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Money well spent? I need career advice.

By andrew74eva ·
I want a career in the IT industry ,but the course I want to do is very expensive and I need some feedback as to wether this will be a good step into the industry or wether my money could be spent better elsewhere for the same results.

My background. I have a science degreee ( Microbiology ) I have never worked in IT

The Course.
Over 3 Months f/t .
A+ Cert and MCP gained. Very small class sizes with a good reputation for student support. Job placement is also included .These peoplehave a good rep with a no. of large companies that come to them looking for their graduates. Courseware including Windows 2k Prof. is included.
The cost is 5500 USDollars.

The key is that this counts as the first 6 months of a Bachelor of Computing Degree in Network Technologies, the idea being that you work in the industry starting in a level 1 role and finish the rest of the degree part time ( also with an MCSE thrown in) , when you finish you have the degree and a few years of industry experience and the MCSE.
The only catch is that the 5500$ only covers the initial 3 months ( A+ and MCP ), to complete the degree would cost another 4500$ per year.
I don't have that sort of $ and even to do the 3 month course is a huge financial commitment for me and I need to be sure that I will get some return for this. Also what is the chance that my future employer will sponsor me so that I can finish my study because now that I have a wife and young child I can't realistically see myself being able to afford it.
Am I wasting my time or will this be a good investment?....I can't afford to screw this up. I am prepared to work hard and I know that it will be a steep learning curve but I want to get myself into a worthwhile careerin the industry with opportunity for advancement in the future.
Any feedback will be most appreciated.

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Be your own teacher

by Brad Carroll In reply to Money well spent? I need ...

If you are the sort of person who needs "classroom instruction", then the tuition fee may be money well spent. On the other hand, it is quite easy for most MCP subjects to learn from text books. Many of the better publications include free online support or discussion forums (similar to this one) where you can get clarification on things that you are having trouble with.

Compared to the cost of a fully tutored course, the text books are very good value for money (particularly if they come with free CD examples and other bonus items).

The other advantage to self-tuition is that it is self-paced. You can take as much or as little time to complete the course as you like and you don't have to take the exam until you are ready.

You can also do your lessons at 3am in your underwear if you want... something that most schools and universities would be likely to discourage.

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Something I forgot

by Brad Carroll In reply to Money well spent? I need ...

I forgot to mention this:

If the "work experience" component is paid work and it is guaranteed, then the tuition option looks a lot better value than if you have to find the job yourself or if you are expected to work for free.

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Maybe not

by xxx123 In reply to Money well spent? I need ...

OK, if I read this correctly, it's $10,000 for a trade school certificate. (The word "degree" is not usually applied to something you receive in 6 months so I got a little confused.)

The quality of instruction may be excellent, but this is a lot of money for what are usually viewed as entry-level certifications which are held by lots of people. (A+ and MCSE, I mean.)

By "job placement" do they mean the ACTUALLY get you placed or do they keep a list of employers in their office and handyou some addresses so you can email your resume? If they are "guaranteeing" to place you somewhere, that is a little unusual and may merit more consideration than I usually give to these schemes.

It is difficult for new people to break into IT and if this outfit really does place you, they are helping you. But you haven't said how much personal experience you have with computers. Do you have any at home? They don't need to be the latest and greatest, but if you aren't already spending personal time working on computers, how do you know you'll even like this work or be good at it? If you decide it's not for you, that's a big chunk of money down the drain.

The school will still be there in 6 months. I would suggest following the path the other person suggested - - get a couple books and cruise the computer shows for parts. Put together some systems. Maybe even get them networked. Even if you decide to go on and do this $10K program, you'll have a good head-start on the material.

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Money well spent?

by Chuckles In reply to Money well spent? I need ...

That is an awful alot of money. I'm all for getting a good education, but not at the expense of putting so much stress on myself and family. You said that you can barely pay for your initial classes. With a wife and small child, the money will get even tighter. I should know, I was married and had 2 kids. I'm recently divorced and just now am getting back to the point that certifications may be affordable to me.

Self study courses are great for those who can teach themselves. I also find you tend to retain more if you research answers yourself instead of just being told. Some people need an instructor and that's cool. Everyone is different. Sometimes I need one just to motivate me to study. Try the self study courses first and see if you like them. They are a minor investment and if you don't like it, then you can always go to a classroom. They will always be there. I learned everything I know from hands on experience. I'm just now begininning to get some certifications. Computers used to be a hobby for me, now it's how I make a living. It takes traing to keep nowadays.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it...hope this helps. One other word of advice...ENJOY YOUR FAMILY FIRST..don't get so bogged down intraining and work that you neglect them. Jobs are a dime a dozen, but you only have one family.

GOD bless and good luck.

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I went to one of those schools

by jbach67 In reply to Money well spent?

