1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrifice?

  1. Nov 27, 2011 #1
    I graduated a year ago. I picked the wrong major (IE/OR), so I'm considering going back to get the "right" major within two years (CS). This translates into a opportunity loss of two years of salary (80k post tax for both years) and 20k in educational expenses per year (40k total). And that's assuming 2 years...it could be 2.5 years also. If I invested this amount (120k) could accrue an extra 180k (easily) until retirement. So the real opportunity cost here is >300k.

    Is this too big of a price to pay for a career path that makes me happier?

    I lose perspective with these big amounts. The reason I want to go back to get a CS degree:
    - I like coding.
    - I feel my competitive spirit rise when I see others at their coding gigs.
    - I don't like any job which doesn't allow a casual dress code.
    - My people skills aren't that great.
    - It offers a lot of freedom. I can become independent as a contractor or entrepreneur. I could work for a company. I could go into research.

    I got the cash (40k)...but half of it is in volatile instruments - so I would have to sell those long-term funds off.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2011 #2
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    Hi, I am a final year IEOR major too and really wish that I had studied CS instead. I started a thread days ago at: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=550002

    I would love to stay in school for another one year or so, to get a second major in CS. But I am already in 30k of study debt and cannot afford to. I have decided to work as an industrial engineer next year after I graduate, and then transition to a software role within 3 years or so.
     
  4. Nov 27, 2011 #3
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    Don't understand this. If you can get a job with the IE/OR degree then I don't see how it was "wrong". If you can't get a job with IE/OR than I don't see why you think you should be able to get a job with a CS degree.

    If you absolutely have to have a CS degree, then get a masters. Better yet, get one via distance education so that you can still keep working.

    Also I think you need to think about your analysis a bit more. Figure out what your financial position is if you get debt but no job. I think if you run the numbers, you'll find that without a job, then the interest rates will build up so that you are going to have a lead weight attached to you for the rest of your life.

    Student loans are really nasty because they can't be easily discharged through bankruptcy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  5. Nov 27, 2011 #4
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific



    I have an IE job but it sucks (it consists of collecting data and data entry- no brains required).

    At the end of this year, I'll have 50k (half in short term bonds the other half in stock index funds)...I'm currently down about 2k in the stocks. I've never had debt and i probably wont get any even if i study two or two-and-a-half years more.

    The question is whether I should go back to school in January...i was pretty committed, but 300k in lifetime opportunity cost is steep, so I want to run it by some "reasonable" people to see if it doesn't sound too crazy...


    Your situation is different because incurring debt is worse than losing existing capital and you would only have one year more. I should say that I'm not sure how feasible it is to get a coding job w/o a CS degree. You seem to be much more knowledgeable in coding than me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  6. Nov 27, 2011 #5
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    In this economy, having any job is something to be thankful for. I don't see how getting a CS degree is necessarily going to improve that.

    Also if your problem is life satisfaction, then you need to consider alternative ways of dealing with that. You could buy an expensive car, and then enjoy driving it on the weekends, and you'll still be financially better off. You could strip to your underwear at work, smash your boss with a cream pie, and then spend six months looking for another job, and you'd also be better off financially.

    About 50% of coding is relatively mindless. About 40% of it turns out to be political or administrative.

    The problem is that if your problem is work satisfaction rather than lack of work, I don't see how a CS degree is going to help. One thing about CS workers is that the boss can use the threat of sending your job to India in order to crack the whip. 300K is a bummer if you don't get anything out of it.

    Also, if you are going back to school go for a masters. It will be the same work, and it looks more impressive on a resume.

    I managed to do it, although I entered the business in the middle of the dot-com. One reason I'm not a big fan of CS degrees, is that in my entire life I've only taken one course in CS, and that course is now online so that you can take it for free.

    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electric...erpretation-of-computer-programs-spring-2005/
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  7. Nov 27, 2011 #6
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    i'm not afraid of job security. maybe its because my school is one of the "big" schools (georgia tech) and even the "poor" students with 2..5-3.0 GPA's tend to find work. i dont state this to brag, just to draw a more accurate picture.

    LOOL thats an interesting (and accurate!) thought. not having a dress code is worth to me a lot. i would accept a 20k/yr (pretax) salary cut to be able to come to work in a tshirt. comfort is very important to me.

    i think with a cs degree the odds of getting a job with a casual dress code improve dramatically.



    Yeah, Im afraid of the india problem too. there is negative expected growth in the US in the next 6 years in computer programming (based on the dept of labor). indians can come to the US or US companies can outsource projects there.

    Ive only had about 3 basic cs classes thus far...i dont think its enough...and the graduate cs counselor says that it isnt enough either....
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  8. Nov 27, 2011 #7
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    You might consider switching companies or switching regions. Companies in Austin and Silicon Valley tend to be relaxed about this. By contrast, I have a coding job, and I have to go to work in "business causal."

