AS in Networking/IT or Programming

Hello Gang!

After cooking professionally for the last 6 years of my life, both my salary and my body have decided it might be a better idea to pursue other passions. I'm 25 and heading into the wonderful world of technology. I've always enjoyed the field, tinkering along the way. My desire is to obtain a two year degree, to obtain some semblance of a job, and then complete my four year degree after obtaining a job in an IT related field in one of the major cities in my state.

I enjoy both "sides" of the IT field - hardware and software - and I'm having an internal debate over which "side" to get my two year in. I figure as a married man, who's wife has some health issues, that being able to support us is one of my main priorities, so I should allow that to effect my decision for my two year degree.

But I'm having quite the internal bout - think DBZ style - about which degree will provide the ability for these few key things:

A: Better pay. Currently I make rubbish, 9.25/hr, so I think this is available for both.
B. An actual job, part time or full time.
C. Long-term benefits for my career in the field.

So I beseech thee, oh mighty and employed TechTekkers,

What should I do?

(Note: I enjoy both sides of the field. Genuinely. So "What do you enjoy more?" is not a helpful question here. :))

If you like both equally and could do them both as a career then flip a coin. You can make just as much in either type of job networking or programming depending on what route you go down on either.

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I'm wondering here, which AS degree will be able to provide a job more easily.
A,B,C, are the chief considerations. :)

Pay will differ from job to job within each area of work. There are lots of high paying jobs in both areas of IT.

What kind of networking do you like? same with programming?

Honestly... do some research in your area. Where I live there are both programming and networking jobs. Arguably there are more entry/mid level programming jobs in my mediate area but there are a lot of long term higher level networking jobs.

but it differs from area to area, you should do a little research. The area im now working in/going to work in means I have to work out of town until i have some experience, because there's less entry level jobs in it, but there are a lot of experienced job that i can come back to after a year or two.

As for C. Thats probably more dependant on company or who you work for.

Its also worth noting (at least here in the UK) you dont need to get a job in the degree you earned. And if you have experience in something not related to your degree (say you do networking but programming on the side) there's nothing stopping you getting a programming degree. So really imo neither choice is going to be the wrong choice.

Well you are looking at Information Technology AS degree if you want both. Computer Engineering for Programming (Software), and then Computer Science (Hardware). I did go through a private college, that is actually in a lot of trouble at the moment for their other degrees, but the IT program was really well rounded. Pay is nice for IT too starting out. Just as a contractor I earn 17 bucks an hour. 23 if I was hired by the company. Something else I noticed working in this field. Getting your foot in the door, might just be through contracting work. I might be lucky enough to be hired full time, and man the difference between working retail and actually doing IT feels amazing.

Programmers can sometimes earn as much as 60k two years down the road. Computer Science is used mostly for research, but still with programming involved. That's my take and advice.

I got my AS degree in "Computer Information Systems" but the place I did my studies at had three seperate tracks, which were Programming, General Computer, and Networking. I did the networking track and currently work as a Systems Design Specialist (basically a Network Engineer).

My job has it's ups and downs, but in general isn't the most terrible job I've had. I am coming up on six years there, after all. I don't make a huge amount of money, but I think that is due to the place that I work and the location that I am in and my employer in general. I have seen jobs on doing what I am doing that would double my salary, but I am not in a position that I could move easily (married with kids).

I can say that there are times that I regret not learning more programming and I am trying to find a balance in keeping up with the networking world, getting my job done, learning programming now, and not going insane.

So if you have the opportunity, learn both, because I can say that programming is certainly something that is holding me back a little from advancing my career in networking. Also, with SDN (Software Defined Networking) gaining momentum, it would be a huge asset to have on your resume.

Hope this helps.

Ryokeen, I think it's hard to say which would provide you a job more easily without knowing the market for your area. I'll keep my examples on the programming side... Here in the Minneapolis (MN, USA) area .NET is king. In Atlanta (GA, USA) Java is king. I'm not saying you can't find job for either in either location... just some those are in demand more in those areas.

I was in similar shoes as you about 6 years ago. I was married, had a baby on the way, and I was working a very intense manual labor job that had shitty hours and no benefits. I chose an AAS degree over a BS degree just because I wanted in/out of school as quick as possible so I could find a better job as quick as possible. I choose an AAS in 'programming' because it sounded fun, and looked like I could make more money more easily over other IT fields (keep in mind this was with me job searching various job sites, and could have very well been severely inaccurate)

When I was in high-school my goal was at some point in life be making $45k USD/year. I figured that'd be plenty for me, and didn't expect to ever make that much realistically. Now I've been working at my current job for 3.5 years, programming for about 2'ish of those years, and I'm making WAY more than that. Most of the other developers (.NET) who I work with make double my '45k', and a few who make triple. This is all .NET web development... MVC .net