I half knew a guy who went for a semester to the actual campus. He was thrilled with the quality of the classes, but ended up dropping out due to living conditions. Apparently his “Only 20 minute walk from campus!” apartment ended up being in the middle of Latin King territory, and he couldn’t get financial aid for anything better.
I attended DeVry, graduated Magna Cum in 98 with a BS in CIS. This was before they offered online courses so YMMV.
DeVry was a good fit for me at that time, I was in my mid-20s and I was looking for a way to get my degree within a reasonable amount of time. DeVry’s 3-year program met that need. Overall, I think it was a good decision. I would not be where I am today without a college education and DeVry provided that in a manner that matched what I was looking for.
3-year program - As I mentioned above, I was interested in completing a degree quickly and they deliver. Of course the down-side to that is that you are taking a high credit load for 3 years without much breaks. If you can do that, it works out great.
Pre-set curriculum - This can be a pro or con. For me, I liked the idea of knowing exactly what courses I would take in my next tri-mester and not having to worry about scheduling the classes, getting closed out of needed classes, and just generally managing my academic schedule. I was married at the time and working FT - the course schedule was going to be hard enough, I didn’t want to have to deal with all the admin as well.
Technical Courses - I found the CIS specific courses to be very good quality with very knowledgeable professors. Keep in mind this was a CIS degree, not CS so there are differences in the focus of the courses. A CS graduate will hold a different opinion on the quality of the classes I’m sure.
Placement: At the time, DeVry had a great track record of placing graduates. All but 3 of my graduating class in CIS had offers before graduation. Starting salary varied and mostly was dependent upon GPA (higher GPAs got better money!) I was 1 of the 3 who had not accepted an offer prior to graduation but that was because I was focused on jobs in NYC. I had multiple requests for interviews and offers with local companies but I was looking to relocate. Within a week of graduation, I had accepted an offer with a financial services firm in NYC.
Expensive - DeVry is not cheap, not by a long shot. If anything, this is my only big regret. Although getting my degree was worth it in personal accomplishment and the career opportunities it opened up for me, it is hard to swallow how much that education costs.
College Experience - DeVry does not provide that typical college experience that you will find on most mainstream campuses. For me, that was a non-issue. For others, they may find the lack of “college life” social events, etc., to be a factor.
Non-Technical Courses - I found most of the non-technical courses to be average at the best. DeVry’s strength is their technical curriculum, the humanities, etc., classes were (IMHO) not as good.
Your college advertised on TV! - Those damn commercials, enough said.
Placement: Yea, I listed it as a Pro above. Back in 98 a jobs in the IT field were tossed at your feet, mostly for very good money. This ain’t 1998 anymore. Granted, it is also not 2000-2003 anymore either and good jobs are there. Just evaluate their placement stats with a skeptical eye and remember that that job market fluctuates. What maybe strong placement numbers and salary today may not exist in 3 years. Don’t believe them when they say they offer placement services for life - they don’t. They bank on being able to market placing graduates into jobs. Alumni who are looking for assistance are not a priority.
One final thought - regardless of where you go, one thing to keep in mind is that a college education is an accomplishment that no one can ever take away from you.
Another “Con” to Devry: In my experience, businesses sometimes tend to look down on degrees from these types of programs as compared to traditional colleges. I’m not saying it’s fair, but I work for a large firm that hires a lot of computer programmers and IT people, and I guarantee that if it comes down to someone with with a degree from DeVry and one from State U., all else being equal, the person from the traditional program will get the job.
It could be that DeVry graduates get lumped in with graduates from commercial diploma mills. I have my own rants about graduates from Remington College, for instance.
Do you have a DeVry campus locally? I somewhat agree with the sentiment but I also know that locally DeVry has a very strong reputation with businesses for IT placement. I have never encountered this attitude locally but when searching in NYC I did have to work to dispel the notion. (Common question I got was - DeVry offers BS degrees? I thought they were just a trade-school!) Honestly, I blame it more on the damn television advertising than any other factor.
One other factor is the type of IT job and the regional business market. Computer programmers tend to get lumped into one group. However, some computer programming jobs are more appropriate for degrees in Computer Science and some are more appropriate for Computer Information Systems graduates. I think a CIS graduate would struggle in a traditional CS software development role (at least initially, right out of college). However, a CIS graduate would be just fine in a typical business systems development role. YMMV of course.
No, I don’t have any experience with DeVry graduates, and we don’t have a campus locally. I am certain, though, that within my company, DeVry graduates are held in less regard than graduates from traditional colleges, which is probably more of an emotional decision than a logical one. You may have a point about the television advertising. This may be why DeVry may be lumped in with all the other mills.
(My favorite ad here is one that shows a couple of guys playing a lame video game in what looks like a living room. One says to the other, “Isn’t it great having a job in video game design?” You can imagine the hoots from our programmers.)
