Tech & Work

Do community colleges prepare you better for IT than four-year colleges?

There's been a surge in registrations for IT programs in community colleges. Read what could be behind this shift.

According to a piece in ComputerWorld by Mary Brandel, community colleges are experiencing a renaissance. Students are signing up in droves for the adaptive, skills-driven education these schools offer.

The main reason behind the surge is that some are finding that four-year colleges don't prepare students for IT in the real world. The focus in a four-year institution is on theory behind information technology rather than the state-of-the-art tools needed to work in the field itself.

I'm just guessing here but I think another part of the problem is that many instructors in four-year colleges are full-time whereas community college course are often taught by part-timers who are otherwise employed in the IT world.

There are advantages of the typical four-year degree. You get a well-rounded education where skills such as effective writing and business fundamentals are taught. But the community colleges offer a faster path to a job, with perhaps a more current and practical focus on IT skill—all for a lot cheaper than the traditional four-year plan.

This shift to community colleges shows a change from what our members indicated in a poll I ran last year regarding their educational backgrounds. Click here to see the results of that poll.

I'd like to see where we are now. Rather than answer a poll, I'd like TechRepublic members to chime in in the discussion below and give your take on your experiences with two-year college programs versus four-year.

About Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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