College, no college, college, no college. Gah!

So a little prelude, I’ve been going to a community college for a fairly useless web design major, I’ve learned almost nothing since I went in with a good amount of knowledge of the field. I’ve been working at an internship recently at one of our areas known web development firms, the work environment is great, very lenient on showing up on time, casual-formal attire, can work remotely if the weather is bad, etc. Well they’ve taken a bit of liking to me, and they made me an offer, despite knowing I was planning on going to a 4 year school for comp sci.

The offer is pretty decent, works out to be around $22/hr, with an annual raise of 5-10%, which is good anywhere. There are also future opportunities such as moving from web development to mobile development.

I’m just curious of some peoples opinions, I know as far as the web development world, your portfolio and experience seem to speak for much more than any degree you hold, though not going to college because of this would pigeon-hole me into the web world wouldn’t it? I considered part time school for a bachelors, but I’m still about 100 credits away, so 24 credits a year would be another 4 years :-/.

I’m located a couple hours north of NYC, for those curious.

This is a personal decision and a difficult one. I don’t think that I can offer any advice. I can tell you that in some countries (like mine) not having a degree is a disadvantage. It wasn’t when I was young.
I didn’t finish my engineering studies for various reasons, and now that the crisis is striking (around here we still have a long way to go :D) people that don’t have a degree are having problems, even when you have lots of experience. It is just an excuse to get someone for a lower salary.

Studying and working at the same time is a lot of stress and, most of all, it needs a lot of will power, but as you say, that’s a possible solution to get the best of both worlds.

I agree with molona. I believe different place has different thought on paper certificate. Without a degree is also the disadvantage at my place, especially when intend to enter a prominent company. Unless, the person is going to start up a company.

In my personal opinion, having a paper certificate is helping us on improving critical thinking and problem solving skills. You will be able to study more case studies and history of other successful people also. If you are interested to study more about the case studies, you can consider to proceed with getting your degree holder :slight_smile:

This is such a fast developing area that I’d have to question whether or not what you learn on the course would actually help you get a job when you’ve finished it. If not then it comes down to how much that certificate will help when you leave. You’ll have spent four years not acquiring any relevant experience but having a degree can make a big difference to the type of jobs you can apply for.

I’d be asking myself… if I go to college, how will my position compare to if I stay here for four years. What would your salary and prospects be in your job at that point compared to when you leave college.

Generally though I’d always lean toward education.

You’d be crazy not to leverage this into their offer somehow based on the simple fact that this economy doesn’t accommodate for stable career paths. If that isn’t enough, shouldn’t your company see you as an investment and want to make their employees better by doing things ranging from sending them to school to sending them to conventions / conferences, etc.?

Just something to consider. If you can pay your way through school while working for these guys either full or part-time, that would be the way to go. If you get that shiny degree (I wouldn’t stop at a B.S., either), you’ll get better offers down the road.

And BTW, if you still have 24 creds to go for that B.S., it should only take 1 year if you’re loading up with 12 creds per semester (that’s the minimum full-time load here in the States). Where did you get 4 years from!? Were you including an M.S.?

Have you negotiated a part-time contract; if they really like you and they are fairly flexible they may allow you to do part-time work and fit that around your studies.

100 credits left, I was assuming 24/yr so about 4 years :-/.

Thanks for all the opinions guys, it’s looking like part time both may be the way to go.

You’ll find advice on both sides of the table here and to be fair, both are right, so take what I’m about to say with a dose of balance from “the other side”. It is as molona put it so eloquently, ultimately a personal decision that you make for you.

I’m an absolute believer in going through college if you are looking to “climb” a ladder or in any way are uncertain about your future. The only time I feel it’s ok to skip “optional” education is if you have decided to pursue a “non traditional” type of work for life [not what you do but how you do it like freelancing or building your own shop] and even then I still suggest it for most people. There will always be those who defy the “rules”. They are not the majority.

Why so adamant? Glad you asked :smiley:

The Long Term: Degrees are a defacto requirement to work in, and certainly manage, at most known companies.

While I’ve seen people get around this if you want to transition to another company in the future you will face challenges. In the last 4 places where I have managed a team we did not interview people without at least 2-year degrees. I’m sure it cost us some great talent, designers like yourself perhaps, but that’s how we and much of the corporate world works. It is changing but it’s a slow road.

Do you want to be a designer / coder forever? Whether you choose to move up or move out, not having a degree will limit your options in job types and companies significantly. Anyone who says otherwise is simply misinformed; you can ignore and justify those limits but they are very, very real.

The “college” experience:I had dinner with an old college friend last night who was lamenting on leaving the school we went with in favor of another [better] place because the experience was diminished. I can’t imagine my life without the experiences I gained in college: the growing up process, the lifelong connections that came out of it, the stupid times and the life of being a student.

College is intended to teach you about a range of topics that prepare you to live in a complex world. Much of this is inflated nonsense but there’s truth to every bit of nonsense…

In all fairness not everyone enjoys the experience and you grow up without school… have fun without school… but it’s a different life going straight into 9-5.

Putting it all together…$22/hr… 45k a year. That’s nice money for someone making little or no money today, even good for a social science graduate, but where does it go? Try living anywhere near NYC for 45k. Flip that around and look at job listings in NYC; I manage in a similar market and would kill to hire someone for 60k let alone 45.

Does this mean you will fail or not be wildly successful or happy in life if you stop school? Heck no. There are many stories of huge names that left school and many people right here at SPF that didn’t go or didn’t finish who have great lives, run businesses, work for top shops, etc. Lately I’ve seen some compelling pieces arguing for vocational schooling and more and more I feel like that learning needs to come into a university setting so people do leave more prepared for life.

Yet whenever someone asks this question I feel compelled to write at length about it.
Life is about choices and like it or not, there is a stigma around not having a degree. You can manage it, live with it, and thrive with it as if it wasn’t there but you are choosing to shut many doors. The question comes down to what you want… to leave those doors open, to get that experience [it still exists as a transfer / late start] or to pursue what feels like a good career and forgo the established route.

Try it first as a part time job, you are just 100 credits away. Don’t waste it!

Hey man im doing the same. Been at a Technical School for a 2 year Web Design degree and I havent learned a single thing. Been in the program a year, one more left. I almost regret joining it, but I think it will be good just to have the paper that says I did it.

I definetely want to pursue more school after my degree, but im curious. Why are you going for a degree in Computer Science after? Isnt that more of theory and the actual SCIENCE of computers? If your planning on doing Web Design why would that be something you would do? Just curious because im looking for options too

Computer Science degree is about 1000 times more marketable and reputable than web development degree. Most people in the industry think those are a joke. Either get a graphic design degree or computer science degree based on the side of the industry you prefer. Web design/development w/e degrees are just stupid. The industry changes so often is more important to know the theory than one way of doing something.