I once attended a top-10 American university but I am currently not in school for several different reasons. Chief among them is that I did very poorly two semesters and even failed one of them (got two F's) which put me in automatic suspension. My major is not CS but math.
I am in a pickle at the moment. After I was suspended I got a job at a niche IT company in the area. I am employed as something of an IT generalist; my primary responsibilities are Windows systems administration/networking but I also do some Android, iOS, and .NET development. I have released a few apps to the app store under my name and my company's name, and we have done work for a few big clients. I started working at my job about 1.5 years ago and I am somewhat happily employed but I do not see it as a long-term fit because it is a small company with little opportunity to advance.
I would like to move out to California and particularly to the Bay Area to get a job at a more reputable or exciting company, even at a lower rate of pay, but I am not sure if I should do that or try to go back to school.
If I went back to school, it would take 1-1.5 years to graduate and some $. Best case scenario I would graduate with a 2.9 or 3.0 GPA. It is a top-10 school, but that's a crappy GPA.
If I do not go back to school, I will be a field where most people have degrees, without a degree. If anything goes wrong I could be really screwed as I feel I will get no respect without a degree. On the other hand I really would like to get started in the field and get more serious about developing good development practices, learning new languages/frameworks, and working with people who know a lot more than I so I can learn and grow as a developer and eventually do my own thing.
Basically, I am wondering:
- Should I just go back to school? How much does the bad GPA / good school reputation weigh in? What about the fact that I am a Math major and not a CS major (have never taken a CS course)?
- Does my skill set as something of a generalist bode well for me finding work at a start up in the Bay Area?
- If not (2), should I hunker down and focus on producing a really good (or a few mediocre) iOS apps? Android apps? etc.
- How would you look at someone who did great in HS, kind of goofed off in college and eventually quit, and got into development?