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Rocco Simferi
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Hello,
I am offered a place within the top 10 US universities.
The degree is a M.S in Computing Science and there are various tracks to chose from.
It is distance learning and it is going to cost around 50.000 USD.
My question is whether I should go for it or not depending on the salary I will receive from US employers.
I am asking for your opinion, thank you.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Rocco,
Welcome to JavaRanch!

Which school is it? While we don't talk about companies, I think we can talk about schools by name.

Distance learning isn't viewed as the same as on campus learning. I'm not sure it has the same brand recognition. 50K isn't bad for a masters degree in general though.
 
Rocco Simferi
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Hello,
It's the Columbia University.
They say it has the same brand recognition.
I also have no previous experience as a developer.
 
Mike Isano
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My opinion: not worth it.
 
Rocco Simferi
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Mike, can you explain why?
 
Joe Ess
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Rocco Simferi wrote:can you explain why?


I think Jeanne covered it. Distance learning does not have the same cachet as actually attending the university in person.
As far as I know, programming is not like being a lawyer or doctor, where attending a top university will open certain opportunities that will be closed to those who did not attend.
Programmers tend to have a meritocracy, where one's code matter far more than than one's credentials. I am interviewing someone in a few minutes, as a matter of fact. I'm not going to ask about their degree. I don't care. I want to know if they can code and communicate.
 
Henry Wong
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Also... while I have heard of Columbia University, (actually, who hasn't? It's one of the eight Ivy League schools.) I didn't even know that Columbia even had a distance learning program. If they have a reputation for it, I certainly never knew about it.

Henry

PS... kudos to anyone who can name the eight ivy league schools -- without cheating, of course.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Rocco: I didn't know Columbia had a distance learning program either. If you haven't already, do research to find out that it is a *good* distance learning program. I did my Masters degree online and value a place that knows how to teach distance learning well rather than the brand name.

Henry: I got five. One I forgot and two I didn't know were Ivy's.
 
Janeice DelVecchio
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I think that distance learning is SLOWLY becoming "as good" as attending the real campus, and might by the end of my lifetime . Universities like Boston College, Tufts, WPI and Columbia have distance programs that typically give out the SAME degree as someone who went on campus. So, unless you specifically mention that you didn't actually drive there and walk into a classroom, no one would ever know.

I still think that having A DEGREE, albeit distance learning from U. Phoenix or whatever (I go to WGU.... also distance learning), is better than not having a degree at all. If it's something you want to do, you should go for it.... to heck with interviewers who don't think it's "good enough." But don't think it's going to be an easy ride. Online classes require more discipline, reading and writing than brick and mortars.

Ultimately it really depends on the school, its accreditation and the interviewer. Some folks say "wow, distance learning... you really had to be self driven." While others turn their nose up. I have had interviews with both kinds of people, and generally I feel that I need to sell myself on the points that make distance learning better: I don't have someone holding my hand, I am in charge of my participation, I have to make sure I get things done on time without reminders, I have to have higher attention to detail, I am able to read and understand things without someone needing to explain it several times, et cetera. These are soft skills not all people in college come out with.

My dad has been in college for 2 decades now. Chipping away at his BS in a brick and mortar one class at a time, getting straight A's. I have been able to get pretty awesome grades, go to school full time, and not worry about going to class for extra study sessions. I figure things out myself or figure out HOW to figure it out. I am getting more out of my education because I have had to put more into it. My dad is in a similar study field... I find that I am much more apt to remember what I've learned, be able to apply it to new situations, and figure out new things faster. In the long run, I will be able to hold my own on a job because my degree wasn't just about class participation and showing up.
 
Rocco Simferi
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Can you estimate how much will I be getting from a US employer, after graduation?
 
Luke Kolin
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Rocco Simferi wrote:Can you estimate how much will I be getting from a US employer, after graduation?


It depends, and the fact that you have this degree is unlikely to factor in to it by more than a small amount. What is your first degree in?

Cheers!

Luke
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Janeice: If Rocco was working for a company not in NYC at the time he is attending Columbia Online, it will be pretty obvious it wasn't brick and mortar.

I'm not familiar with Columbia's in person program either. Not sure how strong it is for CS, let alone the distance learning one.

Rocco: Salary depends on so many things, it is impossible to guess.
 
Rocco Simferi
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Luke Kolin wrote:
It depends, and the fact that you have this degree is unlikely to factor in to it by more than a small amount. What is your first degree in?

Cheers!

Luke


My first degree is Physics and I also hold an M.S in OO Programming from City university UK (didn't get me a job for years now).
So I am looking forward to another qualification.
Can you estimate how sooner and with how much more salary will this Columbia degree earn me a job?
 
Luke Kolin
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Rocco Simferi wrote:My first degree is Physics and I also hold an M.S in OO Programming from City university UK (didn't get me a job for years now).


If you have two technology-related degrees (and one in OO programming) and you can't find a job then your issue is probably not with your educational qualifications.

Can you estimate how sooner and with how much more salary will this Columbia degree earn me a job?


Based on what you've said, it won't get you a job a day sooner or for a dollar more. What do you believe it will accomplish for you that the first two degrees did not?

Cheers!

Luke
 
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