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 Post subject: Four year Degree verses experience and certs
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 1:30 pm 
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The general view in most of these posts seems to be that certs alone are not enough. From what I've read, anyone starting out in the IT field, is pretty much doomed if they try to break in without a four year degree.

After spending around 10K on a for profit school for certs, I have been able to land a job doing level 3 desk top support and some active directory administration. However the pay is only 15 an hour, with the probability I'll be at 20 with in six months.

I'm not looking to be filthy rich, but in this day and age if your not making at least 36 an hour, I really don't know how you can be a home owner, make car payments, and raise a family.

I'm single, in my early thirties, and rent, so I can get by, but obviously that's a pretty limiting future to look forward to. I'm fairly exhausted dealing with the student loan situation, and am very hesitant to take on more debt, but if that's the only answer to open the door to a job making more than 40K a year, I'd rather know now and get the degree.

The area I want to go in is Networking.

So does any one have an opinion on this? Do I have a chance if I pick up
Network +, security +, Linux+, Server +, and RHCE or CCNA and just staying working in the field? Or, should I drop back now and get the degree? Obviously the best bet would be to go after both, but is this the only way into the upper levels of the job market?

Any views would be appreciated. [/i]


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:05 pm 
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Yes, that is my view. Not everyone ends up like Bill Gates, successful and filthy rich without ever finishing college.

This is a scale I made that you can go by but this depends on what kind of taste you have, living habits and how carefully you can manage money.
Now, if you own a bmw, u live in Hollywood and you're up to your ears in debt then you will obviously need to make adjustments.

What you can expect or what you should set your goals at if you want to keep up with the jones'es:

no degree/some exp/some college/rooming with a friend; apt **note**the young people in this bracket are usually satisfied with pay at first, until they realize it's not all that great.
Single no dependents min 15/hr struggling to get by
Single with 1 child... no degree typically tops off at 21-25/hr, pay is comfortable but not great.

pay requires a college degree/4-7 yrs exp/first home
note**anyone that falls in this bracket has met responsibilty and is never satisfied with pay.
Married with 1 child aim for min 50k per yr
Married with 2-3 children, should aim for at least 60k
Married with 3-5 children, should aim for at least 70k/yr to get by.

master's degree/well rounded background and 10+ yrs experience
/IT certs/nice house and nice cars


whether single or married with 5 kids, for the avg joe this is where you want to be 80-100k :!:

To make more than 100k per year, generally speaking you need to be in some sort of executive position.

Specialize!!! That's the key to getting ahead of your peers and jumpstarting your career in the right direction.

When you feel you have achieved "greatness" and nothing left to specialize in then take a management position. You get paid more to sit on your tail and do nothing!

FTR-Our highest paid tech does not have a college degree or certifications but he went to the same church as the man making the hiring decisions.

The moral of the story is...you really do need a college degree to make more money. I'm sure there are plenty of people who will tell you different but those people had a bit of luck on their side, brown nosed to the top or just knew somebody in the good ol' boy network.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:03 am 
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Thanks for the words of advice.

I've been trying to resign my self to the conclusion that a degree is the only real way to go, but I guess I was just looking for an outside push to confirm the opinion.

If I may ask:

What would you say the educational background of someone working in an executive postion is? I persume that at a minimum it's a Masters degree, but is the field of study some sort of interdisciplinary program, like Network Security major, MBA minor etc.? Just curious.


Again, thanks for your input.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:22 am 
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I wish you the greatest of success, but I fear that you will be sorely dissappointed regardless of the path you follow. Not from any lack in your effort or skills, nor any lack in willingness to work and earn what you get. But due to simple Human Nature. If you find it so very difficult to make ends meet on $15.00/hr, you will likely find it no easier to live on $50.00/hr. People have this bad habit of living beyond their means while never realizing just how good they had it to start with.
First and foremost, there are any number of courses, 'Mail Order' or online, where you can get the degree you seek. With full credit for the work ompleted (I think the term is being 'Accredited'), which would not cost NEAR as much as a full time college. And many if not most will allow you to study at your OWN pace. There will be sections that you can and would/will simply Breeze through while others might require you to seek outside help. Which means you could study at your own pace without harming your current work performance. Yes, often an employer will take a degree over experience. But when you can offer the Degree PLUS experience, then you got it goin on...
I don't know what area you live in. I do know that in my own home state, Oklahoma, a fairly recent study found that $18.00/hr was considered the minimum for a single wage earner to support a family of 4. By the same token, Oklahoma is listed as being among the least expensive places to live.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:28 pm 
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I find that you need certs and the degree. To me it was a no brainer to get the certs, then the degree. After getting the certs you will be able to klep out of alot of the degree related CIS classes, saving you alot of time. I just enrolled in a 1 year program that will get me A+, Network+, MCP and MCSA. And if you finish the MSCA you need just 2 additional corses for the MCSE, so in 1 years time I will be certied up pretty good. Then its off to get the degree. And the Cert school I'm going to is a feeder pool for Dell.