    It gets even worse. Both India and China have recovered from the crash growing at 8% a year so that they can pay competitive salaries to US programmers. Wonderful if you have skills and want to move to India or China. Stinks if you don't.

    No one in the industry cares what classes you've taken. They sort of care about the type of degree, but they don't care that much about the major.

    Also, does the CS counselor have any industrial experience? I've seen some horrible career advice from people that don't.
     
  9. Nov 27, 2011 #8
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    i was referring to your masters comment....in order to get accepted to the masters program the classes ive taken are not enough

    do even the regular office jobs in sf allow casual?
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  10. Nov 27, 2011 #9
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    Perhaps you could take some courses without quitting your job. Maybe twice a week. Do you live anywhere near a major university. I think you will be better off long term if you keep your job.
     
  11. Nov 27, 2011 #10
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    the job is 80% travel
     
  12. Nov 27, 2011 #11

    fss

    User Avatar

    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    Getting a second bachelor's degree is a waste of time and money.
     
  13. Nov 27, 2011 #12
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    whats the alternative in my situation?
     
  14. Nov 28, 2011 #13
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    You may consider looking at a distance learning degree elsewhere. It's hard for me to believe that no one will take you. (Which is a different issue from whether a masters degree is worth the effort.)

    It depends very much on the company, to the point that you can sometimes figure out who someone is working for by how they dress.
     
  15. Nov 28, 2011 #14
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    i dont think distance learning programs have much credibility (especially undergrad programs).

    admission to MS programs shouldnt be a problem w/o considering CS prereqs -(GPA: 4; GRE: 800/680/5)
     
  16. Nov 28, 2011 #15
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    You'll be *much* better off with a DL masters and work experience than a second bachelors and a gap.

    The people that make the final hiring decisions don't care about the degree. The people who are the initial gatekeepers do, and if you get a masters from anywhere accredited that will get you past HR screening in a way that a second bachelors won't.

    Also distance learning programs have a lot of credibility among companies since it means that they can train people without having them skip work. Also, if you have a distance learning masters, that might impress the HR person that has one of those too.

    Also

    http://www.cseprograms.gatech.edu/csems/faq [Broken]

    Q. My background isn’t in computers, but I’ve worked with them a lot. What types of prerequisite courses should I take to prepare me for the program?

    Students entering the program should have developed a proficiency in programming in a high level language. C, FORTRAN and Java are often used in the CSE discipline. Computer science courses in software design and development, algorithms, and data structures would be useful, as well as some introduction to computer architecture. Students deficient in software development skills may still gain admission, but should expect to take some additional coursework.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  17. Nov 28, 2011 #16

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    Much, much better off.

    Yes, you can get a masters from FlyByNight Tech. That's a bit of a red herring, though; one can also get a traditional undergrad degree from State Party College. There are a good number of top-notch schools that offer DL programs. GA Tech, UMass@Amherst, and a bunch more.

    Your math in the original post is a bit off. Going back to get a second bachelors in CS will set you back for a long, long time. Your salary of 80K after taxes is off scale high for someone with only a bachelors degree. CS majors typically are not paid anywhere close to that. Look at a salary survey or two. A switch from IE/OR to CS may well entail a life-long cost.

    That takes the traditional education route out of the picture, but not a DL program. Those nights in a hotel room can get long and lonely, so yet another reason to think about a DL program. It's much better than getting hammered every night in some karaoke bar and singing "Take this job and shove it". (Not saying you do that, but a good fraction of those whose work is largely travel do end up with liver problems 30-40 years down the road.)
     
  18. Nov 28, 2011 #17
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    thanks to both of you dh and twofish quant. i only have 2 days left to apply for the second bachelors...i already paid the fee so i might not lose much by sending in the application...it will buy me two weeks of making up my mind

    dh, i meant to say 80k for both year combined....40k each year....avg starting slry is 60k for cs and ie/or grads from gt - subtract 33% for taxes, assuming living with parents i end up with 40k/yr (i also dont drink almost never ;-) )
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  19. Nov 28, 2011 #18
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    cant you go to a cheaper school or transfer some credits?
     
  20. Nov 28, 2011 #19
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    2 yrs is pretty short...normally it takes 4 years....all my core junk transfers (liberal arts, calc's etc.)

    other places might be slightly cheaper but they are much worse than GT
     
  21. Nov 28, 2011 #20
    Re: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrific

    Nothing here works for you?

    http://www.dlpe.gatech.edu/dl/ [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Is going back to school to get a second bachelors too big of a financial sacrifice?
  1. Going Back to School (Replies: 1)

Loading...