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I couldn't find time and money to study due to financial issues,however I managed to land some good jobs and projects and 2 multinational and my portfolio now has good clients on it too, however I still feel that I lack something important so was wondering if someone knows an college/university that offers degrees if you are a qualified professional, I'm also willing to study for few weeks if required.

Update Thanks for the answers guys, in my area as far as I have looked, there are no evening or weekend classes for undergrad studies, however there are some for Masters and few of my working friends are studying on weekends (thats actually where my motivation came from).

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closed as off-topic by MichaelT, GlenH7, gnat, World Engineer Sep 11 '13 at 4:00

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking career or education advice are off topic on Programmers. They are only meaningful to the asker and do not generate lasting value for the broader programming community. Furthermore, in most cases, any answer is going to be a subjective opinion that may not take into account all the nuances of a (your) particular circumstance." – MichaelT, GlenH7, gnat, World Engineer
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

LOL! Why would they? What is in it for them? They have little to nothing to gain and a reputation to potentially damage, not to mention accusations of fraud. If you are a genius, then they would have heard about you by now. For practice, try passing a bar exam without having gone to a law school first. –  Job Jan 15 '11 at 18:08
From what I read, as you gain years of experience, your education becomes less and less relevant. With seven years and a few decent clients, you're probably over that hump by now. –  Note to self - think of a name Jan 15 '11 at 18:13
@All: As preposterous as the question may seem let's stay civil to the OP. –  user8685 Jan 15 '11 at 18:15
@Developer Art: I agree, though (despite the lack of tact) the point is valid, universities are unlikely to offer it, the OP will probably have to pay (depending on the country I guess). –  Matthieu M. Jan 15 '11 at 18:26
Clarification: some people get honorary degrees from schools, but those some are usually not mere mortals. –  Job Jan 15 '11 at 18:47

10 Answers 10

A degree would require broad knowledge of CS theoretical which you don't normally get if you've only been doing ASP.NET/C#, either for 7 years or 70 years.

You can study CS and pass necessary examinations to get a degree but it will take several years of studies, in a few weeks not a chance.

As to degree itself, I believe there are certain "online universities" in various countries which would do that to you, though from what I've heard nobody would take their papers seriously.

A good option is perhaps a real university which has evening classes and allows remote studies that is the presence in classes is only required at some minimal degree. You can do that in parallel with your daily work and likely land the first degree in 2-4 years.

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Good point about evening classes. –  Matthieu M. Jan 15 '11 at 18:27
I asked about evening/weekend classes but none in my area offers that for undergrad, there are however grad courses offered in both and some of my undergrad friends are taking them :( –  Asif Jan 16 '11 at 14:41

No serious university will give you a degree after just a few weeks of study, regardless of experience. A degree represents the foundations of a subject that come from years of education. Here are the knowledge areas from the ACM's recommendations on computer science curriculum:

  • Discrete Structures
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Programming Fundamentals
  • Graphics and Visual Computing
  • Algorithms and Complexity
  • Intelligent Systems
  • Architecture and Organization
  • Information Management
  • Operating Systems
  • Social and Professional Issues
  • Net-Centric Computing
  • Software Engineering
  • Programming Languages
  • Computational Science

On top of that, an undergrad degree from some countries also include "general education" requirements; in addition to math and the natural sciences, a CS major might have to study economics, art history, and other liberal arts fields to become well-rounded.

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A degree in what?
I learned that the actual programming is the smallest part when studying Computer Science or related fields. That you have to learn along the way when studying.

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+1 Very true, at least at decent institutions. Programming paradigms often get taught in the first year at an abstract level, learning real world languages is something one is expected to do as needed. –  Orbling Jan 16 '11 at 18:44

Definitely. There are schools that for enough money will give you any type of degree you want, experience or not. They are called diploma mills, but you'd probably get just as much benefit if you designed one on your home computer and printed it out.

That said, many legitimate schools will give you course credit if you can prove competency in a particular field through tests or other means of proving your aptitude. I was able to test out of 4-5 courses when I got my degree using my work experience and or taking the final exams of the classes on technologies that I had a lot of work experience with.

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that offers degrees if you are a qualified professional

This sort of thing would get "colleges" labeled "diploma mill." You won't be able to acquire a degree from any sort of accredited college that way.

If time and money are constraints, and you really want a degree, I recommend you start with a local community college and for your first step, acquire an associates degree. Then, with the AA in hand, then look for a bachelors. In many states, once you've completed an AA in that state, the state universities have to accept you as a transfer student. In addition, many bachelors programs require you to complete them in 7 or 8 years or the first classes you've taken no longer count towards the degree (this is usually mentioned in fine print and only affects people working on PhD or taking less than half-time classes towards a bachelors).

