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  1. #1
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    Should I get a bachelors in IT or CS?

    Hi. I'm considering going into web design and development and possibly phone application development. Eventually, I would like to do UI design and thought some background in development would be interesting and useful in that field. I'm about done with an AA degree and an associates in graphic design (will be completed by spring). I want to transfer to a 4-year college/university fall of 2013 after completion of my design associates in the spring. Since I have already spent a lot of time in college already (it will be 4 years total at the community college once I get both associates), I don't want to spend another 4-6 years getting one of the top CS BS degrees in the country, but a lighter CS degree more similar to a BA curriculum or IT degree would be fine because I could finish it in about 2 years potentially since I have all the general ed requirements done and have elective credits.

    I am considering a BS in CS at Texas Woman's University or a BS in IT from American Public University. Both curriculums could be finished within 2 years for me since I have a lot of credits already and not as many of the degree requirements need prerequisites, so it won't take 5-6 years like some of the heavier CS BS degrees I've seen. It is very important to me to finish a bachelors in 2-3 more years. The BS in CS at TWU is lighter than most and the curriculum is more similar to most of the BAs in CS that I have seen offered at other colleges, but a lot closer in proximity and with in-state tuition. APU is online, but looks more reputable as far as I can tell than most online colleges/universities, it's regionally accredited, and the tuition also isn't as high as a lot of online for-profit colleges. I could complete a BS in IT from APU with concentration in web development and/or phone app development or complete a BS in CS from TWU with a minor in business or marketing in roughly the same amount of time.

    Which one would be better? I hear that most employers prefer a CS degree over an IT degree. Should I get the CS degree and then get a certificate and/or self-teach myself more about web development? Would I be more knowledgeable sooner after graduation with more practical knowledge in an IT degree than theoretical knowledge in CS? Would it significantly hinder my employment prospects if I had an IT degree instead of CS?

  2. #2
    Barefoot on the Moon! silver trophy Force Flow's Avatar
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    This all depends upon what your focus is and what classes are offered for each degree at your college. Each college is a little different.

    In general, CS covers programming languages, programming theory, some math, some design (but you usually have to go through either graphic arts or communications curriculums for this).

    In general, IT covers networking, servers, some programming, and project management.

    Communications or graphics arts typically tends to cover design and multimedia, which can sometimes be taken as electives.

    So, considering that you would like to go into web development and app development, which degree at your college has more of those classes that fit your interest?
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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Jeff Mott's Avatar
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    To be honest, in my experience, a degree hardly matters for web development, and it certainly doesn't matter what you major in.

    I put in the time -- and money -- to get a bachelors in computer science, but when I was hired to a corporate-style job, the degree mattered only to avoid any automated exclusion filtering, and when I was last hired to an agency-style job, I didn't even bother to mention my degree at all; they only care what skills you have.

    There's also a huge gap between academic web development and professional web development. Four years and tens of thousands of dollars will nonetheless leave you unprepared to do any real-world work.

    But there's good news too. It used to be that you needed to go to the most prestigious schools if you wanted to learn from the smartest people in the field. But today, you can learn from the smartest people in the field through blogs, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

    Finally, here's the best advice I can give you. Scope out the kinds of places where you'd like to work and get in touch. Ask the employers directly what kind of background they look for, what kind of skills they look for, and get their advice on how best to learn those skills.
    "First make it work. Then make it better."

  4. #4
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    nowadays, certificate doesn't present that you are good in the field, and it is not rare to see amateurs better than professionals. It depends on what you are really fond of. My advice:choose one as your major, and the other as your hobby to develop in free time.
    My work is not quite related with my major, and it is not a rare case to most people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lonking View Post
    nowadays, certificate doesn't present that you are good in the field, and it is not rare to see amateurs better than professionals. It depends on what you are really fond of. My advice:choose one as your major, and the other as your hobby to develop in free time.
    My work is not quite related with my major, and it is not a rare case to most people.
    I know certificates aren't that important for getting a job, but I thought I might learn some useful things from some of the classes in the web development certificate. They teach classes in SQl, PHP, XML, Javascript, and other ones. I have taken a few, but am considering a few more if it will help me learn faster initially. Then I will update my skills with technical books and information online.


    Quote Originally Posted by Force Flow View Post
    So, considering that you would like to go into web development and app development, which degree at your college has more of those classes that fit your interest?
    Well, I suppose the IT degree might be more directly relevant to web and application development, but I've heard that CS offers a better foundation in development and could help more in the long-run. Do CS degrees help people become better developers more than most other majors? Maybe I should do CS because it would be appealing to a broader range of employers. I could probably get a web development job with almost any major I suppose, but CS might be slightly more marketable.

    I think I'm leaning a little more toward the CS degree, but an online degree would be flexible because I wouldn't have to move or commute for it, so that would be one of the nice parts about the IT degree.

  6. #6
    Community Advisor ULTiMATE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mott View Post
    To be honest, in my experience, a degree hardly matters for web development, and it certainly doesn't matter what you major in.
    Although that may be true, if you don't have a degree you'll miss out on a lot of potentially fundamental knowledge. Additionally, most employers want a degree regardless of whether they are relevant or not. As you've already said employers like the security of knowing that they are hiring someone that can spend 3-4 years of their life working towards a goal.

