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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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Question about Bachelors degree

I'm majoring in Computer Science over at North Central College but I can't decide if I wanna do Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science.

The Arts is obviously a lot easier, but I'm wondering how much that is going to hurt my job opportunities. I'm minoring in Business as well if that makes any difference. I'd probably just do the Bachelor of Science but the killer are the 2 calculus classes I'd have to take and math is just one of those things in this world that I hate.

It seemed like a few of the guys here were in the IT field and was wondering if a BofA in CompSci would be ok for most places or not?

I asked my prof about it and she brought up a good point, "If the company wants the BofS, do you really want to work for that company?"

Any insight would be appreciated, thanks.
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 07:36 AM
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Not sure if this help since I'm in finance, but I would always opt for the science vs arts. The person reading your resume IS going to notice the diff. The "arts" always seem to have open admission policies meaning everyone that can not get into the "science" programs, enter the "arts". There is a good reason for that....think about it.

You're worried about Calc? Didn't you have any in HS?
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 07:50 AM
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My immediate thoughts were the same as Kruz's. If you've got a business minor you'll have an edge, since most computer folks don't. I'd suggest getting a lot of communications in there, since computer folks that can translate that stuff down to layman's terms seem to be at a premium.

Calculus is just another series of classes to take. I didn't take calculus until college either. I didn't have to drop any of THOSE classes. Now differential equations..that's another story. That's a tough one.

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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 07:50 AM
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As time goes by, the degree will be weighted less and less when evaluated in conjunction with your work experience. I'll ask around the office and see if I can get a consensus.

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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 07:55 AM
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I think it will depend mostly on your choice of occupation. If you know exactly what you want to do and know the science will help do that. The arts is more broad and while it may not be as well respected it will leave oportunities more open. Your going to find experience overcome that in almost any field just like Kim said.

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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 07:59 AM
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True Kim....but those that skimped on the higher education whether it be college or grad school will be more likely to hit a glass ceiling.

Unless of course you are really really good at whatever you do and you are in a business that can afford to pay you a six figure salary. That's a tough combo to find.

I guess it depends on what you want to make and the sacrifices that come with it.

Yes there is probably very little real world difference between a BS and a BA. Think of a degree as a pedigree. All it says is what you accomplished. It is sort of a measuring stick minus the experience for an employer trying to compare people they have never met or worked with.

However, what you need to worry about is making the most out of the time you spend in college. Taking the easy way out is not my style. It shows your character and willingness to learn which are crucial in the real world. Take the Calc and get the BS
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 08:14 AM
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Considering a Master's degree? Along with the advice about choosing the degree that is best suited for your career goals, if you think you will be seeking an advanced degree keep that in mind as well. My undergrad was in education (Go Big Red!) and it killed me when I went for my MBA, because I had to take every class in the program since I didn't have a business background.

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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 08:14 AM
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I have to disagree with you on this one Kruz. I could name you some guys, especially in the finance biz, with 7 figure salaries no grad degree, and a BA. Some of them barely squeeked by and were on football scholarships. When it comes down to it, after you get your foot in the door, it's all going to be how hard you work and who you know. Do well at your job, work hard, and make yourself known. It will usually get you further than any degree IMO.

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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 08:20 AM
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I agree with Kruz. Get the BS. As Kim said however, 5 years from the day you graduate people won't even care that you went to college. (still happy you're spending all that $$?)

As for the IT field, I'm sure there are guys here more qualified to answer that than I, but it's been my experience that the real IT studs spend about 30% of their time earning a bunch of meaningless industry certifications (MCSE, CCIE, blah blah blah). If your goal is to become an engineer, just do whatever it takes to graduate and get ready for another 10 years of classrooms and test taking.

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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 08:49 AM
 
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Yeah what they said...

Yeah what they said... get the BS. BA in computer science would be laughable... BA's are for communication majors and whatnot who don't want any science in their curriculum (sp?). I doubled up computer science with finance and it was worth it... make sure you get that business minor with the way the economy is right now... you need all the help you can get.

Don't bother getting any certifications until you find a job to pay for em... my company's sending me to Phoenix or San Diego for a week to get my CCNA/CCDA (yay!) which would have cost me like $4-5,000.

