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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    Default Career change or finish my Bachelor of music degree

    Good evening,


    It seemed appropriate that I write to the very people that are working in the career that I am dreaming for myself.



    I would like a career in any of the following fields: Information Technology, Network Security, and/or Software development.


    I have completed 127 units in the Bachelor of Music degree(I have not completed the degree yet) program at California State University Northridge, because of this I am not eligible for any financial aid.


    My 9/11 G.I. Bill covers 36 months of school. Due to the high requirements of math and science in the San Diego State University, it seems impossible to be able to finish the degree program in 36 months; so transferring does not seem to be an option.


    Currently, I am planning to just take all the available computer science class my local community college has to offer (while interning) and hope for the best.




    The course list for the computer science class interests me (I want to take all of them).




    The associates in science doesn't interest me as much because it only requires 3 units of CS(The rest are business, accounting, and economics).




    I found that the San Diego Continuing Education has classes for "Networking and General IT (Cisco Academy)" and "Web Server Maintenance and Security."


    I have worked as an Information Systems Coordinator in the Marine Corps. I am hoping that this will be considered as at least a help desk experience in the IT field. I view it as more of a Sharepoint User Support.

    I am currently learning python on my own. I plan to take Java, C++, and VB courses in 2014. I am a bit worried that I will not learn proper programming concepts and have a terrible "smell" in my coding.


    In your experience which degree/cert/program would be best for someone like me?





    Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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  3. BOBBY_TABLES RobertKaucher's Avatar
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    #2
    Welcome to TE. There are a lot of things that I could comment on in your in your post but I am going to stick to the area I am most interested; becoming a professional developer/software engineer whatever your word for it might be. I will give you some background about my current position/skills and where I started.

    Currently I am a full-stack web developer working in .NET. But I also have a strong Ops background in systems administration (SQL Server, Windows Server, SharePoint, etc). That was really where my career started. But as I got more and more into SharePoint and SQL Server I was pulled more and more into the developer world. That's why most of my certs are things like MCSE and MCITP: Enterprise Admin. Currently I have about 4 years of full-time experience as a dev. To be good at my job I had to educate myself on a number of things:


    1. The fundamentals of the technologies that I would be developing in.
    * Object Oriented Programming
    * C# (which is now the most common enterprise language for .NET, sorry VB...)
    * How to organize and structure my code and projects; design patterns and other ways to improve code reuse.
    2. You also have to know the tools you use
    * Know your IDE, for me it's VisualStudio
    * Know two source control systems: GIT, SVN, TFS
    * You had better be able to type. If not, learn. Dedicate 15 minutes every day and 1 hr on a day you can carve out time until you proficient.
    3. Know something about how projects are managed I suggest reading about Agile/Scrum.

    Here are the sites that I would start using/participating in.

    StackOverflow and Programmers Stack Exchange: subscribe to the tags you are interested in learning about and read the questions/answers and ask questions when you have them.

    PluralSight: A subscription based site for developers and IT pros. Well worth the $30/month.

    PodCasts: Subscribe to some podcasts that focus on the areas you are most interested in.

    Learn from and participate in OpenSource: Go to Git Hub, CodePlex, etc and find projects and any example code you can get your hand on from professional developers. Look at and study their code. But more than that, look at the issues that are filed against their projects and how they fix them. Think about how the developer might have been able to keep from introducing the bug into the code in the first place. Pick a project and lend a hand if you can.

    Build some apps or something that is substantial enough that it can be used and criticized by others. Remember that your code is not you. Accept criticism and learn from it. Usually this is done via a code review where professional colleagues sit down and critique each other's code. If you can't get this feedback from mentors/workmates, crowd source it! What I mean is once you have some degree of competence participate in CodeReview StackExchange.
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  4. Junior Member
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    #3
    Thank you for the quick and detailed response.

    It seems you value knowledge/skill/experience above everything else.

    I am being advised to finish my Bachelor of Music then pursue other things.

    I am just worried that I would waste time and energy trying to finish my current degree instead of taking courses that I actually need for an entry level position.

    I was also thinking of attending ITT Tech for a bachelor but most people are saying no.
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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by HowaitHatto View Post
    I am being advised to finish my Bachelor of Music then pursue other things. I am just worried that I would waste time and energy trying to finish my current degree instead of taking courses that I actually need for an entry level position.
    The three most important resume categories are education, certifications, and experience.

    It's true a BA in Music will make you less desirable than someone with a more relevant degree--say, Computer Science, IT, or anything scientific or mathematical. Still, a 4-year degree is still an accomplishment. Attending ITT or taking a couple computer-related courses is going to put you even lower on the totem pole for many positions.

    Why did you suddenly decide you don't want a career in music anymore?

    For software development, consider an online intro to computer science course or two. They're free. You just have to put in the time and effort to earn a certificate, and knowing core concepts that apply to any language will make you a more solid programmer than buying a "Learn xxx in yy days!" book. A degree would do more, but this would serve to differentiate you from the others without.

