Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

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GoIllini

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Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby GoIllini » Tue May 07, 2019 11:59 am

Just got notice. Obviously very very happy. My only question is, I know Illinois is a very solid school. I would really like Big Law, as I have family obligations thst neccessiate a solid income. However, I know that is far from guarenteed.

Now I am not an IT guy; I am only now getting basic certifications. So going to Illinois is really more a concern of oppurtunity cost. Would the 3 years of law school be outweighed by the 3 years of trying to get into the IT world? My IT mentor so to speak went from 30k to 150k in 5 years.

I know money is not nice to talk about a little crass but it is unfortunatelt very importsnt. I am personally in relatively little debt of 8k from undergrad and 10k from my car loan (my father is paying off the 8k).

Dean's scholar at Illinois would be full tuition + books, but bot housing stipend.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue May 07, 2019 12:34 pm

Ignore potential salaries for a moment.

Do you want to be a lawyer?

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby albanach » Tue May 07, 2019 12:37 pm

Do you want to be a lawyer? If so, go to law school. If you need big-law to be happy, don't go to Illinois where there's a 4 in 5 chance that's not happening. If you want to do programming or systems administration, get those qualifications and do that.

Illinois may be cheap if you only have living expenses, but that still leaves you the best part of $60k in a hole when you graduate and a pretty decent chance you'll be earning less money than you would had you stuck with IT.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby LSATWiz.com » Tue May 07, 2019 1:01 pm

albanach wrote:Do you want to be a lawyer? If so, go to law school. If you need big-law to be happy, don't go to Illinois where there's a 4 in 5 chance that's not happening. If you want to do programming or systems administration, get those qualifications and do that.

Illinois may be cheap if you only have living expenses, but that still leaves you the best part of $60k in a hole when you graduate and a pretty decent chance you'll be earning less money than you would had you stuck with IT.

Assuming OP is good at law or develops a niche, they will eventually probably make well into the six-figures practicing law but it can take a few years to get there.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby GoIllini » Tue May 07, 2019 2:34 pm

I'll be honest. I would like to be a lawyer, but it isn't my lifes passion.

I obviously dont need big law salary, but 100k or so, when combined with my wife's income, wouod be more than enough.

My main concern, and the reason I am really hesitant, is the three years of oppurtunity cost.

If I get further IT formal education/some computer science as well, could I eventually delve into patent law? Or is that something you only do right after law school.

Patent law sounds like a dream come true to me but I assume it does for many people.

Thanks for the help to all.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby GoIllini » Tue May 07, 2019 2:46 pm

albanach wrote:Do you want to be a lawyer? If so, go to law school. If you need big-law to be happy, don't go to Illinois where there's a 4 in 5 chance that's not happening. If you want to do programming or systems administration, get those qualifications and do that.

Illinois may be cheap if you only have living expenses, but that still leaves you the best part of $60k in a hole when you graduate and a pretty decent chance you'll be earning less money than you would had you stuck with IT.

This is my major concern, since IT is emmintly self-teachable with a well-known certification route.

I have a relative in Big Law - I don't know what his opinions are in terms of helping me, so it's not something I would rely on but it is information to be considered as well. It is not a direct relative so odds are 50/50 he would look at me any differently than another applicant.

My parents, wife etc. are all very gung-ho on me going to Illinois. I should be clear I have no formal education in IT nor do I even have a job, but have been self-studying to get certifications, and I do very much enjoy the material (more than the LSAT that is).

I have a political science degree, so outside of law school/other further education, my employment prospects are pretty poor. (worth it though because that's how I met my wife)

I would also be very happy working for a federal or state agency if that is possible as well, I would just prefer to not be in the public defender/assistant DA world as many of the ones I met were very miserable and only survived based on raw passion for the field.

My wife will be making 50k soon and will support me through school if that is also a consideration.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue May 07, 2019 3:58 pm

GoIllini wrote:I'll be honest. I would like to be a lawyer, but it isn't my lifes passion.


