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Old 07-04-06, 12:31 AM   #1
MadMan2k
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'IT' degree vs. CS

I think there's a lot of people on here that know a lot about colleges and careers and stuff, so I'll ask here;
I'm going to move out to college next year and get a job when I'm done. I know my biggest strength is computers/IT, and I've taken classes at the community college here for both IT related stuff (A+ and Network+ cert classes) and computer science (C++ programming). I just can't decide if I should get a 4 year degree in CS, or get one of the shorter degrees from a place like ITT Tech.

I enjoy programming to some extent, but I doubt I'd like it at all if I did it for a living. IT I could probably handle for a while; I worked as a technician for almost 2 years and got a taste of the end user repair side of things. I think I wouldn't mind working as a security consultant and dealing with companies via contracts and etc, but I don't really know the details of that job. Anyone here with a similar job who could post what it's like?

Anyway, I just don't want to spend 4 years on a degree just to hate the line of work, but I don't know if spending a year and a half or 2 years or whatever on a degree and then not getting paid very much would be a good idea either. Plus I've heard of people getting IT degrees and not being able to find any work and having to work at a fast food place.

I like photography a lot and I'd like to do it part-time, but I'm nothing special and my personality is such that I probably wouldn't make enough for it to work as a full time job.

Anyone have any advice or personal experience/etc on the subject? I'm kind of inclined to do ITT Tech because there's one in Albuquerque and I like that city a lot, and my sister went there for drafting and she's doing fine. But I change my mind a lot.
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Old 07-04-06, 07:50 AM   #2
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Dunno though. I would almost say the opposite. You don't need a "degree" in IT to be successful. Given that, I would get the degree in CS. Then you could go either way.

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Old 07-04-06, 11:24 AM   #3
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Would a CS degree teach you much about what you need to know about networking, and security and things like that though?
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Old 07-04-06, 11:40 AM   #4
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Would a CS degree teach you much about what you need to know about networking, and security and things like that though?
The difference between IT & CS is IT is vocational and concentrates on the technology while CS is more theoretical and concentrates on the science. With IT, you'll be able to solve problems and setup networks using current technology. With CS, you'll be able to create your own programming language, create your own networking protocols and create your own computer architectures.

With CS, you probably won't learn current IT technology in depth. With IT, you'll learn how things work, but not why they work that way.
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Old 07-04-06, 12:25 PM   #5
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The difference between IT & CS is IT is vocational and concentrates on the technology while CS is more theoretical and concentrates on the science. With IT, you'll be able to solve problems and setup networks using current technology. With CS, you'll be able to create your own programming language, create your own networking protocols and create your own computer architectures.

With CS, you probably won't learn current IT technology in depth. With IT, you'll learn how things work, but not why they work that way.
Great explanation.
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Old 07-04-06, 04:14 PM   #6
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Thanks for the explanation. I don't enjoy theoretical stuff as much, so I think IT would be easier for me to learn. And I'm a hardware junkie in all of my hobbies, so I like learning about current tech.
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Old 07-04-06, 04:30 PM   #7
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In CS You will learn about current tech, just "how" and "why" its current tech

IT = "this is a router"

CS = "this is a small microcomputer....."
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Old 07-04-06, 04:38 PM   #8
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ITT technical institute, as a school, is a joke. No half-decent firm will hire you with a degree from there, and learning the necessary tools for starting your own business will not be had from ITT. Salary in the business world: $30k.

That's basically where all the dropouts go to college later in life. Just go to a good school and get a degree in something that says to an employer that you didn't slack your way through college, and you could get through a (somewhat) challenging degree.
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Old 07-05-06, 10:03 AM   #9
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You don't need a degree in IT, unless the recruiter is dumb. If you have a good resume with relevant experience you should be good to go.

Personally, I hate IT. I've been in this profession for 8 years and I'm looking to get into something else. A lot of people I know are in the same boat. Working with computers is an excellent hobby, but it sucks for a job
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Old 07-05-06, 10:07 AM   #10
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Personally, I hate IT. I've been in this profession for 8 years and I'm looking to get into something else. A lot of people I know are in the same boat. Working with computers is an excellent hobby, but it sucks for a job
8 years here too. The pay is nice, but it's a drag now. I so hate computers
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Old 07-05-06, 10:28 AM   #11
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I've been doing IT for gosh, 16+ years now ... I went the CS route in college (there was no separate IT degree, hell, the CS program was still in the Math Dept when I started, moved over to the Engineering Dept my sophomore year). I did 3+ years before deciding I'd ride the (first) internet wave and left to work. The only regretful thing at this point is the lack of a degree has probably kept me out of management. Some would say that's a good thing.

+1 on ITT being a joke. As someone who has done many many interviews, an ITT degree is about as meaningless as an A+ --unless you want to do pc tech support and call center work. Not the most glamorous or lucrative.

If you like to program --i.e. you're up at midnight working on an a.i. engine just cause you think it's fun, then a CS degree is up your alley. If you like to see pieces work and enjoy helping businesses perform better through the magic of technology, go IT.

