01, 2003

BS/CPS --> MS/CPS --> PHD/CPS --> University Professor

BS/CPS --> MS/CPS --> laid off.

BS/CPS --> MBA --> Project Manager, Offshore Division.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Matt,  you ask some very good questions.  I've just started at the University of Phoenix, going for an MSCIS.  There is good and bad in their approach.  It has been 20 years since my B.S. degree at a State University, but I think the regular University was a better program than U of Phx.  The U of Phx does not have a Masters of Computer Science.  Instead it is a Masters of Computer Information Systems, which, as you point out, is a management training program.  I think I personally would prefer a techincal degree over a management degree, but U of Phx is convienient for working people.

Since you want to get into Software Development Management, I think you would find great benefit from a Masters Degree.  MBA might get more respect than the MSCIS, but either should be enough to get you there.

A. Coward
Wednesday, January 01, 2003

I've just gone back to a traditional university environment after almost 20 years away.  I also looked at Univ of PHX, who, by the way, have spamed me weekly via a third party since I first contacted them and gave them a one-off email address.

The give and take amongst my fellow classmates, some half my age, is worth every nickel and inconvenience that comes with actually going to a classroom full of people at a certain time several days a week  I would not trade this for anything, and the rates per credit hour are about half that of U of P, maybe less.

Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Here is my opinion on the matter of getting a degree:

If it is your hearts desire to continue your education in Computer Science, here are several well-known schools that offer MS in CS via distance Education (No apparent “On Campus Time”):
University of Idaho:
http://www.uidaho.edu/eo/newhtml/degree.htm
Colorado State University:
http://www.learn.colostate.edu/csun/ddp/
University of Southern California:
http://den.usc.edu/index.asp?lf=/prospectives/prospectives_toc.asp&hf=header.asp&mf=/prospectives/prospectives_main.asp

Columbia University offers an MS and PhD but has some restrictions I can not recall (besides Ivy League Costs)
Columbia University:
http://www.cvn.columbia.edu/b/degrees/csms.html

There are also a couple of Schools that offer Software Engineering via Distance Education
Auburn University Comes to Mind:
http://www.eng.auburn.edu/department/eop/Eng_Outreach_Depts.html
http://www.eng.auburn.edu/csse/academics/graduate/grad_admissions.shtml

And Finally:
The University of Illinois offers an internet only degree Called a Masters of Computer Science:
http://www.cs.uiuc.edu/join/i2cs.html

This is "USA" centric list (I am a Citizen of the US of A and only researched Schools in the States that offered these
Programs.) I believe there are several other English programs that offer Masters Degrees in England and Australia (Canada too).

These should allow you to work on the class work when you are able to work on it (you still need to finish with in the prescribed time, be it quarter or semester.  But you have to be one heck of a self-starter.

cheers MAD

A Software Build Guy
Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Last Paragraph of my last message should have read:
"This should allow you to work and complete classes on your schedule...."

Cheers MAD

A Software Build Guy
Thursday, January 02, 2003

Thanks everyone (especially A Software Build Guy),
I think that gives me a bit to go on. 
I am going to look into some of those programs and see what might work for me.

Matt Watson
Thursday, January 02, 2003

You might also check out the Kelley direct online mba. 

http://www.bus.indiana.edu/kep/online.html

alksfalsdfjdfdlk
Thursday, January 02, 2003

go work for the NSA. they givr you paid time off to get your education.

2 cent
Thursday, January 02, 2003

If you get an MBA from any school other than the top 15 you are actually __HURTING__ your career in my book. An MBA from U. of Phoenix is a sign of being a fool.

   
Thursday, January 02, 2003

"If you get an MBA from any school other than the top 15 you are actually __HURTING__ your career in my book. An MBA from U. of Phoenix is a sign of being a fool.

   
Thursday, January 02, 2003 "

But who knows how much value your book has, as you didn't even bother to sign your message with a made up name let alone one who might be real.

If you can't be bothered to stand behind your own opinions, how can you expect anyone else to do so?

Robert Moir
Friday, January 03, 2003

>>  I really want my masters in Computer science, but the only good program that I can find is during the day and I cannot take that time off. (I found one OK program that is during nights, but it requires me to be away 4 hours a night 2 days a week, and I am not going to do that to my marriage).  <<

I suggest thinking about the sacrifices you are willing to make for your degree. You can't take off work to take classes in the day and you can't take off evenings to take classes in the evening? Where do you expect to find the time to do the course work? The people I know who successfully pursue an MBA or other advanced degree spend more than 8 hours a week.

I teach evening courses at a local school. If a student already knows most of the material they can just show up to class and take the test (but what learning value were they gaining?). For students who are actually learning new stuff it can take 16 hours a week - often more. My school is a little wonky in that each class only lasts for 4 weeks - so there is more work than your typical semester course.

I suggest trying to take an evening class at a local college. Not necessarily a CS course, but just something interesting that you can try out. I've been working a day job and teaching at night. At first I wasn't sure I could handle it and thought it would destroy my personal life. It does limit my schedule's flexibility, but the classroom atmosphere is very rejuvenating after spending 8 hours working on some boring enterprise app.

Anyway, I hope that helps.

NathanJ
Friday, January 03, 2003

Your wife can't deal with you being away 2 nights a week?

I've done both the distance thing and the night thing and the day thing. The  best of what I have tried was Harvard Extension School. Smart people, cheap classes, outside of Boston people see "Harvard" not "extension school." The online courses there are good but the on campus courses are better. One exception: the computational biology course I took really stunk.

soda
Friday, January 03, 2003

>If you get an MBA from any school other
>than the top 15 you are actually __HURTING__
>your career in my book. An MBA from U. of
>Phoenix is a sign of being a fool.

Sadly, I have to agree with the latter, and, in this economy, with the former  to some extent.  An MBA from a 3rd rate school isn't saying much but "I have lots of ambition."

In general, MBA's were over-hyped in the last E-Conomy.  They didn't deliver. 

As for on-line degrees, I'm sick of ads that say:

"Want the impressive-ness of an advanced degree,
but don't want to Work Very Hard?

Earn an advanced degree from the comfort of your
home by going to internet "class" about 3 hours a week,
and earn it in about a month!!  Earn it in less time with applied work experience!!"

It motivates the worst in us - the idea that we can get something for nothing. Then again, if I had to choose two candidates for a financial job, one with an MBA from Pheonix and one without, I'd probably lean toward the one with.  But I wouldn't pay him the $85,000/yr that some of these schools practically promise thier graduates unless his experience backed him up.

just my $0.02 --

Matt H.
Monday, January 06, 2003

>I am just about finished up with my MCSE, and
>was thinking of maybe just starting my MCSD. 

Technical certifications need to be upgraded periodically, university degrees do not.  An MCSE+An associates degree offers a big pay off, but once you've earn a  Bachelor's of Science, I've found they aren't worth it.  Just my $0.02.

If you want it that bad, move to a big city that offers a MS in CS at night.  I'm Married and on the "five year plan" so I can keep it to one night a week. :-)

Matt H.
Monday, January 06, 2003

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