Maybe you didn't grow up with a silver computer in your hand, hacking your way through middle school. Reaching adulthood, and finding yourself working in or around the Information Technology industry, you might then discover that you'd actually like to make a living using computers. But what to do if you didn't think to major in Computer Science back in the good old days of college?

If this sounds like you, then you might want to know about Columbia University's Computer Technology and Applications Program ("CTA Program"). The CTA Program teaches adults practical knowledge about various computer-related subjects. The four semester, 16 month program is designed to produce superior IT professionals. The program has five different tracks:

The CTA Program has many advantages over other adult tech programs. First, since it's got the Columbia name, it opens many doors upon graduation. Second, all classes are held at night so you can continue to work while in the program. Third, although the classes are taught to high academic standards, they are not overly theoretical. Rather, the program is intended to teach practical, job-related tech skills. Fourth, it's not too expensive. To get the certificate you need to take eight classes (two per semester), and they run about $1500 each. Loans are easy to come by. Fifth, Manhattan rules.

A downside for some people is that the program is entirely based on Windows. No Linux. This is consistent with the program's employment-based approach, but it does take a bit of fun out of it. Another potential problem is that the program is not uber-selective -- some of the students in some of the tracks don't add much to the discussion if you know what I mean. Thus, if you're the type of person that can learn C# in a day, you might get a bit frustrated when some of your classmates get stuck on binary addition. Don't get me wrong, though. The courses are rigorous and should challenge anyone who is not already a computer expert.

Check out for more details.

If you are interested in learning more about the program, please do not hesitate to /msg me to ask questions. I'm currently in the Analysis and Design of Information Systems track, and my brother is in the C++/Java track, so I can answer pretty much any question about the program.

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