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Degree or Certification?

By rsanchez ·
I am currently in the unique position of having my IT education paid for (free of charge) by a government agency; however, I must now choose...do I pursue a Bachelors Degree in IT or pursue Certification?

I am 11 classes shy of my BS and have been working with databases (mostly Access) for 3 years.

I would appreciate feedback from those who are in a hiring capacity to give me some "real life" pros and cons.

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Degree

by jdmercha In reply to Degree or Certification?

Unless you plan to stay at a low level tech position for the rest of your life.

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Depends on what you want to do in IT

by DC_GUY In reply to Degree or Certification?

First off, I'd say that if you're that close to your degree, you might as well complete it. If you were just starting and had four years to go I'd say, "Let's talk about it," but you're already 3/4 done.

That said, a degree and a certificate (I assume you mean MCSE) point you in different directions. A degree prepares you to be a developer, a project manager, a staff person. A certificate is more likely to prepare you to be a troubleshooter, work with hardware and commercial software. When you become a manager it will likely be on the operations side of the shop rather than the development side.

Which do you prefer? I'm not sure there's a big difference in money. In my observation MCSE's have a slight edge in simply being able to get a job at all. But that can change capriciously as soon as they learn how to offshore-outsource troubleshooting workstations.

This might simply be a good time to practice discipline and follow through on a commitment you already made to yourself. Three years of college does not give you 75 percent of the payoff of four years. That one last year will give you 100 percent of it.

College develops you in other ways than job preparation. I'm not sure you can say that about certification. Not to demean it, I know several bright, successful people with certificates and no degree, but they all learned many of life's other lessons elsewhere.

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Go for the degree

by Tom_in_NJ In reply to Degree or Certification?

You're relatively close to the B.S., and it will open doors for you that certifications can't. The typical interview process includes interviews with both HR and techies, and the degree helps immensely in getting by the HR people.

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Two things...

by TomSal In reply to Degree or Certification?

I am envious of you, in almost 10 years with my company the most I got them to pay for was 3 seminars totally less than $3000 -- in 9 years. I would hands down go for the degree. Not only is that likely the more expensive route (that's why you want the gov't to pay it) it will have the biggest effect on making your resume stand out.

As an aside comment, I noticed your location as Honolulu...I go there to visit my friends each year -- I love your city. I'll be in Mililani this summer hopefully. Anyway..good luck on your studies.

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Degree

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Degree or Certification?

Lasts longer, people still wonder how I managed without one and I'm 42, no one gives a crap about my NT3.51 training though.

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Get the Degree

by jdclyde In reply to Degree or Certification?

The Degree will work towards advances for the rest of your life. A CERT is only good for what that specific CERT is for and has to be renewed every few years.

Also, the knowledge you get from your degree MAY help you get your CERT. Two birdies at once.

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Degree

by KaceyR In reply to Degree or Certification?

People are usually a bit shocked when they find out that I don't have one, and even more shocked when they find out I don't have a certification.

I'm 41 years old and I've been programming professionally for 22 years (I've actually been programming for 31 years, I started when I was 10) and if I were to do it all over again, the only thing that I would change is getting a degree.

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No question about it... degree

by awfernald In reply to Degree or Certification?

Certs mean little except for specific jobs, a degree is an opening into almost every job.

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Yes

by gralfus In reply to Degree or Certification?

Do both. Finish the degree first, as it is more important. But then do the certs, because they help you get jobs. Many times certs are required to show the hiring team that you have a certain level of knowledge (even though that can be argued due to the number of "paper certs").

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11 classes that's all... Degree

by James Schroer In reply to Degree or Certification?

I was also looking at doing this but I only had an Assoc. degree and had a lot more to go to get a Bachelors and I had a family and a very long commute to work and any college. So I pick getting a cert but it all depends on which direction you want to go.

Degree = eventually being considered for Management. Might take a while and you may have a harder time changing jobs untill you are in the management possition

Cert = Working your way up through the technical side of things and could possibly get you in to Project manager possition debeding on the company. Able to gain from this quicker but not as able to go as high.

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