Going back to school... again

I hate my job. In fact, I hate the line of business I’m in. I work for a large tech company and I’m one of the lead technician supporting several large clients. I hate it completely. I’m tired of phone calls and being overall nice to people all day long.

I could go with my backup, I guess, since I have a culinary degree specialized in pastry. The problem with this is that I absolutely hate cooking as well. I know, I know, bad fucking move on the Culinary degree. I wish I could take it back.

So recently, I’ve been in hell. My wife and I moved to a new city and this job is honestly giving me health problems. I finally reached a point that after 11 years of this crap that I feel like if I have to do this too much longer I’m going to go completely batshit insane. The only job in the last 11 years that I remember liking was my stint with programming. I started out as a web programmer with a company and moved up to C.

So, I’m thinking about going back to school to get a degree… which degree would be best for someone who wants to program? Basic CS? Engineering? What does everyone think?

Seriously, how in the living fuck did this happen, then?

Well, I didn’t hate it then. What happened was that I was tired of my field (again) and wanted to change. I thought that cooking would give me a level of creativity as well as being an easy field to get a job in. Both are true, but I got married and didn’t want to devote the time required to start a new restaurant and don’t want to work the 80-100 hour weeks required to be a sous or exec chef.

I dunno, bad choice

Whoah, you can move to Vegas and not have to work 80-100 hours as a sous or exec chef. My ex-fiancee was a sous chef. She worked 40 and horked the prestige of working in Vegas BAYBEE.

Seriously. And it’s not just because I want a threesome with you and your wife.

I would love to, but we can’t really leave for quite some time.

I’m sure Bill would come to you guys.

I’m not sure you need more college. You have a college degree and you are already working in a technical field. That ought to be enough to get a foot in the door somewhere as a programmer if you have any sort of programming skills. It might be something introductory and not a more senior position but it beats having little/no income while being a student. If you can brush up on your tech skills in your free time and get a certification or two you might even be able to jump over the introductory level positions entirely. Heck, you are already ahead of me. I’m doing fine in a technical career with no college degree at all.

Don’t get me wrong, it can be very useful to have a CS degree. For one thing, it lets companies justify paying you a proper salary. That said, it really depends on what you want to do. Getting a degree is better in the long term, but it’s a long time to wait and there are probably better things you could be doing in the short term.

In many cases, you can be better off doing your own project on the side using current industry technologies (e.g. AJAX). That way, when you go to talk to employers, you have completed projects to show them. Certainly the games industry treats completed-projects as currency, and it doesn’t hurt in the business software domain either.

  • Alan

Yeah, I’m kind of thinking that. I’ve been a programmer before. I would love to go to a more structured learning environ but I dont want to pile up more and more debt on top of my current loans. I ordered a new vis C++ book.


Maybe someone would pay you to punch candidates at the new Frag Dolls Casting Call. Sorry. :(


Perhaps you can take a programming course without doing a full degree?

I’m returning to school in July to take a film editing course. My undergrad is in film, and I could do a Masters, but that’s another two years and I already have a ton of theory: I just need someone to teach me to use the AVID editing system.

The course is nine months, and they have a 70% placement rate. Possibly you might find something like that for programming?

Our lives are over in a blink; if there’s something you’re not happy with, change it now.

Good luck with your choices.

Having gone through something similar and now being on the loaded with new debt side of the hill, it was still worth it to do something I do not loathe. Not sure I did it in time to save my sanity, but maybe I can keep the insanity down to a low roar and avoid the batshit.

Seriously, good luck regardless man.

Let’s just start a company Jason. We’ll grab some of the other Qt3ers, all move to a town of your choosing and get started. We’ll start the next Bioware.

I’ll provide some services on the cheap. But only if the company is named SH!T BONERZ! INC!

Getting a little tired of Alabama, are we?

It’s too bad I’m not in Birmingham still, I’d take you up on that. Unless everyone wants to move to Cincinnati and start one here (which I want to do) then my house is a big problem.

A degree will help you with two things:

  1. It will help you actually learn about programming instead of fantasizing about it. If you’re able to do the learning anyways, on your own time, with not much external motivation, then maybe this doesn’t matter. Note that part of this is in the learning the “boring” stuff about theory and so forth that you won’t really pick up from a C++ book but you probably want to know to be a good programmer.
  2. It will help get you past HR departments into real interviews. At the large software company that I work for if you can get to an actual interview, we (in theory) could care less about your background etc. But to get to the real interview… that’s the trick.

Think about those 2 when deciding what direction to take. If you can learn programming on your own and are good at getting interviews and jobs, maybe it doesn’t matter. But I guess I’m old-fashioned, and I kind of think that a CS degree will only do you good in the long term, if you really want to be a programmer.


I would agree with you but I do have previous experience with programming. I’ll give it a shot this way and maybe go back if I can’t do anything for myself.