Im also from Oklahoma and alot of companies around here are more interested in the certs than the degree. Although they "prefer" the degree, it all depends on where you are and who your up against in the recruting pool.


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 Post subject: Re: Four year Degree verses experience and certs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:17 pm 
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jbCTU wrote:
The general view in most of these posts seems to be that certs alone are not enough. From what I've read, anyone starting out in the IT field, is pretty much doomed if they try to break in without a four year degree. [/i]


I don't know how extraordinary my case is but after 4 years on a Scout Recon team for the 82nd Airborne I went to school for Motorcycles and am certified by Honda and Kawasaki but upon graduation decided I wanted to work in my real hobby of computers so I just kind of worked my way into a job starting at a research hospital as a nobody. I was sweeping up cigarette butts in between installing office and printers. They sent me to school for a week, I got my MCDST and now I work for a different hospital making 45k a year with about 1 year experience. I am actually looking for more, not much but the market seems pretty hot and people are calling me like crazy. I should be able to score 55k by the summer. Full bene's and all.

I have actually helped some other people break in to the industry as well and I really believe it's who you are and what your willing to do as opposed to what you've done. Sure it helps but someone that holds a real passion for what they do along with just raw motivation is hard to turn away. It's money in their pocket and they know it because you cost less to figure out. If they don't like you they only paid you 12 an hour to figure it out. If they love you they can send you to school and won't mind kicking you down some real money. The key is to not become stagnant. You get stuck on a help desk and grow mold. Keep up with the tech and the certs and you just keep moving up. Plus if you love what your doing it's worth a hell of a lot more than a few extra dollars at the end of the week. Anyone that's ever really worked for a living will tell you that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:53 pm 
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Quote:
What would you say the educational background of someone working in an executive postion is? I persume that at a minimum it's a Masters degree, but is the field of study some sort of interdisciplinary program, like Network Security major, MBA minor etc.? Just curious.


This was covered in another topic in this forum but I will reiterate some good pointers. Where and in what you concentrate in should be closely aligned with your goals. If your goal is to become the ISO, then yes majoring in Network security would be a good place to start.

I recommend a degree in IT because it offers more flexibility and opportunity. For example, with a degree in IT you could apply for either a CIO or ISO position.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:48 pm 
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Also take into account just how much time you will spend sitting at a desk. I thought I wanted that nice desk job in the climate controled building, working on comp's all day. Then I found that job and I can tell you that I am glad the guy who hired me quit 3 days after I started and let me go also. It only took 3 days for me to realize that I would be dealing with total computer idiots all day long 5 days a week, and be on call over some weekends. NO THANKS. Now I get to deal with total idiots about TV, computers and phone all day long but at least I am outside and don't have my boss hanging over me all day, hell it is rare that I see my boss for more than 5 minutes a day most days not eve that long if at all. I tell you I love almost every minute of work, would be every minute but I work in one of the nastiest parts of the city.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:40 am 
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The certs help , having a 4 year degree helps also. For your 4 year degree, look at http://www.wgu.edu/online_it_degrees/programs.asp
This is an on-line accredited school that when you complete it, will get you around 9 certs. This is something you can do from home. they charge around $2,700 every 6 months. If you have the time, you can take as many classes as you can complete. so if you are not working you could complete all your classes in a year. It all depends on the time you spend on the classes. This is where I am starting in april. I have lots of collage credit but no degree. In the competitive job market you need to stack the deck in your favor. I am getting a federal loan to pay for the school also.

Here are some places to look for certs and stuff...

http://www.cramsession.com/certificatio ... ations.asp (this place tells you about certs and how cost effective they are)

http://www.thebryantadvantage.com/
a great place to learn about Cisco certs when you want to prepar for them. Cisco is great cert to learn.

I have been working in IT for 16 years but not having a 4 year degree has held me back for sure. I am a great tech my company does not promote non degreed people to management.
I am not an expert but I do know how it is to get certified on a budget. I figured I do not need certs nor school , and they may be true , but it is alot harder finding a job without them. Life is a game and you need to stack the deck in your favor as much as possable. Just look at what companies say they want when they post jobs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:50 am 
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To make more than 100k per year, generally speaking you need to be in some sort of executive position.


Engineers will make >$100k without an executive position.

------------------------

To the OP,

I'm on the verge of saying that in the IT/Tech industry, a 4 year degree is a must, unless you know someone (or got extremely lucky). Many companies require a degree just to walk in the door, and then the certs just make them look better when they bid contracts or to lower support costs from outsourcing. Managers usually don't understand what certs mean besides how it looks on paper.

For sure not having a degree will limit you in any career. I'd say all management paths are closed to non-degreed, and your jumps in position will trail even someone with a bullshit degree (arts), just because they have the degree...

