Should I drop college?

I am a freshman at college but I feel college, specially community college, is holding me back from developing my career as a computer scientists. I wasn't able to go to my college of choice due to financial reasons and now I am stuck at a community college for the next 2 - 3 years and I feel I could develop my career in my field much faster if instead of spending 12 hours a day on college related things, I spent it actually programming and developing my own projects. I take my brother as an example he wasn't able to go to college for the same reasons as me but he has being learning how to program on his own for about 2 - 3 years and now he is about to publish his first mobile game on the Google App store (and he has only being doing this on his spare time). I know most junior college students don't have enough experience to develop such a complex project. Now going back to me, I am going to spend the next 2 - 3 years at college and I am only going to take 2 classes related to my major from which I won't be learning anything new since I am far ahead of the material covered in class. I feel if I instead of putting that much work into General Ed at college I instead put that energy into programming I would develop my skills much faster.

Should I drop college?

Updates:
So I gave it a thought and I think it is better if transfer to a different school that offers more classes in my field of study. I already made some research, and I think I know which school I am going to transfer to, good thing my current college and that college are on the same system and all classes are transferable between the two campuses, and since the are in the same system they charge the same rate per unit.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • I agree with aMuse. I'm not a programmer, but I've worked in engineering for years. Yes, the degree is important for getting jobs. For most companies it's an absolute requirement. So is experience. If you don't have the degree, a lot of hiring managers will just throw away your resume without even looking at it. Seriously.

    While you're there you can take as many programming classes as you can. They certainly have classes in subjects you don't already know. You are young and don't know what direction your future will take. So take as many classes in your field as you can. Throwing in some math and sciences won't hurt either. And learning some hardware can be useful also.

    One nice thing about community college in California is they have much better transfer to full uni than most state. For many degrees you can get your entire first two years at community college then transfer to uni as a junior if you want. You can't do that in most states. It's also EXTREMELY cheap compared to other states. (or at least it was when I lived there in the 90s).

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    • With comp sci its mandatory to do math and physics.

    • It depends on the school. I just checked about a dozen degree programs in 3 different schools. Only about half required physics, and very few required math. (other than the GEs which probably require basic math)

      I mentioned math and sciences mainly because my own perspective is more from the embedded system and scientific programming side of things. It sounds like the QA is more into application programming. The math and science is for diversity which allows for more possibilities in the future

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What Girls Said 11

  • Hey man I say it's all up to you. Personally I dropped out one semester short of my degree. I had a field you actually have to have a grad degree in to do anything. However due to a horrendous accident my GPA fell too far down and that was not gonna happen. I hated school and didn't see why I should accumulate more loans for a piece of paper that would be worthless in my field. Honestly I never felt as free as I did the day I dropped out. EVERYONE, but my parents who support anything, thought I was stupid. Well I got promoted at work and make more than I would with a standard BA anyway. It may not be what I wanted originally, but I'm content. Bottom line it's up to YOU and not anyone else. It's your life and not theirs.

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  • No, whether it's related or not, college is good on your resume. Get it out of the way now. You're young, you have your whole life ahead of you, you'll have plenty of time to develop your skills. And if you take it serious and dedicate yourself, you can work yourself into scholarship programs to be able to go to your college of choice soon. I know it seems pointless and you're ready to jump in, but college really will pay off. Stick with it, you'll be glad you did. You'll grow as a person, and develop skills as a prospective employee later on. Just because some make it without college, doesn't mean you should drop it with the idealist hope that you'll necessarily have the same hand dealt to you, take every educational opportunity you can and you'll find yourself in great places. At the risk of sounding cheesy, because I know it does sound that way...you only live once. Make the most of it.

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  • Transfer schools. Don't drop out of college, look for scholarships too and don't be afraid to get out of your area for a computer science program.

