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Old 05-02-2012, 04:19 PM
 
3 posts, read 30,018 times
Reputation: 12

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Hi.

I am sure this question was asked numerous times here. I am looking for a career change and not quite sure what route would be best to take.

I have a BA in Accounting from one of the colleges in New York. I have around 6 years of accounting related experience. I don't like accounting too much and have been thinking of going back to school to pursue a degree in computer science.

I'd like to find out what is a better option for me right now. Go back to college as a second degree student and obtain a BS in Computer Science or actually go for an MS program. I know I will have to take undergrad level courses (as prerequisites) to finish the MS program. However, since I don't have any background in programming/computing I feel like MS program will be much more difficult and challenging to finish. I have to note that while in school, I will continue working full time and will attend college in the evening. I want to make sure I get a good grasp of the subject matter and for some reason think BS is a better way to go since I would start learning everything from scratch and build my knowledge as I progress through the courses.

I would appreciate any comment or advice on this matter.

Thank you.

PS.

I was always into computers and initially my goal was to study Information technology while back in college. However, due to some reasons I had to switch majors and ended up with an accounting degree. I had two courses in C++ about 7-8 years ago so I know what to expect from computer science.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:02 PM
 
282 posts, read 358,543 times
Reputation: 458
First, look for a field that is a hybrid between computer science and business. Big data and business analytics opportunities are growing exponentially and are eating into the jobs that were traditionally reserved for recent MBA grads. Play to your strengths, which is your accounting/finance experience. For programming, being in your 30's isn't a strength.

Second, get a masters degree. It has more credibility in the market place than another bachelor's. Use udacity, coursera, or youtube to brush up on the basics, then enroll in distance ed once you have an idea about what prereqs you will need. I would avoid a MS in Comp Sci. It's highly theoretical and is probably not a good fit at this point for you. If you said you were doing open-source projects in your spare time, it would be a different story. Maybe look into applied, one-year professional programs.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
828 posts, read 673,501 times
Reputation: 1534
I would go for the masters degree as well. I'm not sure if you were planning to get student loans, but I do not believe you can get them for a second bachelors degree.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:00 PM
 
Location: South Dakota
428 posts, read 293,677 times
Reputation: 630
Do the Master's degree. Get your prerequisites done and enroll in a grad program. 3-4 years should be enough to get it done, even working full time. It is a huge commitment and not for the faint of heart. If married, have his/her support before starting because it will take up family time. But a Master's will be much better for you in the long run. Good luck.
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:13 PM
 
Location: League City
2,323 posts, read 3,221,674 times
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mcredux makes sense mentioning that an MS is CS will be tough without the proper background. If you program for fun, or if you are just one of those naturally logically inclined people, then you will probably be ok. However, the majority of people who go into CS MS programs without a CS degree are engineering or math students. Or something along those lines.

I had a BS in biology and started to pursue a MS in CS. Then I chose to make it easier on myself (not the best choice for everyone but it worked fine for me) and pursue a 2nd BS in CS instead. Realize a lot of MS leveling courses are going to be compressed, and even then you will miss out on a lot of 'personal enlightenment' just from being in a full CS program. Besides, there are many employers that will reimburse your part-time pursuit of a MS in CS if it relates to your job. Also there are lots of online options for MS CS degrees from real schools - anything from your local 3rd tier state university to schools like USC, Illinois, Stanford, etc.

Last edited by DanielWayne; 05-04-2012 at 01:22 PM..
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Old 05-05-2012, 02:27 AM
 
Location: PNW
674 posts, read 1,202,432 times
Reputation: 597
Quote:
Originally Posted by Madeline2121 View Post
I would go for the masters degree as well. I'm not sure if you were planning to get student loans, but I do not believe you can get them for a second bachelors degree.
It depends on the school.

I also think you should pursue an MS over a second bachelors. You might look at something like project management, which would enable you to use your business skills and work in a variety of fields, or focus it more towards high-tech.
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:01 AM
 
5,531 posts, read 6,721,170 times
Reputation: 6682
pros and cons:

Master's degree cost more per credit

Master's courses are heavy into night courses, may be positive or negative


If you're taking a masters with an unrelated bachelors, you will have to take a fair number of prerequisites. Often, the way they are structured, they don't count for either a bachelors or a masters, just designed to fill in gaps. You may end up with enough equilivant credits to have earned a second bachelors, anyways, and the pre-requisite courses don't give you anything one way or another, just gets you into the graduate program.

Bachelor's level assumes you are more entry level, Master's may be more difficult

Students tend to be older in Masters, depends on your comfort level

Either decision has its pros and cons, good luck to you!
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
7,515 posts, read 14,690,038 times
Reputation: 4741
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimkinB View Post
Hi.

I am sure this question was asked numerous times here. I am looking for a career change and not quite sure what route would be best to take.

I have a BA in Accounting from one of the colleges in New York. I have around 6 years of accounting related experience. I don't like accounting too much and have been thinking of going back to school to pursue a degree in computer science.

I'd like to find out what is a better option for me right now. Go back to college as a second degree student and obtain a BS in Computer Science or actually go for an MS program. I know I will have to take undergrad level courses (as prerequisites) to finish the MS program. However, since I don't have any background in programming/computing I feel like MS program will be much more difficult and challenging to finish. I have to note that while in school, I will continue working full time and will attend college in the evening. I want to make sure I get a good grasp of the subject matter and for some reason think BS is a better way to go since I would start learning everything from scratch and build my knowledge as I progress through the courses.

