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DrewJ's avatar

Going back to school for Computer Science... Do I want Grad or undergrad?

Asked by DrewJ (436points) May 4th, 2011

I’m 26. I have my B.A. in Film and Television from NYU. I’m growing less and less interested with the Entertainment Industry and more interested in the Tech industry. I’m thinking about going back to school for Computer Science and have a few question:

1) I’m interesting in gaining the skills necessary to create web sites and web applications. Or to get a job at a tech company or Internet Startup. I know I’ll need to know how to code. Is what i want Computer Science or is it Software Development or is it something else? What should I be applying for when I apply to schools?

2) What are some good schools?

3) I don’t know how it works when people that have already when for Undergraduate for something else wants to go back to school for something new. Is it more appropriate to apply to Graduate school or undergraduate?

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10 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

Question 3 is the only one I am qualified to answer. The relevant question here is this: do you already have the skills that graduate schools assume you will have when entering? If not, you’ll need to start over as an undergraduate. If so, then go to graduate school. The people I know who did computer science did not actually need graduate school to get jobs, though the market has changed. If you don’t feel like you are qualified to get a tech job now, I think it is highly likely that you will need to start over.

BarnacleBill's avatar

You will probably do better if you concentrate in web architecture or usability design. A lot of coding work goes to India these days. That being said, you might want to look at Middle Tennessee State or schools around the Nashville area. There are a lot of technical industries that support the entertainment industry in that area. You may be able to design a niche that will allow you to capitalize on your undergrad degree.

dabbler's avatar

Web sites and web applications really are distinct in this sense: the site design takes real design sense and training. In NYC Parsons is top drawer for design. A smart person with good design talent can learn to make web pages manifest using modern tools like Dreamweaver and some good books. If you don’t have design talent, designing the web site is a job for someone else unless you need very simple presentation and you luck out.A lot of decent simple stuff is cranked out on instinct but it won’t solve bad design aspects.
Web application functionality is a programmer’s bailiwick. There are design aspects, architecture, to handle the load and flow, but a lot of it is shovels and plumbing. Behind the buttons and info fields there’s always a database, it’s design, and methods for getting data in and out of it. And there is code for the behavior of the page the site visitor sees. How technical was your MPTV degree ? Do you already have programming courses under your belt?

DrewJ's avatar

@dabbler I don’t have design talent so I’ve ruled that out. Also, I have not taken any programming courses. However, I have partnered up with a very good developer to create a web application that was an idea of mine. The application does not have a much use among the average Joe, however, within the Film and Entertainment industry it can be a real money saving alternative: Anyway, back on topic, working on this project has gotten me really interested in Tech. While I don’t have any hand on experience and have never taken a course before, I have a good sense (through my experience with starting shootmap) of what developing web applications entail.

SO That’s where I’m at right now in terms of experience

phaedryx's avatar

Based on your experience with computer science, I’d recommend undergrad.

DrewJ's avatar

@phaedryx Graduate is only if you want your masters right? Or am I wrong?

dabbler's avatar

Since you’re already on a useful project you might learn hands-on. Talk it over with your developer and see where you can make a contribution technically – and what languages/database are already being used on the project. You might find an aptitude for SQL or PERL or Python you didn’t know you have.
If you want to get hired by a firm after the project, you may need some credentials like the BS CS. It’s very hard to get hired these days without that – unless you get famous with shootmap, it could happen, good luck!

mattbrowne's avatar

Undergrad. You’d need a more theoretical background to handle the graduate level. And keep in mind programming is just a small part of computer science.

phaedryx's avatar

@DrewJ that’s right

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