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  • This is a little puzzling to me because I went to community college and took computer science as A major. I learned at the time java, data structures, computer architecture (which teaches you how to construct parts) Cisco networking, Linux etc along with a bunch of math. When it comes to school you have to have a plan. Plus its important so that you don't get picked over someone with less skills than you just because they went to school. Programme in your free time and stick it out. Make sure you are going to a school that offers courses comparable to thefour year school you want to go to. If you don't do that you will find that you will have to repeat classes. But to me it doesn't sound like you are at the right school if you will only be taking two computer classes.

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    • Yeah I'm definitely not in the right school. I think you are right, because if I was in a school that offered more classes related to my major, let's say web development, or even graphic design, or maybe algoriths if they offered any of those classes I wouldn't be thinking about this. I am going to look into that, thank you! And I do program on my free time, that's all I do actually. I'm working on a project right now actually.

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    • I am 31 and no I am no longer in the field. I hated software and I figured that out after I did networking. It was fun being in class with mostly guys. They really took care of me (like a little sis) but in networking I was amazing. So I should have done hardware. Also I opted for psychology instead. Continued w ith a master is forensic psych. I regretted not sticking with compsci though

    • Sorry I didn't respond earlier. I get busy sometimes

  • I am glad to hear from you. I think it is great to follow your passionate instead of doing something that is a waste of time. However, I went to several events in Seattle Tech Community and 95% of people had a college degree if not master in com sci or PHD. It depends on your speed but I would take less class and focus on learning from the industry. My friend took one or 2 classes per quarter and got a 3.8 gpa to get into nursing school while others I know took normal/a lot of classes but failed to keep up with pace. It happens and they didn't couldn't get into the major. Getting to college is not that bad but getting into the right major, well that depends on the competition (grades, project, performance, recommendations, etc).

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  • No, don't be impulsive. No offense to anyone, but in this economy, it would be a really unintelligent idea to drop out of college.College degrees will give you an advantage in the future when it comes to competing with jobs and if you don't have one, you'll probably struggle.

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  • Never!

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  • Go to a different one then but for the love of everything blessed in this world don't drop out!

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  • Yes. I never went to college, right after high school, I studied what ever the f*** I wanted and found my passionate and since then I have been going forward with that and will never look back, I have never had so much energy and passionate before, to sit in a class room and try to memorize some regurgitated facts... well I would stab my eyes out with a pencil. lol. College is meant to make you into a worker bee and a slave... people fall for the trap because they are afraid to live their lives on their own... with out being part of the government's system, this economy is going to collapse anyways so what use will a piece of paper(diploma) be? You want real life skills... people with psychology degrees and all these other pointless degrees make me laugh... but do what you want, if you like riding a train to nowhere(off a cliff) go for it..

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    • Yes, because someone with computer science on the brain would never need to take cutting edge technology classes or network with major design firms or anything.

      Just because your career choice was made without a college degree, doesn't mean you should start dictating others'. His brother took 2-3 years to do what I've done several times in a semester during my MIS degree.

    • Isn't that what university laboratories are for? And work terms? That is nowhere near "regurgitated facts". Also, anyone who lives in a society that has a monetary system is technically a slave. You must work for paper and then trade the paper for the essentials of life.

    • Ok... so what about doctors? Would you let a self-taught doctor perform an open heart operation on you? Or would you trust a self-taught lawyer? "Don't worry your multi-million dollar company is safe in my hands, yeah I self-taught myself reading the DMV's manual" Lol, ha ha what the heck girl? No offence but now I feel sorry you are this close minded. But I gotta give it up to you, not everyone can succeed out there in the world without some sort of guidance such as school, so congrats.

  • I'm in the same boat you are, so I'll give my two cents. My major is something they don't have any related classes to at my school, so I can't really take anything related to my major either, but I can take all the core classes and elective credits I need. I don't follow the associates degree for general studies, but instead just take what I need. I've done research and I can transfer to my college of choice by fall semester on just scholarship and financial aid money. I've been here for almost 2 years already, and I'll be able to transfer by the fall semester. If I had looked into it earlier, I could have transferred last year, after only attending for one year. So, if your grades are high enough, see what scholarships are available at the school you really want to go to. There's a good chance you can afford it with scholarships and financial aid.

