What do I pursue next?.. Certs or Masters?

New2ITinCaliNew2ITinCali Senior MemberSan Francisco Bay AreaMember Posts: 184 ■■■□□□□□□□
OK, I feel that I've reached a point where I need to continue on with some sort of education. I have my Bachelors in Information Technology Management and I'm currently working as a Technology Support Specialist (tier 1 and 2) type of work- honestly it's mostly tier 2 work (80%) and sometimes even tier 3 (10%) and the rest is tier 1 (10%).

I'm itching to do something that will add value to what I currently possess. I'm contemplating on studying for a few certs or going for my Masters. Can you please provide me with feedback or your opinion if you were in my shoes? THANKS

Comments

  • srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■□□□
    That's difficult to say because the answer is so specific to each individual and their mid-term and long-term goals.

    Do you currently have any certs? If not, is the lack of certifications hindering your career progression at your current job, or hindering you from landing a new job?

    What are you interested in pursuing, or what type of technologies do you want to work with? (career focus?)

    One thing to consider is that certs often expire and/or become obsolete with time. A masters degree will not. On the flip-side, certain IT career paths may not benefit much from having a masters degree.
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
  • New2ITinCaliNew2ITinCali Senior Member San Francisco Bay AreaMember Posts: 184 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I don't think certs are hurting me now. None of the Senior Engineers have certs, actually nobody has certs where I work and I am one of the very few that have a degree. I just feel I need to do something besides just working. I definitely have a huge interest in Networking and Security. That's where I would like my career to go, in either of those 2 areas.
  • srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■□□□
    You have a bachelors degree in IT, which puts you at a huge advantage to those who have similar experience but have no degree. As far as obtaining a new position, you will need to leverage your degree and experience to land the job. Certs will help but aren't mandatory. The reason why I am personally always working on certs is because I learn new technologies by studying and labbing at home. If you want to learn new technologies (outside of what you work with on the job) you may want to go a similar route.

    If you're ready to move on from your current position, my advice is to polish off your resume and get it out there. How many years of professional IT experience do you have? I'm sure with your degree and your current experience you will be able to land something without too much trouble.

    But again, going the graduate degree route isn't a bad idea either.

    Lots of choices here. Good luck!
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
  • New2ITinCaliNew2ITinCali Senior Member San Francisco Bay AreaMember Posts: 184 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm not looking to move on I love my current job. The pay isn't all that great, but I have the ability to learn a lot and I'm gaining tons of experience. I've only been there 3 months and it's my first IT job.
  • srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■□□□
    You're right, 3 months isn't a long time. Stick with the job for at least 1 year and learn as much as possible. Money will come with experience, although you may have to move to a different job in the future to significantly increase your salary. In the meantime, don't be afraid to study and lab at home and work on certs. Which certs were you thinking about studying for?
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
  • New2ITinCaliNew2ITinCali Senior Member San Francisco Bay AreaMember Posts: 184 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Security+ and Network+... I've been watching Professor Messer videos for Security + ....

    I'm also thinking of enrolling in WGU's Masters in Informance Assurance program. I don't know if I'd be accepted though because I only have 3 months professional experience thus far.
  • RaisinRaisin Member Posts: 136
    REMOVED UNNECESSARY QUOTED REPLY FROM PREVIOUS POST

    You're already working in IT so Comptia is going to be a waste of time for you, because it will not open any new doors beyond helpdesk/service/support roles. Go ahead and study the material if you think your general knowledge is lacking in a particular area, but you need to set your goals higher if you want to move away from a support position. Figure out what direction you want your career to go and start specializing in that area. A Masters is a good long term goal, but at this point in your career you're going to get more bang for your buck with certs.

    As far as your coworkers who don't have any certs... One day they're going to be searching for a job and no one will hire them. They will blame it on ageism, but in reality every hiring manager that looks at their resume will only see someone who sat in a comfortable engineering position for years and years and they never lifted a finger to improve themselves.
  • nachodbanachodba USMember Posts: 201 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Raisin wrote: »
    You're already working in IT so Comptia is going to be a waste of time for you, because it will not open any new doors beyond helpdesk/service/support roles.

    Many jobs that deal with government contracting require a Security + within the first 90 days of hire, even if it's a senior position.
    2020 Goals
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  • CIOCIO Member Posts: 151
    Why not pursue both? Doesn't WGU's programs allow you to obtain certs as you complete your program?
  • New2ITinCaliNew2ITinCali Senior Member San Francisco Bay AreaMember Posts: 184 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think my best bet is to study for security+ especially if I want my career to be in security.

