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Ask Slashdot: How Is Online Engineering Coursework Viewed By Employers? 201

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-worth-the-paper-it's-printed-on dept.
New submitter KA.7210 writes "I am an employed mechanical engineer, having worked with the same company since graduation from college 5 years ago. I am looking to increase my credentials by taking more engineering courses, potentially towards a certificate or a full master's degree. Going to school full time is not an option, and there is only one engineering school near me that offers a program that resembles what I wish to study, and also has the courses at night. Therefore, I have begun to look at online options, and it appears there are many legitimate, recognizable schools offering advanced courses in my area of interest. My question to Slashdot readers out there is: how do employers view degrees/advanced credentials obtained online, when compared to the more typical in-person education? Does anyone have specific experience with this situation? The eventual degree itself will have no indication that it was obtained online, but simple inference will show that it was not likely I maintained my employment on the east coast while attending school in-person on the west coast. I wish to invest my time wisely, and hope that some readers out there have experience with this issue!"
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Ask Slashdot: How Is Online Engineering Coursework Viewed By Employers?

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  • Ask your boss (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Teun (17872) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:52PM (#38936157) Homepage
    Let me start pointing out I write this from a European point of view.
    Over here good educational institutions are certified and registered.

    I know from first hand experience my boss is willing to pick up the tab for further education providing he sees the advantage of it and you stay for another two years.
    It is common a new employer would pay off any remaining expenses for the course when you change job before the end of the payback period.

    In short, ask your own boss what he thinks of a particular course.

  • Once you have experience and a track record, that matters far more than what school or degree or GPA you had (the exception being ivory tower institutions where they protect their own). How those courses are looked on depends more on you than on wherever they came from.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:26PM (#38936415)

      1. Are you taking the additional classes to learn additional material because YOU want to?
      Then it does not matter how the school is viewed. You're in it for the material.

      2. Are you taking the additional classes as a "stepping stone" to an additional degree / classes that you want to take?
      Again, you're in it for the material so don't worry.

      3. Are you looking for something to build up your resume?
      Then look for what schools have the best reputations and work around their requirements. You're in it for the school name in that case.

      But don't confuse any of those items. If it HAPPENS that your choice will fit more than one category, great. But if not, then keep your focus on your primary goal.

      And to reiterate the parent post, once you have your first job your work history matters far, Far, FAR more than what courses you took (are taking) or what your GPA was (is).

      And since you've already stated that you have your first engineering job ...

  • by introp (980163) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:54PM (#38936169)

    At my last employer, where I was involved in the technical half of resume screening and candidate evaluations, online courses weren't worth very much in the early stages. The problem is that the quality of the programs varies so widely that it's best for the screener to just ignore them. Yes, there are diamonds in the rough, but you don't have enough time to go do the research, so you mentally block that part out and continue on. It's not particularly fair, but when you have 500 resumes to work through in a day, you have to come up with a fast system.

    Now, if you make it into the later rounds and it comes down to you versus someone who hasn't demonstrated that drive to better themselves and their career? Yeah, I'd take the time to go look up the online program, any graduation statistics it published, etc.

    • Mod parent up. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shandalar (1152907) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:07PM (#38936281)
      Mod parent up. As an employer at a small business, if I value a four-year bachelors degree at a university at, say, a 10, then I would value a degree of the same name obtained online as about a 2, partially because of introp's observation that the quality is all over the place and is an unknown; and partially, I admit, due to personal unfamiliarity.
      • ... then I would value a degree of the same name obtained online as about a 2, partially because of introp's observation that the quality is all over the place and is an unknown; and partially, I admit, due to personal unfamiliarity.

        Also I think it's worth mentioning that "online" is a tainted word when it comes to schooling. (Much like it is with prescriptions.) A more mainstream term known to most generations is "by correspondence". Most universities use "distance education" and offer various combinations of accessibility for students. It's not dumbed down material, and it certainly doesn't cost less. It's specialised for a non-lecture, non-classroom format.

