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Our colleges are failing us

By public ·
I am a Network Administrator at my company. I have my MCSE NT 4.0, and am currently working toward my CCNA and hopefully my CCNP (boy ccnp classes are expensive!!!). Recently my younger cousin (who is crackerjack at PC systems) is finishing high school and wanted advice on which college to go to. He wanted a technical college but wanted to learn stuff he can use in the field. He didnt want to waste time taking too many stupid classes that had absolutely NOTHING to do with his goal.

Sowe sat down and hit the net. 4 hours later, we sat very dissapointed, staring at the computer screen. Pretty much it comes down to this:

College courses as so far behind the times that I was FORCED to tell my cousin to skip it. I told him to hit some high quality technical schools that can take him through his OS training (MCSE, LINX, UNIX) and his network training (CCNA, CCNP, NETWORK+) and pc training (A+), and light programming (C++, Java, etc).

This really makes me sick to my stomach. I was very very dissapointed with the class offerings in these "technical" colleges. I really felt that there was probably 3 or 4 classes out of 4 years of college that would help him get ahead in today's IT environment. What the **** is going on here? Do colleges really expect my cousin to sit through 80% classes that add up to garbage only to get to the 20% that really matter?

My personal feelings are this: (after the intensive search on the internet for colleges in the NYC areathat my cousin can go to) Colleges are institutions that just act too slow to keep up with IT today (except maybe really specialized ones that I haven't been able to find). And because of this, I feel technical schools (not really colleges aftera all) will RULE the training of IT personnel for the far future.

Just my 2 cents worth.

-public@lipan.org
Ginel Lipan

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solid agreement

by ahunter6 In reply to Our colleges are failing ...

i have to agree completely. the only time i saw a college actually offer a course i could use was back in 96 when i took a DOS class. I learned a tremendous amount from that one class. and the kicker is it was a community college! I've looked at several schools and all I ever see is calculus, programming, higher math, programming, math, web design, programming. Where's the network achitecture classes? The routing and protocol classes? The HARDWARE classes? With all this focus on programming it's not surprising that a person here on my own helpdesk (CSC) doesn't know how TO INSTALL A DRIVER! But she's been programming java for years! My state (connecticut) is filled overflowing with colleges, but not a one i could actually afford has remotely anything I want to learn. I can't help but think that the people who put together these curricula are confusing programming with everything else. I know my non IT friends do. You are right on, Ginel. Have your cousin got to ITT or somesuch. I did.Best idea i ever had.

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Interesting...

by bhaulma1 In reply to Our colleges are failing ...

Do you really believe that a college degree is all about not taking courses that teach anything beyond your major? Technology in your case.

What you desire are programs in electrical/computer enginnering or systems design & analysis. Engineering courses. (You can legitimatly call yourself an engineer when you are finished.)Unfortuneatly, this requires that you "waste" all that time taking courses which are not of "interest."

By all means, hit a Junior College or trade school.

No, I'm sorry, the schools aren't the ones failing here.

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wha?

by public In reply to Interesting...

Electrical/computer enginnering??? Why would my cousin need to know that? I want my cousin to come out of college and be able to:

1) Know how to cable a 1500 node network (with fiber backbone)
2) Know how to design that network with gateways,
firewalls, sans etc.
3) Be able (if he wanted to) to BUILD each and every one of those computers and servers with a myriad of NOS's.
4) Setup an incredibly secure network and the infrastructure to support it.
5) Know and unstandand licencing agreements (this should be a seperate certification in-of itself)

Now I can see Systems design & analysis, but have you ACTALLY READ the description of those courses. Go to a college and read up on their courses. It has has almost NOTHING to do with what REALLY goes on in the real world. My brother in law is taking your "Engineering Courses" and he hates it. He pretty much says he had to go through a whole lot of "garbage" to get to his Network classes (2 in total. 2 cheesy semesters). He's very dissapointed at what he was forced to learn. He sees that his college doesn't have what's needed.

It comes down to this. Would an IT employer want

1) a 4 year college student with an ENGINEERING Degree (electrical/computer enginnering orsystems design & analysis degree)

OR

2) A student who used his 4 years (and the money that would of gone to colleges) to get his MCSE, CCNA, CCNP, A+, NETWORK+, CHECKPOINT FIREWALL certifications.

I DEFINATELY know who I would hire......-ginel

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You misunderstand the role of colleges

by Hotshot3000 In reply to wha?