    Trust me, it's worth it this way. If you've been in school all year, you've already gotten a fair amount of credits. If you need to get your GPA up, you could always take a couple easy courses that will guarantee you an A. Either take them in the summer or spend one more semester to a year in the community college so you can raise your GPA enough to get a substantial amount of scholarship money.

    I don't think it would be the smartest idea to drop out. A lot of times, college students can get into excellent internship programs which will open the door for a lot of good career opportunities. I know junior college can really suck sometimes, but just think of where it's going to take you from here. You can transfer anywhere you want, get transfer scholarships, and you will end up in a good place by taking the time to get your education.

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  • The good thing about graduating high school is that you now have total control of your education. There is nothing wrong about dropping for a few semesters to work on projects. You can always go back if you want to.

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What Guys Said 11

  • Your situations isn't as unique as you think, and its why our educational system in American is really bad in comparison to the rest of the world.

    For one, like you said, most of the stuff you learn in college is a repeat of stuff you already know, whether it be gen ed or major related. Then couple that with the fact that you only end up taking a handful of classes in your major, you leave college pretty much the same person you were when you went in.

    The reality though is that piece of paper gets your foot in the door in the real world. So in a way its required, which is another problem in and of itself but I won't speak to that since that a completely different can of worms, which is quite large.

    If you really feel that you have some sort of money making venture that you would be better suited leaving college to pursue, then I say go for it. However, this is a risky move to make. Not everyone has the talent and vision to be the next mark zuckerberg. You might learn at a faster pace on your own, but find that you still have no way to make a living as you've been unable to start your own sucessfull business. So the risk of not completing your degree is that you have to safety net. If your personal endeavors, whether that be starting a software company, creating mobile apps, or w/e doesn't work out, you want to be able to still get a job somewhere. So it really boils down to how confident you feel in both your skills, ability to learn on your own, and your vision for something that will make you money. Trust me there are wealthy people starting organizations for just such a thing, funding young entrepreneurs who would be better off skipping college and going right to starting their business.

    My advice, stay in school, but find additional ways to get involved and challenge yourself. Join clubs and extracurricular events. Talk to your professors about other ways you can get involved and hone your talents. The real learning is when you get to actually get experience doing what it is you want to do which colleges can be great for in providing those opportunities.

    I've already graduated but am going back for a second degree since I'm switching careers. I'm going to be going back for sound design and production. I've been in music my whole life and have been recording and producing music for a while now too. I've read tons of books, watched countless videos and have a decent grasp of what it is I will be learning in school, so like you most of it will probably be a waste. But what I plan to use college for is for opportunities to practice my craft and get my hands on equipment that otherwise I would have no access too. But trust me, I know the feeling of having a hobby that you are skilled at that you want to make your job, but feel like you get no time to do it because of school and work.

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    • My dad is a business man, so I know what is like to have a business (to a certain level). I am confident on my skills and I think learning on my own won't be a problem, I can read math books, programming books and psychology books (psychology is my second major... I plan to get a Masters on Artificial Intelligence, that is if I stay in school) I have no problem with that, and even my dad believes in me that he has offered me to open up a business related to my major.

    • Thats why I think it is not such a bad idea. But on the other hand, like you said having a degree adds security to your career. but you see, I like taking risks I believe I have the vision to take risks

  • To tell you the truth even if you go through a BS of computer science you will likely not be challenged that much if you are already a programmer. It's just the reality of it. That said, employers look for a few things. 1) a BS Computer Science or related degree, 2) industry certifications, and 3) experience working for a company. Experience in the industry is the most import factor in getting hired. The thing is, working for yourself will never be credited as industry experience. They want to see company experience. Industry certifications will help you get your first job if you also have the degree and don't have the proven track record. Pretty much every job description comes with the BS Computer science as the very basic requirement.