If you want to focus on security (not a bad idea, actually, especially if you look at the compliance-end of things), I'd suggest CS, and as a minor some of the business-related IT courses. You'd be pretty marketable with that...
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Old 07-05-06, 11:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunninho
8 years here too. The pay is nice, but it's a drag now. I so hate computers
Whoa avatar change!. Yeah ditto on computers sucking. We should start a land scaping company
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Old 07-05-06, 12:49 PM   #13
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Thanks for the replies. Would New Mexico Tech be good? Here's the link to the description of their IT and CS degrees:
http://www.nmt.edu/catalog/2005/arts/it.pdf
http://www.nmt.edu/catalog/2005/arts/cs.pdf
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Old 07-05-06, 01:12 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replies. Would New Mexico Tech be good? Here's the link to the description of their IT and CS degrees:
http://www.nmt.edu/catalog/2005/arts/it.pdf
http://www.nmt.edu/catalog/2005/arts/cs.pdf
I lived in New Mexico for almost a decade. There is "nothing" good about it Everything is relative to what is in New Mexico
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Old 07-05-06, 01:52 PM   #15
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Hmmm Degree in computers or Counter Strike...Degree or Counter Strike...


I take Counter Strike!
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Old 07-05-06, 01:55 PM   #16
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Hmmm Degree in computers or Counter Strike...Degree or Counter Strike...


I take Counter Strike!
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Old 07-05-06, 02:49 PM   #17
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I lived in New Mexico for almost a decade. There is "nothing" good about it Everything is relative to what is in New Mexico
haha.

Texas is cool, my dad is from there and my family lived there before I was born and I've been to visit relatives.. I've lived in NM since I was 4 and I don't like the town we live in much, but I just heard that NMT was a good school and the prices weren't bad so I looked at it. I'm open to any schools that are within a couple day's drive from NM, and a warm climate helps a lot.
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Old 07-05-06, 04:21 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by hi565
Hmmm Degree in computers or Counter Strike...Degree or Counter Strike...


I take Counter Strike!
Heh, for some of my coworkers.. it's work or World of Warcraft... World of Warcraft or work... easy choice
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Old 07-05-06, 08:14 PM   #19
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Blech! CS totally pwns WoW
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Old 07-05-06, 10:20 PM   #20
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I'll give you some long term perspective.

My wife is active duty Air Force. She's enlisted but currently filling a Lt. Col./GS-14-15 position in a 3-letter agency, and management is looking to keep her in the position as a GS when she retires next spring. She has an extensive background and a Master's in Network Security. Despite the fact that her degree is directly related to the position, the hiring criteria calls for a degree in a "hard science" such as the CS.

There's people leaking out of ITT Tech like a New Orleans levee. That'll get you into an entry level position, which is OK, especially if you can get a position with a company that encourages and helps pay for continuing your education. But don't expect it to take you to the top.
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Old 07-06-06, 07:48 AM   #21
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If you are talking about one of those "Technical Institutes" that they advertise to the unemployed all over day time TV then I'd say don't go there. A community college AS degree in IT will be a lot better, and of course the BS in CS will be the best. The days of smart geeky kids getting jobs out of high school because they know C or whatever is over. The first thing an employer is going to do is weed out applicants based on education, degrees, and experience. Sometimes they may want an ITT guy to answer phones and change printer cartridges but now days they hire CS guys to maintain web sites. It sounds to me like you want to go more into the IT field. I'd consider pursuing an AS at a community college with the option of going further to University.
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Old 07-06-06, 07:57 AM   #22
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I just finished my BS in IT and I will be starting on the MS in IS.

I will be doing this degree 100% online at a local school in Fort Lauderdale called Nova Southeastern Univ.

=)

12 months non-stop and I'll have the damn paper I've wanted so badly !

What I like about online is that I don't have to spend so much time commuting to school at night. I did that for my BS for 3 years and it sucked. Not anymore.
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Old 07-06-06, 12:36 PM   #23
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I'd go CS. Is Dallas within your range of distance? UTD (University of Texas at Dallas) has a very high ranking CS school, and many other tech type degrees as well. I graduated with a CS & SE (software engineering) degree last May and continued on for a master's. CS degree allows you to create things, IT allows you to setup computers and networks. It was a simple choice for me.
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Old 07-07-06, 10:27 AM   #24
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Superdex in post #12 said it best about making yourself marketable. A four year college degree opens so many more doors for you. It takes a little longer to get and costs a little more, but the advantages are huge.
Twahl is right about about ITT not taking you to the top, or at least giving yourself the oppurtunity to do so.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with community colleges; for a lot of folks its what they need to get started, and they can always add more education on later.

I'm glad you're giving it a lot of thought. Design your education the same way you'd design a program or a bike or a house. Find a good place to get your ed--reasonable cost, strong department for your major, decent campus in a good city--and connect with it. A univ with the fancy schancy name sounds real impressive, but in the long run the school that has a good department for what you are interested will do you the most good.
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Old 07-07-06, 10:50 AM   #25
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Neither. Get a degree in Business and minor in IT, along with the appropriate certifications in the area of IT you want to pursue. Most IT folks are a commodity these days, easily outsourced/offshored, it is the business skills...and degree that set you apart from Mujabar in India...not to mention give you the advancement potential. Take advantage of college to set yourself up for the long term, everything else can be had via other means for short term goals.
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