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Washoe
01-24-2011, 03:42 PM
I知 toying with the idea of filling my spare time by obtaining a two-year degree in mathematics at the local community college. I知 really just doing it to keep my brain occupied and have something which demonstrates critical thinking ability to put on my resume. However, is there anything I could actually do with it? Do statisticians employ technicians to do the drudge work, for example? Are there any other technical positions for which an AS degree would make me employable? The degree requirements are three semesters of calculus, one semester of applied differential equations, one semester of linear algebra, two semesters of C++, and a couple of physics courses. Would I just be stuck in a cubicle somewhere writing code, or is there anything more interesting that I could apply it to?

cdsilv
01-24-2011, 03:44 PM
I got one long ago solely to ensure that when I transferred to a 4 year school ( a top engineering school) that they had to accept all of my credits since they formed the basis of a degree in the same state. It worked.

Omar Little
01-24-2011, 03:49 PM
Worth more than this?

I知 really just doing it to keep my brain occupied


Probably not much, unless you intend to transfer the credits toward a full bachelors degree.

ThelmaLou
01-24-2011, 04:34 PM
I don't think there is any such thing as a "two-year degree." The so-called "Associate's Degree" is IMHO completely bogus (unless you use it to transfer to a 4-year program, but then you're just transferring and don't have a "degree"). I believe the A.A. "degree" was invented as part of the trend to make everyone feel good about him/herself even if s/he doesn't accomplish anything. Like pass-fail grades and "electing" the valedictorian instead of awarding that honor to the person with the highest grades.

Not saying you can't learn anything in two years. I am currently attending a community college just for the knowledge (but I already have a BA and an MA, and I'm doing this just for fun).

So go to school to keep your brain active, by all means, but the 2-year degree isn't going to impress anyone. Kind of like having an "aol" email address.

Enright3
01-24-2011, 04:47 PM
ThelmaLou, is this true? I agree with your post; but I have never heard of 'electing' a valedictorian. That is really stupid. Every school I've ever gone to it was based on GPA, and then extracurricular activities to break a tie.

Oh, and I got my AA a long time ago. It never helped me get a job; but I'm glad I got it all the same. For me it was a milestone that I'd accomplished something for going to school full time, working full time, and was raising a family that started out with a 17 year old pregnant girlfriend turned wife. 15 - 20 years later I got my Bachelors and then my Masters degree, but I've never regretted getting the Associates degree; even though it never helped me professionally at all.

ThelmaLou
01-24-2011, 04:51 PM
ThelmaLou, is this true? I agree with your post; but I have never heard of 'electing' a valedictorian. That is really stupid. Every school I've ever gone to it was based on GPA, and then extracurricular activities to break a tie.

Alas, yes. The high school that my exBF's daughter graduated from in 2005- they elected the valedictorian. It was essentially a popularity contest. Blew my mind. I don't know how common this is... this was in Texas. :(

ThelmaLou
01-24-2011, 04:54 PM
Check out this story...

"Question:I was elected valedictorian for my high school (in 1990) but understand that it's usually the top student. Isn't there a danger that the best student won't be a great speaker? Or is there a greater danger that the winner of a vote will simply be the most popular but not most deserving student?" More (http://eduqna.com/Primary-Secondary-Education/2104-primary-4.html)

If you google "elected" "valedictorian" you'll find more examples. I guess it's quite common now.

billfish678
01-24-2011, 05:31 PM
Valedictorians are now ELECTED?

Ok, its official. America is fucked. Wonder if New Zealand or Australia has room for me and my peeps?

friedo
01-24-2011, 05:58 PM
I don't think there is any such thing as a "two-year degree." The so-called "Associate's Degree" is IMHO completely bogus (unless you use it to transfer to a 4-year program, but then you're just transferring and don't have a "degree"). I believe the A.A. "degree" was invented as part of the trend to make everyone feel good about him/herself even if s/he doesn't accomplish anything.


