Second bachelors Degree.... how do employers view them and is it for me?

digitalcreepshowdigitalcreepshow ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 14Member ■■□□□□□□□□
Hi all,

Hoping to get some solid advice on my current situation. It is long and has a few variables at play that might make my specific situation somewhat unique. I will post my specific questions at the bottom of this post. I apologize for the length of this post, so if you read all of it, thank you!

I graduated in 2017 with a BS in Business Management from a very respected university in my home state. When first starting college, I was actually in the IT degree program but changed to Business about halfway through. After graduating I funny enough got a job working as an IT Systems Analyst at a fairly large employer in the city I am in now. Great upper-entry-level/mid level IT position. I attribute landing the position due to my time working IT in college (PC Tech, Help Desk, etc...) as well as the great soft skills I had from the business degree. Also, I had enough of the IT program under my belt to know SQL, C#, database fundamentals, and other useful skills for the job. At any rate, I now find myself increasingly interested in getting involved with Cybersecurity. Specifically, I am setting my eyes upon (when I have the skills and experience) applying for an entry level Cyber Analyst role. 

The only thing I am actually semi-worried about is my bachelors degree. The problem I am seeing is that tons and tons of even entry level cyber jobs literally say they require a bachelors degree in CS or IT. Some even state they require a "technical bachelors" and go on to spell out IT specifically. Furthermore, even outside of Cyber, a lot of the IT jobs in my area do the same thing... they require and spell out IT/CS bachelors degrees. To be fair, some say preferred, but I see more and more requiring this degree type to apply. I talked to a few HR directors in my area and they told me the preference is given (usually) to the candidates with the specific bachelors degree. Furthermore, I was also told a lot of online application systems are now filtering people out if the degree does not fit the job posting requirements. How many do this and if this really happens a lot is unknown to me. Perhaps I was given wrong information. 

Additionally, because I came from a business major, I am having to play "catch up" on a lot of IT related things because I did not go all the way through the IT program. Had I stayed, I would have had a lot more exposure to programming, databases, and other useful skills for my current job and future jobs as well. So this got me thinking of a crazy idea... What if I could go back to finish that IT BS assuming it would come at a low cost to me, not be a financial burden, and would allow me to stay at my current job gaining experience and making money? My college has just that option. Because I was so far a long in the program and all I have left are the IT specific courses (upper level ones mostly), I can actually be readmitted immediately, take the remaining courses online, and stay right where I am at. 

Now I want to throw out that in no way am I eager to waste money, time, and sleep to work and balance school again. However, if that means another year or so taking online classes that improve my skill set on my current  job and help me even just a little bit for the future, that to me is totally worth it. This second bachelors would be ZERO financial burden on me as well, so money is not the issue. Again, that doesn't mean I am excited about spending extra money nor am I eager to unless it calls for it. The cool thing is the remaining classes I would have if I were to do it would literally be directly applicable to my current job. 

I am sure a lot of people will tell me to just go for the Masters instead. I agree, however there is a problem with that option. Almost all of the reputable Masters programs also want you to have a bachelors in IT/CS specifically as well. You can in some cases take a crap ton of classes to "bridge" your bachelors to the Masters degree, but by the time I do this, I would be close to the second bachelors anyway. 

The other thing I worry about is even If I were to get the second degree, how would I account for that on my resume? My education and work history would show the following dates:

2017- graduated BS Business Management
2017- IT Systems Analyst job
2019- graduated BS IT

I could just leave it all on there and explain that I wanted to go for both degrees. They will be from the same school, so that makes it a little easier. But I am worried employers might think this looks funny. Will they frown at the fact that I finished up the classes online? How else could I keep working and graduate with another degree later?  Will they frown at another degree because it looks like I was indecisive? Hopefully they won't care that much and I can just list everything as it is. To be clear, unless I tell them, they would have no idea I finished the degree online. It is the same degree as the on campus one. 

Thank you for reading this far if you have, I know I wrote a book but I really need some solid advice from the pros in this community. 

So below is a list of questions I thought of regarding my situation and IT jobs. 

1. Given the specific situation I am in, would you say it makes sense to go for the IT degree just to have it, even if it might only help me a little bit? Or is it still just a crazy idea? Would it hurt me? 

2. How would an employer look at someone like me with a bachelors degree in business management and a bachelors in IT? Would it make me any more marketable? Does it actually hurt to have a second bachelors? How would I account for the different degrees at different times? Would the employer frown at the fact I finished it up online If I were to tell them?  

