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IT Career Advice - Certifications vs College Degree

by twk2683 / July 18, 2013 8:31 PM PDT

Hello all,

I am wanting to switch careers and get into the Information Technology field and am wondering the best way to approach this. I am torn between focusing on IT certifications (A+, Network+, and eventually CCNA), or pursuing a degree in Computer Science. I just picked up a book on A+ and realized that I'm probaly ready to take that exam right away.

I know a Bachelor's Degree is required for many IT jobs and I have a B.S. in Criminal Justice & Criminology. Would IT employers be okay with certifications plus a bachelor's degree in this unrelated field? I'm 30 years old and am not sure if I have the time and money to get both the degree and the certifications.

Thanx in advance for the advice,
Burned-out Corrections Officer in AZ

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Nod to degree.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 19, 2013 2:34 AM PDT

I see most HR folk just bin the certs. It does help after the degree.

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A bit of both?
by Zouch / July 19, 2013 7:06 PM PDT

I kind of agree with Bob, there is no substitute for a degree. It's really a case of Theory (degree) versus Practical (certifications). If you have the degree, you'll have gained a fundamental understanding of the basics on which you can build in any of the IT directions that appeal to you. With certifications, you'll be a good journeyman and will become productive quicker but may hit limits later on.

If you think you can pass some of the certs already, why not do that alongside a degree and enjoy the best of both worlds?

Good luck!

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Both sides of the fence
by Willy / July 26, 2013 5:52 AM PDT

If you want a job, get the certification. If you want a career, then get a degree. having a degree says, you've done the legwork and brainpower on a higher level or are expected to deliver. Certs are popular because that's what many a company wants and that's all they want plus they pay smaller scale depending on the job or task at hand. However, you can get the certs and then a degree as time goes by or the need arises. In fact sometimes the best offers ned the cert in order to advance or apply for that job, but again it all depends on the job offered. A degree just offers more and says more about you, having both isn't bad either. Then you may be over-qualified and never get the job, because you expect to want salary, yada, yada. So you have to gauge what your needs are and the job offered.

good luck -----Willy Happy

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Get what you can keep
by Graupner / December 2, 2013 10:23 PM PST

Degree. Most certifications require some type of re-certification of training to show you still merit the certification. Whether PMP, MCSC, CCNA, etc. (all of which I have or have had), the certification process is ongoing. For a carer change, I recommend the degree because it adds to your resume in a permanent way. You will retain the results of your effort (the degree) whether you continue in that field or not. As a manager, I am more interested in individuals with multiple degrees, however old, than I am with certifications, however new. A degree will require more effort, something that is important to me in individuals I interview as it shows the drive to complete a task correctly. That said, I am even more interested in candidates that display a desire to continually learn.

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IT Career Advice - Certifications vs College Degree
by ankitkumarseo / December 3, 2013 5:28 PM PST
In reply to: Get what you can keep

Please go for a Degree. Certificate Course will be a plus only for a Degree Holder. Degree will give you the basic foundation of IT field.

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