        If you say "I got my degree online", you're asking for trouble. Say, "I got

    • 1. The piece of paper from an ABET accredited school is going to matter more than from a non-accredited school (abet.org, i think). 2. While the quality of online courses varies, so does the classroom experience. 3. After you have a couple of years of work experience under your belt, that will matter much more than a piece of paper. Your work experience, any additional activities you are engaged in, like an open source project or a java user group or something, and the type/quality of the online course wi
    • by fliptout (9217) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @04:08PM (#38937121) Homepage

      I assume you are referring to online-only institutions, but highly rated schools have online engineering programs, too.

      In many cases, there is no way to know if the degree was obtained online or not. For example, if you get a MS Electrical Engineering from Stanford by taking classes online, the degree says "Stanford", not "Stanford online" or somesuch.

      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        The course itself might list as "web course online nuclear power plant operations" or the like. But as universities if we offer a degree programme, it carries the 'full weight of a regular course' so to speak. If that wasn't the case very quickly online courses would have to disappear from universities, because we cannot be offering things which aren't seen as legitimate to our reputations and our ultimate customer base which is the general public.

        Now, if you're in the US and want to go to a online degree

  • Online engineering courses aren't going to mean squat. But if you have a degree from an accredited university, it will count in the minds of employers no matter how you obtained it.

  • by vlm (69642) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:59PM (#38936219)

    Been there, done that.

    how do employers view degrees/advanced credentials obtained online, when compared to the more typical in-person education? Does anyone have specific experience with this situation? The eventual degree itself will have no indication that it was obtained online, but simple inference will show that it was not likely I maintained my employment on the east coast while attending school in-person on the west coast

    No one cares. If you get a job, it'll be from contacts and portfolio, more or less. HR won't care as long as the checkbox is checked off and they get a transcript.

    I went to a "regional" U with multiple sub-campuses (campii?). I attended only online classes, although there was a sub-campus maybe only a half hour drive away. No, I did not commute 2 hours each way every day to the main campus. Maybe they'll get the same idea about your school?

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:38PM (#38936505)

      HR won't care as long as the checkbox is checked off and they get a transcript.

      But the hiring manager will count "PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Phoenix" at about the same level as "GED" even if HR just ticks the box for "advanced technical degree." I had a colleague get a BS from UoP at the same time I got a Masters in night school from a real university. We compared classes a lot, and I was disappointed by his classes, as I would have liked to improve some of my basic skills, DBA and programming are two things I skipped in becoming a networking guru. But the classes didn't teach much, they were more self-justifying (work for work's sake to prove you did something, rather than actually improving the person taking them).

      And yes, an online degree from a "real" university will be treated the same as the paper one in most cases, and nobody will care if you took in-person classes from UoP (if they have any, I have no idea), it'll still be UoP.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zidium (2550286)

      My advice is to attend one class and do well. Then you can truthfully say "you went to College". Then if they ask what your degree was in, say, "I majored in Computer Engineering.", which in my case is a 100% valid statement (I did study for 3 years).

      99% of the time, they *assume* I have a degree. I'll never (and have never) lied about it, because it just doesnt matter much at all, really.

      Maybe 3 out of 100 interviews, I've been asked, "Did you receive a degree?" and I just say "No, in 2003, I realized I co

      • by Cabriel (803429)

        What I'm really getting out of this is that you were turned down 97 out of 100 times in interviews because you lacked an actual degree. Is that right?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        In my capacity as someone with a real degree who occasionally reviews resumes, I blackball people who try stunts like this. The engineering profession has no use for this kind of unethical person.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:00PM (#38936223)

    So there needs to be a better way for "experienced" people to pick up new skills in faster way then going back to college for 2-4 years and some times even having to retake gen edu's + filler classes. No there should be stuff like other trades where you can go to a trade school and drop into classes that will get you the newer skills.

    Also there lack of courses at night in most colleges. Now is that engineering school a tech / trade school? so that is also a issues as HR takes a poor view of some tech schools even when they are more on point and have better class times then a older college. But on the other side I have heard on jobs paying there workers to take University of Phoenix classes. So this is a HR issue and a issues of trying to fit the old college system into today's tech word.

