IT training, school, career impact and thoughts

ck86ck86 Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hey guys,

I've been back and forth a bit lately choosing my education path.

Briefly summary of me: 30 year old Army vet, some college, no certs, self-taught IT. I did a few years as a jr sysadmin, moved onto consulting where I was the primary admin for about 10 medical/legal clients. Handled everything in the small business realm, servers, backups, network, etc. Moved onto where I am now as an IT manager/technical lead for an MSP overseeing the helpdesk, projects, 30+ clients, managing/maintaining current tech and introducing better solutions.

Through the last year I've tried to juggle full-time classes at a local college and it's been pretty hit or miss. I've struggled staying on top of very mundane classes on top of everything else. My dream is to get a CS degree, but I'm starting to wonder if it would actually mean anything for my career at this point and if I'm just wasting time and burning myself out. I also am expected to get a Microsoft server cert here in the coming months for work.

What do you guys think? Is not having a degree going to hold me back? Would I be better off pursuing an in-depth certification like CRISC and strengthening my technical skills? I feel most of the things I'm learning in school are outdated and irrelevant in the real world. I don't do well with busy work and my stress levels skyrocket when I have work and school deadlines over my head.

Appreciate any feedback from the industry vets and things you've observed in yours/others careers.



  • Nightflier101BLNightflier101BL Member Posts: 134 ■■■□□□□□□□
    While experience and certs (in that order) are looked at first, having a degree is still important. But you have to look at your current situation. If you are in a 100% stable job and you don't have any plans to move anywhere, don't do it. I have a co-worker who is a senior network engineer and has no college at all. But if you want to progress and move on, you'll need a degree. Honestly, nobody has ever asked me about my school in any interview I've been to but I have some certs and a few years of experience.

    My situation - I had almost finished my AAS before moving onto WGU for a Bachelor of Science. While working on that, I started wondering if I should quit the Bachelor's and just go back and finish my AAS and call it a day for school. I decided to quit and that's what I'm doing now, just my AAS. It was cheaper, less stress and with my current position and plans, not critical right now. I can always go back to WGU if I want to.

    I know how you feel with working and school at the same time. I have almost no free time during the week and that's just with half-time classes. But if I were you, I'd at least do the AAS and just get it over with, but you'll need experience and certs to go along with it.

    By the way, I'm 34 and non-military
  • NOC-NinjaNOC-Ninja Member Posts: 1,403
    My observation is the guys that are CIO,ciso,CEO all have masters with certifications. Im not saying certs won't get you a raise. However, having both will get you more pay and job insurance.
    Now on the stress level. I might not know you in a personal level but i think you can take stress and pressure since you are a vet. Vet are programmed to mentally turn off pain.

    I suggest going for your cert and then going to school. I'm guessing your work will pay for it.
  • daviddwsdaviddws MCSA x2, MCITP, CIOS, CSIS, CNIP, CSSS, CLNP MCTS, MTA, MCP,  ITILv3, LPIC-1, VCA-WM, SCLA, CTS,  Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Just remember, the only one who can hold you back is yourself.
    Master of Information Systems Management
    M.B.A: Master of Business Administration
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