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Is an associates worth it at all?

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Last response: in Work & Education
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February 8, 2011 11:43:58 PM

So, to make a long story short, I am 30 and considering a career change for a variety of reasons.

I am looking at doing an associates degree in computer science related field, and taking that to someday become a systems admin.

Of course, I need some advice.

My long term goal (read: 5 years) is to acquire my BS degree. However, I am currently working as a chef, have a large student loan debt already from Culinary School and pretty bad credit, so I'm of the mind that nobody is going to loan me money for college--hence the AAS. I know it's a big leap from Chef to Computers, I still love cooking but the money is HORRIBLE and I want to spend time with my daughter/family etc...basically have SOME sort of normal life. I'm tired of working 60+ hours a week for 30-355k a year.

Does anyone know what type of jobs an AOS degree will land? What types of certifications should I look to get with an AOS? It seems to me that there is a WIDE open field of Computer Sciences, with all sorts of jobs, and many of them utilize similar skill sets and many don't.

My plan would be something like....get the AOS, get an entry level job, hope the company has tuition reimbursement, continue on to get my BS, etc.

Am I dreaming? Is this a stupid idea? I would appreciate honesty. I consider myself to be intelligent so I don't think the coursework would be over my head...

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March 3, 2011 2:50:20 PM

Every form of education/schooling is worth pursuing. Start at the local community college; maybe nights if necessary. Quality education at an affordable price!

Usually, once you are in a program, you will have more access and interface with other students and faculty, and that will be a nice guiding experience. This will help you further in deciding which route to take and how to achieve your objectives.

You already hit it on right on the head with the 'tuition reimbursement' companies.

Good luck!
March 8, 2011 11:40:09 PM

^ +1

Start at your local community college. I am (not*) paying $80 per credit hour and getting hands on with Win 7, Server 2008, Cisco switches and routers, lots of networking and computer managment experience.

I am going to get an AAS for around $5k at nights and getting prepped for 6 certifications. Once I get my AAS I can keep taking Cisco classes here to work my way up that pyramid and I have met people who are working all over the industry I am trying to break into.

I don't even think I will go for a BS any time soon because no local university has a CS program like the one I am in.

*Having my current job pay for my training to move beyond that job is priceless.
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March 22, 2011 2:12:51 AM

You could also pursue an engineering job as well. Get a BS in Computer Engineering and work for a semiconductor company like Intel or TI.
March 25, 2011 12:35:57 PM

All good advice.
A little encouragement - My Son
Received BS in Microbiology, accepted straight into the PHD program, after two years told Prof to shove it.
Took a job as financial advisor (They sent him to the NY stock exchange for 30 Days)
dropped that and took a job as a bartender -> to a job in IT at a waste management company (No course in Computers - That was being at the right place at the right time). He then started taking classes in web development. He then headed up the division that managed the 401K programs. That company folded and he is now the head of the IT division at a company. He finally received his MBA.

The fact that you already have a 4 yr degree is a Plus - Myself, I have a BS in (Basket weaving) liberal arts. Only took 7 real classes - But it got my foot in the door when applying for a job. The fact I had a "basket weaving degree" was instrumental in getting my first job offer after retiring from USAF - turned it down.

As you know many of your credits would transfer so that you may only need to take the "core" courses
March 25, 2011 12:52:48 PM

Also, what really counts after schooling is who you know, and who knows you!
March 25, 2011 5:20:19 PM

^ Thats a big +10 four
My first son got a job at a Electronic firm that contracts to NASA - I knew the Gentleman that did the hiring.

My 2nd Son got his first IT job because of his girlfriend, whos sistor was dating the President of the Wastwater management company.
March 25, 2011 9:07:42 PM

RetiredChief said:
^ Thats a big +10 four
My first son got a job at a Electronic firm that contracts to NASA - I knew the Gentleman that did the hiring.

My 2nd Son got his first IT job because of his girlfriend, whos sistor was dating the President of the Wastwater management company.

Totally agree with you! These days the majority of jobs are filled through networking. Also, the time honored logic "It is better to deal with a known devil, than an unknown God!" still holds. This saying comes from a land where there is a God for every occasion, event, illness, festivity, etc. (hence unknown God among several).
!