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Ask HN: Fastest way to get a CS degree in the Bay Area or online?
5 points by citizenkeys 1442 days ago | 7 comments
I already have a bachelor's degree in business management. This summer, I'm considering taking some classes to get a CS degree. I don't expect to finish getting the degree during the summer, but now is a great time for me to get started on it. I already basically know most of what I'd need to know in order to get a CS degree. However, it'd be nice to have a formal degree as proof that I know what I claim to know.

Since I already have a bachelor's degree, I should only need to take whatever upper-level classes are required to get a second bachelor's. Alternatively, I could pursue a master's degree depending on how many credits and however much effort it requires.

So... anybody can point me in the fastest and/or simplest direction to get a CS degree here in the Bay Area or online?




In my opinion, a formal CS degree is not achievable in a summer’s time. Just the core material can take at least a year or two to finish as a full time student. This should include data structures, algorithms, some discrete mathematics, computability/logic, programming languages (class on issues and features in language design and implementation), and some computer systems work (looking into lower level system topics). It is a lot to cover and absorb in a summer’s time. Unless you are familiar and have experience with most of these topics, just one summer is extremely optimistic.

CS isn't just about programming and software engineering, as there's quite a bit of theory involved and generally isn't learned just writing code on your own, which I'm assuming is where you've picked up what you know. It can be much easier to get a software engineering or a programming related degree if that is the case, and should be more doable in a short time frame.

P.S. I'm assuming you are like most programmers that have learned programming on your own, and you haven't dug into the more theoretical topics on your own. Most don't, and I wouldn't have learned most of the more theoretical topics on my own. But they are very useful and good to know, as they will make you a better programmer. Lastly, don't get a CS degree that does not require these topics, as you'll just be kidding yourself and people you show your diploma to.

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I'm not planning on finishing the degree during the summer, just get started on it. If I could take the classes online, that'd be something I can do in my spare time.

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Are you open to discussing why you want a degree?

Why don't you just follow a few CS courses?

If you don't mind me asking of course. :)

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I want a CS degree because my only degree right now is in business management and even the management positions in Silicon Valley require some CS/engineering talent. I feel like I would be a more competitive candidate for job offers if I had some sort of tangible proof that I have technical skills.

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A Computer Science degree is not tangible proof that you have 'technical skills'.

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falsestprophet and amorphid are right, and that was the reason I asked you why you want the degree: If you want to be able to build something, start building it. Read tutorials, guides, how tos, blogs, attend meetups and workshops, etc etc. Studying for a CS degree to become a coder is like using a nuclear bomb to kill a mosquito.

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You don't need to go to school. Hang out with geeks, write code, and share your work on GitHub. Try to build something substantial.

My day job is recruiting, and at night I study Ruby on Rails. Tonight I was learning how to get started with Project Voldemort.

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