    So, I'd recommend sticking it out and finishing your degree. There's nothing keeping you from developing apps or websites on the side to make some cash and build a portfolio. Long run though, you need some sort of degree that says you're qualified to the people in human resources who probably don't even know how to plug a computer in. =P

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  • Computer science is one of the very few career paths that do not really rely on having a college degree. You definitely need to keep a repertoire of example programs you have written wherever you go and wherever you apply. The only thing a college degree will do is possibly give you some bargaining room when it comes to negotiating your salary, but even that is iffy at best.

    But, to be sure, you could read up on places that are hiring programmers of whatever kind and see what they require. Most of them will say they want samples of written code. If you have managed to keep your code organized and documented without formal instruction, they'll notice that before they notice the lack of formal instruction.

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  • I would recommend going to a post-secondary institute if you want to be HIRED by a company though, if you wish to be freelance and simply sell your software or start your own company then education isn't required. Most companies will require a degree and, if they don't, during the interview, you will be asked to perform some technical programming challenges which many freelance programmers may overlook.

    If you want to cover all bases, I would suggest either continuing with community college and then transferring (this is not always possible so you should look into it beforehand) or saving money and going straight to a university for a B.Sc. in Computer Science. You're only 19 so you have a couple of years to figure out which path you want to take.

    You could also consider scholarships. There are several government and private grants that may allow you to attend university for a reduced cost or even for free.

    Good luck!

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  • Stay in community college, keep your grades high and then transfer to a good four-year college to finish your degree. It's the best value for your money - CC's are dirt cheap and a great way to knock out the useless general ed classes that four year colleges make everyone take even though they're not related to your degree.

    Don't drop out, even if there are short-term job opportunities tempting you. You might have the skills you need to work in computer science now, but not having a degree will seriously limit your ability to find work down the road. Most employers require it and it gives a MAJOR boost to your earnings potential. I've seen this happen to many people - they drop out of school to take a job which lasts a year or two and then fizzles out. Then they can't get another one because they don't have a degree. DON'T DO IT. Stay in school.

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    • yeah, CC is cheap and you get cheap teachers that ain't passionate about what they teach and therefore make their class boring as f*** which makes me lose interest in the subject and get mediocre grades. I enjoy feeling challenged, I don't care if its only GE, if you have a teacher that really believes History is important for someone with a science degree then it would make me feel like it actually is and help me get something out of the class other than just a grade.

    • It sounds like you've had bad experience with your school. I've been to six colleges and I always thought CCs had better instructors than full unis. For one thing most CC instructors have real world experience, and that's often not true of full uni professors.

      I also think they should lower the GE requirements. It's just not as practical in the modern world. All those GEs are a holdover from the days when only the elite went to college and got liberal arts degrees rather than career training.

    • You're gonna have to suck it up and get through the boring classes to get to your goal. That's life - you're not always going to be doing what you want to be doing 100% of the time. Also, you think CC professors aren't passionate? I beg to differ - in my experience they are more passionate because they actually care about teaching. Most teachers at four-year colleges are there to do research, and only teach undergrad classes because the school makes them do it as a condition of their funding.

  • no man transfer, I don't think you are in the right place. But don't drop out, it might bit your ass later on if you need to get a job.

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  • Your update sounds about right.

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  • Stick with it, finish community college then switch to another college. Sure you might make it big with something but the safer route is getting the actual credentials.

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  • im in the same boat as you. I just started community college and I'm taking all bullsh*t classes. its basically 13th grade. I have no idea why I'm even there every day because I don't know what I wanna do. but I just know I have to be there.

    first off it having a bachelors degree just makes you look better. its obviously much easier to earn a better salary with a bachelors, any job.

    not trying to turn this into a novel but my plan is to get my degree first, then do whatever the f*** I want

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  • Hang in there, but don't drop college! 10-15yrs from now you're gonna regret it. Stay strong and focus man.

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  • Unless you're Bill Gates, I'd say stay in school.

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