I heard people with CCNAs can make some decent bank... one survey I read said entry level guys with CCNAs can pull 60-70 their first year... is this true?
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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 09:04 AM
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I don't really understand why you would want to major in computer SCIENCE and avoid the math by getting a BA degree. The minor in business will probably only be helpful if you intend to get an MBA and be a manager.

I am a senior engineer here and I can assure you that I would notice this. If you are otherwise a strong candidate this probably wouldn't weight too heavily against you. If I was on the fence about hiring you I would consider this decision more carefully as it COULD be an indication of avoiding complex tasks. Indeed it sounds like that's exactly what you're doing if you go that route.

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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 09:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by BusaDave
I don't really understand why you would want to major in computer SCIENCE and avoid the math by getting a BA degree. The minor in business will probably only be helpful if you intend to get an MBA and be a manager.

I am a senior engineer here and I can assure you that I would notice this. If you are otherwise a strong candidate this probably wouldn't weight too heavily against you. If I was on the fence about hiring you I would consider this decision more carefully as it COULD be an indication of avoiding complex tasks. Indeed it sounds like that's exactly what you're doing if you go that route.
Yeah what he said. Now I don't use any of the calc, linear alg., diffeq, etc that I learned in school... nor the physics or chemistry... but seriously it's good to know. Plus I think Dave really hit the nail on the head... I think the BS is a bit of a stronger degree when you're going into a technical field.

The reason I suggested sticking with the business minor is many companies (at least ones I talked to) liked the fact that I wasn't just straight technical and had an idea of how business and the world of finance worked. I guess I'm trying to say that it can't hurt
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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Stydie

Yeah what he said. Now I don't use any of the calc, linear alg., diffeq, etc that I learned in school... nor the physics or chemistry... but seriously it's good to know. Plus I think Dave really hit the nail on the head... I think the BS is a bit of a stronger degree when you're going into a technical field.
You'd be surprised if you are in technical programming, as opposed to business programming, how much the problem solving skills learned in these "science" classes will help you.

My degree is a BS in Electronics Technology with a minor in computer science and a minor in computer technology. Computer programming is easy. It's coming up with the algorithm to solve the problem that's challenging. It's your ability to conceptualize problems that advance you up the technical ladder.

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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 09:46 AM
 
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A BS is a lot better IMO. Some jobs will even take any BS from any discipline because they know you tend to have more of a problem solving, critical think type of background that's common across all sciences.

In almost all technical fields a BS will hold more weight. I guess it depends what you're looking to do.

In Kruz's line of work... they laugh you out the door, but who want to crunch numbers for a living...

oh ya now I remember he make almost twice as much money as me.
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 10:16 AM
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Actually I have a BS in computer science. Here at Discover what really counts is the classes that you take and especially your work exp. I got my degree at NIU where most of my classes revolved mainframe programming. I took some Orable DBA classes at Harper, never got certified and I take class at COD for some web programming too. My thoughts are learn C, C++, Unix, then try to stick to either web programming or databases which ever you perfer. No matter what and this is what I tell all the college students... GET AN INTERNSHIP OR TWO! You can get a job faster with an intership or two under your belt than without one.
post #16 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 11:19 AM
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Number cruncher? That's accounting.....I'm into financial interpretation, risk management, trading etc.

And it's more like 2.5x
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post #17 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Well I'm not sure at this point. Of course I want the Science degree, but I'm not sure the heartburn of taking the Calculus courses are worth it. If someone could guarantee me that I'd be making 6 figures 5 years out of college then you bet your ass I'd get the degree, but with everything as uncertain as it is I'm just not sure.
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post #18 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by crazeinc

If someone could guarantee me that I'd be making 6 figures 5 years out of college then you bet your ass I'd get the degree, but with everything as uncertain as it is I'm just not sure.
Of course no one can assure you of that! Although 5 years after you complete college those kinds of salaries may be routine in some segments.

There are exceptions to every rule, but in general people who are in positions to makes lots of money got there by hard work and by sacrificing time and energy that could have been used for something else.

The bottom line is that lower skilled jobs are diminishing, especially well paid ones. The more qualified you are for what you are seeking, the better your odds. Do not be surprised if an employer feels you are avoiding the challenging tasks. That is in fact what you are deciding.

It still all starts with what you are seeking. If you are looking to design new systems the BS is the way to go. If you want to be in a business programming or systems/network support or administration role, a BA may not hurt you.

