Certifications vs. Degree

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dizzyjuice
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Certifications vs. Degree

Post by dizzyjuice » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:48 pm

A topic that comes up in conversations around the office... what do you believe is more valuable to a career in IT, spending four years in college getting a CS degree, or just doing certs? Of course this depends on the final path of the career you want, but overall what do you believe is the better route? Discuss.

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Skippman
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Re: Certifications vs. Degree

Post by Skippman » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:14 pm

Speaking from personal experience I'd say it depends on what your career path is.

If you want to go into management and be in charge of IT professionals than a MIS degree seem to be a requirement for most major companies. I know here at AT&T MIS degrees are favored for those positions.

That being said, for actually working on systems certifications appear to be the better choice as they definatly show skill in specific areas and it makes it easier for an HR rep to select people. For example, you're needing someone to manage a mail server. Are you going to hire someone with a BS in CompSci, or someone with a Microsoft Exchange Certification? True the CS guy may know how to manage the server, but the M$ Exchange certified employee is rated on the piece of equipment in question.

I got my job here at AT&T through a combination of practical experience and an A+ Certification (Back in the late 90's when they were worth something). Now that I'm in the company, I've found I can't advance without at least an AS/AA degree, but that's more political than practical.

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Re: Certifications vs. Degree

Post by vbironchef » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:18 pm

I believe that contacts made and friends in the field make a huge difference. Once you have the job it's up to you to preform. Once you get your foot in the door it's up to you to figure out how to get a raise. If that requires more certifications or a degree than so be it. Today I think its more important just to have experience. Having a good positive attitude at work and showing up on time goes a long way.

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Re: Certifications vs. Degree

Post by Major_A » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:44 pm

I can't speak to your field, but I can about the degree. You're probably better off with a certificate, and here's why. For whatever reason, entry level jobs are tough to get with a degree. The company knows they're going to have to train you, spend more money (salary), and fear you'll leave as soon as another/better opportunity presents itself. I have a 4 year degree that is worthless. It's a $20,000 piece of paper that sits on the wall collecting dust. I'm back in school getting an associate's degree in a completely different field than what I have a bachelor's degree in. I've been out of real work for a long time now. The best I could find was a menial part-time job that pays squat. I'm signed up with 12-15 staffing services and I've never heard a word from any of them. One staffing place flat out told me that no one would hire me, because of the reasons mentioned above.

That said here's a bit more advice. It's easier to go to school without any breaks. Once you get out in the world and get real bills it's tougher to put life on hold to go get that piece of paper. But with that said you can always go back to school.

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Re: Certifications vs. Degree

Post by Skippman » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:57 pm

Major_A wrote:That said here's a bit more advice. It's easier to go to school without any breaks. Once you get out in the world and get real bills it's tougher to put life on hold to go get that piece of paper. But with that said you can always go back to school.
It's that last bit I'm working on. I had 32 credit hours when I got my job at AT&T. Now I'm back to school trying to finish that degree. It's amazing how your time scale changes when you're full time employed.

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Re: Certifications vs. Degree

Post by dtr90024 » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:14 am

In today's environment, a certificate is better than a degree to get hired. I am also finding that many companies are requiring certifications along with experience so the best scenario is experience with a certification.

I am finding some companies are also looking at the recency of the certifications and if its been awhile since your certification, you may want to consider retaking the test and getting a new one. I know the jr college near me charges half the going rate for most of the IT certification tests.

Right now companies can be selective as there is a large work force out there that has been out of work for awhile and they can be picky on who they choose to hire and I don't think that is going to change for awhile as it appears there will be more skilled people turned out based on recent news.

Good Luck

RSnyder

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Re: Certifications vs. Degree

Post by omegadoom13 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:23 pm

I'm in a similar position as Major a. I have a BA degree in Biology, which is essentially worthless. I'm hoping to go back to school and get a bachelor's degree in CS or computer related field. I wonder how hard it is to get certified while you're studying in school. I hoping to graduate in 3 years and get a decent paying job. Tech jobs with my biology degree pays very, very little... and i'm in bottom of the totem pole in research labs. Never a fun time. I would like to at least buy my own home before i turn freaking 40 years old.

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Re: Certifications vs. Degree

Post by Major_A » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:16 am

I know a few Biology degree holders. Most of them are teachers or pharmaceutical sales reps.

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Re: Certifications vs. Degree

Post by kenc51 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:26 am

vbironchef wrote:I believe that contacts made and friends in the field make a huge difference. Once you have the job it's up to you to preform. Once you get your foot in the door it's up to you to figure out how to get a raise. If that requires more certifications or a degree than so be it. Today I think its more important just to have experience. Having a good positive attitude at work and showing up on time goes a long way.
Exactly. If you can get a job in IT you can work your way up. Most companies have their own processes and systems which are unique to them. The trick is to make yourself invaluable and ideally a "subject matter expert" in one or more areas.
Keep studying and taking the exams, then before you know it; you're more qualified then most of your peers.

If you do your job well and be proactive, you can't go wrong.

Having a degree does help and is essential for some areas. While I can only speak for IT, you're not going to get a programming job without one, not unless you're some ninja hacker. Same goes for system design, senior management or the commercial side (contract signing with vendors etc).

If you're looking to start a career, then a Degree is better. Certs are great when you also have experience.
A prospective employeer will look at you and see your work experience and also love the fact you like to "better yourself" while working.
All too many people sit back and do/learn nothing after they get a job, then in later years do nothing but bitch and moan about either their low pay or just lack of self esteem cause they "hate their job".
Learning something new is ALWAYS a good thing.

Also, if you can ever get a chance to work doing something you love, you'll never work a day in your life. O:)

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Re: Certifications vs. Degree

Post by smack323 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:11 am

kenc51 wrote: Also, if you can ever get a chance to work doing something you love, you'll never work a day in your life. O:)
If I could only find a job playing BF3...
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