I currently hold a BA in Middle Eastern History, which was a pretty good fit for my last job in the Army. I'm getting ready to move on to the civillian world now, and computer science/programming has always been a hobby for me that I'd like to look into turning into a career.
My question is, what type of program should I look into in order to deepen my knowledge and verify my abilities? Should I look at getting a second undergrad, or would a programming education certificate be enough to get my foot in the door for employment/grad school later on? Are online certificates such as Kaplan/Phoenix respected enough, especially if they are in addition to a traditional degree?
I basically want to know where to set my sights, in order to get going in software development. Getting an additional qualification seems necessary, so which kind makes the most sense for getting started?
I teach in the post-bac CS program at Mills College, which is aimed at people (like you) who have earned a bachelor's degree in a field other than CS and want to transition into CS, most in order to go into software engineering (although we also prepare students for PhD programs and teaching).
While not quick or cheap, post-bac programs are usually a better choice than a second bachelor's degree, since students don't have to take anything other than CS and related math courses, and many of your peers will be in a similar position to yours.