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post #19 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 02:40 PM
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Cant guarentee that you will make 100K after five years. I am comming up on 5 years and I make about 60K. There are several factors that can determine the salary. Education ie where you got your degree, and what emphasis, job hopping for larger pay and the type of techonology that you work with. Also experience and if you are a consultant or a corporate employee. Job market and the ecomomy is a factor too. Right now i am a corporate employee and salaries tend to be lower and the work expectations are lower too. After I hit five years in June, I want to change jobs and make more $$ too. There are several web site that can give you an estimate on salary by location and job type.

I also think I need a spell checker on this thing too
post #20 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by hayabusa_z
Actually I have a BS in computer science. Here at Discover what really counts is the classes that you take and especially your work exp. I got my degree at NIU where most of my classes revolved mainframe programming. I took some Orable DBA classes at Harper, never got certified and I take class at COD for some web programming too.


LOL... another fellow NIU CS graduate. You seem happier than most people I know who have NIU CS degrees. Mine was a joke. Mainframe assembler, ok fine... any assembler is a good idea. But 95% of my curriculum was COBOL (and I was a "general" major, NOT the "applied/business" major.) Makes it damn near impossible to find a development job doing C, JAVA, PERL, etc... when you have all COBOL. Uy I could rant for hours. My friend actually had the NIU Job Placement girl in tears after a meeting with them.

My advice to people? DON'T waste your time on NIU if CS is your major. You're better off going to Harper or COD to learn useable skills.


Quote:
My thoughts are learn C, C++, Unix, then try to stick to either web programming or databases which ever you perfer. No matter what and this is what I tell all the college students... GET AN INTERNSHIP OR TWO! You can get a job faster with an intership or two under your belt than without one.
Yes, yes and yes. So many other languages are structured similar to C. Perl, JAVA, etc. all have similar syntaxes. They're not identical... but they're close enough that if you know one, it's not too hard to teach yourself the others. Good Unix skills are also a great idea. You'd be surprised how many people sit down at a Unix box and start looking for the "Start" button. "What do you mean, I have to use the keyboard???"

And an internship is MEGA important!!!! Seriously. Look at jobs in the area. MOST of the jobs listed as "Entry Level" still require 2 years of experience! And in this crappy job market, you're going to have a HELL of a time finding a job with ZERO experience. If you can't find an internship in your exact field, I'd still pick one that isn't related. Any professional, real-world working experience is better than putting "Papa Jon's Pizza Delivery" on your resume!

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post #21 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by OmniGLH


LOL... another fellow NIU CS graduate. You seem happier than most people I know who have NIU CS degrees. Mine was a joke. Mainframe assembler, ok fine... any assembler is a good idea. But 95% of my curriculum was COBOL (and I was a "general" major, NOT the "applied/business" major.) Makes it damn near impossible to find a development job doing C, JAVA, PERL, etc... when you have all COBOL. Uy I could rant for hours. My friend actually had the NIU Job Placement girl in tears after a meeting with them.

[/B]
Cobol? Um, that's ancient. But what am I saying, I took Fortran. My degree required computer programming course (must be an accreditation requirement). We took it in Freshman year. By my senior year they were still using it, but THINKING of changing to C . Jim is younger than me, I'm shocked a school still bases it's CS program on COBOL.

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post #22 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 02:59 PM
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As for the salaries and making $100k after five years... I'm learning very quickly how things actually work in the corporate world (or at least here at Motorola.) Hard work and dedication aren't necessarily rewarded with $$$ and promotions - it's typically rewarded with more work. Butt kissing is what gets you those pay raises and promotions. You need to befriend the right people. If you're the kind of person who busts your butt, takes their job seriously, and speaks up when you don't like something - you'll climb that ladder a LOT slower than you'd think.

If you want $$$ and success based on hard work and dedication - go into work for yourself. It's the only way that YOU will see the returns on the hard work you've done. In the corporate world, it's MANAGEMENT that sees the returns on YOUR investment.

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post #23 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 03:06 PM
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OHH ya I can complain about mainframe edu. at NIU, but they do teach other langauges now. The funny thing is that they dont teach 2 major mainframe skill like CICS and DB2 any more. That why I am taking classes in my spare time over at COD just to get some more experience. I will see if its worth sticking around work for another 2 years and a masters at DePaul.
post #24 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
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Cobol? Um, that's ancient. But what am I saying, I took Fortran. My degree required computer programming course (must be an accreditation requirement). We took it in Freshman year. By my senior year they were still using it, but THINKING of changing to C . Jim is younger than me, I'm shocked a school still bases it's CS program on COBOL.

