When Andy first started working as a software engineer, he got into the career when having a college degree wasn't a hard-and-fast requirement for those who could work with computers.
However, as time went on and Andy put more time into his career, it became obvious that if he wanted to move up or move on, getting a degree was going to be very important.
"I got really lucky," said Andy. "I started software engineering right as it caught on and nobody cared if you had a degree. As time went on it became a requirement."
The lack of a degree started to limit Andy's career opportunities. He wanted a bachelor's degree, and he wanted it fast.
Andy had already taken a few traditional classes at
St. Leo University, where he quickly learned that putting in "seat time" at a brick-and-mortar university wasn't for him.
"It's not that I was bored," said Andy. "It was that my mind would wander to all the other things I could be doing with that time."
After considering a couple of different schools, Andy decided to get his undergraduate degree from the University of Phoenix.
Instead of sitting through classroom lectures and letting his mind wander, Andy was instead leading discussions via an online newsgroup. "I'd wait a few days (after a topic was posted) and if nobody responded I would say "come one, we've got to get this going."
Even so, Andy said his online group worked well together, and said his classes were "truly challenging."