Soon to be veteran with career advice

AlexJLeeAlexJLee Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
Making a career change to the IT industry. I’m currently in the military with some experience with computers/routers etc. I’ve always had a passion for technology. I strive to know the ins and outs. I looking into a school for degrees, certs or both. I’m a little lost on what path I should take. I read a lot of opinions saying to pick one not both since money can be an issue. I have the GI Bill to pay for this so that's not a factor with me. I thinking networking is the way to go but I might be wrong. This is the school I'm looking at for a degree (list of all the programs they offer). This is the technical school I’m looking at to get certifications (list of all the certs/programs they offer). Anyone have any guidance on what I should go for? Any help would be appreciated.


  • yoba222yoba222 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,213 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Highly recommend go for a bachelor's and as many grad level credits you can get as well. Highly recommend attending a college near where you live so you can take advantage of all that sweet, sweet housing allowance (that's not taxed) that you would otherwise be forfeiting with an online degree.

    If you plan on living near a base, visit all of the college representatives that might have an office there. Some bases allow those colleges to give night classes and they are usually on an accelerated schedule and can offer summer courses as well. This can be even if you are no longer in the military at all. If you exploit military campus classes and then line everything up right it's possible to squeeze a masters degree out of the GI bill. I did it.

    Plan B: Apply for a prestigious school. Depending on the program (yellow ribbon, etc.) some GI bills foot surprisingly expensive bills. I've heard NYU is possible on a GI bill for example.
    A+, Network+, CCNA, LFCS,
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  • beadsbeads Senior Member Member Posts: 1,511 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Familiar enough with Ivy Tech is as I live in Chicago, drive by the campus often enough on the weekends but I've already digressed. Purdue Central is just down the road when you feel the need to complete your four year.

    First while you still have access to free CLEP test I would certainly recommend knocking out at the very least college algebra if not statistics for FREE. Most colleges and universities will transfer a certain number of CLEP tests for credit, usually 8-16 hours. CLEP will help your study skills and prepare you for the longer version of studying for classes and generally part of any long degree coursework.

    Worry less about certifications as much as the degree work. Frankly, most hiring managers want experience first, education second (chicken before the egg) then certifications. I generally pass on resumes that are heavy on certifications but light on experience and some sort of degree. I have one on my desk that lists a degree in automotive mechanics and a CISSP as recent education. Skeptically, I will interview this one but the candidate is not going to my team so its just a courtesy on my part.

    Get the education first, pick up certs as you develop more of a taste for what really interests you and any real world experience you can - particularly if your interested in networking. Less so for administration where I have meet many folks without formal education.

  • dmoore44dmoore44 Member Posts: 646
    I'll second b/eads' advice: take as many CLEP and DANTES tests as you can. Especially for those courses that you're not going to want to sit through an entire semester for. When I was in the Air Force, there were a few of us that would go take a test every week - there are lots of subjects available, so I'm sure you can find a few that will require minimal studying before you head in to the exam.

    Since cost isn't one of your primary concerns, I'll throw Syracuse's BS: IT&M out there. It's not as heavy on technical subjects (I believe their description states that they focus more on the "human side of technology"), but don't let that scare you off. You can pick up much of the practical knowledge of IT via OJT or other training resources (MOOCs, SANS, etc...). What you'll have a harder time finding once you're out of school is training that will help you link technology to business concerns, and that's what programs like the IT&M will teach.
    Graduated Carnegie Mellon University MSIT: Information Security & Assurance Currently Reading Books on TensorFlow
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