    Also some colleges make you buy meal plans and some time room and board now why should some who has there own place and is working have to pay for all of that as well?

    Now continuing education should not just be BA, MA, PHD, MBA, POST DOC it should be drop in classes with not makeing you retake gen edu's or have to take a load of filler classes.

    • by evanism (600676) on Monday February 06, 2012 @08:59AM (#38941115) Journal

      Spot on.

      My brother and I are 18 months apart. I took on IT and he as a carpenter.

      At 40, he has over taken me.

      I *was* on 200k+ for 10 years but couldn't handle the pressure. He runs his own biz, take his own jobs and just grinds along. Cruises. A small biz and he kills me.

      He has no degree, no BA/MA, no MBA, no PHD. I have most, plus appallingly good experience in the industry, but cant get a job...... He can spend 20k and get the best tools in the biz.

      He says he can't keep up. Can't get enough people. Turns down jobs.

      Makes me wonder why the hell I've done what I have. 40, I'm over the hill. 40, he has just started!

  • by Surt (22457)

    There's going to be a range of responses. Some will completely discount online learning, possibly even round-filing your resume for taking such a stupid course of action. Others will see a self-improvement motivated self-starter and salivate at the thought of hiring you.

    I suggest you aim to work for the second kind.

  • by Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:03PM (#38936261)

    Any sort of extra education is great, I encourage everyone to get smarter, but getting your PE stamp would do the best for your career, that's something that NO employer can disregard.

    I'm not suggesting that it's "one or the other", I'm suggesting that you use any online or offline education to get a professional credential that's recognized by states or professional societies. For the ME, it's getting your PE stamp. Like a lawyer passing the bar or a doctor passing their boards, the PE is something that no employer can ignore.

    At one equipment manufacturer that I worked for, only a couple of the engineers had their PE, and they were usually moved up to "senior engineer" or "vice-president of engineering" pretty quickly, the rest of us were kept down and encouraged not to get too uppity...

    • by Cerlyn (202990) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @03:12PM (#38936753)

      Disclaimer: For mechanical engineers, I personally think that getting a PE often is a good move.

      However since this is Slashdot, I would argue that for computer engineers this is not always true, or at least the easiest thing to do in the United States.

      While completing college, I took and passed the Engineering-In-Training state exam for Electrical Engineering. I then worked for several years with various employers, some of which had PE's above or adjacent to me in the hierarchy; others of which did not.

      The electrical engineering exam for PEs seems to be bending-over backwards to reverse the small percentage of licensed EE's relative to other disciplines. When I looked into this a year ago it was possible to take a purely computer-oriented exam without a lot of the power, electromagnetics, and other topics. The state certifying board where I currently live seemed more than willing to consider justification statements proving that work I did while not under the supervision of a PE could be credited as work experience.

      At the time I also was a member the local NSPE/state society, attending meetings with lots of other PEs, and being flooded with offers of legal and civil engineer training courses.

      But I never could get PE certification before my EIT expired. The catch was I could not find enough PEs that would be willing to sign of on me as a personal reference, largely because most felt uncomfortable with their knowledge about what I had done.

      And since there are so many exclusions to when you can use the term "Engineer" without a PE in most states, I ran out of PEs to ask.

      For Mechanical Engineers getting your PE often can be a good thing. But for Electrical Engineers and Computer Engineers especially it can be a chicken & egg problem.

      • by fliptout (9217)

        I'm a software/electrical engineer with a PE, and I took the PE exam for computer engineering. I had the same problem as you, but I was able to find three PE references. Surely you can find three references.