    I'll eventually want to earn my Masters and I think I'll be doing that in the near future.
  • aspiringsoulaspiringsoul Member Posts: 314
    @CIO

    Yes, that's correct if you're enrolled in the MS:ISA program at WGU. I'm currently enrolled. The program includes the CEH and CHFI certifications:

    https://www.eccouncil.org/Certification/certified-ethical-hacker

    Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator Course from EC-Council
    Education: MS-Information Security and Assurance from Western Governors University, BS-Business Information Systems from Indiana Wesleyan University, AAS-Computer Network Systems - ITT Tech,
  • RaisinRaisin Member Posts: 136
    nachodba wrote: »
    Many jobs that deal with government contracting require a Security + within the first 90 days of hire, even if it's a senior position.

    If the OP has an interest in government work I'd still encourage him to aim higher and go straight for the CISSP. He'd have to be a associate until he acquires four years of experience, but as far as 8570 is concerned an associate CISSP meets the same requirements. Security+ is fine if you need to meet requirements fast, but otherwise I consider it a waste of time and money for somebody who already has their foot in the door.
  • New2ITinCaliNew2ITinCali Senior Member San Francisco Bay AreaMember Posts: 184 ■■■□□□□□□□
    So are you saying certs aren't valuable because I'm already employed in a tech support role? .. what if I went straight for the Masters in Information Assurance at WGU? I could also pick up a few certs and from what it sounds like the program kind of prepares you for the CISSP...
  • New2ITinCaliNew2ITinCali Senior Member San Francisco Bay AreaMember Posts: 184 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Wow! that sounds very enticing! thanks for sharing.
  • 5502george5502george Member Posts: 264
    @CIO

    Yes, that's correct if you're enrolled in the MS:ISA program at WGU. I'm currently enrolled. The program includes the CEH and CHFI certifications:

    https://www.eccouncil.org/Certification/certified-ethical-hacker

    Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator Course from EC-Council

    OOOOOooooo thats interesting. I did not know that, thanks for sharing. One more reason I might choose WGU.

    Do you pay for the cert, or is it rolled into the tuition?
  • stryder144stryder144 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,647 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Unless there is a difference between the undergrad and graduate programs, all certs that are required for a degree are included with the tuition you pay.
    The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia

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  • aftereffectoraftereffector Member Posts: 525
    You get two free attempts for each test. After that it's out of pocket :)
    CCIE Security - this one might take a while...
  • 5502george5502george Member Posts: 264
    REMOVED UNNECESSARY QUOTED REPLY FROM PREVIOUS POST

    Did you do the MS:ISA route? Or BS?
  • aftereffectoraftereffector Member Posts: 525
    I'm in the MSISA right now.
    CCIE Security - this one might take a while...
  • New2ITinCaliNew2ITinCali Senior Member San Francisco Bay AreaMember Posts: 184 ■■■□□□□□□□
    How are you liking the program? How much time out of the week do you take to study? ... Are the 2 certs mentioned above the only certs that you can earn?
  • aftereffectoraftereffector Member Posts: 525
    I had a long reply to this but I lost it... :/


    Anyhow, I'm enjoying the program. It is challenging compared with an undergraduate - there isn't much 'hand holding' at all, or really any that I've seen from the course material, though the course mentors are excellent. WGU recommends 20 hours per week to study and I try to keep to that as much as possible. I've only just started on the program, so I can't give you input based on a wealth of experience like the forum members who recently graduated, but from where I am, I would definitely recommend the MSISA.

    There used to be more certifications in the program, but as of right now it's only two: the CEH and CHFI. Everything else is a written assessment (create a policy document, explain why a given example is not good, respond to this RFP, etc) or an in-house test.
    CCIE Security - this one might take a while...
  • ramrunner800ramrunner800 Member Posts: 238
    So are you saying certs aren't valuable because I'm already employed in a tech support role? .. what if I went straight for the Masters in Information Assurance at WGU? I could also pick up a few certs and from what it sounds like the program kind of prepares you for the CISSP...

    I believe he's just saying CompTIA certs would be less valuable than others you could choose. I would agree.
    Currently Studying For: GXPN
  • New2ITinCaliNew2ITinCali Senior Member San Francisco Bay AreaMember Posts: 184 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for your in-depth response. I sent n am inquiry to WGU, now I'm jist waiting for a response. I hope I'm able to get in with just the amount of work experience I have thus far (3 months) :/
  • New2ITinCaliNew2ITinCali Senior Member San Francisco Bay AreaMember Posts: 184 ■■■□□□□□□□
    ok, so what type of certs do you recommend I study for? Here are some of my duties.
    -Troubleshoot connectivity issues
    -Trace cables, swap out cables in IDF
    -Replace hard drives, power supply's and various other internal components.
    -Configure all laptops, computers and ipads on our domain.
    -Join and rejoin computers to domain
    -Add employees to our domain in AD
    -Troubleshoot ports on switch, make drops live, etc
    -Troubleshoot wireless issues
    -Etc., etc., etc.
    ..basically I handle everything. If its something I can't resolve I escalate up to the Senior Engineers
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