3. In your experience, when job postings say they require a BS in IT/CS, do they really require that? Is it really going to help me to have that second degree? Or do 90% of employers say that but really just want you to have a degree in general? 

Again, I know the answer to a second degree is usually not worth it, however I just feel my specific situation may actually warrant giving it a go, but I fully admit I could be totally wrong and it is still not a good idea. Let me know what you think. 

Thank you all!

Best Answer

Answers

  • digitalcreepshowdigitalcreepshow ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 14Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    DZA_ said:
    Hey OP, 

    That's a pretty lengthy post but I'll give it a shot of may be being the first one to respond. :)

    I've actually brought this topic to my manager; I work at one of the Canadian Banks (Top 3) about the actual use of having a degree within the bank. There are a couple things that come to mind. I've came from a college program that I did not graduate with a bachelors degree but a advanced diploma and to say so myself, I've done quite well! I'm under the engineering department and work with folks who do probably have their degrees.

    In my experience, here's my Coles notes: 

    - Having a bachelor's degree (any at this point) isn't necessary a must but shows an employer that you can learn abstract concepts but it doesn't replace hands-on experience
    - Having the equivalent hands on experience vs having a degree is just as powerful 
    - A degree shows that you can learn in a academic setting and is beneficial in scenarios with management; communication and written skills 
    - A degree is reflected in most managerial positions - is this your end goal? If not then doing a second degree may not be worth it in your case
    - Supplementing technical knowledge with labs at your own leisure can also be an asset (do a lot of self learning which shows an employer that you're hungry enough to hold down the role)
    - I've come to notice that sometimes putting in the "Must require a bachelor's degree" is an HR thing or for show for some. 
    - If you're aiming for a entry level cyber security role, I would track down what technical skills are required and work on from there e.g. scripting with python or having networking knowledge if you want to get into Network Security as an option

    1) I wouldn't waste the time getting a second degree in your situation, it's a bit redundant
    2) I had a friend who had a liberal arts degree and still managed to get a job in IT. If the Equifax can hire a music major as a CSO, then a company would have no issue hiring an individual who has their Business Management degree. 
    3) Equivalent work experience to the role is just as key. 

    Bottom line/Short Answer: I wouldn't recommend taking a second degree and continue to trek on taking more security related roles and responsibilities so that it will prepare you when you do make that transition into cybersecurity. Good luck.  

    Cheers  

    Totally get it. Makes sense. For me, I am looking at (way down the road) getting into upper management. Again, problem is most of the reputable Masters programs would require me to go back to school anyway for at least 8-12 months of undergrad classes to even qualify for acceptance. At that rate it might make sense to get the second bachelors and bypass that altogether. Also, I went through more cyber analyst job postings tonight. 9/10 times they ask for an IT bachelors. Could be an HR thing, but I heard some HR application systems will filter you out from the start without the specific degree. 
  • paul78paul78 ■■■■■■■■■■ Posts: 3,013Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    @OP - I agree wholeheartedly with @DZA_ . I live in the US so depending on what part of the world you are in - ymmv. My own perception is that the reputation of a master program may not necessarily matter - as you said - could be a HR thing. If could always look at WGU masters program and avoid taking the extra undergrad classes. 
  • yoba222yoba222 ■■■■■■■□□□ Posts: 1,036Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    Just go for the Masters instead. At the university I went to, the master's in information systems was 12 courses in total, but those with non-IT degrees had take a grand total crap ton of 3 more leveling classes--basically one additional semester.

    As for all the job ads that claim to require a technical bachelor's, I'd just ignore that and apply anyway.


    2017: GCIH | LFCS
    2018: CySA+ | PenTest+ |CCNA CyberOps
    2019: VHL 20 boxes
    2020: OSCP | CISSP
  • UrbanBobUrbanBob ■■■□□□□□□□ Posts: 30Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Post was way to long but not having an IT degree means your giving up on government and educational jobs like working in a college IT department or for the city. Most private sectors do not care about it but it can't hurt and only makes you look better. If you go for the tech degree after starting in the industry it shows that you know what you want to do and you can explain away the business degree if they ask which they might not.
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco ■■■■■■■■□□ Posts: 1,772Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    From what I have seen there is certainly no need to worry about a second degree two years after earning your first one. I think experience will serve you a lot better then another year in school.
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