    For IT or Network Security, pick up a certification book--Comptia, Cisco, or Microsoft as you prefer. If you're using the GI Bill, perhaps you have a security clearance? If so, those can be somewhat valuable when you enter the private sector.
    Last edited by NetworkVeteran; 09-29-2013 at 01:24 AM.
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  6. Junior Member
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    #5
    Mm. The reason I think BA in music looks irrelevant is because of the requirements I see when applying for jobs. Would it be fair to say those postings are by HR people that may not know the I.T. industry?

    In the end I guess a BA music degree with certs and experience is better than no degree with certs and experience.

    Wonder if it's possible to start fresh at a school and get a Bachelor of Science degree.
    That was the reason I wanted to go to ITT Tech.

    There are free classes for CCNA, Net+, A+, Sec+, etc. certifications.
    I can go to the community classes on site/online to learn the skills that I want.

    The G.I. bill is mostly used to pay for rent while I study.

    I am not abandoning my Bachelor of Music degree because I don't want a career in music but because it is not needed at all for a career in music.

    Compared to most job applications I have seen for the I.T. field which requires a Bachelor of Science.

    Thank you for reading / responding to my posts. It is very helpful.

    P.S.

    If the stars align and I do get accepted to a four year university to earn a Bachelor of Science degree I will most likely

    graduate with a Bachelor of Music Performance degree because I would only need a semester or two worth of classes.

    However, I only want to finish that degree if I feel I have taken all the necessary courses to develop at least a strong

    core skill group to work at least as an entry level developer.

    I will be contacting my former university ( I am hundreds of miles away from it ) about it's custom Music Degree. It would

    be nice to change into that program because it is a form of build your own music degree type. A music I.T. degree

    probably makes no sense, but maybe a music company such as Guitar Center might respect it when I apply as an entry

    level I.T. or software developer.
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    I too would agree with NetworkVeteran and suggest that you finish your degree in music first. You will have many years to grow your IT career and the finishing the degree now in the grand scheme is not a waste. As an aside, when I was younger, I was a part-time teaching assistant for a computer science professor. That professor's degree was in music.
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  8. Junior Member
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    Thank you so much for the constant replies and encouragements. My current steps now is to finish that Music degree ( calling my former university to see what I can work out with them, if not i'll have to transfer to another school no biggie. ) I also found other schools near me that are regionally accredited.
    Does anyone know if National University is a good school for I.T.?

    Currently I'm enrolled in Miramar college, I'll be enrolling in the C/C++, Java classes first. Then I'll enroll in what ever classes I need to finish my Music degree if it can be done in a 2 year ( Doubting it ), which then will leave me space for all the math/science classes I need to get into a B.S. degree as a transfer.

    Regardless I'll just apply to the following list of school and see who will accept me as a student. If all says no, I'll find work somewhere, learn at night, and crawl my way towards the top of the food chain.

    Semper Fidelis
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  9. BOBBY_TABLES RobertKaucher's Avatar
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by HowaitHatto View Post
    Regardless I'll just apply to the following list of school and see who will accept me as a student. If all says no, I'll find work somewhere, learn at night, and crawl my way towards the top of the food chain.

    Semper Fidelis
    That's an important attitude. And that was one of the reasons why I focused my answer on the topic that I did. Because I know that might be the way that you have to go. I also agree withe the others in that I think that you should finish your current degree. Perhaps even just an associates in a related discipline along with your music degree might be OK. Of course not one of us is you... And you know your situation better than we do.
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  10. Junior Member
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    #9
    Thanks to the helpful responses I've narrowed down my choices. Now I'm just wondering what would look better.

    A bachelor of science and a bachelor music degree

    or

    A Master of Science in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Music degree.
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  11. Senior Member
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    #10
    A Master of Science in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Music degree.
    This would look better to almost any employer. I would interpret this as, "Highest Degree: MS in Computer Science"

    A bachelor of science and a bachelor music degree
    I would note this down as, "Highest degree: BS in whatever."
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  12. Senior Member TeKniques's Avatar
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by HowaitHatto View Post
    Thanks to the helpful responses I've narrowed down my choices. Now I'm just wondering what would look better.

    A bachelor of science and a bachelor music degree

    or

    A Master of Science in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Music degree.
    Definitely the Master of Science in Computer Science. The entry requirements into a MS CS program will be more demanding then just the BA in Music. You should immediately start looking at entry requirements when you narrow down a school(s) and begin taking the pre-requisites you'll need to be accepted. Most likely it will be a lot of math and programming courses that weren't included in the BA Music curriculum.

    Good luck.
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  13. Junior Member
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    #12
    Thank you for all the help everyone.

    I have decided to apply to UCSD, USD, and SDSU's music program to finish my degree.
    If I am not accepted I will be attending National University ( a private non-profit regionally accredited school ) and start working on the prerequisites for a Master of Science in Computer Science degree. I am already enrolled in Miramar community college so I may just be doing it from there as well.

    Next time I visit. I'll probably be asking technical questions. Thank you again for the awesome help.
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