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University or Technical School?

By aaronpctech ·
Hello all, as usual I need some advice from the techrepublic pros.

I have an associates degree in information technology from a school called TESST College which is pretty much just a technical school.

I want and need to get a BS in IT to be able to survice in this world. I'm finding that the BS degree today is kinda of like the High School Diploma of yesterday.

My problem is, I'm not too sure what kind of school to go to. Do I try and apply to a university like University of Maryland. ( Which probably wont even take my credits ) or do I try and go to a college like Phoenix or Strayer.( One of those tech colleges that are supposed to fit around your schedule.)

I've heard that schools like Strayer University arent really that good to go to and that I should apply to a "real" 4 year university. I'm kind of torn on what to do.

I'm 23 and I'm not gettign any younger. I do not want to be 55 and saying damn I should have done this or that. I what to look back and be happy about my educational decisions.

What are my fellow techies thoughts? Has anyone ever been to Strayer or schools like that? Pros cons. Anyhting will be appreciated.

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It matters

by jdmercha In reply to University or Technical S ...

The type of school doesn't matter, so much as its reputaion. After all, MIT is a technical school.

Check out usnews.com and look at their list of best colleges and universities. Those at the top of the list are more likely to get you a better job.

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Strayer anyone

by aaronpctech In reply to It matters

HAs anyone taken any classes from strayer? Any luck? good or bad rep?

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A real college experience

by DelbertPGH In reply to University or Technical S ...

U of Phoenix and DeVry are high-quality correspondence schools. Degrees from these places are definitely worth something, but they are still not as highly esteemed as degrees from brick & mortar colleges, where you sit in an actual classroom in the company of other people. I agree, but maybe for more touchy-feely reasons than a hiring manager might.

When you work in computers, you are actually working in people. People use programs, and in most cases they use them to do work, not to relax. Good software is effective (it has a place in the workflow), it is understandable and easy to use (by the humans who will use it, who are not geniuses, programmers, or computer hobbyists) and it is maintainable (by people who will have to get into your head without ever meeting you.) Working with people and for people requires human skills. Today's technical skills are tomorrow's technical history. People knowledge is constant.

I have worked with computers for 25 years, and in finance for the last 12, and it has been great. I have always been on the applications side, moving from engineering to sales support to transportation services to portfolio management. Each job has been a step up, both in pay and in satisfaction. I've been able to skip around because that is how IT is, because I work like a slave (for the first months) at each new job, because I am interested in each new situation and take the trouble to learn how people work, and understand what the business of the enterprise is. That's what makes me most valuable to my employers. That kind of flexibility and understanding does not grow out of the study of b-trees or network topologies.

A decent college experience puts you among peers and a variety of courses and intellectuals, where you will bump into things you will never again encounter. You can pick up a diversity of knowledge and experience, much of which will not seem useful until you understand it or use it, years later. I wouldn't overindulge the tech courses; get a good dose of the liberal arts, and a handful of business classes (especially a semester or two of accounting.) Hiring managers will see that you have a B.S., and won't delve into your transcript. Job experience trumps class experience, so get internships or part-time IT work along the way; after a degree and experience, what counts most is being interesting and seeming intelligent, and a boss will not look at any eighty hours of tech classes on your transcript to discern that.

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It is a tough call, but typically reputation matters more than "title"

by jmgarvin In reply to University or Technical S ...

A tech school vs a "real" university is a pretty bad way to judge your needs.

There are very good tech schools out there and very good four year universities. I'd suggest you look into the programs and talk to some one at the schools that you like. I'd also suggest checking around the area to see if employeers respect the school.

I teach at a "tech" school and I have to say that it is a very decent school and well respected. Also most employeers can expect anyone coming out of a tech school to be able to jump into the given position.

Ironically enough I also go to a "tech" school. New Mexico Insitute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech) is considered the MIT of the southwest. From a tech stand point NMT is a FAR better education than any other university in the southwest. LANL and Sandia National Labs will hire a NMT graduate over any other graduate.

That isn't to say four year schools don't have their place. If you plan on going into management or plan on NOT doing R&amp or research, than this may be a better plan for you.

You need to go with what best fits YOUR needs.

Good luck!

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Managers favor traditional schools

by DelbertPGH In reply to It is a tough call, but t ...

The guys who hire have a better regard for a traditional school: an accredited, bachelor-degree-granting institution with a four year program and a requirement to attend actual classes, instead of computer-based "virtual" attendance. Outstanding tech schools like NMT or Colorado School of Mines fit these criteria. They are "college".

Trade schools and junior colleges provide a worthwhile education (in most cases), but the people who hire and establish pay levels think of it as a second-rate education. Definitely better than none, but not as good. Without a 4-year degree from an accredited college, you will earn less, every year, until you retire, and will face an extra hurdle every time you get considered for promotion.

J.M. works in academia and networks into major research labs, and probably does not see the same people-based issues dominating the workplace to the degree I do. In research and engineering (for example, simulation, graphics subsystems, or signal processing), there's a big demand for gearheads, whom you can present with a tough puzzle and be amazed as they grind it down. In finance, you have to ask who and why, and what are the benefits, costs, and risks, and what ego and what power is in the game, before you can establish the puzzle or its scope. You're more likely to accrue skills from the study of Russian literature than from computer science, when it comes to problems like these.

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I think there is a little confusion

by jmgarvin In reply to Managers favor traditiona ...

Distance eduation and tech schools do not go hand in hand. While some schools do offer distance only education, others offer in class "on the ground" education in a more traditional format. My school offers in class and DE courses. I honestly don't see how some courses could translate to DE courses without some serious work (eg hard core simulations and modeling (eg circuit design) various "hands on" setups, and some localized Q&A)

I do agree that DE programs aren't seen as on par with in class programs. I think part of it is the growing pains of DE, part is lack of understanding (by all parties) what DE is, and part of it is truth.

Anyway, for the most part I agree with you...although as a computer scientist with a minor in history, I have yet to be hired on my experience and minor ;-)

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Strayer University

by olgajcbsn In reply to University or Technical S ...

Strayer University has accreditation problems. The school began as Strayer College, a small for-profit business school in Washington, DC. It was accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 1981. Thereafter, the college grew, renamed itself Strayer University, and moved its headquarters to Arlington, VA (Strayer University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Strayer Education, Inc.).

The school's fastest-growing division is Strayer University Online, headquartered in Newington, VA. The school has also opened satellite campuses throughout Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, all states in which colleges are normally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Strayer does not have SACS accreditation. Moreover, the school's business courses and business degrees are not accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Thus, AACSB-approved colleges will not accept graduate transfer credits from Strayer.

O. Jacobsen
Mineral VA 23117

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