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General Discussion

Jennifer Lee
Jennifer Lee
8,136 Points

Should I Quit School?

I am currently just starting my second year of a computer science degree. Though this has been a great way to get my foot back in the door in a professional manner I feel I am learning more on sites like Team Treehouse than I am in my classes - they are slow paced, expensive and there are hardly any web dev type classes though overall I would learn a lot about software/computer science I just wonder if university is a good choice for me.

I do have a previous degree in web design, I graduated in 2004 and the web changed so much from 2004-2013 that I basically have to relearn everything except the fundamentals of design. I never got working in the industry after graduation instead I took a job at a call center and later got a job as a produce clerk where I stayed for years just because I couldn't figure out how to transition back into web design and relied on the steady income.

If I quit school my plan would be to continue to self learn and take on freelance clients as possible. Eventually when I feel ready - which could take three months, six months, another year I will probably apply at web design/devlopment firms locally but still be realistic that I might need to continue freelancing. If I had to choose a long term goal it would be to work at a 10-20 person design and development firm.

How I am supporting myself through school and this time is kind of weird too. I have had disability since 2009 (mental health) and had to quit work in 2009. I rely on money from my parents to support me. They can afford it but I do not want to be dependant on them, I would like to be independant. Doing freelance gives me the opportunity to have a flexible schedule I need to take care of my disability, medical appointments and take mental health days when needed easier than if I was working for someone else.

Do you think I should stay the course in school? Or should I finish my winter semester and start my plan in action? Obviously the decision is up to me but I am looking for other opinions.

My little cousin is in a similar situation with similar questions.. Thanks for posting Jennifer Lee

7 Answers

Jennifer, I guess that would be up to you. However, I think school is good for some people as it provides them with structure and lays a foundation to feel good and build on. That's not to say you will land a career in web development because of a degree only. You'll need to prove yourself in other ways, e.g., online with a blog, portfolio, etc.

My advice would be to stay in school if you feel you need that structure. But for a career in web development, having a computer science degree may help a company see you have structure and discipline, but it's not a ticket in the door exactly. Companies these days want to see your work and what you know almost immediately. Degrees don't usually cut it in this industry alone.

Jennifer Lee
Jennifer Lee
8,136 Points

Thank you for the great response Dustin. I agree it is obviously up to me to make the ultimate decision but I wanted to get some extra input especially from some people who may already be working in the industry.

When you say prove yourself online with a blog, what sort of things do you think make a good blog that someone hiring would want to see? I have no problem and totally understand portfolio and image is important but I am a bit lost about blogging. It is something I have somewhat of a desire to do, but all I can think of is a blog to supplement my learning that I am doing - like putting my notes online sort of. I guess that could work now that I am thinking of it, maybe do it as if I were teaching it to my parents or a client or something.

I do enjoy the structure of school, I just find it very expensive. I am getting student loans but they are quickly adding up and I am so scared of not being able to pay them back. (Which I am sure will not happen, someway or another I will get work - just not sure what, when, where, or how at this moment).

I will continue working on my degree for this semester at least, I have already paid my tuition and am enjoying my classes.


I think you'd probably like Treehouse Friends. I've not watched them all yet, but I did check out the Chris Coyier interview on how to raise your web profile.

You might also check out Career Foundations, and some of the other business courses at Treehouse.

Hey Jennifer,

I was kind of in the same situation as you. I'm starting my final semester this month and I already have an A.S in Multimedia Programming and Design. I always felt like I was more advanced in my production and media courses, so I began to focus on my classes outside of my major and used my major courses as mental exercises to reinforce how well I absorbed the information. I also started helping my classmates. I actually got into design by doing this.

The web is constantly changing. I signed up for Team Treehouse as a supplement to college. The degree just gets you in the door and shows your future employer that you're able to complete things. Your work and your ability to do the work gets you hired. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make. I would say since this semester may be your last approach it a little differently. I always look for those gems of knowledge professors drop when you least expect it and you might even meet a business partner in school.

Jennifer Lee
Jennifer Lee
8,136 Points

Thank you, this was a great comment with great advice. I love the advice to look at school a bit differently, perhaps that is what I have been missing.

Sue Dough
Sue Dough
35,800 Points

Quit school and chase your dreams. You can always go back if things don't work out. School is over rated and kills creativity in a lot of ways.

I don't think most employers will care what college you went to as long as you can code. I could care less if someone went to school when hiring. I want to see the code.

Hi Jennifer, I agree with Dustin's statement "I think school is good for some people as it provides them with structure and lays a foundation to feel good and build on." I would add that a bachelors in computer science is a well earned degree, so it would be good to stay with it since you're halfway there. But most of all remember that its the value of the education that you are receiving, not the degree, that is important. Hang out with friends that code or join an online forum if you can't hang out at school. Ask many questions like you did here. Come up with an idea for an app or website and start building it as you continue (if you continue) your CS studies. Your halfway there. The cup is half full. :-)

It's up to you, but I would say "do not quit your school or job until you find a stable job or business"

It's up to you, but I would say "do not quit your school or job until you find a stable job or business"