My goal is to be as employable as possible and to have enough knowledge not to look foolish when interviewed. However, that's probably everyone's goal and it's not achieved simply by taking classes in the University -- you have to put in some of your own time as well (which I do).
I'm in process of obtaining my Associates degree in Computer Programming through a local community college. There are several options for me to choose from in the area, such as Cal Poly Pomona, CSU San Bernardino, UC Riverside, and a few other schools in that general area (one of them is CalTech Pasadena, but I hear it's very hard to get in...even with my 4.0 GPA).
Of course, there is plenty of information ranking schools, but nothing really explains on what to look for in a school when choosing a particular area of study. I'm interested in Software Engineering. I might branch of into AI, but that's up in the air as of right now. I think for Bachelor's I'd just go with general Software Engineering, unless I find a specific area I want to commit to. I'm definitely aware that student-to-teacher ratio is a huge point to consider when choosing a school. But what other things should I take into account? Should I choose a school that's more focused on theory, such as UCR, or a school that takes a hands-on approach such as CalPoly Pomona? What have you seen in the industry that would point as one being superior over the other? What is your own experience?
Education is not cheap and I have a family to support (I work full time and go to school), so, I want to make sure that my investment is justified. That being said, I make a decent salary, so I can afford to invest into education, as long as it's not wasteful. I'm reaching out to those of you who have first-hand experience in these matters to assist me with some tips and answers to the above questions.
I hope I am being clear with my goals and what I'm trying to find out; if clarification is needed, please let me know (I just got done with a 12-hour shift, so I'm a bit drowsy, heh).