The benefits of an associate’s degree in computer science

PIT-AssociateDegree_IMAGE-0421Article Written by: Magaly Olivero

Earning an associate’s degree in computer science can provide the foundation for expanding your educational credentials and landing a dream job.

An associate’s degree program allows you to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to join the workforce or pursue a more advanced educational degree. Earning an associate’s degree is a great way to jumpstart your career and improve your earning potential over a lifetime. Associate’s degrees are awarded at junior colleges, community colleges, vocational schools and technical colleges.

Consider these four reasons to purse an associate’s degree in computer science.

Explore career options
If you’re not ready to make a commitment to a four-year bachelor’s degree program or haven’t settled on a specific career path, then pursuing an associate’s degree might be an ideal way to explore your options. Working toward an associate’s degree may also allow you to complete your general educational requirements while you consider the direction you want your career to take. You’ll be able to explore career options with faculty who are knowledgeable about their industries.

Stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree
With an associate’s degree, you have the flexibility to transfer the credits you earned to a four-year bachelor’s degree program, either right after graduation or later on in your career. Many associate’s degree programs include the general educational requirements needed in a bachelor’s degree program. Most associate’s degree programs involve 60 credits and can be completed in two years of full-time study. Tuition for an associate’s degree typically cost less than a four-year degree.

Enter the workforce
An associate’s degree prepares you for immediate career opportunities in the field of your choice right after graduation. Many associate’s degree programs offer a combination of coursework and hands-on experience so you can develop the skills, knowledge and confidence required to enter the workforce. Once you’ve landed a job, you may consider whether you want to pursue a bachelor’s degree part-time.

Earning power
Graduates of associate’s degree programs typically earn more than those who hold lower degree certifications or high school diplomas. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people holding an associate’s degree in 2014 had a median weekly salary of $761 – that’s $93 more than a high school graduate and $273 more than someone who didn’t graduate from high school. Those wages can add up to a significant amount of money during the course of a professional career.

 

A place to develop core tech skills

PIT-EssentialCourses_IMAGE-0421 Article Written by: Jennifer Nelson

Thinking about developing apps, writing code and getting in on the ground floor of a software engineering start up? A two-year computer science degree from the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology is the ticket.

Students have the sort of hands-on experience with core courses like CSS, JavaScript, JavaScript Frameworks and Ruby on Rails, to separate themselves from the competition. “Our graduates write code and can hit the ground running better than students who left a 4-year degree program,” said Professor Abbas Abdulmalik, Computer Science Program Manager at PIT.

They become computer programmers, mobile app developers, systems analysts and design specialists and find jobs in many, different industries. There is hardly a sector today in which technology has not been playing larger role. That includes even manufacturing, whose machinery runs more efficiently because of innovations in software.

The state-of-the-art hardware and software used in class enable students to learn on exactly what leading companies are working with. That makes them valuable to the IT industry from the start.

One complaint Abdulmalik hears from the real world is that no one knows how to code. “Our students know how to code,” he said.

A detailed, well-rounded education

The Computer Science degree program at PIT backloads tech courses early in the first semester so students develop the skills they need. They get a feel for what they will be working on in the real world almost from the beginning.

What’s more, employers continually say that new hires often don’t communicate well or know how to write reports and submit presentations once they land a job. Those are skills a PIT degree focuses on, as well. More and more employers desire not only tech-savvy talent, but holistic thinkers, problem-solvers and those adept at communicating well. Humanities courses like Composition 1 and 2 cover those bases.

The “sexy” words in computer science programs, the types of courses that get everyone excited about are probably Ruby on Rails, jQuery and AngularJS right now. “This is what employers look for, tools that allow new hires to quickly develop reliable code,” says Abdulmalik. “They can write code from scratch, but frameworks are important tools that help you get things done quickly. These classes are very popular picks.

Workers who can contribute

Abdulmalik says in the past some engineering firms were willing to hire graduates who lacked the skills and knowledge to contribute fully early on but showed great potential. The companies gave these young professionals time to develop. But given the competitiveness in the business world today, that is increasingly less possible.

Start-ups, small- and mid-sized companies do not have the luxury of waiting for their employees to learn fundamental skills on the job. They need workers who can contribute quickly.

With a computer science tech degree from PIT, students are fully ready to do outstanding work. They have theoretical and practical knowledge to work for a wide range of technology companies and other organizations.

Students also have a better background than many other students to succeed at a four-year degree program. Many PIT graduates are so well prepared that they opt to continue their education, earning bachelor’s degrees and even beyond.

Instructors at PIT come from real world tech backgrounds or hold positions in the IT field. They possess a keen sense of the skills that many organizations are seeking. They can also speak in-depth about common work issues in IT. PIT instructors care about students’ success.
PIT has the right combination of resources to help any graduate achieve their career goals.

