Educational Quandary

A little over a year ago I completed my Bachelor's Degree. I feel bad for saying it, but it wasn't that big of an accomplishment for me. It was a Bachelor's of Science in Technical Management from DeVry University. I worked at DeVry for several years and was able to take a couple of classes a term for free, so I took advantage of it. I chose the Technical Management Degree, not because I had any real interest in technical management, but because it was the path of least resistance. It was a Bachelor's completion program, and as such gave me the most transfer credit for my Associate's and didn't have any particularly difficult courses. It was the quickest easiest path to a degree and all I wanted was that piece of paper since several jobs I had been considering required it.

It wasn't a total waste. I did learn some, but I wasn't very interested In business and management courses and didn't put forth much effort.

Now I've decided to go back to school. My first impulse was to do as I had before and simply go for a Master's Degree by the quickest, easiest route possible. As such I started looking into an online program at Grantham University. They have an online MS in Information Technology which is self paced and from what I can see, quite easy to complete. I could easily have my Master's in about two years, possibly opening further career opportunities for me.

Is it really the right way to go through? Sometimes I think the emphasis on degrees for certain positions is ludicrous. I know plenty of people without degrees that are brilliant, and plenty with degrees that are idiots. From that point of view, taking shortcuts to get a piece of paper to validate my experience makes sense.

However another part of me, one that seems to be growing stronger, believes that education should mean something. When I originally went to college to get my Associate's I loved it. I enjoyed learning, I worked hard and took pride in my accomplishments. When I worked at DeVry I believed in what they were doing, I felt like I was doing something important. Ever since I've left I've wanted to find a job in the academic world again where I could feel like I was doing something worthwhile.

So, I'm starting to look around at options, even ones that may not be easy. My current employer will pay a certain amount towards a graduate degree, as long as they deem it to be work related or useful within my likely career path. That presents a bit of a problem, because I'm really looking to branch out a bit. Not get completely away from IT, but maybe working towards a different career path than simply being a techie, or a manager over techies. Right now I'm trying to get them to sign off on a degree in Instructional Technology. It focuses on using technology in an educational setting. Not directly related to my job, but not totally outside of it either. Has lots of possible applications in the world of corporate training and technology presentation.

My employer will also pay some for pursuing an undergraduate degree, even if it doesn't relate to my job. This gives me another option of pursuing a completely different Bachelor's degree. A much longer path and one that isn't quite as likely to advance my career as it is give me options to find another one. It would however give me the opportunity to study something I'm really interested in. That is if I can find a school to go to. There are tons of online programs out there, but the vast majority of them are business and management related. The same goes for most of the evening programs for working adults. There are only a few Universities physically close enough for me to attend, and most of them don't have courses that I can realistically fit around my work schedule.

Hopefully work will sign off on the Instructional Technology degree, and I can go the expedient route, and study something I'm actually interested in. If not, well I may have to back up and punt. Probably better go figure out how to pay for it myself and have the freedom to pursue whatever path I choose rather than be indebted to my employer for something I don't really want.