Ok so… Development skills are somewhat of an old fling for me. We collided once in college, our connection was palpable, the interest was mutual, but it wasn’t meant to be. I was in a committed relationship with graphic design and I had no time to waste flirting with other skill sets. Time went on, I found success and happiness with my degree, but every now and again I would think about development. Late at night, bathed in the light from my monitor, I’d wax poetic about what we could have been.

Fast forward, through the birth of my design career, and onto my big move to Hawaii.

There are a lot more options available now than when I was last in school. I could learn from free resources online, go back to college, or try one of these new bootcamps.

My first instinct was to investigate the traditional option, college. I knew making the transition from an arts degree to a science degree would be complex, so I consulted an advisor.

I was originally considering an associates degree in computer science, but my advisor was not impressed. She recommended I look into a Master of Science – Computer Science program, which would show progress in my academic career. I was somewhat fearful of how much “make up” work I would need to do for the Master’s program, but her positivity inspired me. In my pursuit to become a web engineer I’ve explored the following options:

      • Master of Science – Computer Science
      • Graduate Certificate – Computer Science/ Programming
      • Associate of Science – Computer Science.

If you’re like me and are interested in making a career change to web development, and are considering your options, please consider my investigations below.


The Master’s degree is the most prestigious in my consideration. It shows academic progress and (theoretically) I would graduate with some seniority in the field. With a masters degree, I’d be more competitive if I wanted to apply to “elite” companies like Amazon or Google. It was also hailed as one of the top 10 highest paying master’s programs in 2017 by Forbes.

Unfortunately, young me chose to pursue art, not science, and you cannot become a master of something you don’t know the basics of.

In order to be admitted to the Master’s program for computer science, your transcript must show a background in programming. Without the necessary credits, I would need to complete prerequisite courses (as I suspected). The local school that I consulted on this estimates that this process would take two years. That is two years in addition to the two years it takes to complete the program itself.

Another four year investment in my education has me at a bit of a pause. While I don’t argue the value of the degree, it seems a bit robust for my needs. What I’m looking for is a beginning, an opportunity to start, to prove myself.

Somewhere between the flashbacks of 20 hour days and memories of meals I referred to as “poor kid meat”, I ruled out the Master’s in Computer Science.


I found one option for a graduate certificate on Oahu that related to software development, but when I inquired about it, the program turned out to be cancelled. I was directed towards the information science certificate program, which focused more on networking and information security. I’ve seen the 1995 film Hackers, so I’m not blind to the appeal of this program, however it’s not what I’m looking for. I rule out a Graduate Certificate.


The Associate of Computer Science is comparable in time and financial investment to the DevLeage program. I have already met many of the degree requirements, so I expect to be able to complete the coursework in just over a year.

The big difference between these two programs actually has a lot to do with goals. The Associates program straddles the line between information science and computer science, incorporating classes that relate to both disciplines in its core curriculum, and then you have 9 credits to determine your specialty. Given my options, I’m most interested in specializing in Software Development. The courses that I’m most interested in focus on algorithms and object oriented programming languages like Python and C++.

Based on the programming languages and outcome information, I’d say that the Associates program is designed to prepare students for higher education, and eventually enterprise software development. It is not intended to be the beginning of a career path, it is intended to be the beginning of an education path.

I contacted an advisor from the school who confirmed my suspicions and then tried to convince me to specialize in cyber security (no thank you) or web design (I could teach this). He followed up later with pamphlets about the web design program and mentioned he’d look into my transcripts for transfer credits, then disappeared back into the ether. I rule out an Associates degree.


After the trouble I had trying to piece together a plan at a traditional school, I was a little bit shocked how straightforward the process was at DevLeague. There were no prerequisite credits required. The only knowledge barrier was a coding challenge. I have no prior experience with Javascript, so they suggested I take their month long Prep class, but it wasn’t a requirement.

For me, time was a huge factor in making the decision to seek additional education. The idea of being “out of the game” for an extended length of time makes me nervous, as does the idea of going to night school for the rest of eternity.

With DevLeague, I have to commit to doing a lot of work, but only for 8 months. The course I’m interested in is 7 months long (1 month INIT, 6 months bootcamp), plus the optional prep course. I could be a web developer by December.

Getting any kind of degree in Computer Science was going to take years and DevLeague would take me merely 8 months. How could that be?

To get a real comparison I broke down classroom hours. For the Master’s program and the Associates program, I used the Carnegie unit to convert credits into hours and then compared it to DevLeagues classroom times:

Based on purely classroom hours, the education I’d be getting at DevLeague would be comparable to getting an additional college degree.

For my wants and needs, DevLeague is a better choice for me than traditional education. Is it right for you too?



Javascript Bootcamp Prep 

May | Course dates: 5/1-5/25 | Application deadline: 4/26


Cyber Bootcamp Prep

May | Course dates:  5/8-5/31 | Application deadline: 5/4


Javascript Bootcamp

June | Part-time | Course dates: 6/4 – 12/29 | Application deadline: 5/21

June | Full-time| Course dates: 6/4 – 9/22 | Application deadline: 5/21



Associates Degree – Computer Science:

Time to complete: Just over a year (estimated)

Classroom hours: 576 hours

Homework hours: 1152 hours

Cost: $12,360

Master’s Degree – Computer Science

Time to complete: 4 years (2 years prerequisite courses, 2 years course work)

Classroom hours: 528 hours (does not include prerequisite courses)

Homework hours: 1056 hours (does not include prerequisite courses)

Cost: $40,768<

DevLeague – Javascript Web Engineer Bootcamp, Part-Time:

Time to complete: 8 months

Classroom hours: 570 hours, plus 48 hours of optional prep course

Homework hours: ??? *cries internally*

Cost: $12500 (if you go to the Prep Course and continue on to the bootcamp, the fee for the prep course is paid toward the cost of the bootcamp, rendering it basically free)