My Life at PIT by Abimbola

Abimbola OlatonaWritten by: Abimbola Olatona (15Olaton8842@PIT.edu)

I choose Pennsylvania Institute of Technology [P.I.T.] because I became inspired by a friend who graduated from the Practical Nursing program at P.I.T., and through the encouragement of love ones that believed in me. Feeling that I have the potential to become great in life gave me the courage to register in P.I.T.’s Allied Health Practical Nursing program. My goal is to become a practical nurse. I knew furthering my education as a full-time worker and a mother of three little children was going to be very challenging. It was a long night for me before the morning of my first day at school. I couldn’t sleep most of the night; however, I was excited in looking forward to achieve what the day had in store for me. I had to start the day by getting the children ready for school and dropping them off at their schools before coming back home to prepare myself for my school day. My first day at P.I.T. as a student was a happy moment in my life. I felt fulfilled and encouraged with the warmness of the class atmosphere. My first class was English 110, and the teacher was very warm and welcoming with an assuring look on her face that she will be there to help us achieve our goals. We were asked to introduce ourselves to one another after our teacher formally introduced herself to the class. Before the class ended that day we all are comfortable and felt very familiar with one another. Some students exchanged contacts and bonded relationships. Despite all of the stress and challenges in combining work, family and academics, I still try as much as possible to spend time with my family. I leave school around 1.00 pm every school day to pick up my children and then come home to do chores. I get back home by 3.30pm to cook dinner. After that, I study and complete my school work. Sometimes I finish late at night just to make sure everything is set for the following day. I will be focusing my energy into studying and being successful for my future and be happy to face these challenges because I believe it is for a better future.

A Day in the Life of PIT by Rugiatu Kamara

Rugiatu KamaraWritten By; Rugiatu Kamara

First semester of college can be an exciting, and also a confusing time. I was nervous before school started because everyone told me that classes are extremely hard and very competitive. January 20, 2015, was my first day at P.I.T. As I was going through my first semester, I realized that there was a big difference between my studies at P.I.T. and those at Delaware County Community College (DCCC). At P.I.T., not only did I get to study in small classrooms with few students, but I was able to study with students that were very determined and interesting. Furthermore, the environment of the school is very nice and quiet. The other difference I noticed is the parking lot. It is not crowded like the one at DCCC. P.I.T.’s parking lot and the classrooms are very close; students don’t need to walk a long distance. The smell and fresh air coming from the trees, makes me fall in love with the college every day. Moreover, all the teachers at P.I.T. are very friendly and encouraging. They are always ready to answer any question you ask them. Tutors are always available to help students with their school work. Computer rooms are opened to all students; it is not crowed or noisy. In conclusion, my experience in my first semester at P.I.T. is enjoyable. I will definitely recommend it to any of my friends or family members that are ready to pursue their education in other to get a degree and have a better life.

The End is Near!

after PITThe end of the semester, of course! For those who are all ready to graduate and start the rest of your life with a new career, congratulations! For those who still have a couple years, try not to stress about it and keep up the good work.

By the time the new semester starts, you’ll feel as if you’ve been at P.I.T for decades. But if you think about it, these semesters actually go by pretty fast. I can remember when I first started here in August – or September, I can’t really remember – but I thought that it would take forever to finish out my first year. Luckily it flew by! Though I may not be starting another year at P.I.T, I am most certainly grateful for the time I spent here and all the things I learned in classes and about myself.

Just remember to never quit! It may seem like it’s taking a long time to achieve your goals, but once you concentrate on what you really want out of life and your education, there is no time in the world that could stop you and hold you back!

Resume writing

I am certainly not the person you go to if you need help writing your resume because chances are I’ll tell you the wrong thing. Luckily, there is hope for all of us.

Today for my Business Communications class I have a mock interview – not too happy about it either -and we were told to have a cover letter, resume, and thank you letter. Now, I dreaded this because I had no idea how to write any of those things. I put it off and put it off until last night while I was watching “Sleeping Beauty,” it dawned on me that I still had to get that done. So I hopped onto Google and searched for examples of resumes and cover letters. Still, I was confused and probably too focused on the classic Disney movie, but I carried on with my search.resume panic

Finally, I came across a website called Resumehelp.com. All you have to do is choose what type of template you want, fill out the questions and voila, you got yourself a resume! It even gives you starting sentences and phrases to get your mind on a roll thinking about what else you could include about yourself. You can also do your cover letters and thank you letters on this website as well.

Thankfully, I am a dedicated advocate of the Google search, otherwise I would be a sitting duck right about now, complaining to you all about how I don’t have a hope in hell. I strongly advise checking out this website if you are struggling in the resume writing department, it definitely saved me time and a panic attack!

