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Certifications or Masters Degree

By moznmar ·
I will be graduating with a BSIT from the University of Phoenix in April and am unsure which route I should take from there. I will still have two more years remaining in the Army at that point and am trying to decide if I should devote those two years to building up some certifications or obtaining a Masters degree. I currently work as an Army Recruiter, so I have no work experience in the IT arena, only educational experience. Which do you think would benefit me the most when it's time for me to job hunt in two years, the BSIT with some certifications (if so, which ones) or the Masters in IT (also from UoP)? Any guidance you may be able to give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Mike Crook

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good question

by Lumbergh77 In reply to Certifications or Masters ...

I'm in the same situation and been debating whether to go for certs or a masters in IT (or MBA).

But reading the article at is making me think twice about both options.

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Education never hurts

by jmgarvin In reply to good question

I would suggest getting the masters degree AND a cert or two.

Most higher ed schools offer courses that help you focus on the MCSE or Cisco cert(s). You might also want to think about what you want to do in the IT field before you get a cert.

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by JRod86 In reply to Certifications or Masters ...

One thing you want to be aware of is that getting a Masters with no experience could possibly hurt you. Depending on the geographic area and job market, you may be seen as over qualified by some hiring managers. I would recommend the MCSE and maybe a Linux cert and security cert just to cover the bases and make yourself very marketable.

Don't let that article scare you, some of the points are true, but you still need an education/experience to get a job in IT. Just as an afterthought, maybe while you get your certs, you could do some computer work at your unit. I got some experience in the Army doing just that.

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by amcol In reply to Certifications or Masters ...

Your Army experience as a recruiter coupled with your BSIT makes you virtually unemployable in the civilian world as an IT professional, for anything other than possibly an entry level job.

It's not about certs, it's about experience. You have two years to go...use that time wisely by switching jobs. Get the Army to reassign you to an IT command and volunteer for as many work assignments as you can. Make sure the projects you work on have finite boundaries so that later on you can point to having actually accomplished something and can quantify the value of that contribution.

If you have the bandwidth to get additional certifications while you're doing all that then good for you, but I'd think you'd want a quality of life first.

If you do decide to pursue a Master's don't bother with an MSIT. The only thing you can do with that is teach or go into some very, very technical type of job...and, with all due respect, your background doesn't strike me as consistent with someone who wants to do that. Get an MBA, which in an evening program will take a good four years but will eventually be well worth it.

One note about University of Phoenix. This is one of the best, if not THE best, online distance learning programs around. From the standpoint of a hiring manager, however, I can tell you that the jury's still way out on whether or not degrees from this institution are real qualifications. You haven't wasted your time with your BS, but if you do choose to go for a Master's don't get it from there.

Best of luck.

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Be creative

by jdmercha In reply to Neither

I bet you'd have no problem getting a job as an IT recruiter.

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Good thinking

by amcol In reply to Be creative

That's a great idea and I'm glad I thought of it.

Actually, that hadn't even occurred to me but I think you're absolutely right. Nice work.

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by CharlieSpencer In reply to Neither

I agree the MBA would be more worthwhile than the MSIT. Unless you plan to work for a company that specifically develops IT products, businesses want IT professionals that understand how business works.

If you're aiming for an entry- or low-level position, go for the certs instead of the MBA. Buy some used hardware and set up a network at the house. Configure at least one machine as a database server; then tear it down and set it up as a web server; then tear it down again for something else. Play with Linux.

I disagree with the assessment of your experience as "unemployable". I've got two brothers-in-law, neither of whom had an IT MOS. They started studying IT a few years before they retired, and had jobs in the field within a year of retiring. One is now with the University of Louisville, the other is a sysad with an Orlando hospital.

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by cgcenet In reply to "Unemployable?

>>Unless you plan to work for a company that specifically
develops IT products, businesses want IT professionals that
understand how business works.<<

But tech companies are also businesses and need people with
business knowledge. Conversely, if you plan to work on the
infrastructure side and not go suit then you'll probably be
working for non-tech companies but business qualifications
aren't going to be much use, although a Masters in IT might not
be useful either since most seem to emphasize on the software
development side.

So if corporate buzzwords and PowerPoint presentations turn
you on, do an MBA. If complicated software development or
research is your thing, an M.Sc. will be most useful. Otherwise,
certs or short courses are probably best.

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That depends on your goals.

by jdmercha In reply to Certifications or Masters ...

In general certs may help you in the beginning. It will probably be easier to find an entry level job if you have certs. And if you plan to specialize and not go into management then certs are fine.

A masters is much better in the long run, though. Especially if you want a job with more responsibilities. And where you get it from does matter. Get a masters from a major university. Many of them have online degrees available.

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