I have been an active professional software developer (mostly utilizing .NET) for the past five years and, without being too full of myself, I would say I'm a very competent developer. I stay intimately up to date with the latest tools, the industry, and modern standards/practices. I work for a fairly high-level IT company and I swing just fine with the rest of them. I am even up to date on the latest team dynamic methodologies and feel like I have good leadership/management/people skills.
However, I never got my degree. I learned and am learning everything I know on my own from hundreds of books and experiences. I ran my own software company for a while until it took a big hit from the economy a year or so ago. It took a LONG time and A LOT of applications, but I finally found the job I have now.
Like an idiot I dropped out of college to forgo paying more tuition and I started my company and as life goes, I now wish I had stayed and got the degree. I have student loans that are in default and I'm working my hind end off to pay off those debts now that I am making a fair amount of money again.
I have hit too many ceilings without this degree. For one, I will never make as much as someone with the same level of knowledge and experience, but also has a degree. Also, the amount of effort it took to get a job in the industry without a degree was exhausting and depressing.
Now I am wondering what the best way for me to go about getting my degree is?
- Are there online schools that would offer this degree?
- Would an online school even be a good choice?
- Would my knowledge and experience in the industry help me finish schooling faster/cheaper?
- Have any of you ever found yourself in a similar position? If so, how did you overcome all the barriers put in front of you?
- Have any of you ever had student loans in default and tried to go back to school later? How did you deal with that and how did it affect you?