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Old 07-24-2011, 09:20 AM
4 posts, read 9,250 times
Reputation: 10


Hello everyone,

I just registered even though I have been reading these boards for years. Great source of information and highly entertaining too!

I am wondering if someone can help me think about my professional situation and whether it would be a good idea to go back to a university to take CS classes. I would so appreciate any honest info you have.

I am 23 and I have a BA in Political Science/Spanish and an MPA (master of public administration) from two different state flagship schools in two different regions of the country. I always had various jobs in college and completed 2 master's level internships (unpaid), so I am not someone who has avoided the working world. In fact, as a senior in college, I was promoted to an on-site supervisory position for about 6 months, which I left.

The actual paying job that I have always fallen into in the past 5 years is tutoring math (thru calculus 1). This keeps me afloat, but is no substitute for a full-time job with a salary and benefits. I have been unable to find such a job in this economy, despite my internships and applying for something like 170 jobs so far.

The idea behind the MPA program was to get into the federal government. I had no idea how incredibly difficult it is to do so and how lengthy the application process is. I am not exactly a "change the world" type, but I always wanted to help people. I find that I am no longer that interested in the policy field, however. Of course, if a job like that came up, I would take it - but I have a feeling that won't happen for quite a while.

Truthfully, I really like math and am happy to do math all day. I know several programmers who are doing very well and I wonder if I should try to join them by taking some postbac classes in CS, trying to get work experience, and then perhaps getting a second master's only if necessary.

I emailed the recruiter at the engineering college at the local university down the street where I would be doing this. The school has a good reputation at least regionally. She told me this would be a very bad idea and I would appear unfocused to employers, and would present a "HUGE" red flag .

I was surprised by this reaction. I understand that wandering aimlessly through academia does not help anyone get a job. But I would be looking to get experience ASAP. I understand that CS is a field where experience counts more than degrees, so if I got the experience, would they really care that I had already done some other master's program?

I am going to go talk to her in person this week I think, but I would like to get some other opinions. Be honest - would companies want to hire someone who already had a master's and then went back for CS? Also, is it possible to work part-time in a CS related job or get experience while taking the initial CS classes, or do you need to get further along in school before doing that?

By the way, I am absolutely not under the impression that just because someone has a master's in CS they're a great coder, automatically better than someone else with a BS, qualified automatically to supervise them, etc. I know it's all about experience and I realize I could learn to write code on my own. I would just prefer to do it at a school.

Thank you so, so much in advance!
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