College woes

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College woes

PostPosted by verdilak » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:02 pm

Crossposted from my blog

I am old for a college student, in regards to my peers, at the age of 26. Until last year, I was completely unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, and things changed. For the better, or so I thought.

I have always been interested in knowing things, especially history since so much of what we know about our history is missing. Due to this, I decided to go to school in a feeble attempt to become educated enough to, hopefully, become a professor. Since the nearest college of any type is over an hour away from me, I was limited to online college classes (and still am). After exhaustive research into the myriad of for-profit schools and their shortcomings, as well as online class schedules for traditional schools, I settled on Grand Canyon University.

As a college, GCU is decent and though I worry about the quality of what I being taught, I find solace in the fact that the college is regionally accredited. Of course, they do not have a Masters program in what I the subject that I wanted, namely History, nor do they have a Masters program in the subject that I have recently decided that I would prefer to become part of, namely Anthropology. Of course, they do not even have a BA program for Anthropology, but that is neither here nor there.

In looking at the time it will take to get at least a Masters degree, the cost of getting such a degree, the job availability for such a degree, and the average salary, I became very worried. So i started to look around my area for jobs that require degrees and the prospects are not just disheartening, they are outright bullshit.

Many jobs require at least a BA in a given subject, but also require 3 to 5 years of experience. Okay, I can see the need for experience, but how is one to get said experience if no one is taking new graduates? Secondly, the wage for these jobs are at the $13/hour mark. $13 dollars and hour? Why would anyone go to school for this and spend 3 to 5 years in a similar job for the experience, when I am currently getting paid $10 an hour for a non-educated job? I do not understand why people do this and looked into my own future job field and saw that it was rather good.

However, a good friend of mine is 3 classes away from graduating from a Technical College for an Associates in Web Design and has average wage prospects out of the gate that are only a little less than the prospects someone would have if they had a Masters in Anthropology. I mulled it over for a while. I have coded 2 business websites (very basic, but they still are decent: http://www.wishwood.com and http://www.bransonrv.net) for two people that I know, so while it was done for free, they got what they paid for. I.E. an amateur.

Now I am looking into finding a school that offers such a class and degree, because while web design is not my favorite thing in the world, I find it easy and coding seems to work well with my thought processes. The only problem is, no one is offering that sort of degree in a 250 mile radius from where I live! The closest degree offered is a Graphic Design degree, but it is dealing with font creation, screenprinting, and textiles. Not that I have anything against those things, but if I want a font there are thousands for free online and if I want to screenprint something there are numerous tutorials out there for anyone to find. There is even a college (Drury College) that offers classes that are held in Second Life, but no Web Design degrees except for an 18 credit course for teachers that is meant to help teachers create classroom blogs.

I have scoured the web for colleges and technical colleges that offer the degree that I want (Web Design). I have only found one for-profit school that is not accredited (is only a "Candidate") and has some rather poor reviews (yup, ITT Tech), and one Web Design course at a local tech school that only has 1 coding class that seems to think that a 9-week class will teach someone everything they need to know about html, java, and flash to build professional websites. In other words, what I have found are jokes.

If anyone out there can help point me in the correct direction, I would be extremely thankful.
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by Solar_Dawn » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:23 pm

My brother started making websites when he was 15, just for fun, but soon enough he got a few jobs through friends, made a very small company with another friend at 16, by now he works for Ophera, get's to fly all over the world to be involved in these big things, and makes more money then I'd care to admit and dropped out of his college study because it didn't matter anymore anyway. So in my experience, that field is hardly something you need a degree in, just gotta understand the basics and be smart.
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by verdilak » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:35 pm

Yeah, thats what i am starting to think, that I should neglect a degree and just do some serious self study on the subject. Heh, I even asked Nul to buy his old college books.
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by Solar_Dawn » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:39 pm

That's how my brother did it, a whole lot of self study, it just seems to be one of those fields where knowledge and experience are far more important then what kind of degree you got.
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by NulSyn » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:29 pm

Solar_Dawn wrote:That's how my brother did it, a whole lot of self study, it just seems to be one of those fields where knowledge and experience are far more important then what kind of degree you got.

The thing is getting an Associates Degree in Web Design is considered to be a work-ready Applied Science Degree, meaning all the time you spent getting the degree counts as experience to companies plus you have the Degree itself on top of that.

If you are just going to go freelance sure skipping the degree and just starting a business can prove to work well for you, but if you plan on getting an entry level starting position with a yearly salary, you would be wasting a lot of time trying to make up for the work-ready degree experience with learning on your own and doing the occasional freelance job. BTW if you do go freelance, hire a business partner who knows his way around contracts, otherwise you're going to get burned...badly.
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by verdilak » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:23 pm

What do you think about this degree program Nul? http://www.otc.edu/cis/2945.php
ImageImage
"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by NulSyn » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:16 pm

verdilak wrote:What do you think about this degree program Nul? http://www.otc.edu/cis/2945.php

That's different than the one you showed me in chat, right?

