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too late for BS

too late for BS

too late for BS

I'm 47.
I graduated in 1999 from a private school as computer programmer. and I've been working in .NET/SQL/Oracle since then. I make ~80k/year
In 2009 I went back to school as PART TIME for BS in computer engineering. I finished the first 2 year at a local community college with all the requirements to transfer to 4 years programs in BS. my lowest grade in any Math or engineering class was "A" - except only 1 (see below) - and my GPA is currently 3.8/4
I was doing great until class "Fundamental in Computer Engineering" and which I got "F". I was under too much pressure during this class, between family + baby + constant whining wife + job 60 hours/week + the long lab session this class required and which I was not able to commit. The irony is, this is the class I loved and enjoyed the most because it taught me a lot about things I do in my every day job and I understood the material and subject in a way I was over-confident in my abilities when writing the tests, and I at the same time my life was hell. I used to start studying every other night starting at 11:00 PM until 5:30 AM and that's when I get ready to go to work. Just remembering these days make me feel sick.
Now it's 2013 and I'm dreaming to go back to school again with many questions in mind that I don't have answers:
- Is it going to get harder or easier with future classes (subject, labs, long hours, .....) ?
- Is it worth it to go through such headache for the next 3 or 4 years (is it going to make leap difference of my income now and then) ?
- Is my experience + BS would open unseen opportunities ?
- last: Is it too late for ~50 years old engineer ?

RE: too late for BS

It won't get easier.
The basics don't change, but the technology moves fast, so it may get different.
Do schedule your life to get a little sleep, and try to work smart.

It won't get you more money.
You have to do it to feed the fire in your belly.
No fire? Don't bother.

Programming experience plus BS in hardware = no new opportunities that _I_ can see. Have you written firmware? That's an opportunity. There is an evolution going on, sort of. Your experience might be valuable to someone who is doing programmable logic/ SystemOnChip/ IP integration. ... okay, actually, cleaning up after someone who has done it somewhat less than perfectly.

Life gets real interesting for engineers after age 50. Anything you can do to offset the perception of being an old fart, like earning another degree, has to help in getting your next job. ... which is not going to be as easy as getting your last job. Trust me on this.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: too late for BS

Do I detect a whining husband now? Life sucks, and then you die. Nothing gets easier initially, but, if you stick with it, some things will get easier eventually.

- Is it going to get harder or easier with future classes (subject, labs, long hours, .....) ?

> Your brain is no longer young, so things are going to take longer to absorb.

- Is it worth it to go through such headache for the next 3 or 4 years (is it going to make leap difference of my income now and then) ?

> In general, yes. I don't know what you've saved for retirement, if anything. If nothing, then you'll be working for another 20 yrs or more, so there's some probability that a BS degree let you get slightly ahead of the curve.

- Is my experience + BS would open unseen opportunities ?

Not necessarily "unseen," but certainly, currently unobtainable. There are positions that have a minimum requirement of a BS, so you are currently locked out of those.

- last: Is it too late for ~50 years old engineer ?

I think I covered this earlier. It's likely that you'll be working into your 70s, so a BS degree is probably worth it. It's likely that you are close to being topped out in salary. A BS might get you onto another salary curve that'll top out at a higher level. A BS degree should get you into the $100k range theoretically, depending on industry, your skills, etc. Your mileage may vary.

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RE: too late for BS

I went back to school when I was 51 and spent 2 1/2 years to graduate. I thought of it as an early retirement and I had a ball. Then I graduated and went back to the 9 to 12 hour days. Just decide to go for it or don't go for it. Be happy with whatever you decide.

Its your life, time and money.


RE: too late for BS

Don't forget to put time with the kids and whiny wife into the equation.

(2B)+(2B)' ?

RE: too late for BS

Thank you all for your replies.
IRStuff: your answers are exactly the same ones I have in mind every time I ask myself these questions.
where I work, they hire engineer by tons. Actually almost everybody else is an engineer, either in computer science, information technology and some as computer engineer - and many with master degree - except of me, and what scares me is my position is much more elevated than theirs and that's make me worried, is that's all what I can get if I get my degree? Most of them work as testers, Business Analysts and such.

"Don't forget to put time with the kids and whiny wife into the equation" : actually that's what's preventing me from going back to class.

RE: too late for BS

If you are on track toward, or actually in, a supervisory position, then an MBA might do you more good than a BS.

I hate MBAs as much as SNORGY does, but it seems like the logical thing to do, in your position. I don't think it matters whether you go to a 'good school' or a diploma mill; no one seems to question any MBA's bona fides, even when good reason to do so exists.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

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