I'm in a situation, and I'm having an unusually difficult time deciding what to do.

I'm 38 years old, and I work as software developer for a major university in my area. I've held this job for about 3 years now and things are going great. I have been working in the computer/tech field for the past 15 years, however, I do not have a college degree nor any certifications. Lately, I've been thinking that I want to pursue a more research-oriented computer science career, rather than just programming...like maybe programming in robotics, or AI, or something like that.

So last month, I decided to take some courses at the university I work at and persue a degree in computer science since I would have gotten a 75% educational discount(since I work here), but my application for admissions was turned down becuase my high school grades were not that great.

So now, I'm rather bummed and I don't know what to do. I spoke with a person in the admissions office of the university where I work, and he said that I could goto a community college for 2-years, and then re-apply to my university, with a better, but not guarenteed, chance of being accepted.

I also have the opportunity to goto this community college with a 90% discount because I have family whom work there.

Now, that sounds great, and almost obvious...just goto the community college for 2 years, get good grades, and apply again after those 2 years at the university I work at.

However...I'm 38...that means I'd finish the community college at age 40! And then, even if I get in at my university, I wouldn't be able to get a bachelor's in Computer Science for another 2 or 3 years...which means I'd be 42 or 43!

So I started thinking, well maybe I should just get some certifications. Then I could at least put those on my resume. But I think degrees are looked at with more respect that certs. at least when working at a college or university.

But really, I don't know what would be best for me.

So, I feel old, and maybe I should just stick with what I'm doing until I retire...and if I ever need to change jobs, just rely on my experience.

Any advice?


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All 4 Replies

If you're looking to move up in the business environment I would take the hit on time and go to the local college. At my company we disregard certs altogether and put more emphasis on the degree, work ethics, and commitment of the indivual applying. We're a smaller company so we can get away with having more in depth interviews.

You could also get through your community colllege in <2 years depending on your schedule. You could take more than the minimum classes each semester and take classes during the summer to expedite getting your associates.

Take a look at it this way -- you have one more chance to do something you want before you retire. Go for the degree and take a stab at trying your hand in robotics :)

Best of luck to you,

commented: Great advice :) +0

You can start doing research yourself and see whether you come up with something path breaking .

Do what is best to you...

I think you should the correspondence as it is equivalent to the degree. It will be easier for you .

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