The first one looked like a work-ready AAS, this one looks like it is more geared in getting you into a 4 year CIS degree...which is what companies are avoiding like the plague right now. They want AAS degrees that show you have specialized in a specific field and not in a broad BA of computer science....whether the courses are the same or similar doesn't matter. IT companies see BAs in CIS as being people who can't actually do the work in the field yet and need training and/or experience. AAS they see as work-ready at graduation for your field.
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by verdilak » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:41 pm

No, it was the same one. In chat, i linked to the Required Courses page on the left. Err, maybe it was this one, which is the A.A.S. Degree tab: http://www.otc.edu/cis/7367.php
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by verdilak » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:03 pm

And... i applied to the above college for the above degree. We'll see.
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by NulSyn » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:10 pm

Oh okay, it was laid out weird, so I thought it was something else entirely.
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by Rayven » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:02 am

As far as ITT goes, that's where my brother went (campus is literally 10 minutes from where we live), and is making $20-some an hour now because of it.
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by verdilak » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:11 am

Rayven wrote:As far as ITT goes, that's where my brother went (campus is literally 10 minutes from where we live), and is making $20-some an hour now because of it.

I know that people use their degrees to get good jobs, it is just that they are not accredited, meaning I don't want to spend my money on a college that is not accredited especially since I hope to keep continuing my education.
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by Solar_Dawn » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:40 am

NulSyn wrote:
Solar_Dawn wrote:That's how my brother did it, a whole lot of self study, it just seems to be one of those fields where knowledge and experience are far more important then what kind of degree you got.

The thing is getting an Associates Degree in Web Design is considered to be a work-ready Applied Science Degree, meaning all the time you spent getting the degree counts as experience to companies plus you have the Degree itself on top of that.

If you are just going to go freelance sure skipping the degree and just starting a business can prove to work well for you, but if you plan on getting an entry level starting position with a yearly salary, you would be wasting a lot of time trying to make up for the work-ready degree experience with learning on your own and doing the occasional freelance job. BTW if you do go freelance, hire a business partner who knows his way around contracts, otherwise you're going to get burned...badly.


actually my brother got his job at ophera at the same time he started, though it was part time then, he just started working more and more and doing less and less studying, however this was like six years ago and a whole diffirent climate i think.
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by NulSyn » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:03 am

IT is very much a different climate here in the US, from six years ago. Situations like your brother still can happen, but they are very much the rare exception now. As CIS becomes a more common thing for the newer generations to learn in primary schools it has altered the way people have looked at it quite a bit. The IT community started to realize that CIS majors and self-doers were becoming a dime a dozen, so they started pumping the money into work-ready 2 year degrees through grants, scholarship and job deals with the schools to make sure they got someone who could actually do the job form the get-go. And with the economy the way it has been, it was not worth wading through all the bullshit to get too the ones who were awesome.

We have had several speakers at are AITP meetings from Intel, Microsoft, NCI and a few other places all saying this same thing. I really like the idea, and I am not saying this simply cause I am involved in it. I wish most fields would go to a more work-ready, field specific type of education instead of 4 year degrees that don't focus.
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by Pyriel » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:02 am

hmmm.. I can honestly relate.

I was in college. Granted, it was Project Management, not History. I was also an important factor in school and local politics (some people might remember i was even a member of the party that has now won the elections in Greece, and member of the support staff in the area of the current Prime Minister).The bottom line is...

Lots of students reached out to me with complaints. Sad fact is, degrees do not mean as much in today's world as they used to; the rise of Marketing and need for people skills over knowledge, and the rise of the sheer *number* of people obtaining degrees is important. Perhaps more important is that most college graduates dont succeed through talent or mind-they succeed through *work* , and as such 80% of people that realy put their mind to obtaining degrees, simply do, even if they do it just for status. Lots of degrees in the market=degrees aint worth as much. In the market.

lets see what i did myself: If i stayed in college... i'd get a degree, and work hard to become some lame corporate guy, or even an accountant. Instead...
I went and got courses from a German institute in insulations. that was hard. no, REALY hard. but now, (well, before military) I am an acknowledged insulations technician, and i work through ... ordering workers around, basicaly :P and i get paid about 1500 Euro per month (average wage in greece: 600 Euros). Now, thats not too much, but its HELL OF A LOT MORE than what i'd have with a degree.

result: degrees are GREAT for "personal training". for job, though?... my experience (cnat say for others) says: dont bother.
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Re: College woes

PostPosted by Solar_Dawn » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:57 am

I don't know, I think that may be the case in greece where it seems to matter a lot more who you know and where you have your friends, no offense. But in my country and the US, it's always been my exact experience same as Verd says, people want employees with degrees, usually a high degree, and X years of experience. Why? Because they can, because the economy is bad and they can be picky because there's so many people looking for work.
The example I gave of my brother is because it's always seemed to me that IT is one last line of work where sometimes a degree doesn't matter, but I fully believe nul when he says that too has changed or maybe it never really was that way but seemed it to me.
I got my own job without an education but it's hardly a prime job, and when the mail business goes down under which it will eventually, I'll be screwed, Because I'll have experience but no degree, but that's just personal woes.
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