Bachelors degree vs certifications

loss4wordsloss4words Member Posts: 165 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hey guys,

If you had to choose one, which one would it be?

I'm in a situation where I currently only have an Associate degree but have been lucky enough to find a decent paying job that pays rent and allows me to save a little. The job also gives me opportunities to work on things that are above my pay level (such as working with servers) that I'm sure will benefit me in the future. Few years from now I'm planning to move to a different state and will need to find a new job there. I am able to save up some money to afford a down payment on a future house, however, if I decide to go back to school a lot of those savings will need to go into paying for education and I will not have as much left for a house and other future expenses. Would it make sense for me to go the certifications route instead or would you still recommend for me to invest for a bachelors degree?


  • SweenMachineSweenMachine MCSA: Office 365, MCSA: Windows 7 (I am old), ITIL Foundations V3 Chicago areaMember Posts: 300 ■■■■□□□□□□
    As a 35 year old who just went back to school to get a bachelors, I'd strongly encourage it if you intend to move into any sort of management or elevated role within companies. Certifications are great, and I used to be very anti-college... yet here I am dumping money into WGU so I can get a bachelors to escalate my career.... haha

  • loss4wordsloss4words Member Posts: 165 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for a quick reply, Scott! I'm 30 myself and thinking about WGU as well. How quickly do you think it will take you to graduate? Did you already have any certifications prior to applying?
  • kriscamaro68kriscamaro68 A+, Net+, Server+, Security+, Win7 MCP, Server 2012 Virtualization Specialist, MCSA 2012 Member Posts: 1,186 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I would also recommend WGU. It gets you both the degree and certs which is a check box for paths you mention. This way you don't need to choose one or the other as you get both. Just pick a degree that would give you worthwhile certs. The CIW and MTA certs are not worth putting on a resume. Also with the way WGU works you could potentially keep a lot of the money for the house if you can pound out the rest of the degree. Seems like a win win to me.
  • SephStormSephStorm Member Posts: 1,732
    Despite what has been said I am not certain it is worth it. I think its a bet, and its seeing diminishing returns.
  • iBrokeITiBrokeIT GICSP, GCIP, GXPN, GPEN, GWAPT, GCFE, GCIA, GCIH, GSEC, CySA+, Sec+, eJPT Member Posts: 1,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I think you are presenting a false choice based on a lack of information. Why not do both? Yes, I know funds permitting but just because you achieve one does not mean you should give up on the other.

    You could use your work experience with servers to assist in your studies for certifications. The MCSA 2008, A+, Network+ and Security+ all transfer into WGU for credit towards a BS if you want to pursue those on your own. OR, if you sign up for WGU they will provide the course materials to study for those certifications and the vouchers to take the exams as part of your tuition.

    Personally, if I were you, I would transfer in that Associates degree into WGU and apply for finacial aid if needed. You would gain certifications while completing your Bachelors.
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  • DoyenDoyen Member Posts: 397 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I agree with the above posters, but I do want to play devil's advocate here and also look at it this way: your undergraduate degree, once earned, will not go away. Let's say years down the road you decided that IT is not for you. Keep in mind, you don't want to do anything in IT anymore. Having your MCSE or CCNA is mainly good in the IT field, but it is really not going to do you much good in other areas of employment (besides teaching). You want to work in a biology, medical, or business field? I doubt network+ or that MCSA will help you transfer into that field (remember, that we have forsaken the IT related field). A BS degree in the IT field is still and undergrad degree. Most employers just want you to have a BS degree to show that your are teachable and knowledgeable. It's a good fallback if you wanted to work or study in another field. Most certifications tend to expire after a few years...degrees do not (assuming the institution is still accredited and around).

    That idea came to mind since I have had the experience of a friend going through their "mid-life crisis" and wanted to just walk away from their dba/programming job they had for over a decade and half. He was able to use his undergraduate degree and transition into the business field then got another degree in management. Most graduate degree programs require an undergrad and if it isn't in the field, you have to take some fundamental courses before you can take the core courses for the degree.

    So I am just tossing out the idea that it may not be now and it may not be you, but some people can get "burned out" in the IT field (or any field for that matter). Getting both certifications and degrees are good, but a degree can be a future investment in yourself. Certifications are there to credit you for a while as long as you keep up with the technology or if the technology does not become obsolete. I hope that gave you something to think about.
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  • loss4wordsloss4words Member Posts: 165 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks a lot for all the suggestions!!! I've decided to take the classes at WGU and have scheduled a phone call with an enrollment counselor today. Wish me luck :)
  • DoyenDoyen Member Posts: 397 ■■■□□□□□□□
    How did your phone go and what program were you interested in?
    Goals for 2016: [] VCP 5.5: ICM (recertifying) , [ ] VMware VCA-NV, [ ] 640-911 DCICN, [ ] 640-916 DCICT, [ ] CCNA: Data Center, [ ] CISSP (Associate), [ ] 300-101 ROUTE, [ ] 300-115 SWITCH, [ ] 300-135 TSHOOT, [ ] CCNP: Route & Switch, [ ] CEHv8, [ ] LX0-103, [ ] LX0-104
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  • 5ekurity5ekurity Member Posts: 346 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Get your bachelor's degree....or you will eventually hit a ceiling despite the advanced certifications you might obtain.
  • loss4wordsloss4words Member Posts: 165 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Doyen wrote: »
    How did your phone go and what program were you interested in?

    The phone "interview" went well and the enrollment counselor seemed to be satisfied with my answers. This week they're checking if any of my credits from my 2-year college are transferable. It seems that the certifications that I've taken several years ago are outdated (certifications are only valid for 5 years) so if I'm really unlucky and no credits get transferred over I will have to pass at least one cert exam to be able to start.

    I am applying for BS in IT for Network Administration. It also seems like WGU has changed some things very recently about this degree in the last few days and the certifications you'll be earning.
  • country28341country28341 Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I have my bachelors however some employers would like their employees to have their certificates also.
  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Member Posts: 2,008 ■■■■■■■■□□
    It depends on your goals, which degree and which certs. Generally, I think the RoI will be better with certs.
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  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Agree with Z it all depends.

    What are you objectives and goals?
  • Kinet1cKinet1c Member Posts: 604 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I have this very dilemma right now. I've identified a degree that I want to do, just waiting to see if work will contribute towards it financially. I will still try and do some cert work during my breaks if I do enroll.
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  • anoeljranoeljr Member Posts: 278 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Which certs are you looking at getting? And why not get both at the same time? Having both will put you ahead of the pack as far as job searches go.
  • no!all!no!all! Member Posts: 245 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'd love a Bachelors, however the debt just scares me away. I'll stick with certs ha
    A+, N+, S+, CCNA:RS, CCNA:Sec

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