This is a spectacularly ignorant post.

Spud
01-24-2011, 06:02 PM
Kind of like having an "aol" email address.

Ok, that was mean.

even sven
01-24-2011, 06:08 PM
Like pass-fail grades...

Maybe this isn't the place, but I'm going to ask you to reconsider this thinking. The pass/fail grades I received came with an extensive written evaluation, and trust me you'd rather have a "C" than have "ThelmaLou tended to fall asleep in class..." on your transcript. They can be absolutely merciless in calling out when, where and how you failed to meet the standards.

Washoe
01-24-2011, 06:08 PM
This is a spectacularly ignorant post.

Well, at the very least it痴 simply not entirely true. Until very recently, community college graduates in the fields of nursing and respiratory therapy were snapped up as fast they came off the assembly line. My wife made $50/hr. (full time, consistently) as an RT with just an AS degree.

Thudlow Boink
01-24-2011, 06:24 PM
As far as I know, two-year (Associate's) degrees in academic subjects like mathematics would be aimed at students who intend to go on to complete a four-year degree in the field. The courses you mentioned are an essential foundation if you go on to more advanced study in mathematics, physics, engineering, or computer science, but AFAIK they have relatively little direct, real-world application without that additional study.

With that kind of background, you might be able to find some work tutoring mathematics, but other than that, I can't think of any job it would qualify you for. An Associate's Degree in mathematics is not going to be a credential that any employers are going to be specifcally requiring or looking for, though it might (or might not) be a point in your favor if you applied for a job that you were otherwise qualified for.

Snarky_Kong
01-24-2011, 06:53 PM
Bachelor's in math aren't really worth a ton either. Unless you get them with something else, then you look like a badass.

brocks
01-24-2011, 07:24 PM
It will give you a competitive advantage over someone with only a HS diploma.

But FWIW, I have a BA in Math, and didn't take much more than the courses you listed to get it (although I took a lot of other non-math courses), so it sounds like you would have a very solid base if you wanted to go on and get a four-year degree.

But if you are thinking you might do that, it would probably be better to enter a four-year program from the start. Even if you end up only doing two years, I would guess that two years of college is two years of college on a resume, whether or not you got an AA.

Finally, if you are truly doing this mostly for personal enrichment, and you don't happen to know about the online option, be sure to check out MIT's Open Courseware, and similar programs from other top schools. They are free, and many of them have a full series of lectures on videotape, as well as all the class notes, assignments, and exams.

ThelmaLou
01-24-2011, 07:25 PM
This is a spectacularly ignorant post.

I didn't say you couldn't get trained for a job. But it's not a college degree. It didn't start being referred to as an Associate's Degree until very recently.

Superhal
01-24-2011, 07:39 PM
I'm not exactly sure about math, but in accounting, there's all different levels of accountants. (All iirc) A CPA was something like an MA, an accountant had a 4 year degree, a bookkeeper had a 2 year degree, and someone doing data entry had a high school diploma.

Depending on your state, a 2 year degree in math might be enough to teach at the elementary school level along with a teaching certificate.

Some jobs (I'm not sure they're math related) have a minimum requirement of a 2 year degree.

billfish678
01-24-2011, 07:40 PM
I didn't say you couldn't get trained for a job. But it's not a college degree. It didn't start being referred to as an Associate's Degree until very recently.

???

In my neck of the woods "very recently" was 20 to 30 years ago...

robert_columbia
01-24-2011, 07:46 PM
You could possibly use it in public employment where the statutory pay scale provides for pay based on education. E.g. if you want to be a cop, depending on jurisdiction, there might be an automatic raise for certain degree levels (e.g. maybe 2k for an Associate's, and 5k for a Bachelor's). You certainly wouldn't be likely to use a lot of the math, but just getting the degree makes you a more educated person.

friedo
01-24-2011, 08:03 PM
I didn't say you couldn't get trained for a job. But it's not a college degree. It didn't start being referred to as an Associate's Degree until very recently.