        In Texas, and probably in other states, you can have one reference who is not familiar with your work but can attest to your character. Plus, if people you want to use as references are not familiar with your work, take the opportunity to meet with them a few times a month for a few months to talk abo

    • The relevance of a PE is very highly industry dependent- I've been working as an electronics engineer for 21 years (Military R&D, Server Development, and Semiconductor Applications), and only worked with a PE once, and his PE was not necessary (or particularly relevant) for the work we were doing. It shows dedication, but doesn't really prove you can *do* anything. Look at the people in your work environment that you respect and have advanced at a reasonable pace. If they have PEs, it might be a good i
    • by DukeLinux (644551)
      I had a PE stamp for 18 years. When CEU's were instituted I estimated that I would have to spend $1,500 to $2,000 annually in bogus courses or seminars. For what? Most of my employers refused to put it on my business cards let alone pay for "training" so this last September I let it expire. Basically, it was worthless. My view has been that "credentials" do more to pigeon-hole you into a specific role rather than help you get promoted. Forget the test-taking nonsense and develop you interpersonal skil
  • My experience (which may have worked only for me mind you) is that employers don't give a toss about how much you know about stuff, but how flexible, adaptable and quick to learn you are.

    In the 20-so years I've worked, I've held 4 positions in fields that have absolutely nothing in common. I worked as an employee, I worked self-employed, and I have my small business on the side.

    Whenever I meet a potential employer, I am proud to say that I can learn anything quickly and become proficient on my own, and now

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:49PM (#38936585)
      I agree to a degree (no pun intended), however I have some observations.

      Getting a Masters in the same field as a Bachelors may not be worth it **unless** you work or hope to work in the area you do your research. Personally I have no regrets getting a MS Comp Sci but my employer paid for everything except parking and we were located literally next door to the university.

      Are you targeting a specific employer? For example if you wanted to work for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is Pasadena, California it may be very advantageous to work on a Masters at the neighboring university, Cal Poly Pomona. Your department may have professors affiliated or consulting with JPL, JPL interns or otherwise employs students from the university, etc.

      As an undergraduate I had the conversation about getting a Masters with a fellow Comp Sci major. I was undecided. He commented an MBA would be far more useful. I laughed and couldn't imagine doing that. Many years later I did go to business school, again next door to work (the university is well ranked) and with employer support. After many years on the job focusing exclusively on engineering and technical issues I really enjoyed learning new and different thing, understanding other parts of the organization, understanding their perspective and concerns so that I could communicate more effectively with them ... but most of all I enjoyed seeing how ignorant and misinformed I had been about business perspectives and business school. For example marketing was not about snake oil and psychological cons as my inner engineer would have expected, it was about how to conduct a survey to get real rankings of customer preferences (which may differ from self identified preferences), how to construct a mathematical model of the existing market, how to introduce a new product with new features into that market and see how the market adapts, etc. In other words how to develop an educated guess at expected market share of something new, I used to believe they just pulled such numbers out of ... the air. This is just one example of many.

      I'd recommend looking into an MBA. Its probably not at all what one expects and it probably is more valuable to scientists and engineers than more degrees in their existing fields. As you become more senior you need to interact, understand and effectively communicate with others outside of science and engineering. I think an MBA helps in this regard.
  • by Toasterboy (228574) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:13PM (#38936319)

    Business (HR specifically) doesn't give a shit about your degree. They care about a) that you have the checkbox, b) who you worked for previously and are not lying about it, and c) whether it looks like you aren't a total fuckup who will cost them. It's about risk avoidance.

    The actual team you interview with (if it wasn't an HR drone) cares that you look like you know your shit and can carry your weight.

    Engineering and especially computer degrees are such a total crapshoot on the skills you get in a candidate, that they don't know how to weigh your degree. Even degrees from badass schools sometimes come with folks who still can't code their way out of a wet paper bag. Besides, most of that senior level theory stuff in the degree won't help you much in a real world job until the late stages of your career, and will piss off your peers who don't have the same background, and definitely piss off management, who barely understands what a linked list is.

    The quality of in person versus remote will depend on your learning style, and whether you actually would make use of those in-person office hours anyway.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      but now all the CS jobs at good companies are requiring a masters or phd... fuck

    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

      I defy you to find any corporate-level management outside of Google and Facebook who can pull off fizz-buzz, let alone explain what a linked list is. Not even "barely".

  • Ultimately, it matters more what you can do. Education, past job experience, etc, everything on a resume is nothing more than an indication of what you can do. Prospective employers will look at it and think, "can this person do the job I want done?" They don't actually care about your school (unless they wen't to a weird frat).