 Editor’s Note: Be sure you work with your Student Services Career Counselors Heather DiLalla in Media (Hdilalla@pit.edu) and Stan Williams in Center City (stanley.williams@pit.edu) for help with your resume, cover letters, and all your job placement assistance!

More money, more problems

The past couple months I have been doing a great job at saving the money I’ve earned here at work, but one day last week someone flipped the switch of my savings mode to shopping mode. I went mad. I tried to make that excuse of “well, summer is coming” but in reality, I’m about 3 months early till the summer time rolls around. I really just wanted to buy new things.spening savings

I wish I could go back to the time where I would have NEVER spent my money, unless I desperately needed to. It’s difficult for a fashion lover like myself to see the spring time clothing starting to show its  fun, flirty and frilly self on the racks and I know I can’t avoid those polka dot bikinis and new gladiator sandals either. Even writing about it makes me beyond ecstatic for that summer sun, midnight fun, and everything in between.

I’m getting off-topic here, let’s get back on track. With more paychecks entering my account, I need to restrain myself or else I’ll be broke. The more money I have, the harder it is not to spend it. The last thing I want is to be in the negatives again – yup, that’s happened. *sigh* Maybe I need to do is start putting money into my savings account, that way I’ll feel as if its 10,000% off limits – technically it is, I mean they don’t calling it your savings account for nothing.

It’s sad to think that I’m a couple days away from turning 20 years old and I can’t even save my money. Practice makes perfect, so if you or someone you know has any helpful tips to saving or budgeting money, I would love to hear it. The more the merrier!

Health Kick

Instructor Taking Exercise Class At GymJust yesterday I signed myself up for the gym. This will be the third time – don’t judge! – but I have been thinking a lot lately, and I really feel like this time will be different. The reason I believe it’ll be different is because I am more than happy with myself right now instead of the usual me nit-picking every flaw I have.

Now you’re all probably thinking “Then why are you signing up for the gym?” Well lucky for you I will answer that obvious question. I joined – again – because it’s now not about getting my numbers real low or to trying to look like the models on the runway. I am doing this because I want to be healthier, and maybe tone my body in the process. I want to improve the body I already have because I am proud of what I’ve got going on, and there’s nothing wrong with giving my internal and external self a little TLC. Everyone was created differently; there is no one out there that is like you, so why not better yourself and become the best you can be?

That’s why I think it is going to work this time around. I am focused and I am determined. Maybe I’ll post about my struggles and my gains because I know for sure I’ll have some of those – hopefully more gains than struggles. We’ll see about that blog topic in a couple weeks, possibly months, but it would be great motivation for me. I definitely do not want to become lazy and then have to talk about why I gave up! Yikes !

Participate, participate, participate!

raising-hands-400x240

As you can already tell by reading this title, this post is all about participation!

During my high school years I was very shy when it came to speaking in front of my classmates. Even to this day I get a little timid, but now that I have pretty much grown out of my nervous shell, my hand is the first one to go up when a teacher asks a question or if I need help with a problem. The reason why participation is super important is because if you just sit there and “listen”- and we all know that you’re just pretending to listen while your mind has wandered off topic completely- chances are you’re not going to remember a thing when you step out of that class room. Not even whatever you ended up thinking about while you had your “I’m paying attention” face on. Believe me, my entire high school career I was anxious not to say a peep and it definitely showed in my overall GPA year after year.

So next time you want to answer the questions your teacher is asking you, raise that hand up, girl! (Or boy) Try to remember that if you’re stuck on a problem or a chapter don’t be afraid to ask questions. Doing these things will only help you and will reflect on your next test or paper. And if you’re still struggling, go see a tutor. It’s free, it’s easy to participate in, and you’ll definitely see THAT reflected in your GPA.

 

The Luck of the Irish

Being the Irish woman that I am, I am always so excited for St. Patrick’s Day to come around! Plus knowing my birthday is 2 days after makes the month of March that much more important! – Not to toot my own horn but, toot toot!st pats

With my whole family being known for our enthusiasm and our, passionate, fun, and extraordinary personalities, we sure represent and show off who we are and why we think Ireland is the best, just as others would for their nationalities.

So, again this year I will be going to the Polish Club in Clifton Heights to watch my dad preform for the roaring crowd of proud Irish men and women. It is always such a thrill to watch because singing has always been a passion of his since he was a “wee lad”- as he would say. The day after that, I will be hopping on the trolley with a bunch of my friends to go to Center City Philadelphia where they will be having their annual St. Patrick’s Parade to celebrate this glorious holiday. We will all raise a pint of Guinness to it being the only day when it’s acceptable to wear green, white and orange all in one outfit. I can’t wait — every year it’s a blast and my bet is that it will be just as amazing this year.

Just cross your fingers that it doesn’t rain on my parade