Computer Science Options... I Am A Late Boomer.
Q: I am thinking of taking a degree in Computer Science by distant learning if possible. I have a few questions that needs to be answered. First of all, I am currently taking a Diploma in Computer studies validated by the University of Cambridge and NCC. National Computing Center i think. I decided not to pursue the higher diploma called ADCS if possible because it is pretty repetitive in what actually will be taught in the final Computer Science degree and also it costs a bomb. The quality of the education from the place I am attending is poor and there's too much red-tape and office politics within the college itself. Morever, the state I am living in, Johor Bahru, Johor, does not seem to have any higher education colleges that offers Degree in computer science, and I have to go all the way up north to the capital KL and i find this unacceptable since I have commercial multimedia software projects that I have to do. I am not likely to be a full-time student and will like to study part-time, right where I am instead. As for my own abilities, I am experienced in 1. Intel 80x86 Assembly Language programming. 2. C/C++ programming 3. Turbo Pascal and Delphi 4. Software Reverse Engineering. 5. Utilizing industry standard SDKs such as Win32 API and DirectX api by Microsoft. 6. Have written a commercial game called Vanguard Ace, ref: http://www.imaginative.com.my A search on the web for Vanguard Ace can reveal that it's carried by many popular gaming sites. 7. My company is local Pikom finalist for Multimedia CD Title of the Year 1998. (Associations of Computer Industry of Malaysia) 8. Low level systems programming for the 80x86 architecture. 9. Bitmap graphics programming. I have been programming since i was 14 and have 10 years of coding experience now. I don't have very good O' level results and as a result of that I am not able to enter Computer Science related Diploma, so I am stuck in this Diploma in Computer studies at the moment and will graduate by April earliest next year. What I would like to ask is, what are my options of proceeding straight to getting a degree in Computer Science without having to go through higher diploma (and wasting money) ? And how much am I expect to pay for the Computer Science Degree ? My biggest worry is that I have to start from scratch taking subjects that I am already familiar with. I want to know too, if i were to be able to take Computer Science degree, what are the options of replacing the core modules that I do not like and do not think will help me in my career in anyway ? I seem to have keen interests in Computer Graphics, Multimedia and Software Engineering but I heard these are all Majoring modules and I can only select one. I wish i can select all 3 and discard the core modules that I think is unnecessary, but maybe im being too idealistic here. I find education very restrictive and the courses designed don't really cater to what is really suitable for certain people. I for one certainly do not wish to take subjects that are of no interests or use to me, such as Business Finance (is this CS related?) and database related modules (Self study any-time) Do I have to attend classes ? I do not like attending lectures, maybe due to negative experiences locally because of the poor lectures. I am more motivated to self study and prefer to study by myself alone. Can anyone help and tell me what are my options or chances of going direct to a Computer Science Degree ?
A: Good question. It depends on how much relevant course work you have completed that is transferrable to a degree program in the US. I am not certain as to what a "Diploma" represents in Malaysia, but you could potentially transfer credit by using an agency that can evaluate your college-level work for credit recommendation in the US system. Beyond this, with your extensive experience in programming, it is likely that you could get credit by portfolio assessment for the college-level knowledge you have in several CS-related subjects. This, of course, depends on how much prior credit you are able to transfer into a US program. If you are starting from scratch, you could pay up to 15,000-20,000 USD. Also, be aware that there are damn few Computer Science degrees to be had at a distance. My web page http://members.home.net/mcqueary/distance.html lists the only options that I am aware of. If, instead, you will settle for the more application-based Computer Information Systems degree, there are several options - www.umuc.edu, www.cityu.edu, www.regents.edu, and www.athabasca.edu to name but a few. By utilizing portfolio assessment, you could avoid this. Most schools will require you to complete a core curriculum of classes. My guess is that at least some of these will duplicate your experience. You could satisfy these by (a) transferring credits from course work you've done, or by submitting a portfolio demonstrating college-level learning in the subject area. Charter Oak State College (www.cosc.edu) would allow you to create an individualized bachelor's degree, in which you submit a curriculum, along with your rationalization of the plan, for approval. You would still need to meet the distribution requirements for the school, however. The schools I've mentioned are wholly online, or nonresidential.