    I looked at four resumes in the last week, and I didn't look at education for any of them. I can't even remember if they listed it. But one of them had a lot of job experience doin
  • In my mind, the fact that you were able to maintain employment as an engineer AND work towards a degree at the same time more than outweighs the downside of an online education.

    What are the downsides?

    * Some lab-work and project-work simply cannot be done online.
    * While it's critical to know how to collaborate totally online and over the phone, it's also critical to collaborate in a face-to-face situation. I want evidence any college graduate can do both well.

    Since you are already working in the field, that

  • Stupid Companies: Will hold it against you because it challenges the obsolete Ivory Tower mindset. You don't want to work for that place anyway.

    Smart Companies: Will value it/you because not only do you already have a degree, and additionally you pushed yourself to get yet another one, even though most people just rest on their laurels at that point.

    Just stay out of the mind trap where you think that you should be paid more JUST because you have an additional degree. Using the knowledge acquired from that a

  • If we were specifically looking for someone with a master's or a particular certification, we would almost certainly go with an applicant who got their degree/cert from a brick and mortar school over the person with the online credentials (all other qualifications being the same). On the other hand, if we were looking for someone with a bachelor's and one applicant had a master's from an online degree, they would probably be in the forefront. Of course, they probably wouldn't be compensated beyond having
  • If you want to study subject X because you are curious about X and want to learn more about X, then it will be valuable to you.

    If you want another piece of paper to impress people who care about such things...may or may not be valuable.

  • when taking the online tests, if you didn't know the answer, you could cut and paste the question into google, and the results page was full of sites that would immediately sell you the answer for about a buck.
  • by ciurana (2603) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:36PM (#38936481) Homepage Journal

    Howdy.

    I'm a VP of technology for several companies, and have been in a position to hire software, network, and system engineers since at least 1997. In all honesty, neither I, nor any of the people who've reported to me, ever paid much attention about where someone went to school, what their actual degree was, or whether they had earned some honor -- as long as the guy could deliver. From certs to prestigious schools, we never really bothered. Eventually I found out that I had a couple of MIT grads and at least one Stanford kid. I also had a pile of people whose degrees were awarded by foreign universities (including my own) and really... nobody really cares.

    If you have the skills and you have the work experience, then you should be fine.

    Right now I sit on the tech board for a couple of companies in Europe and the US, and I'm driving the technology at a very large social network with dev operations in the UK and Russia. I do notice that Europeans pay more attention to "schooling" and "degrees" and "titles" than US companies do, but not by much. My former employers and clients include some of the largest companies in Silicon Valley, rest of the US, Europe, Japan, and Mexico. The only occasions when I had to produce some kind of official proof of education were:

    * When getting my US labor certification (1991... long time ago...), and when getting my Russian labor certification (last year) -- bureaucrats just love the fsck-ng paperwork
    * When applying for a US federal job -- even then, they clarified that all they care about is whether I completed the degree or whether it was accredited, the date, and some accreditation equivalence since my degrees are from foreign institutions

    Pro Tip: see if your employer will pitch in for part or whole course. Tech departments have educational budgets ranging from a couple of hundred dollars/year for books per employee, to full scholarships. I've auth'd books, on-line courses, conferences, PIM, and university courses for my peeps many times in the past. Check that out with your supervisor or with HR. A lot of people don't realize the option might be there -- and, if others in your group aren't taking advantage of it, your manager may be amiable to extend your budget a bit more (since money she doesn't spend is money she may have to cut next year).

    So -- get your education wherever you can as long as they are legit, kick some butt, take names, and good luck in your career advancement!

    Cheers!

    • This comment is spot-on. Generally no one really cares about degrees or qualifications except that you have some. An advanced degree basically means you have demonstrated persistence, little more. If your job requires some particular arcane knowledge (rare), then you employer should provide the training. (I know, many cheapskates do not.)

