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University Feedback & Acceptance

By mikebertie ·
I'm a software professional with over 21 years of programming experience in C++, Visual Basic, and a bit of Java. For the last 7 years I've been the Director of Software Development at my organization as well as taking on non-lead development roles. I'm in my mid-40's, and make a very good wage (at least in my opinion),but worked my way up with only an Associate's degree.

A couple of years ago, I thought it was time to add the "piece of paper" to my resume, since the thought of being 50 and looking for a job without one didn't seem fun. I'm three classes away from a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology from the University of Phoenix. I have to admit that I had thought that it wasn't a "real" school at first, but I've learned quite a bit, and their team-oriented focus has furthered my skills in team interaction and essential skill for nearly any IT team lead or managerial position. It has broadened my experience in many areas, and I already know from experience that I can compete favorably with most of the "highly educated" in the field.

As I'm considering the move forward with my education, I was wondering what the perceptions of my Bachelors degree might be in the "field" (not only the degree itself, but the University), and what type of Masters program (and from what type of school) might be the best move.


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Low value

by amcol In reply to University Feedback & Acc ...

At your stage of the game getting a degree for the sake of putting some letters after your name is a waste of time, money, and effort.

As a hiring manager I'm interested in the value you can provide, which I don't judge on the basis of your education. What have you done? What can you do for me? It's about providing business value, not credentials.

The perception of the University of Phoenix is changing from an online diploma mill but most people I know in a position of hiring authority still don't regard it as a "real" educational institution. That's not to say you did the wrong thing getting your bachelor's from them, just don't hold up whatever virtual sheepskin they give you with pride and fool yourself into thinking you've got a ticket to ride. Frankly, with 21 years in you could have a degree from Harvard and it wouldn't make much difference.

If you're determined to get a Master's go for an MBA, but try to get into an Executive program. Instead of four years at night you go for two years on weekends or alternative Fridays and Saturdays, and the educational experience is enriched mostly because you're in with other business executives from whom you learn a lot more than from the curriculum and the professors (not to mention the great contacts you make). I wouldn't bother if I were you, however...the return on that investment won't be worth it.

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So wrong is amcol!

by luvwknd In reply to Low value

You must be living in the dark ages? Since the late 90's the increase of on-line education has been so prolific that today even major universities offer complete degree programs completely on-line, furthermore, does the institution really determine the quality of education? No, it does not, this is determined by the accrediting agency as they are the analyzers of the curriculum and the professionals who determine if all major aspects of the learning process are being met, not the learning institution itself!
It is hiring managers such as yourself who need to seek employment in a different business, your closed minded mentality not only hurts the employer who your work for, but also very qualified candidates who you overlook simply because you don't what is going on in the real world. Get a clue amcol!
With this being said; michaelraymorris - hang your diploma with pride and let that proud determination glow from your face when you go in for interviews; because you know what? You are the best candidate for the position!

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Not wrong...misunderstood

by amcol In reply to So wrong is amcol!

There are approximately 3,500 institutions of higher education in the United States. With the exception of about 50 of them, you'll get approximately the same level of education in all of them. In that respect I agree with you, that the institution itself typically is not a factor in the quality of the program.

However, that's not the issue we're talking about, which is online learning versus the classroom experience. Education is not simply about acquiring knowledge. A truly well rounded educational experience, one in which you grow emotionally as well as intellectually, requires a certain amount of human interaction. While it's possible to satisfactorily complete a certification program via distance learning due to its nature as a focused single topic curriculum, a degree program is more generalized and the interaction with professors as well as other students provides as much of the educational value as the program itself.

You also misunderstood my remarks concerning the University of Phoenix degree. I didn't mean the poster couldn't point to the degree with pride because it was from that institution, I meant the mere fact of having a degree irrespective of who awards it is not a sufficient guarantee of success in and of itself. Go back and read what I wrote without that same close minded attitude you're accusing me of and you'll see what I mean.

Oh, and before I read one post from me and one post from someone else, and that's enough for you to decide that I'm a close minded lousy manager who provides no value to my employer and is clueless about higher education, and that the other poster is the best candidate for whatever position he/she is going for. Wow. Wherever did you develop this insightful ESP? You should package it and sell it.

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by mikebertie In reply to Not wrong...misunderstood

Really guys...Thanks for both the posts. I know that one of the things that drew me to the University of Phoenix was not only the flexible schedule, but the fact that 30% of each class grade is a team project. That means that with each class, I need to either lead or be an effective member of a team to accomplish a meaningful goal. In my managerial experience, I can see direct tie-ins to the corporate world.

I was also quite surprised to find that the curriculum was not narrowly focused on simply IT, but included Math, Science, English, and other "traditional" subjects as well. It has been quite an experience.

I did find it interesting that you also mentioned interacting with professors. If there is one thing that this program has driven home to me (and I've been seeing it in the corporate world as well), it's that you need always be crystal clear with specifications, and ALWAYS in writing. I sometimes feel that I'm getting more interaction from written communications in a class of 20, than I ever would trying to listen to lectures from someone with a thick accent in a room of 150.

I couldn't agree more that it is MUCH more about the skills one can bring to an organization, than about a pedigree....but there are quite a few close minded organizations out there. Sometimes its seems as if one needs the degree just to have the opportunity to present your capabilities.

Thanks for the feedback from both of you...really !!!

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Online and continuing education

by TinaShields In reply to University Feedback & Acc ...


I will graduate in December from Kaplan University with a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology Management. I *understand* the demands of completing an online education, and would compare my curriculum to any brick and mortar school.

IT is a field that requires life-long learning. As a hiring authority, I would see that you identified an area for career development, and successfully pursued completion of the goal. Adult learners face challenges in completing their degrees that have value in the work place.

As far as going for a Master's or MBA, that all depends upon your career goals.

Are you footing this out of pocket, or is your employer chipping in? Weigh the payback period. A degree is an investment. Will it pay off? Factor personal satisfaction into your answer.

Once you have attained your higher education degree, what's next? Is it an insurance policy against unemployment, or a prerequisite for moving into senior management at your present firm? Will you feel unchallenged and underappreciated if your current employer doesn't promote you or increase your pay?

I am considering an MBA with an IT concentration. My employer has tuition assistance, and I want to transition to teaching adult education or technical training in about 7 years when my husband retires.

Best of luck with your future!


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