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Does the school matter as much as the degree? (Computer Science)


Shane Snyder Fallbrook, CA

I have decided that I am going to go back to school and get a second bachelor's degree in Computer Science. After doing some research, I have come to realize that multiple schools offer a B.S. in Computer Science online. Online is my best choice because of the need to work and support my family.

Initially I was drawn to one school because of the cost of tuition. At this point tuition matters because by the time I finish graduate school my GI Bill will be exhausted. Fortunately, my current employer will cover $10K a year in tuition.

So my question is - Does the school matter? For instance, Fort Hays State University (FHSU) is ranked number 3 as the most affordable and number 10 or 11 in top schools for an online B.S. in Computer Science, dependent upon which website you look at.

Where as the University of Florida, Florida State, John Hopkins, Oregon State are all within the top 5 (Florida and FSU consistently #1 and #2), but these schools tuition is 1.5 to 3 times as much as FHSU.

Side note: FHSU grabbed my attention because I was born and raised in Kansas, but that doesn't particularly mean it should be my school of choice.

As well, a Computer Science degree will tie in with my graduate degree and vice versa.

Again, does the school matter as much as the degree?

Thank you for your time and any input/advice/opinions you're willing to provide.

Kind regards,


25 October 2019 7 replies Education & Training



Robert C Lawrenceville, GA

Shane: Opinions are like noses, we all have one - but here's mine. A lot depends on your ultimate goal. If you are going to design software or hardware systems then the school matters. If you are going to troubleshoot software, it's more about certifications and specific experience in whatever software. If it's apps, then it's more about coding. If you are looking to get into management (managing those doing the coding, troubleshooting, designing) then its more about about a MBA with a minor in computer science - and the school matters. As stated by others if you are all about landing a job with a Fortune 500 firm, school matters. If you are going to be working with millenials, then it's more about the culture and fitting in with that culture and the school does not matter but a management degree will be very helpful.


Steven Mathews Spring, TX

1. Is the school important? Depends on your employer. If your future employer is a Fortune 500 company, they tend to focus on graduates of top rated schools. Top rated colleges/universities maintain their position by hiring top notch Associate Professors. Consider this: if you are a Hiring Manager in a Fortune 500 company, who would you hire - an "A" graduate from Podunk University, or a "B" graduate from MIT? If you are not a Fortune 500 company, then your pool of graduates deepens considerably as you cannot afford the graduates from top rated schools.
2. I worked for a Fortune 500 company in the aerospace industry. The first question I was asked at each new position was where did I go to school? Fortunately, my BS and MS degrees were from top rated schools. The manager's immediate perception was that I would be a valuable employee (which I validated). I occasionally came across an individual from Podunk U. They became a scarce commodity as I moved up in my responsibilities.
3. I concur with the comment about acquiring an MBA versus a second BS. The major emphasis on ANY engineering project is producing the product or service at a profit. Most engineers are only focused on the technical aspects. An engineer with an MBA is a more valuable employee who knows WHAT technical questions should be asked, and can understand the answers, to yield a more cost effective product or service.
4. There clearly is a cost trade-off between the school you can afford and supporting your family. I saw a statistic many years ago that only about 6% of grad students are successful when they are married, have a family, and are working full time. Even if that statistic has improved to 12%, the odds are still against you. Consequently, you need to consider all aspects of the financial question. I have a proven method whereby you can pay for all your education to eliminate finances as an issue.
5. The other important aspect is your age when you complete your degree. A normal class load is four to five major classes. Suppose you take one full load class each academic period. Then it will take you four to five times as long to complete the degree requirements, whether it is another BS degree, or some other advanced degree. Add that number to your current age. If that final number is 45 or more, you are on thin ice. Age discrimination is alive and well, a company just cannot be obvious about it.
For example, I have a friend who decided to go into the ministry. The time to complete all the academic requirements was 10 years, 6 years as a part time student and 4 years as a full time grad student for a PhD. He was 60 years old when he finished. Just when his contemporaries were thinking about retiring, he was just starting out. He had no credibility as a Pastor for his age. He has not been offered a church.
7. All things considered, a previous suggestion to complete advanced certifications may provide the best bang for your money and time.


