Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Degreed, Yet Unqualified

A few months ago, I looked into what it would take to get a bachelors degree in web design, programming, or some other such subject at a local university.

I already have a bachelors degree, albeit in journalism and mass communication, with a minor in French. Just over a year ago, I earned a masters degree in English with an emphasis on technical writing.

Yet when I look at the jobs available today, or potentially available in the future, I feel woefully undereducated.

The local university does offer the degree program I’m interested in. Just not in a form I can handle right now. Physically, I’d have to be in class. However, to keep my family physically in a house, I have to have a job that physically keeps me far away from the classroom as it possibly can. Literally. I work roughly 84 miles, or about two hours, from home, as the bus drives. My daily commute:

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I did talk with one of the professors in the program, who tells me that in a few more years, they may be ready to offer the degree entirely online. That’s well and good, but by them I’ll probably be living in a cardboard box. Or dead. You never know.

We got introductions to XML, HTML and other such stuff in my masters courses, but not to the degree to which I could claim even a beginner’s knowledge of the stuff. I need it, obviously. Doing without it is only going to hurt me in the long run. I should look into night classes, so I can spend even more time away from the family (I work four ten-hour shifts a week, putting me on the bus at 5 am and putting me home shortly after 7 pm, Monday through Thursday).

It’s just a frustrating position to be in. I know life is supposed to be a long adventure of learning, but I feel like I’m running to keep up and the bus just keeps pulling away faster and faster.

Other options are even more daunting. It’s becoming more clear to me that a doctorate is probably in order. But to do that, I’ve got to move the family to Logan, Utah, and figure out a way to work full-time and be a student full-time because otherwise it ain’t gonna happen. I’m pushing 40 years old. I know it’s a competitive economy, but I half wonder if and when I get that doctorate is the bar going to be going higher, higher, and higher?

Yet I know I’m a lucky guy. I’ve had a job through a rough economy, a job I got before the economy tanked, thank heaven, because I’m certain had I been in my former industry I would have been out on my rump anyway. I have faith that God will support me as I work to support my family. Still, it’s a daunting future we face.

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