Not even close. The first widespread accredited associate's programs were set up after WWII to take advantage of the GI Bill. And of course it's a college degree; it's just not a baccalaureate degree, and nobody ever claimed they were equivalent.

Almost every university will transfer an accredited associate's degree as equivalent to the first two years of a baccalaureate program, without regard to specific classes, which makes it a lot more convenient than transferring schools and having to fight over transfer credits.

It's a useful tool for a great many people who want postsecondary education but don't have the opportunity or desire to attend a four-year program. It's also a fantastic way to get your required 101s out of the way for a fraction of the price if your end goal is a bachelor's from a private school.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
01-24-2011, 08:06 PM
An Associates Degree is inexpensive to get, can help you toawrds a 4 year degree, & is very useful if it is a technical field.

The Math 2 year could get you an accounting clerk position.

Snnipe 70E
01-24-2011, 08:52 PM
I didn't say you couldn't get trained for a job. But it's not a college degree. It didn't start being referred to as an Associate's Degree until very recently.

What do you call recently?

Thudlow Boink
01-24-2011, 09:14 PM
The Math 2 year could get you an accounting clerk position.How so? What does accounting have to do with college-level math? (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=582493)

Washoe
01-24-2011, 10:07 PM
What do you call recently?

I took my first college course in 1983, and it was called an associate's degree then. As indicated above, it appears to date back to the late 1940s.

hajario
01-24-2011, 10:15 PM
Maybe this isn't the place, but I'm going to ask you to reconsider this thinking. The pass/fail grades I received came with an extensive written evaluation, and trust me you'd rather have a "C" than have "ThelmaLou tended to fall asleep in class..." on your transcript. They can be absolutely merciless in calling out when, where and how you failed to meet the standards.

Oh for Christ's sake. You know damn well what she meant. You went to U.C. Santa Cruz which does things differently in that respect. At virtually every other school, all you get is a P or an F.

As for the OP, if you want a two year degree that will best help you professionally, I'd recommend concentrating more on programming than math. That's assuming that you don't want to eventually go for a bachelors at some point. That said, learning for the sake of learning is definitely worthwhile.

qazwart
01-24-2011, 10:17 PM
I知 toying with the idea of filling my spare time by obtaining a two-year degree in mathematics at the local community college. I知 really just doing it to keep my brain occupied and have something which demonstrates critical thinking ability to put on my resume. However, is there anything I could actually do with it? Do statisticians employ technicians to do the drudge work, for example? Are there any other technical positions for which an AS degree would make me employable? The degree requirements are three semesters of calculus, one semester of applied differential equations, one semester of linear algebra, two semesters of C++, and a couple of physics courses. Would I just be stuck in a cubicle somewhere writing code, or is there anything more interesting that I could apply it to?

I would not hire someone as a C++ developer with this degree. Well, I wouldn't hire someone if this was their sole qualification. However, I know several programmers who don't have college degrees who I'd be happy to have working for me.

The degree in itself won't necessarily make you any more employable. It's what you do while you're getting your degree which helps.

I tease my son constantly about his triple major: Rhetoric, Political Philosophy, and Political Science. He wouldn't even be qualified to work at McDonald's.

Customer: I'd like an order of fries with that.
My son: Or do you?

However, while he's doing this, he's restructuring the student newspaper website, leading a project to redo their internal software, a student manager of the kitchen, and has been asked to be on the executive board for the Newspaper and run for president of his living community (which is in this college more important that Student President).

In the Summer, he's running a two summer camps (not a staff member, but running the camp), and he's a certified EMT.

He might only have a liberal arts degree, but his job prospects are way better than those with MBAs. Remember that Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, nor Michael Dell ever graduated from college. A college degree is just a piece of paper. It's what you do while you're getting one that's important

Want a real computer job when you leave your Two year degree program? Work on coding a few of the open source projects that are around. Then, I'll consider hiring you.

