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I got a job offer, is it ok to finish school online?


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#1 Kurasu1415   Members   -  Reputation: 167

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:11 AM

So, I got offered a good-paying job developing 3D training Simulations for the military. I still have a year of college left. They picked me up based on my experience. If I go with them, will it look bad if my degree is completed online?

Thanks,
Charlie

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#2 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6036

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:53 AM

It probably won't matter, most employers will value professional experience far higher than a degree anyway, you could probably also go back and finish your degree at the same school in the future if the military job is for a shorter amount of time.
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#3 turch   Members   -  Reputation: 590

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 09:51 AM

Keep in mind two things:
1. Most places have some sort of limitation on how long college credits carry over. You usually can't carry over credits for more than several years. So if you end up working for multiple years and then try to finish, your credits might have "expired".
2. Sometimes a degree is necessary to get into the door. The less time you've been employed, the more important the lack of a degree is. I'm pulling this number out of my ass, but I'd say that about 3 years of work experience will be the point at which you no longer really have to worry that most companies won't give you a second look because you don't have a degree.

Under education on your resume, putting <degree>,<school> (incomplete) might be enough to get you through the door and into an interview, at which point it is up to you to impress them. I've had several interviews where the interviewer thought I had graduated, made a face when I clarified that I didn't, and then was impressed enough with the interview to offer me a job anyway.

#4 GabeTHEGeek   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 01:30 PM

I had this same issue while I was in school. If you have the motivation to finish school and work fulltime than do it. A degree is a degree as long as the school is accredited. And just like simon said, after you have experience under your belt, it won't matter anyway.

#5 zer0wolf   Members   -  Reputation: 1018

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 02:34 PM

Does the current school you are attending support distance education? If you have to switch schools then the likelihood of all of your credits transferring are pretty slip.

I have to 4th what has already been said. If you have a solid job offer then take it. Experience means everything.
laziness is the foundation of efficiency | www.AdrianWalker.info | Adventures in Game Production | @zer0wolf - Twitter

#6 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 29395

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:17 PM

I did exactly this - I had just finished my 2nd-last year of university when I got my first games job. I finished the last year of the degree over the next two years by doing it part-time online.

When looking at my resume, I've never had anyone ask me why the dates next to my degree span 5 years, and if they did, I don't think they'd be bothered by the answer.

#7 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 20189

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 05:03 PM

If you actually finish the degree, then it is something to consider.

If you don't actually finish the degree, then it is something else. It is more difficult to finish schooling remotely than it is to finish it while still in the traditional course schedules.

I know several people who took the jobs and then didn't get the degree. All of them that I've spoken with have regrets about it. One of them went back to college at age 35 (with a decade of industry work experience!) to get that piece of paper and some extra math classes.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#8 turch   Members   -  Reputation: 590

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 05:13 PM

I know several people who took the jobs and then didn't get the degree. All of them that I've spoken with have regrets about it. One of them went back to college at age 35 (with a decade of industry work experience!) to get that piece of paper and some extra math classes.


What do they have regrets about? Lower pay? Not being able to get the work they want? I'm curious since I'm in the early middle stage of one of those situations. I've never had a problem getting a job after the first one (3 jobs in 4 years, each one I left because of a better offer) and my salary and title seem to be at least average based on the scant statistical information I've seen. But I remember guys in their 30's with lots of experience in my classes going just to get the degree, so I'm wondering what drives them back. Have I just been lucky so far?

#9 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 20189

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 10:45 AM

The one that went back to school wanted to learn many of the more science-stuff. He often became frustrated when working with more complex areas of vector math. On one project we ended up needing a parser and a script grammar. He spent a few days trying to get a solid description of the language and trying to implement it; I helped him rewrite it into a regular grammar in an hour, and another hour or so to get the parser running; that was one of the turning points where he said he needed to learn more of the computer science side.


Of the others I have worked with, most just had the basic "what if" regrets. I didn't really dig into them too much, other than occasionally hearing "I wish I knew about <topic>", where the topic was often something covered in school.

From happening to know salaries at one company I was at, I can tell you for a fact that they earn less than their with-degree counterparts. And from also being involved with the hiring process, I can also tell you for a fact that given two people with similar work experience but differing by college degree, the preference will go to the master's degree over bachelor's degree, and either degree over no degree. That is true even when hiring at age 40 or 50 for senior-level workers and mid-level managers. [I was once involved with hiring my own boss, which is a very odd experience.] Positions highest up in the technical totem pole tend to go to those with master's degrees in addition to the decades of experience, and they are given preference over their peers with just a bachelor's degree.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#10 turch   Members   -  Reputation: 590

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 11:51 AM

...


Cool thanks, that's what I was looking to find out Posted Image

#11 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9450

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 01:37 PM

given two people with similar work experience but differing by college degree, the preference will go to the master's degree over bachelor's degree, and either degree over no degree. That is true even when hiring at age 40 or 50 for senior-level workers and mid-level managers. [I was once involved with hiring my own boss, which is a very odd experience.] Positions highest up in the technical totem pole tend to go to those with master's degrees in addition to the decades of experience, and they are given preference over their peers with just a bachelor's degree.


I agree. For senior-level and such, the higher degree can be a decision maker. It might not be a benefit, though, to an entry-level person without much of a portfolio.
-- Tom Sloper
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#12 daviangel   Members   -  Reputation: 600

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 06:16 PM

From happening to know salaries at one company I was at, I can tell you for a fact that they earn less than their with-degree counterparts.

Agree with this. Expect to be paid significantly more with a college degree. At most of the places I've worked at where I've seen the salaries of new hires doing exactly the same job the one with the college degree was paid more. I believe one study I saw a while back attributed this to the fact that most companies assumed you paid your dues completing college and most likely had a bit of college loans you needed to pay back.
So this is something for the OP to think about. If you never finish your degree even with raises maybe years later some new college kid will get hired and will be making more than you even though you have been working at the company longer. This is another reason companies don't like employees sharing salary information.
Other individuals might have very specific reasons for getting that piece of paper, like the Woz of Apple, he went back to get his degree in his 30's from what I understand. His main reason was to teach kids. In California anyways, they won't let you teach kids unless you have a Bachelors degree. Also, if you interested in working at NASA or any other government type jobs they won't even accept your application without a Bachelors degree, same goes if you want to be a military officer.
But like everyone said I wouldn't wait to long to complete it if you go the online route since you might end up taking 11+ years to finish like Scott Hanselman
or myself.
Don't talk about writing games, don't write design docs, don't spend your time on web boards. Sit in your house write 20 games when you complete them you will either want to do it the rest of your life or not * Andre Lamothe




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