      What really matters is "can you deliver the needed results?" Make that happen however you can.
    • by udippel (562132) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @08:21PM (#38938335)

      While this is insightful, to say the least, I doubt if it can be generalised for 'engineering'. I doubt this very much.
      Whenever I was involved in employing electrical engineers, I'd surely look very closely at the formal qualification. If I were in civil engineering, I would use a microscope before I allowed anyone to 'deliver' - as you put it - at building a bridge for my company, for example.
      And the submitter states he is a mechanical engineer.

      • by ciurana (2603)

        I agree with the spirit of what you say, perhaps disagree a bit on the details.

        When hiring a civil or mechanical engineer I'd certainly put the guy through the paces (I did that when I was in charge of building industrial robots, early 2000s) to ensure that he or she doesn't kill someone by swinging a fingerboard to far, too fast, or too close to where people might be, and so on. Or cause an explosion. Or... you get the idea.

        You wouldn't let a civil or mechanical junior engineer design a bridge or industr

  • by gnalre (323830) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:36PM (#38936485)

    I can only talk from what I have seen and done, but in the UK we have a online university called the Open university which is generally well regarded. That is not to say that all employers will provide the same respect as say a MSc from Oxford or Cambridge(Actually a side point, a MSc from Oxford or Cambridge is generally worthless since they will award you one for just staying alive after your BSc), but a lot of managers I know got their MBA's from the Open University so they know its value.

    Generally most qualifications especially technical ones really show nothing about once you left university Any attempt to continue your education and extend your skills and knowledge should be valued by your present and future employer. If not you are working for the wrong company.

    • by fartrader (323244)

      The ou is extremely well regarded. In computer science research for example they are considered at least as equals with traditional brick and mortar institutions. ...and no, I have no affiliation with them :)

  • by Falrick (528) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:50PM (#38936589) Homepage
    There are online courses, such as MIT's open courseware, and then there are online courses, such as UIUC's master of computer science [uillinois.edu]. For courses that you take via Open Courseware, Kahn Academy or similar programs, I doubt your current or future employer will think much of it. For courses that you took towards a masters degree from an accredited brick-and-mortar university, on the other hand, should carry the same weight as if you attended them in person. Why? Because you are watching the same lecture that students physically present are watching.

    I've been working towards my masters of science in computer science degree since 2007 (one class at a time takes forever). I started taking classes remotely at a remote television site at my employer. I later left that employer and got a job somewhere that didn't have access to those remote television sites, so I started taking the classes online. Since I started, I'm now at my third company, and all three have been more than willing to pay for my courses. In fact, that's probably the most telling point for whether anyone is going to take your courses seriously: is your company willing to pay for the classes. My advice is only take classes from a public or private university with a real physical campus, and only universities you would consider attending in person if you lived nearby.

    Now, having taken courses remotely for several years, let me forewarn you about online learning:
    • -- Online classes are harder than in-person classes. "But you said it's the same class that other students are taking in person!" Yup, it is. But those students have the ability to ask a question in lecture. They get to be in the room as it's happening and can look at all the boards the prof is using. When you watch it online, you watch what the video-taper thought was most important. I can't tell you the number of times I've been staring at a slide when the prof says something like "I'm pointing at the most important aspect of this class. If you don't understand this, you won't do well. Now this other thing, don't worry about that." "Wait!" I scream at my monitor. "What are you pointing at!"
    • -- You get less attention than on-campus students. In the nine classes I've taken, I've had maybe 6 homeworks/exams returned to me. Most of those were from the same class. A guy I worked with got his MSEE from a California state school taking all courses online, and he always got his exams back, so it probably just depends on the university you attend.
    • -- Some classes will still insist on group projects. Yup, group projects suck, but they suck even more when you have no way of meeting the other students in your class. Online students are also typically students that have other lives, which is why they are taking classes online! Coordinating your schedule with theirs is challenging, as is the process of vetting a good project partner.
    • -- You may be required to physically show up to present a project. When I first started I had to take a prerequisite class that had a lab; a lab I had to drive 1 1/2 hours to attend in person, which wasn't so bad, but it would be three hours from where I live now. Take prerequisites from somewhere else if this isn't an option. My co-worker had to fly to California to take an exam. Both of these are the exception, not the rule, but be prepared for that possibility

    Now going online also puts you in the driver's seat when it comes to choosing your institution. You get to pick from many more universities than are likely to be proximate to where you live. You can watch lectures multiple times, rewind to the part where the prof started speaking gibberish and watch it until you understand what the heck he's talking about. You can also choose a university where the courses are taught by professors and not TAs. I've had all of my classes taught by the professor. If you choose to pursue a degree either in person or online, good luck!

