Studying computer/software engineering with a political science background

Hello Engineer Girl!
I have sort of a difficult situation I'd like your advice on. Two years ago I graduated with a BA in Political Science, with the hopes of going to law school. After working at a corporate firm for two years, I've changed my mind.

I absolutely loved earning my degree, everything about political science amazes me, but gaining that education was only a small part of my lifetime dreams.

In undergrad, I really wanted to get a second degree in computer engineering or software engineering, but my parents were undocumented at the time so I had to work 50+ hrs per week while in school. Long story short - I wasn't able to double major as I had planned.

Recently, I got promoted at the firm into the IT department. I regularly build computers and code pretty frequently.

I really want a degree in computer engineering or software engineering, especially now that I've begun the transition in my career. Obviously software engineering and computer engineering are kind of far apart, but even so, I'm not sure how to approach this at all. Most universities in my area don't have transitional programs, though a few have some slightly related certificate programs (cert in computer science mostly), but these all seem to teach things I already feel comfortable doing at work!

Education is really important to me, so I'm always reading and learning, but a degree would really help me in the future. In my situation, how would you proceed? Where would you go for a degree and what programs would you suggest?
posted by Kelly, Washington, DC on March 14, 2016

Answer by Angela Foss

Hi Kelly,

What a great story!  Your path is an amazing one and I would love to assist you in determining what is next.  I understand the pickle between an undergraduate degree in engineering and then investigating potential grad programs that are available to with your undergraduate experience.  However, with the current state of Higher Ed I know there is an option out there that is right for you.  

I would prioritize a graduate degree.  You will get the most bang for your buck with that approach and it sounds like you have some great on-the-job experience that you can leverage.  First you should determine what discipline is more interesting and valuable to you.  Do you like interfacing with some hardware?  If so then computer engineering would be a good choice.  Otherwise, computer science and software engineering programs will be good to look at.  

It is okay to reach out to schools and ask about potential transition programs.  Also, ask what pre-requisite credentials may help with admissions.  Additionally, there are many online programs now that approach transitions differently.  So those may be worth investigating.  

I know I didn't give you a concrete answer but I want to assure you there is a program for you.  I'd be happy to answer more detailed questions for you if you have follow-up questions or have locked down some details.  Stay motivated and ask for support when needed.  

You can do this!

Angela