Then don't go to law school.

You need to want to pursue this career enough that you would be happy doing it for far less than $100k (especially starting out).

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby albanach » Tue May 07, 2019 4:00 pm

LSATWiz.com wrote:
albanach wrote:Do you want to be a lawyer? If so, go to law school. If you need big-law to be happy, don't go to Illinois where there's a 4 in 5 chance that's not happening. If you want to do programming or systems administration, get those qualifications and do that.

Illinois may be cheap if you only have living expenses, but that still leaves you the best part of $60k in a hole when you graduate and a pretty decent chance you'll be earning less money than you would had you stuck with IT.

Assuming OP is good at law or develops a niche, they will eventually probably make well into the six-figures practicing law but it can take a few years to get there.


The average salary of a US lawyer at a firm is $120k according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since that excludes solo practitioners who generally make less, it's probably safe to conclude that most lawyers don't make well into the six-figures. It's hard to know in advance if you'll be "good" at law or able to develop a profitable niche.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby GoIllini » Wed May 08, 2019 4:24 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
GoIllini wrote:I'll be honest. I would like to be a lawyer, but it isn't my lifes passion.


Then don't go to law school.

You need to want to pursue this career enough that you would be happy doing it for far less than $100k (especially starting out).

If a good salary can't be guarenteed then that is very true. I've wasted too much of my childhood and youth being poor, I want to experience some of this American Dream people like to talk about.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby LSATWiz.com » Wed May 08, 2019 5:49 pm

albanach wrote:
LSATWiz.com wrote:
albanach wrote:Do you want to be a lawyer? If so, go to law school. If you need big-law to be happy, don't go to Illinois where there's a 4 in 5 chance that's not happening. If you want to do programming or systems administration, get those qualifications and do that.

Illinois may be cheap if you only have living expenses, but that still leaves you the best part of $60k in a hole when you graduate and a pretty decent chance you'll be earning less money than you would had you stuck with IT.

Assuming OP is good at law or develops a niche, they will eventually probably make well into the six-figures practicing law but it can take a few years to get there.


The average salary of a US lawyer at a firm is $120k according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since that excludes solo practitioners who generally make less, it's probably safe to conclude that most lawyers don't make well into the six-figures. It's hard to know in advance if you'll be "good" at law or able to develop a profitable niche.

I haven't delved into the #'s, but my hunch would be that solos that are able to stick with it for 20 years are making more than associates at 2-10 person firms.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed May 08, 2019 7:03 pm

GoIllini wrote:If a good salary can't be guarenteed then that is very true. I've wasted too much of my childhood and youth being poor, I want to experience some of this American Dream people like to talk about.


It can't be guaranteed, and money is a bad reason for going to law school.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby GoIllini » Wed May 08, 2019 10:55 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
GoIllini wrote:If a good salary can't be guarenteed then that is very true. I've wasted too much of my childhood and youth being poor, I want to experience some of this American Dream people like to talk about.


It can't be guaranteed, and money is a bad reason for going to law school.

That's true. And I definitely don't want the money for cars or a big house or whatever. It's just my dad sacrificed a lot for me and needs my help, and my brother also needs help because of an illness. And unfortunately, so does my mom :( because of mental illness. So i have a lot of people relying on me to eventually bring home the bacon.

To be clear I feel I could be top quarter of the class, which is what LST says I need. And I do like the law. I'm also a creative type though so I don't know how much the law allows for creativity/exploration of ideas, since I haven't directly worked in there.

I dreamed a lot about being a lawyer as a kid but idk what I want to do for a living since so much of my life has been about bringing home the bacon

At least I have a very supportive and loving wife which is all I can ask for

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu May 09, 2019 5:53 am

GoIllini wrote:To be clear I feel I could be top quarter of the class, which is what LST says I need.