Wendell Wagner
01-24-2011, 10:49 PM
hajario writes:

> At virtually every other school, all you get is a P or an F.

At my undergrad school, New College in Sarasota, Florida, we also got a satisfactory/unsatisfactory for each course and a page-long written evaluation.

OldGuy
01-24-2011, 11:19 PM
hajario writes:

> At virtually every other school, all you get is a P or an F.

At my undergrad school, New College in Sarasota, Florida, we also got a satisfactory/unsatisfactory for each course and a page-long written evaluation.

Did you get it or did it appear on your transcript? Only the latter matters if it has damning information.

Stranger On A Train
01-24-2011, 11:43 PM
It's a useful tool for a great many people who want postsecondary education but don't have the opportunity or desire to attend a four-year program. It's also a fantastic way to get your required 101s out of the way for a fraction of the price if your end goal is a bachelor's from a private school.Well, sometimes. You have to be careful about what credits will actually transfer (especially from "private" for profit schools which may or may not be accredited), and even at quality community colleges the extent of "feed and lead" type teaching may not prepare you well for a traditional four year school. Two year schools are often run like an extension of high school where you can't actually fail if you show up; on the other hand, they are specifically dedicated to teaching rather than research. For an adult student who is working and returning to school part time they can be a good way to knock out prereqs, but for an entering student they aren't a great introduction to the academic environment.

As for the specific question of the o.p., the answer is that no, a two year mathematics degree isn't going to be worth anything in and of itself except as a check box on some civil servant pay scale. As others have noted, even a BS or BA in mathematics basically qualifies you to teach on the high school level. Many of the people doing applied mathematics work aren't even trained mathematicians; there are a lot of cogsci and physics graduates and post-grads doing mathematical modeling of financial systems. Insurance companies generally hire candidates trained in actuarial science rather than general statistics. Other areas in which mathematics are heavily used, such as evolutionary dynamics, quantitative forensics, et cetera, researchers trained in those areas learn the math and tools needed to do the work. The courses listed by the o.p. basically prepare a student to take more math, science, and engineering courses rather than equip one to do work itself. It's been a long time since I've drawn down on a triple integral or homogeneous second order differential equation (except for fun) but I calculate statistics and use computer tools to model analytical non-linear time-varying systems on a regular basis, which are well beyond anything in the curricula mentioned by the o.p.

Stranger

hajario
01-24-2011, 11:52 PM
hajario writes:

> At virtually every other school, all you get is a P or an F.

At my undergrad school, New College in Sarasota, Florida, we also got a satisfactory/unsatisfactory for each course and a page-long written evaluation.

I'm not surprised that there are a few others but my point still stands, there are very few schools where they do the evaluation thing. even sven's school is noteworthy because of that.

even sven
01-25-2011, 12:12 AM
Oh for Christ's sake. You know damn well what she meant. You went to U.C. Santa Cruz which does things differently in that respect. At virtually every other school, all you get is a P or an F.

No, I have no idea what she meant, and statements like this work against us who worked our butts off in rigorous programs that work on a pass/fail system. UC Santa Cruz is no longer on a pass/fail system, and that is in a large part due to knee jerk reactions from people who assume "pass/fail" automatically equals "slacker." I will call out this piece of ignorance wherever I see it, because it's wrong in a way that affects me personally.

even sven
01-25-2011, 12:23 AM
I'm not surprised that there are a few others but my point still stands, there are very few schools where they do the evaluation thing. even sven's school is noteworthy because of that.

Yeah, just a handful of irrelevant schools (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrative_evaluation) like Yale Law School, Oxford and Brown. Pass/fail grading is often a part of a rigorous evaluation system that is very much as difficult as any letter grade system. To smear it as promoting lower standards is the worst kind of ignorance- the kind of ignorance that makes other people's lives worse.

hajario
01-25-2011, 12:24 AM
No, I have no idea what she meant, and statements like this work against us who worked our butts off in rigorous programs that work on a pass/fail system. UC Santa Cruz is no longer on a pass/fail system, and that is in a large part due to knee jerk reactions from people who assume "pass/fail" automatically equals "slacker." I will call out this piece of ignorance wherever I see it, because it's wrong in a way that affects me personally.

