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 Post subject: Pursuing a masters degree in IT
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:34 am
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Location: Manassas, VA
Up until a little over a year ago, I worked as a Network systems engineer, installing servers and client workstation. Then I transferred to another position to work as a systems administrator when I found out that I was going to be a father and could no longer traveled like I did before. I have a bachelor of science degree in computer science. Lately I've been thinking of pursuing a masters program online to further my education. For those of you who been in the IT field for a number of years, what is your take on this? Should I pursuit a masters program or should I pursuit a certification instead. I guess it comes down to that I miss the techical work and want to keep myself abreast of the field and to enhance my knowledge should I decide to leave my current position and head back into the technical field.


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 Post subject: Re: Pursuing a masters degree in IT
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:49 pm 
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james_nguyen wrote:
Should I pursuit a masters program or should I pursuit a certification instead.

The later isn't as valuable as they used to be, so I suggest the former.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:07 am 
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James,

A few questions.

Education:
Is the MS in in CS? I do not feel that would be a good investment in futhering your career, unless you plan on working at a research oriented company. Even then, they will question the degree if it does not come from an accredited college/university.
If you wanted to continue your education, I would suggest an MBA program geared towards working professionals. They offer evening/weekend classes, many even offer video taped classes and exams are taken at a local testing center. The degree would allow you to move into a management position supervising technical professionals. This equals larger salary and little to no travel.
If management is not your thing and the main purpose of the degree is to update your core skills, that can be accomplished thru seminars, conferences, etc.

Certifications:
You said you are currently an SA. Which systems do you work on? Linux/HP-UX/Windoze/etc? How lond have you been in your current position?
A hiring manager is going to place more emphasis on your job history and degree. I manage a group now and if an applicant came in 2-5yrs experience, I could care less if he had any certifications. Im going to question the projects he worked on, skill level etc.
I am biased against certifications because I have encountered way too many applicants with certifications they obtained thru brain dumps (ie cheated) and really did not have a core set of skills.
Now I will say there is an exception. I see you live in Manassas. I havent checked the market lately, but there used to be a high demand for RHCE certifications along with a security certification offered by SANS. Either way, compentent linux admin's are usually in demand.

Too bad you dont have a clearance, you could name your price in this region.


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