Courses and programs at community colleges are generally much cheaper than the identical courses at 4-year public colleges. As votec programs were dropped from high schools (such as auto repair), those programs moved to community colleges, so you can find all sorts of fascinating (ooh! shiny!) courses and programs at community colleges.

Samples of ooh shiny!:
Fine woodworking
Police Academy disclaimer: this is not the police academy I went to.
Railroad sciences with the winner of the ooh shiniest! award: thermite welding.

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thanks but there is no such thing as Community college or Associate degree here. –  Asif Jan 16 '11 at 14:43

I don't have a degree and it hasn't negatively impacted my career.If you have seven years of experience, you shouldn't have a problem getting a job. Many of the commercial schools (Devry, University of Phoenix, etc.) allow you to pay to take a proficiency exam in place of a course. This will give you a jumpstart on your degree. But you're still going to have to take some courses.

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This was new to me then I saw Thomas Edison university's website as suggested by Steven A. Lowe. Do you think elearning is treated equally by employers? –  Asif Jan 16 '11 at 14:46
+1 For pointing out that once you have a certain amount of experience, the degree issue is of less relevance. –  Orbling Jan 16 '11 at 18:47

assuming you want a legit degree but just don't want to sit through years of classes about subjects you already know, there are two options:

  1. donate a huge sum of money to your local university, and ask for an honory doctorate ;-)

  2. look into "work credit" or "life experience credit" programs at universities

There are a few legit, accredited universities that offer college credit for provable/demonstrable work/life experience - not the fact that you spent 7 years coding X, but that coding X caused you to learn A, B, and C, where A, B, and C are related to core curriculum.

They're not cheap, and writing the paper to demonstrate mastery takes time and effort. IF you prefer, some such universities also offer written tests and/or oral exams in subjects (and accept standardized CLEP tests). These can shave the things you already know off of the CS curriculum fairly rapidly, and the rest can be accomplished via distance-learning classes.

the only one I am familiar with is Thomas Edison State University

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Which degree consists mainly of knowledge learnable from programming C# and ASP.NET? –  user1249 Jan 16 '11 at 8:36
thanks I looked at Thomas Edison Uni's website and found many others with those keywords, will look into each. –  Asif Jan 16 '11 at 14:49
@Thor programming real systems in the real world for real customers can force one to learn a great many things other than just programming. If nothing else, he can test out of some of the programming courses and shave semesters off of the curriculum –  Steven A. Lowe Jan 18 '11 at 2:26
I am well aware that you learn a lot of things when required to solve real life problems. I am just mentioning that to my understanding those things are rarely those in a university CS. –  user1249 Jan 18 '11 at 7:08

Look for correspondence courses conducted by distance learning universities in your region. But do keep in mind you can't do them over a few weeks of study. Set a part time study time table for the several months or years that you might need to attain the degree.

You should take this as an opportunity to fill the gaps in your knowledge.

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Thanks, this is a long route, what do you think of short term certificate courses, do they get you anywhere? –  Asif Jan 16 '11 at 14:44
See what the market needs. I wouldn't recommend doing random certificate courses and then trying your luck. If you already have clients, you shouldn't have a problem upgrading your skills. Ask them for feedback and decide what more they need from you. –  Programming Enthusiast Jan 16 '11 at 15:33

Can you get a degree based 100% on your experience? Not one worth anything in the real world. I'm sure you can find a diploma mill to give you one, but honestly there is no point as you're already employed and have experience.

If you honestly feel that you are lacking in the area of education and you wish to have some formal instruction, I would suggest approaching a college about what you're looking for. Because you do have experience, you might be able to do a 3 year program in 2 years or less. You might not have to take all the first year courses as you probably know the material.

In the end though, you will not get off with just a few weeks of study. You will have to invest both time and money if you wish to achieve a proper degree.

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Some companies specialize in purchasable degrees and diplomas over the internet.

For instance, http://www.buy-a-diploma.com/ offers a master degree diploma for $524, even without any studying.

That said, I think this is your only option as the experience you have gotten from your working life is nowhere near what is taught at the university, and I don't believe you can pick it up in a few weeks.

For instance, have a look at this introduction to Lambda Calculus: http://www.inf.fu-berlin.de/lehre/WS03/alpi/lambda.pdf. As you known some math and the usage of lambda in C# this might a good indication of what a university degree implies you capable of understanding.

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So what do you suggest? give up? –  Asif Jan 16 '11 at 14:50
@asif, depends on what you want and why. It is perfectly possible for an experienced programmer to take a degree, inexperienced programmers do it all the time, but you cannot realistically do so in a couple of weeks. Learning takes time, and most of the stuff will be new to you, but most likely also fun and challenging if you already like to learn new frameworks and paradigms. What is your nearest university? –  user1249 Jan 16 '11 at 15:09