Everyone feels like they'll be in the top 25/10/5% of the class. Once grades come in, most of them aren't.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby rose090999 » Fri May 10, 2019 2:16 pm

For fear of being ridiculed on this forum (something that has happened often) I will keep my opinions strictly on the IT side of the house. I've worked in IT for 30 years and have managed to make a somewhat successful career out of it. While a lot of the technology is "self teachable" and/or can be learned through a certification track. Do yourself a favor and get a degree (comp sci, engineering, MIS). It's sort of the same situation in IT as it is in the legal field. Big IT versus small IT. Most big corporations will look for a degree (and sometimes a certification as well) for you to garner the big(er) salary. Small firms usually pay less. It all depends if the company is an "ITcentric" business and relies on IT to do business and make money. I'm sure there are a lot of small startup internet firms out there that will pay huge salaries for a particular skill set. But those types of firms don't seem to last very long. Fine if you want to make some money and be out looking for a job in 2 years. My advice to all of the younger people I work with is, stay technical, keep up with technology, keep yourself diversified as far as technology goes (meaning don't focus on just 1 thing i.e network, storage, virtualization, OS, etc....). I'm pursuing law school because I've been doing this for 30 years and looking for a change. IT can be exciting, challenging, and satisfying but also has it's downside like 24x7 on call, irate users, working weekends & holidays, constantly trying to keep up with the latest technology or certifications, deadlines, etc...The one huge advantage that IT has over a JD (based on what everybody has told me) is that you will almost be GUARANTEED a good paying job if you get an IT degree.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby albanach » Fri May 10, 2019 2:31 pm

rose090999 wrote:IT can be exciting, challenging, and satisfying but also has it's downside like 24x7 on call, irate users, working weekends & holidays, constantly trying to keep up with the latest technology or certifications, deadlines, etc...


So IT is a whole lot like being a lawyer...

rose090999 wrote:The one huge advantage that IT has over a JD (based on what everybody has told me) is that you will almost be GUARANTEED a good paying job if you get an IT degree.


Ah, it's nothing like being a lawyer. Pursue IT.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby rose090999 » Fri May 10, 2019 3:47 pm

So in a nutshell....

IT degree = guaranteed employment making probably 60-80K first year. Figure 3-5% raises every year thereafter plus possible bonus, capping out at around 180-200K for very senior level IT.

JD degree = 70% chance of employment making 50K or 5% chance of employment making 190K or possible unemployment

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby yuant » Fri May 10, 2019 4:57 pm

rose090999 wrote:JD degree = 70% chance of employment making 50K or 5% chance of employment making 190K or possible unemployment


From what I've learned for JDs it highly depends on the school...students from top schools usually have more than a 70% chance of getting into biglaw if they want to..

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby GoIllini » Fri May 10, 2019 10:05 pm

rose090999 wrote:So in a nutshell....

IT degree = guaranteed employment making probably 60-80K first year. Figure 3-5% raises every year thereafter plus possible bonus, capping out at around 180-200K for very senior level IT.

JD degree = 70% chance of employment making 50K or 5% chance of employment making 190K or possible unemployment

I don't think anything is guaranteed, but I will say I have no idea where to begin looking for an IT/CS degree. I definitely intended on doing that eventually, but I was trying to get my foot into the industry first (until this scholarship)

My parents are extremely gung-ho on going to law school, since it's close to free.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat May 11, 2019 11:15 am

GoIllini wrote:My parents are extremely gung-ho on going to law school, since it's close to free.


But your parents don't have to live with that choice. You're old enough to have graduated from college. You're old enough to make your own decisions. I can't emphasize this enough: If you don't want to be a lawyer, don't go to law school.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby rose090999 » Mon May 13, 2019 2:50 pm

Assuming the OP already has an undergrad degree or at least some credits, an IT degree should only take another 2 or 3 years at the most. Sounds like his heart isn't fully into law school or even pursuing an IT degree. While an IT certification can fast track you into an IT career, most of the time you'll start out on a help desk making 30K (or less). If you're lucky, you can leverage what you learn on a helpdesk and move up in a company rather quickly. In IT it's all in how you use that first opportunity. You need to find that first job that will provide the opportunity to keep your technical skills current. If not, 3 years will go by and your certification you worked hard to get will be obsolete.

