Focusing on the tools provided by an online university programming department will get you the most value for your dollar. The choices for an institution break down to,
- university and four year college
- for-profit colleges
- community college
- correspondence and smaller vocational training
University programming departments can bog you down in beginner courses but are the best programs for learning fundamental theory of software programming.
For profit and online colleges may balance theory with helping you find a job as a junior programmer. However for-profits like Devry have been successfully sued for exaggerating job prospects and even had to pay a fine as restitution. That said I still have the opinion that for-profits are more motivated i n helping you find a job then Big State University!
Community colleges programs such as game software development or an associate degree in web development is an excellent value for the cost. And don’t be surprised if you’re making more than your friends who just got into debt for $200,000 at a four year college.
27% of associates degree majors make more than their four year counterparts and in web site design and computer science programs, that’s were a lot of those high salaries come from.
Correspondence, vocational training and webinars, you have to do more due diligence on quality. You know Stanford computer engineering is a high quality program, but may not be sure about Joe Blow’s Make Millions with Software Development program.
What programs to learn?
What style of software programs and methodology will be a consideration. Learning web development, you’ll want a program that gets you into HTML5 and CSS3 early, as this is the basis for further study into mobile application programming
Junior programming gigs at companies like IBM, Google or Microsoft you may want to generalize more by learning the basics of both Microsoft and Linux environments and studying coding with security in mind. Many CEO’s are taking this way more seriously now that they get can get fired for major security branches such as the recent firing of Target’s top boss in response to the credit card breach during the 2013 holiday season.
If a government programming job is what you’re after then you’ll likely want a Microsoft shop with a lot of training on SQL query interfaces and Windows 8 development and how that ties into older legacy systems.
What is the cheapest way to get a computer science degree?
If you are like most people, you don’t have a firm goal in mind! To me taking one class, that you pay for, will be the best step. If you take the class and don’t finish or don’t participate well, you likely aren’t ready for a full time schedule.
Taking a live programming class at a community college or local computer training center might hold you more accountable. Just because you work online doesn’t mean you can’t go somewhere else for class, especially if you have children or a slow internet connection!
A software programming school that matches your learning style will make it more likely you see-through and finish.
That is the best education investment of all.