I won't go as far as to say "slacker" but it's correct 99.9% of the time that pass/fail is just that. UCSC is a fine university and the way that it does/did pass/fail grades is vanishingly rare. If you're concerned about things working against you, you could explain that there are a few exceptions instead of writing snotty posts.

hajario
01-25-2011, 12:28 AM
Yeah, just a handful of irrelevant schools (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrative_evaluation) like Yale Law School, Oxford and Brown. Pass/fail grading is often a part of a rigorous evaluation system that is very much as difficult as any letter grade system. To smear it as promoting lower standards is the worst kind of ignorance- the kind of ignorance that makes other people's lives worse.

You keep proving my point. You have shown a small list of schools out of the thousands that exist in this country that issue narrative grades. In at least half of that list it's either in addition to letter grades, so not really pass/fail, or it's only done on a limited basis. Oxford and Brown, for example, doesn't do pass/fail grading. You're the one, by the way, who said "irrelevant", not I.

hajario
01-25-2011, 12:50 AM
I shouldn't have said that Oxford and Brown doesn't do pass/fail. They probably do. The point is that the narrative is given as a supplement to a traditional letter grade.

ultrafilter
01-25-2011, 01:03 AM
Insurance companies generally hire candidates trained in actuarial science rather than general statistics.

Minor nitpick: degree programs in actuarial science are still pretty rare, and are by no means generally preferred to other technical degrees. Other than that, I agree with you.

even sven
01-25-2011, 01:14 AM
Do you work for the National Committee for Letter Grades or something? I have no idea what your stake in this is.

I politely asked the quotee to reconsider their position on pass/fail grades, and I gave an example of when pass/fail grades are a part of a rigorous evaluation system. I have a vested interest in this, of course, because if people start thinking "yeah, pass/fail is always slacky" that has a direct effect on the value of my degree. I don't like to see pass/fail painted with such a broad brush. You are not going to convince me that this is unreasonable.

You're the one who flew off the handle with the snotty comments. I really don't understand why you are so interested in fighting me on this one, so I'm just gonna leave this alone and let everyone else get on with their thread.

Francis Vaughan
01-25-2011, 02:42 AM
Trying to get back on track.

The curriculum the OP describes is clearly very heavily slanted to being an entry to a 4 year degree. If I were creating a 2 year course that most students would not take further I would tend to be much broader - even with the mathematics. I think there is much to be said for a course that teaches a wider range of mathematics. The world as a whole would benefit if more people simply had a better understanding of what mathematics is.

One thing I don't like the look of is a couple of semesters of C++. Unless you have a background in programming, and know another language C++ is a truly dreadful language to learn in. Indeed it is simply a truly dreadful language. If you wanted ancillary programming skills that could be used in support of other professional efforts, or just wanted to write code for its own sake C++ is probably the worst language you could pick. Two semesters of C++ won't qualify you to earn money programming in it, and you are most likely to come out confused and bitter at the experience. You will spend almost the entire time learning, not programming, but how to navigate a twisted trainwreck of a language that should have been strangled at birth.

Schnitte
01-25-2011, 03:28 AM
Oxford and Brown, for example, doesn't do pass/fail grading.

Incidentally, I have something to contribute here since I have two one-year master's from Oxford. The grading system used there at the postgraduate level has three grades: pass, fail, and distinction; but distinctions are sufficiently rare (depending on the degree and class maybe between 10 and 30 per cent of students) to say that a pass may still be quite an achievement and not necessarily something drawn up just "to make everyone feel good about him/herself even if s/he doesn't accomplish anything" (personally, I had a distinction in one of my master's and a pass in the other one, and even though I would have loved to get two distinctions, I'm not ashamed).
Individual exams are marked on a 0-100 scale, and these numbers show up on the transcript, but no overall average is computed or shown on the transcript; the overall mark is, rather, simply pass, fail, or distinction.