Lowell Sandoval Seattle, WA


I appreciate your service. Great advice has already been provided. Here is my take.

It was not stated what is driving you towards a 2nd B.S. degree and why CompSci? Is this a passion for you? Do you feel it provides your best shot at job security? Just want to make sure we are answering the correct question for you. You will do best in a role that you love.

If CompSci is the passion and you are seeking a job in this field as a primary objective, then Allison is 100% correct that the fastest and best value to this position is a 13 week Bootcamp program in programming. Top languages are Java and scripting for front-end app development and Python for back-end coding. There are many others... Sounds like you may not have this luxury to set life aside to take this on.

Next best option is Certifications on self-study or using things such as training modules. Third option is the online B.S. degrees. I know Harvard now offers online B.S. degrees and they will accept so many credits towards their degree. Their program is designed for people seeking to finish their degree or extend their education. Requirement is maintain a "B" for two quarters and you will be admitted as a Harvard student.

Programming skills are in high demand placing less emphasis on the school name and more on can you code.

Hope this helped.



Allison Pinchak Van Nuys, CA

Hi Shane,

Thank you for your service. I've been involved in hiring a handful of software engineers at my company, and in my experience, the school does not matter. And I agree with Rob that depending on what you're looking to do, you may want to consider a bootcamp instead of another Bachelor's degree. My company hires engineers with college degrees as well as those who come out of bootcamps and don't have college degrees. I think in software engineering especially, the skills you have and can demonstrate are more important than the degrees you have and which schools you've earned them from.

Best of luck,


Robert Sawyer Woodstock, GA


I work with a consulting firm in their technology division. Depending on what your undergraduate degree is in, you probably would be better served by getting certifications than a CS degree. Also, for the time spent on a second bachelors, you could pursue a masters in the same time or potentially less time.

Another recommendation to consider that may differ from others but have found it firsthand invaluable is an MBA especially for transitioning military. No matter the technology, there’s almost always a business driver unless it’s government work. For me it was extremely important to learn more about business processes and to have exposure to the vernacular but also the strategy. You’ll find much of what you’ve learned in the Marines to be useful. It’s the “final mile” in transitioning that can be the most challenging and where education helps to fill the gaps and mapping to your experience.

Here’s a link you may find of interest:

Semper Fi,


Robert Rahni White Plains, NY

Hi Shane,

Thank you for your service and sharing some insights into the cost-benefit analysis you’ve conducted between the different schools you are considering.

My suggestion is to stir clear from certain for-profit schools. I think generally speaking Employers may meet the academic pedagogy and rigor or lack there of from some for-profit schools with skepticism.

That said, yes, I would agree that distant learning programs do offer better flexibility. Arizona State University (ASU) and Southern New Hampshire State University (SNHSU) are two non-profit institutions of higher learning with exceptional distant learning programs, which also consist of a ton of student veterans.

Have you also looked into boot camp programs? Depending on what specialities you are considering in Computer Science, you may find a good fit in coding boot camps, which could save you a lot of time and money.

Wishing you lots of luck!



Henry ("Dr. Hank") Stevens Fort Lauderdale, FL

Thank you for your service!

The very short answer to your question, and speaking as a fellow vet who has been recruiting since '63, is NO. What matters is the answer to this question: "Are the native TALENTS this applicant possesses, consistent with the TALENTS demanded by the opening of the job I am trying to fill?"

One short example: If you were trying to fill a receptionist position, would you want someone to be an introvert or extrovert? Introversion and extraversion are talents - ya just can't teach that!

I have found education and experience to be secondary to the TALENTS the applicant brings to the table. What are yours?

Here is a link to a free assessment web site. After you have taken the assessment, there is an associated tool that will help you address my question. If you would like my two cents on the assessment results (also free) please note the letter and % assigned to said grade and share with me offline at

Dr. Hank

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