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby GoIllini » Tue May 14, 2019 6:11 pm

rose090999 wrote:Assuming the OP already has an undergrad degree or at least some credits, an IT degree should only take another 2 or 3 years at the most. Sounds like his heart isn't fully into law school or even pursuing an IT degree. While an IT certification can fast track you into an IT career, most of the time you'll start out on a help desk making 30K (or less). If you're lucky, you can leverage what you learn on a helpdesk and move up in a company rather quickly. In IT it's all in how you use that first opportunity. You need to find that first job that will provide the opportunity to keep your technical skills current. If not, 3 years will go by and your certification you worked hard to get will be obsolete.

I talked with my father, who is himself in IT as a systems engineer has said he would support me getting an associate's and possibly another bachelor's in IT, specifically as we both agreed, in network security as a specialty.

It would likely at least be even cheaper than law school, and while I really, really don't like living at home, I could still do so.

Is it likely this type of degree would lead to better employment/higher salary?

I have enough savings from previous job to study full-time for 2-3 semesters with no debt, at a community college (which, originally, is where I went before transferring to a 4-year).

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby Bestes » Tue May 14, 2019 6:23 pm

Reading through your comments I would caution you to make sure you are committed to going to law school and becoming an attorney. You also need to realize that salaries for attorneys are "bimodal" which means that there are many attorneys earning $60K - $80K in some type of public interest role and then Big Law attorneys many of whom start out at $180K. The average salary when you mix these two ends up being a respectable income but it is deceptive because the very highly paid Big Law positions distort things. Patent Law remains a very good field and from what I gather not everyone wants to be a Patent Attorney so that might be a good area for you to focus on

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Re: Dean's Scholarship at Illinois vs possible IT career

Postby rose090999 » Wed May 15, 2019 10:01 am

GoIllini wrote:
rose090999 wrote:Assuming the OP already has an undergrad degree or at least some credits, an IT degree should only take another 2 or 3 years at the most. Sounds like his heart isn't fully into law school or even pursuing an IT degree. While an IT certification can fast track you into an IT career, most of the time you'll start out on a help desk making 30K (or less). If you're lucky, you can leverage what you learn on a helpdesk and move up in a company rather quickly. In IT it's all in how you use that first opportunity. You need to find that first job that will provide the opportunity to keep your technical skills current. If not, 3 years will go by and your certification you worked hard to get will be obsolete.

I talked with my father, who is himself in IT as a systems engineer has said he would support me getting an associate's and possibly another bachelor's in IT, specifically as we both agreed, in network security as a specialty.

It would likely at least be even cheaper than law school, and while I really, really don't like living at home, I could still do so.

Is it likely this type of degree would lead to better employment/higher salary?

I have enough savings from previous job to study full-time for 2-3 semesters with no debt, at a community college (which, originally, is where I went before transferring to a 4-year).


Computer Security is defintely in demand and would almost guarantee you a very good job and potentially higher starting salary. If you want to go that route, I would get (at least) the associates degree and also a Security+ certification. The next step would be to get the CISSP cert which would garner you an even higher salary. The more tech that you learn the more "in-demand" you will become. The reason I am pushing the degree+cert versus just the cert route, is that in my experience, the people that have just the cert don't have the breadth of knowledge that the people with IT degrees have. A cert will give you expertise in that one area but you may need at least an understanding of a wide range of technologies when you are out in the field working. As a Computer Security engineer you will be working with end-users, developers, network engineers, System Admins, etc...and the more you know about coding, routing, group policy, applications, and a host of other disciplines the better you will be. Just my .02.....



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