The role of colleges is to provide a well rounded education. In the area of computer science, another goal is to teach the theory required to DEVELOP the next operating system, computer chip, or routing protocol, among other things.

The role ofmost community/technical colleges is usually to provide job-related training of a more applied or practical nature. This is where to go to learn how to program a router, set up a network, replace a hard drive, or install software.

Your problem is that you are looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place. And from most of the job descriptions I've seen, employers want the CCNA, A+, MCSE, etc. (with experience, I might add), but ALSO that BS in Computer Science or a related field.

I'm sorry your relative feels those courses are unnecessary, but a lot of people in the industry evidently think they teach a student something. Maybe patience (also known as paying your dues)?

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Well Said Edgeben!

by TomSal In reply to You misunderstand the rol ...

I couldn't agree with Edgeben more.

I too can't stand the need to take math, political science, and literary courses on my way to earning a 4 year MIS degree - but you gotta do what you gotta do. I've done the cert thing, I have MCSE cert and I've done all the studying, review and hands on work for my CCNA now I just need to find the time to take the actual test, along with the money for the test fee (long story but stuff came up that doesn't make that too easy to do as it sounds). I've alsoalready went to a community college - earned two AAS degrees from there. Not to mention my many years of on the job experiences....the only reason I point this stuff out is so you hear it from someone who's been there - I know about certs, I know about community colleges, I know about experience....

Certs are not the holy grail you are being putting them up to be.

I sure hope you don't call someone a "network engineer" just because they have a CCNA or CCNP cert. I hope a hardware repair tech in "your book" is only someone who has a piece of paper that says "A+" on it. I'm not an egominded person, nor do I boast of myself - but I've taught supposed "A+" and "CCNP" (mind you CCNPs, not even CCNA's - the lesser cert) a thing or two about hardware and networking in my time.

Certs are tests. They are good for self confidence building, they are good for organizing good mental discipline and exercising study habits. They are BAD for ranking someone's expertise.

Like edgeben hinted to, I don't know where you or you cousin are looking to work but ever employment ad I see for IT jobs REQUIRES two things EXPERIENCE (first and foremost) and a 4 YEAR DEGREE...certs in 80% of all cases are "preferred by not required, optional, etc.".

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So What?

by Ken In reply to wha?

Take all of that certification and in 4 or 5 years time most of it will be woefully out of date. An engineer takes those "other" courses and becomes a well rounded professional who has proven that he KNOWS HOW TO LEARN. There is nothing wrong withcertification, don't get me wrong, but in the long run, professional designation will get you further!

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Missed your mark

by ghstinshll In reply to Interesting...

You really didn't defend anything there...

The Schools are missing their marks as well because they're not teaching a complete IS degree. especially if they call it an MIS degree, as "Managing" including infrastructure planning in all aspects, which requires more than colleges are currently offering.

Supposedly Drake University is offering a MBA with an emphasis in Operations, IT, or Management, which sounds enticing... This is the most enticing one I've seen recently.

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Missed your mark

by ghstinshll In reply to Interesting...

You really didn't defend anything there...

The Schools are missing their marks as well because they're not teaching a complete IS degree. especially if they call it an MIS degree, as "Managing" including infrastructure planning in all aspects, which requires more than colleges are currently offering.

Supposedly Drake University is offering a MBA with an emphasis in Operations, IT, or Management, which sounds enticing... This is the most enticing one I've seen recently.

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maybe, but...

by haagr In reply to Our colleges are failing ...

The problem is that colleges tend to look down on IT as a "blue collar" area. Most of the classes are done from a research/theory point of view, not a realistic one.

I go to the University of Michigan, and most of my Electrical Engineering classes focus on programming theory, hardware theory, etc., instead of how to make Microsoft products actually work.

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And why not?

by public In reply to maybe, but...

And why not show you how those NOS (network operating systems) work?!??! (not only Micro$oft!!!, how about unix, linux, novell etc). How about teaching those kids how to cable a HUGE cabling project? How about learning how to bring up a web serverusing a variety of routers, switches, NOS's, etc? How about learning how to troubleshoot those networks with advanced networking tools? How about learning how to setup and manage a PBX? How about learning how to setup a VPN for a 5000+ corporation? How about learning how to make a ROCK SOLID firewall using a variety of different products?

****, thats the kind of student i need in my office! I dont care if you know theory!! Dont waste my time. My WAN connection to Chicago just went down! Go troubleshoot it!

-Ginel

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