    • by locokamil (850008)

      I'm at the point in my career (five years in technology at a large investment bank) where I kind of need to be getting another degree to move on and up. The problem is that I messed up my undergrad degree from a very good university to such a degree that I can't see any responsible university worth its salt letting me into its online masters program.

      Is there any way to "rehab" your educational credentials so that you can get into a masters program?

      • by w_dragon (1802458)
        If you've been working for at least 5 years your undergrad marks don't matter so much for grad school. If you can get a couple of work references you may find that getting in is possible, despite your undergrad situation (assuming you graduated at all, of course)
        • by locokamil (850008)

          Oh, I graduated. Actually, the resume looks pretty awesome...until you start asking questions. That's when you start noticing that sickly-sweet smell of something "off" just beneath the surface, out of sight.

          These work references...how does one go about getting them? Would they be managers? Sympathetic co-workers?

  • Although I do my academic work in my personal life, rather than my employed life, so far, it seems to be well received by my employer's senior management (FTSE 100 company)— a couple regularly ask me for the papers I have written, and ask questions which indicate that they have at least skimmed the contents. They have been very supportive indeed, even to the extent of helping me revise my role, to enable me to work four days a week, so I can spend a day doing my own academic work.

    That being said, I

  • Did you do your online studies from India/The Philippines/Russia/China/anywhere other rhan the U.S.?
    Great! You can start as soon as your H1B paperwork is processed.
  • Join ASME and take advantage of their course offerings in your specialization (or in a field that interests you). That impresses me more than someone just wanting to put more letters after their name.
  • by billybob_jcv (967047) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @03:15PM (#38936767)

    ...the name of the school on the diploma doesn't really matter for technical positions. It's much more about the contacts you can make from the interaction with other students at the school or what contacts the instructors have because they also do consulting work on the side.

    Actually, I say screw the master's degree in Engineering. If you want to get somewhere, get an MBA. It will be completely useless piece of paper, but it's how you show employers that an Engineer can also be a Manager.

    • by RandCraw (1047302)

      No. Large or academically motivated tech employers strongly prefer degrees from bigger name schools. There is no comparing the employment prospects of someone from MIT vs some low brow state school. Huge difference, fair or not.

      Engineering master's are essential for advancement to technical project management. If the degree follows a few years of commercial experience, they're worth more on the floor than a PhD, since the latter targets research and not production.

      An MBA who lacks engineering chops is u

  • ...about the intelligence of the average HR department:

    ...simple inference will show that it was not likely I maintained my employment on the east coast while attending school in-person on the west coast.

  • I encourage you to pursue the online coursework, whether or not you seek a certificate or a degree, if you enjoy the coursework.

    I spent five calendar years taking online courses for an MS in a technology field, because I was unwilling to sacrifice time at work for in-person classes. My team at work - colleagues and supervisory staff - respected the discipline required to attend and successfully complete online courses (4.0), and my salary bump after the degree was granted was significant.

    As long as t
  • If Management is all pretentious pricks from Ivy league schools, then nothing but an Ivy league school has any value. Therefore Online Engineering courses have negative value to them, maybe even some "icky" factor as well.

    If the place you work at requires a BA or BS degree for the receptionist position, They will see ZERO value in any online learning, or any education in general that did not have a high dollar amount attached to it.

  • Unless they look into the course codes for your transcript, how are the employers even going to know whether a course offered by an accredited school was held in a "traditional" setting or online? Why would an employer care so long as it's a certified program of study with proper exams and coursework?

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson

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