I would appreciate any comment or advice on this matter.

Thank you.

PS.

I was always into computers and initially my goal was to study Information technology while back in college. However, due to some reasons I had to switch majors and ended up with an accounting degree. I had two courses in C++ about 7-8 years ago so I know what to expect from computer science.
The general rule of thumb is to move up in degree, however, there is nothing wrong with obtaining a second BA/BS. If you are accepted into a CS program at the Masters level, you are correct in assuming you will be required to take pre-reqs at the undergrad level as a condition of acceptance.

The good news is that depending on what courses the grad program requests you have under your belt prior to beginning the MS, you might be able to take these courses at a community college.

The best thing you can do right now is to contact CS professors that teach at the grad level at the prospective universities you are considering and ask them what you need to do. They are the only ones who can give you the specific advice you need.

Another route that might make more sense, though, is to just go for the second BA/BS, then either go straight into an MS program, perhaps part time or work for a few years then enter an MS program. Having to take those pre-req courses could set you back a few years at most anyways and seeing as how a second BA/BS will take a few years anyways, might as well get that degree out of it, too. Like I said it all depends on what background the specific MS CS program is looking for. You might be able to get by with only two semesters of pre-reqs.

That all depends on the focus of the MS CS program, though. Computer science is a large field. You might not have to take too many pre-recs if you find an MS CS program that relates to business, accounting, finances, etc.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:02 PM
 
3 posts, read 27,119 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks everyone for your responses. I have a degree in Philosophy and looking for a degree in Psychology and have the exact same questions. The responses were VERY informative and fully applied to me, thanks all.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:20 AM
 
575 posts, read 1,074,608 times
Reputation: 1720
Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeNightLifeGoodWeather View Post
Thanks everyone for your responses. I have a degree in Philosophy and looking for a degree in Psychology and have the exact same questions. The responses were VERY informative and fully applied to me, thanks all.
for the person quoted above there is a dramatic difference between moving from an accounting degree to a CS degree (BS, MS especially or even an MA) than there is from moving to a Psyc degree from a Philosophy degree so the answers in this thread are not relevant to your goals......and in my opinion the answers above saying go for the MS degree are wrong as I explain below.......as far as moving from Phi to Phsy it would probably be not that difficult to go for the Phsy MA degree if your goal is to advance a career or an MS degree if you want to continue to a PhD or you understand the concept that the MS degree in most any subject (besides business and a few others) will be more valuable to switching careers or usually advancing a career with a switch in focus of the career......but again that if for fields that are much more similar to one another like Phi and Phsy VA accounting and CS......and again you need to decide between an MA and an MS and what your goals are to do with that degree.....MS degrees are really not that valuable for switching careers from one area to another and MA degrees are usually less valuable for fully switching careers from one field to another.....masters level degrees are usually for advancing an existing careers or for making a move from very similar career fields to another with the slight aid of an advanced degree along with the real world experience.....like as someone suggested above going from accounting to BCIS......where you would get an MBA with a BCIS emphasis and use your accounting experience to make you valuable and to move to decision science areas of companies and to have that work experience and advanced degree to move ahead faster than others.....I suppose one could go to work for an accounting software company (and there are several out there that are growing) and use the accounting experience and the MS in CS to get that job, but I would imagine you would start at about the same level as someone that had accounting experience and a BS/CS degree as well......your situation is very different from the one of the OP and really you and the OP need to further clarify goals you hope to accomplish with an advanced or second degree

************************

as far as the replies to the OP it will depend on your overall goals.....if you are looking to switch jobs completely and do it as quickly as possible then go for the second undergrad degree

if you have plenty of time and KNOW you will enjoy computers and especially programming them a masters might work

one thing that the people telling you to get the masters are fully ignoring is that to get a MASTERS OF SCIENCE degree in ANY subject area from any school that is even halfway decent and reputable then you will need to conduct RESEARCH and publish and defend a thesis.....that is a 100% requirement from ANY decent university for a MS degree in ANY subject......research, thesis, defense

so to get a masters you will need to fulfill prerequisites, you will need to become a very capable programmer, then you will need to choose some specific area of computer science, find a mentoring professor, get a project, conduct your research, publish your thesis, and defend it successfully before you get your MS degree in CS (or a MS in ANY subject)

there are MANY issues involved in this...part way in you might find you are not the greatest programmer, you might struggle to find a professor that wants to work with you, you might struggle to find a professor that you want to work with, you might struggle to come up with a relevant topic to research that you are interested in, and you might struggle to complete the research, complete the thesis, and defend it......and that is excluding personal and departmental drama that is 100% found in most every department in any field of study at pretty much every university out there

an MS degree is not like an MBA or an MA degree where you take 36 credit hours, make all Bs or better in those courses, and get another piece of paper.....and that is another issue you will need to make Bs or better at pretty much any school of relevance to get a masters (especially an MS) and some places you might need a better than 3.0 GPA and no classes lower than a B......if you are 50% of the way to getting a masters and make that C at some schools that might be that and at some schools you might get one chance to repeat that course or possibly to take a different course at the same level and count it instead of the one you made a C in

so this all needs to be considered before deciding that the path to a MS degree is right for you

if you want an MA in computer science then most places will require you to already have an undergrad in CS or a closely related field (like math or BCIS) and I do not think accounting will be one of those fields
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