If you want to write your own ticket, get a degree in engineering (system or computer) with a minor in CS. Get a job where they will pay for your additional training (Cisco and other certs). I can tell you that companies look at new hires/grads as worthless for the first 2-3 years because of their lack of experience. Put in your 3 years at a "grunt" position, but milk the company for all of the training and experience you can get, then re-enter the job market and get much more money.

Once you have 5 years in a field + your BS, you'll be ready for the next tier. Many companies want you to get your MS too, and will pay for that for more of your time, which should be fine, just get to 10 years in the field, maintain your certs and then you'll be ready to go to the next company and jump up a tier.

In my first 7 years out of school I went from 43.5k (1995 money) to 86k and worked for 3 different companies. With a saturated tech market, IT experts are a dime a dozen. Certs won't mean a thing, a degree means very little, so you have to either bring Experience (yes, its a catch-22) + degree or Certs + degree. Best of all worlds is Certs + Experience + degrees...

Good luck!


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 Post subject: experience is key
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:08 pm 
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I have no degree yet I have worked for some very well known IT and telecom companies. I have worked side by side with and even supervised co-workers, all of whom had degrees. And due to my pre hire negotiations and my ability to back up what I say in an interview, I have often been one of the best paid. Now, I have been a supervisor and manager, but to go higher I will need a degree. But I pull in well over 70K, base with none now, and that suits me fine. Experience and getting into the right places that fit you are more important than anyone tells you. The best techies that I have run across are geeks with an interest and no degrees. Granted that makes people who spent thousands of dollars and many years in school mad, but there ARE other ways to get ahead in the IT world. One can make a good living being a worker bee too!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:35 am 
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The best techies that I have run across are geeks with an interest and no degrees.


I'd say that the degree has no bearing on the ability or the technical capabilities/experience of the person, in fact, most college students are behind the curve quite a bit when it comes to actual knowledge...however, I want to be clear here that the company that is hiring is looking for a degree. Regardless of your abilities, many companies have a policy of hiring those with degrees. It is a sad fact, but I run across engineers and techs that have a degree and got in the door and then are just rotten employees with little or no interest beyond putting in their 40 hours. Even worse, in today's litigious society, getting rid of bad employees is nearly impossible, and they just get shuffled around from department to department. Would that I could have had a geek without a degree that would have been a great addition to the team instead....but company policy dictated otherwise.

The very best techs that I've found (besides engineers) have actually come from the military. They not only worked with the stuff first hand, but were interested enough to pursue it after the military, often using the GI bill to get through college. Which is a path I forgot to mention...the military is a good choice for someone because they can make money while getting experience, then get a college education for cheap afterwards. The military industry has always done pretty well (except maybe under Clinton), and the desire/demand for natural born US citizens that can get Secret clearance is very high. Many military personnel walk out with clearances, saving the companies money and time.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:45 pm 
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No matter how much experience you have, no matter how much knowledge you gain on your own, no matter how good you are at what you do, even if you're smarter than the person with the degree, the companies that do the hiring want that stupidly expensive piece of sheepskin proving you had someone ELSE teach you what you know.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:45 pm 
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None of the companies I have worked for would agree. Most places I have been look for experience over anything else. They dont hire newbs out of school with zero experience unless its for entry level positions. For higher management, yes, you need the degree. Im not saying a degree is not helpful, just that its not 100% needed.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 6:35 am 
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In many of the companies I have worked for, they like the young kids out of collage because they work for less. The company may have 1 higher level person and the less expencive people that proved that they can learn ( by their getting that 4 year degree ). Then the new person gets their OJT ( on the job training ) from the cheap ( sorry, fiscal concious) company.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:17 am 
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:lol: :lol: :lol:

Cheap

Fiscally Conscious

:lol: :lol: :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:38 am 
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LOL,

That could also mean paranoid about spending cash due to lack of incoming revenue!

:shock:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:56 pm 
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And that sounds like 'student' to me!


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 Post subject: Four year degree always better than certification
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:32 pm 
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Four year degree is always better than any certification because it will pay you for long term and it is long lasting and never expires. Certificates are vendor based and we don't know how they move in future... if they do good so ur certification... further more they keep changing these certificate skills and test to keep with market and earn more money from exam takers..... after sometimes they force to expire your old exams....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:44 am 
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Skilless wrote:
Quote:
To make more than 100k per year, generally speaking you need to be in some sort of executive position.


Engineers will make >$100k without an executive position.
How about "can make" >$100K. I made under $50K as an engineer at the last spot, 32K prior to that...both well known companies in CA. I made more as an intern in Texas than my first actual position. Now make >100k as a tradesman that requires no degree. But the past experience and training helps exponentially.

I'll agree that a degree doesn't mean one person is smart, but it gives that allowance that they could be. Lots of numbskulls with papers hung in their cube.
askme wrote:
Four year degree always better than certification
Four year degree is always better than any certification because it will pay you for long term
College is more well rounded to go through than specific trainings. You'll usually have a major and a minor, along with the many other classes you take to get the lambskin...or opt as optionals.


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