I didn’t realize DeVry advertised on TV, but now that it’s been brought up, I do seem to recall seeing the commercial with the two guys playing video games and that looks like sleazy tech school diploma mill to me, too. Plus, DeVry is expensive, as has been pointed out.
I’m looking at effecting a major life & career change, I travel between CO & CA (my home base) a lot and definitely want a decent online school, with a regular curriculum. I can’t see being able to physically attend classes on a campus.
I’m interested in Network Admin, and want to avoid being the company’s computer bitch. I’m no programmer, but love working with computers anyway. I’m also interested in network security. That seems like an interesting field which certainly isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
Any other suggestions for schools which could help me with a similar degree program?
Again, I’m going by my own experience in the industry so YMMV, but hard core IT people in our area are more often chosen based on experience and certifications than by where they went to school. This poses the question, of course, of how you get the experience in the first place. What I’ve seen from looking at resumes is that someone will get a low level job with a company and gather experience from sheer force of will; e.g., volunteering for jobs, suggesting and implementing changes, or teaching themselves. They in turn leverage this experience for the next job, and so on. Certifications (such as Cisco) can be tough, but the ideal situation is finding a place that will pay for the training. The trick is to find a place that won’t force you into a niche where you have to do the same job over and over again. Saying that you upgraded 2000 computers to Vista isn’t as impressive as saying that you supported a small office network, implemented a web server, and set up a simple Access database from skills you learned on your own.
I’ve seen my share of IT people with engineering degrees, but I’d say this doesn’t apply the the vast majority. Again with the caveat that this is based on my experience, the problem with using a degree from Devry or Remington or Phoenix or wherever to get your foot in the door, is that we can’t be sure of any consistent experience. Your training may have been excellent, but it may have not. It’s a crap shoot. In fact, several hires we’ve had in the past from one of these mills have been disastrous, apparently because they got their degree merely by being on the roles. It would be a shame that you’d automatically be grouped with them.
Thanks for replying PoorYorick. I was just emailing a friend back east who works for the government, and does budgeting for network people. The other school I’m looking at is Kaplan, and she said they’re fairly well respected, at least around her (DC area). It’s also cheaper.
I am looking at working for the government eventually, and hope the degree would count for a lot as far as getting my foot in the door. I don’t have the experience, but it sounds like the training is good, and I’m not opposed to moving back east to an area where the name Kaplan is accepted.
Complete waste of money. I started an online Business Mgmt program there several years back. 'Was doing ok until it came time for final exams. The idiotic software they use just flat never worked. I tried on 5-6 different PC’s and ran into so many problems it was ridiculous (and I’m an MCSE). The tests would freeze after completing 75% and I would be forced to start again. This happened so many times I finally gave up. They offered proctored tests on campus as an alternative, but I just couldn’t fit them in with work, family, etc.
It took me several months and complaints all the way up to their Board of Directors to get my money back. Never again.
One thing to consider is tradtional state schools. Many state schools these days have adult/non-tradtional online degree programs. They are typically considered a step below a traditional four year education (say a B.S of Comp Sci at U of [Colorado/California/Washington/Whatever]) but are thought of a bit higher than pure tech/vocational schools like Devry. They are often cheaper too.
They do have a vocational slant to things as opposed to academic and the degree will usually be in Computer Information technology rather than Comp Sci, so people can tell the difference if ya try to bluff it.
(Hmm a quick check online it seems that many have only master’s or simlple cert. programs, and not as many bachelor’s or associaties as I remember.)
Regis does seem to offer a bachelor’s. And for people who are familiar with it (pretty much the Colorado area) it would carry more prestige than Devry I would think. But I don’t know how many people around the country would know that it is decent school and not a diploma mill though.
Wow, Regis is nearly 200 dollars more per credit hour for the online classes than I pay at my Local university. Almost 100 a credit hour more for in class.
Looks like if I wanted to get an MS in CIS, I would have to pay 600 dollars per credit hour for the online version. (21k for the whole program just in tuition fees, assuming no increase or other fees).
Ouch. Could you do an MBA with an emphasis in Information Technology? Prolly not what you’re looking for, but it looks like only $395/hr, which includes books. Another reason I’m liking Kaplan. Books are expensive!
I did talk about this with the Kaplan counselor. At least, i asked about operating systems because I use Mac. At some point, I’ll need Windows for some Windows admin courses, but that wouldn’t be for a term or two or three down the line, by which time hopefully I’ll have a newer model Mac which runs Windows. I’ll need to run Linux too, but that’s a free download. Not sure about Unix. As far as specific applications, just Office, which I have.
Good question though, and something I need to keep in mind.
At Kaplan at least, the tuition is supposed to include books and materials. I’ll check & see what that means.