HAHAHHA LOL. Would you actually believe that when I interviewed here for Motorola, they actually asked me if it was a TYPO on my resume???

Yes. Of all the programming classes I took at NIU, 2 were IBM S/370 Assembler (mainframe), 1 was introductory C, 1 was advanced C/C++, and all the rest were all COBOL. Heck, NIU only *offered* 3 C-based classes (two of which I took, and the third which only offered 2 sections, one semester a YEAR.) They didn't even OFFER Java until my last semester there (August 2001) - and they only had ONE section available. They don't offer any form of Intel-based programming. AT ALL. Every "current" language I know now (JAVA, Perl, Visual C++) I have either taken a class at a community college, or taught myself in my spare time.

Why does NIU dwell on old technology? Because NIU is very heavily funded by IBM. NIU is one of very few schools left (actually I've heard it's the ONLY one) in the country that still bases it's curriculum on mainframes. NIU made it VERY difficult NOT to take a COBOL and S/370 track. You had to plan out your entire course career in the beginning (what classes you would take, from freshman to graduation) and it was damn-near impossible to get into the C-based classes because they filled up so fast, and only offered 1 or 2 sections. Academic advisors tried to talk you OUT of C-based classes - nevermind that C is where the industry has BEEN for the past many years now.

And you'd be interested to know they also still offer several FORTRAN classes

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post #25 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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I know Unix, system admin, C/C++, HTML, ASP, Javascript and the list goes on.

I've been working for IT companies since I've been 16. I have a lot of experience with computers and plenty of references to back that up.

I'll look into internships in the upcoming years since I'm only a sophmore. I also work in the ITS department at the college so I have that going for me as well.

I'm not really interested in kissing ass to work my way to the top, I did enough of that caddying when I was 13. Owning my own business was always my ideal goal, but I just wanna make some decent money in the corporate world before I get too ballsy.
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post #26 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 03:29 PM
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And you'd be interested to know they also still offer several FORTRAN classes
Do they still use computers with punchcards.

I just checked. The course manual says the changed from Fortran to C++ . The course was designed to go through the computer logic, but using a dead language was pointless. That and I think they got rid of the old system that used fortran.

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post #27 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 03:36 PM
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You know I think they still offer a degree in sandscript.. a 2000 year old dead language too!
post #28 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 04:25 PM
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Let's see, for my degree I had S/360 Assembler, Data General Assembler, 8080/Z80 Assembler, FORTRAN, COBOL, Pascal.

At least COBOL and Pascal are both structured languages and Pascal is a strictly typed language.

I did not have any internships but was the Head User Consultant at the computer center part time, which was the highest paid student job on campus. That job provided access to IBM JCL (ick!) and CDC Cyber NOS (another ick with 6-bit characters), and several major graphics and database applications and languages. It also provided me with access to the Pascal compiler source written in Pascal from U of I in Champaign which I studied thouroughly to get an understanding of how compilers work.

I didn't have Unix/C experience but played up the fact that after several languages they all begin to have similarities with other languages.

The key for a graduate is to have confidence and sell yourself as a fast learner of new concepts. That task is easier if you successfully complete a degree that illustrates that fact from a school where they know what you have accomplished.

For CS, U of I is one of the best schools around and should be highly considered by an Illinois resident. Both Indiana State and IU have good CS programs with ISU also having a strong industrial technology departments, especially electronics. Other big name CS schools are UC Berkeley & MIT.

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post #29 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 05:33 PM
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well i sure as hell didnt read this whole thread..but i saw 1 phrase right after some talking about guarentee a pay scale.


i can guarentee 1 thing!
send me just about any women i guarentee she will make 100.00 per hour under me.


p.s. yeah i am a pig so what...let your bashing begin if you want



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post #30 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-03-2003, 06:10 PM
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Not to be an ass, but the NIU CS guys should have been somewhat aware of the industry/field and what they job market demands BEFORE mailing NIU your check. I went to NIU for their business school which was top ramked in the country at the time. Since I paid my way through school it was a great fit. But the key was I knew what I needed to learn and picked a school that taught it well.
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