At the undergraduate level, Oxford uses the same grades as other British universities: First, upper second, lower second, and third class.

Wendell Wagner
01-25-2011, 06:43 AM
OldGuy writes:

> Did you get it or did it appear on your transcript? Only the latter matters if it has
> damning information.

We got the narrative evaluation. We could choose to share it with others (say, a grad school we were applying to) if we wished, but it didn't appear on our transcript. In any case, as I said, we received S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) grades for our courses. Courses in which one received a U simply didn't appear on our transcripts. Incidentally, New College students do very well at getting into grad schools. New College ranks third (as a percentage of graduates) at getting Fulbright fellowships, for instance:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_College_of_Florida

Wendell Wagner
01-25-2011, 06:47 AM
Stranger on a Train writes:

> As others have noted, even a BS or BA in mathematics basically qualifies you to
> teach on the high school level.

E-mail me and I can talk with anyone here about jobs as a mathematician.

GiantRat
01-25-2011, 10:49 AM
... and back to the OP....

If I were interviewing someone, the AS or AA would be somewhat important. It's a demonstration that you're actually interested in, well, something. Not just an idiot looking for a job.

I say go for it. And don't let dopers having petty arguments dissuade you.

arseNal
01-25-2011, 01:36 PM
I find it depressing that the OP feels that after having earned a 2-year degree with a couple semesters of c++, a programming job in an office building would be beneath him.

dracoi
01-25-2011, 02:39 PM
I find it depressing that the OP feels that after having earned a 2-year degree with a couple semesters of c++, a programming job in an office building would be beneath him.

The OP was looking for something "more interesting" which isn't necessary the same as saying the position is "beneath him." I'm an accountant. I love accounting. But there are plenty of people who feel that my job would be boring, tedious and only preferable to mucking out sewers.

Fear Itself
01-25-2011, 03:39 PM
I didn't say you couldn't get trained for a job. But it's not a college degree. It didn't start being referred to as an Associate's Degree until very recently.Define recently. I got my Associates degree in 1974.

Snnipe 70E
01-25-2011, 09:11 PM
Define recently. I got my Associates degree in 1974.

Got mine in 1968

Kyla
01-26-2011, 02:23 AM
OldGuy writes:

> Did you get it or did it appear on your transcript? Only the latter matters if it has
> damning information.

We got the narrative evaluation. We could choose to share it with others (say, a grad school we were applying to) if we wished, but it didn't appear on our transcript. In any case, as I said, we received S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) grades for our courses. Courses in which one received a U simply didn't appear on our transcripts. Incidentally, New College students do very well at getting into grad schools. New College ranks third (as a percentage of graduates) at getting Fulbright fellowships, for instance:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_College_of_Florida

Like sven, I did my undergrad at UC Santa Cruz, and the evaluations are included in our transcripts. My official transcript is about 35 pages long - and it's a little short, since I studied abroad for a year and got letter grades during that year.

FWIW, I went to grad school at the University of Michigan, and in my opinion, the grades I received there are bullshit compared to my undergraduate evals, which actually give you an idea of what I accomplished in my courses.

BigT
01-26-2011, 01:03 PM
Officially, to work the job my sister currently has, she needs an associates degree. It seems to be taking the place of the high school diploma requirements in certain fields.

My sister is a tech at a psychological clinic. She got around the requirements because they had a part time opening during the summer without the requirement, and she was so good they overlooked her lack of degree (although they are encouraging her to complete it by allowing her to do online schoolwork when she is not busy doing something else.)

Snickers
01-26-2011, 03:03 PM
Ok, that was mean.

Says the guy who has an AOL email address. :D

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