    This is the most important aspect, because our feelings on a degree is completely irrelevant to whether you need one for a job. The answer is yes, you do need one for most jobs, and for the kind of jobs you will want you'll need a degree.

    If you're choosing between IT and CS then I would always choose CS. It's more diverse and the degree is accepted everywhere. Some view an IT degree as a "trade degree" and will look down on it, regardless of whether IT and CS share the same classes or whether IT students work as hard.

    Regardless, the "expectation" is a degree. The only advice I can give to you is to not take a degree in Web Design or Web Development.

  7. #7
    Barefoot on the Moon! silver trophy Force Flow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omglookitsagoat View Post
    Well, I suppose the IT degree might be more directly relevant to web and application development, but I've heard that CS offers a better foundation in development and could help more in the long-run. Do CS degrees help people become better developers more than most other majors? Maybe I should do CS because it would be appealing to a broader range of employers. I could probably get a web development job with almost any major I suppose, but CS might be slightly more marketable.
    Quote Originally Posted by ULTiMATE View Post
    If you're choosing between IT and CS then I would always choose CS. It's more diverse and the degree is accepted everywhere. Some view an IT degree as a "trade degree" and will look down on it, regardless of whether IT and CS share the same classes or whether IT students work as hard.
    Keep in mind, the curriculum for a degree varies wildly from college to college. Sometimes the IT degree is a better fit for web development than the CS degree.

    I've seen CS degrees that had a primary focus of assembly language programming--which for web development is completely useless.

    On the other hand, I've also seen IT degrees that had a primary focus of the common web development languages.

    If you ask folks on the forums here, you *will* get a variety of responses about which degree to go with. Most employers don't care which bachelor's degree you have--only that you have one. And bonus points if it is related to the field you are pursuing.

    The bottom line is that you should look at the curriculum and see if it fits what you are trying to learn. If you're still not sure, ask professors, academic advisers, and/or former students who have taken the courses.
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  8. #8
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    I don't think I will do the online IT degree because there are plenty of other good options for my bachelors that might sound more credible on my resume.

    Now I am considering either the BS in CS at TWU that I mentioned before, or a BA in Applied Computing at Washington University in Seattle, WA with concentration areas or electives in interaction design and Technology Innovation Management in the business department.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Member niccky's Avatar
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    I really don't think IT degree is what you are looking for...

  10. #10
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    Yea probably not. I could just read stuff about web/app development and learn the languages I would need cheaper. I should prolly get a bachelors in something else technology related for my resume.

  11. #11
    Barefoot on the Moon! silver trophy Force Flow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omglookitsagoat View Post
    Yea probably not. I could just read stuff about web/app development and learn the languages I would need cheaper. I should prolly get a bachelors in something else technology related for my resume.
    It's not about what "looks good" on a resume. You're way too hung up on the face value of your resume. Pick a degree that looks like will help you learn what you need to learn in order to give yourself a running start on the career you wish to pursue. A resume just gets your foot in the door. Your education and experience are what typically allows you to land and keep a position.
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  12. #12
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    Thanks. I think both are concerns, but maybe I worry too much about what type of degree. The main reason most people go to college is often just to have a degree on a resume to help get a job. You could be a very talented, motivated, and knowledgeable self-taught person and not be hired because you don't have a degree. I do hear a lot of different opinions on whether or not the type of degree matters. Some say it doesn't matter as long as you have a degree, others say you should get a BS in CS because HR of employers will not be as interested in other applicants without the specific BS, even if other applicants would really be just as good for the job. I have read several discussions in other forums of about whether or not the type of degree matters or if it matters if it's a BS or BA and most of the people who got a BA in their field of study instead of a BS said that in their experience, it did not hinder their career or career advancement.

    Since I have already spent a while in college and would like to finish a bachelors soon, a BA or a BS that is lighter than most BS degrees would probably be better for me because it would allow me to finish faster. I have also seen some colleges recommend the BA degree over BS for students who want to study multiple areas of interest, which is basically what I have been doing. The degree that sounds the most interesting out of the ones I was considering is the BA in Applied Computing at University of Washington because it teaches some basics of computer science, but allows students for freedom to choose specific areas of interest within their major and a variety of electives, concentration areas, and/or minors in other majors. The Applied Computing degree allows students to think of way to apply computing technology to other areas of interest outside computer science. A lot of the electives and concentration areas offered are in subjects that I was interested in learning about, but could not find offered in as many colleges or did not cover the subjects as well (interface design, human-computer interaction, interaction design, the technology innovation management classes/concentration also sound interesting to me). I plan on applying to UW's Applied Computing major, but I should probably still pick a back-up college/major in case I need it. Also, another good thing about the Applied Computing degree at UW is that from the department's information on their website, it sounds like my associates degree in graphic design might fulfill the requirements for a minor or concentration area. I still would like to take electives, though, even if I don't have to and might possibly consider a second concentration.

  13. #13
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    According to me just you should have a degree in hand be it it or cs after that do a mba and their are number of job offerings for you.. Most important thing is experience not the degree..

  14. #14
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    Yea I know. I still have to pick a degree before I get one, though.

  15. #15
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    You should listen to your heart my friend, dont be infuenced with your friends or what your family said. In the end it will be your future.


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