I already had a 2yr certificate from an electronics school when I went to IKON's Tech 2000 Program for Windows MCSE Certification. It cost about $15k. I now have A+ and an MCP for Windows 98. My school also promised 'job placement.' Without experience or the full MCSE certificaion, its very tough to get a good job and I finished in February 2001. Advice? Listen to the others, be cautious before you spend your money. Oh, look for a 'test pass' guarantee...I took the Windows 98 test twice becauseI just wasn't ready. Good luck.

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Work Whild You Learn

by enoughalready In reply to Money well spent? I need ...

Find a company that will offer you an entry level position and support your continued education. Seek education in all realms - self study, classes and experience. This business requires a love of learning that is continuous. High cost doesn't always mean high value - take responsibility for your own learning. Enjoy!

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DIY

by boyhowdy In reply to Money well spent? I need ...

DIY? It means do it yourself. In the Punk scene when you can't find the clothes you wanted, you made them yourself. Didn't like the music you were hearing? Make your own. Don't like what path in life that is being offered you? Make you own way.

I have neither certifications nor a degree. It hasn't slowed me down one bit, but then I tend to work at jobs were having a piece of paper is less important than producing results.

The way I broke into the industry, was to find a job that wanted to hire me for next to nothing. For a year I was treated like crap. I also learned cabling, networking disgustingly different networks together (Once I had to connect a LANTastic, NT, Novell, and UNIX network together and allow every machine touse all the resources on the network), and one of the most important things, I learned how to draw up procedures, and proposals. I stayed for a year and a half. That was six years ago.

Since then I have tripled my salary, and have a broad enough background to be hired with my blue, purple, and black mohawk and still be treated as a professional.

Most of my friends in the indusrty have done it the same way.

I wish you luck and success.

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Most Impressive

by solis In reply to DIY

I applaud you for being able to overcome aesthetic discrimination, putting up with an adverse situation to get experience, and having your way with the industry.

For some of us, it's just not that easy. I'm clean cut, I wear nice suits and generally smell good. I graduated at the top of my class in network administration (NT 4.0, NW5.x, Unix, OS/400, Cisco stuff etc), I've even got a 4 server LAN at home that's hosting web sites, mail accounts etc. and can't seem to get a job anywhere onthis continent other than in call centers.

Perhaps my job seeking strategy sucks, but I got the paper and it's done nothing for me other than suspend my hope until my certs are obsolete and I have to retrain. The common theme is a lack of industry experience. Out of 24 in my class, I believe that less than 7 actually got something decent. Four of us are in this call center wondering what happened...

We're still positive though, it'll only get better! Patience, perhaps.

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Money BETTER spent!

by Larry23 In reply to Money well spent? I need ...

Here?s something to consider:

With your background in Microbiology, I would get into computer programming and / or database design instead of network administration.

I?ve had my MCSE for over two years and am currently a Sr. Network Analyst in the Medical Research Field. Honestly, nowadays, inexperienced MCP?s or MCSE?s are a dime a dozen? Just read some of the posts in Tech Republic about people trying to find work.

In our Medical Institute, we have a Biostatistics and Informatics Department ? most research facilities do. People with your background and some programming experience are priceless. If you could develop in Java, create database applications or even get into statistical analysis, you could pretty much write your ownticket.

Case in point: Look at the progress in Functional Genomics over the past two years. I don?t know If you?re familiar with some of the up and coming MicroArray techniques where you can scan 65,000 genes at once on a single computer chip? but once that data is generated, and believe me, it?s a **** of a lot of data, it needs to be analyzed.

In a Bioinformatics Department, you develop ways to manage and analyze such data where computers play a vital role. In my opinion, the best person to develop such techniques and analyze the data is one who understands the biology.

Good Luck!

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I agree... But, not fully...

by W. LeGrow In reply to Money BETTER spent!

I agree on your advice on using the degree and going into programming/developing applications that would support that industry or that science.

I don't quite agree with everything being said about MCSE's in general.

It used to be that if you went through MCSE, you could theoretically forget everything except TCP\IP and your piece of paper would still have some value. That's because the NT track was so focused on that version of windows at the time that it had little to no other value. Also, some people got their MCSE by just doing practice exams as a substitute for studying and visiting some braindump sites... Hence - Paper MCSE's.

It's no wonder that the certification got the reputation of having no value what-so-ever.

Anyhow, if someone is trying to break into the industry... they better have some experience with networks and study thoroughly using good study references or instructor led classes. (I would suggest the later for someone who has limited experience and isbreaking into the field.)

Someone reading this would think I'm touting MS's line on this... Well, in some ways, I guess I am, but, in reality, I don't want someone else to make a mistake either.... If you're comfortable with self-paced study, then do it. If not, then use instructor led - it does help to be able to talk to someone about what you're learning, especially if you're breaking into the field.

I found it valuable to get a couple of other students together as a study group that could bounce ideas and questions off each other..

In any case, in order to raise your chances of success in the industry, get experience or use the training you have now to support your field by programming/developing solutions for the sciences. I recommend the latter in your case.

Good Luck!

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