what should I do? Your wise advice here

bas13bas13 Member Posts: 16 ■□□□□□□□□□
Well I've visited this forum quite a bit for good advice on certifications, tech notes, and general advice and I largely contribute some of my success so far to these forums but I needed to ask for your opinion on my situation.

Currently I'm getting my associates degree in Information Technology at a local college that isn't accreditted. I knew this before hand but decided it was better to do something then nothing. The schooling is cheap so it's not putting me in any debt and I'm getting certified like crazy. I know some colleges accept Tech certifications as credit but a majority of those that do are online colleges instead of the normal brick and mortar colleges. To be honest I want to get my Bachelors degree in Computer Science at a regular college and want to avoid the online dealio. I've got my Security+ I'm taking next week, then my MCSE, & CCNA to finish and then I'll be finished with my schooling here. I mostly did this to span out the time until my fiancee finishes her schooling in June so we can move to a bigger city and also to prove my computer knowledge seeing how no employer would look at me twice with nothing to back it up. None the less I've learned a great deal so far and would like to tap into some much wiser techies minds and see what you think.

My options narrow down to:

1. I suck it up and go to a 4 year brick & mortar college and spend another 4 years just to get a bachelors degree in CS. :/

2. I hunt like crazy trying to find a college that will accept my certifications as credits and reduce maybe a year and a half of my schooling. (ideal) With this option do any of know of such colleges that do this?

3. I dive into an online college which most will accept my tech certifications and get my bachelors degree from them. (will reduce my time but online schools seem etchy to me)

Anyway your advice is most welcomed because I'm confused at what to do. I know ultimately I'm not going to get financially where I want without a bachelors degree, experience, and some certifications.


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    seuss_ssuesseuss_ssues Member Posts: 629
    Well unfortunately it is not likely that you will find a university that will give you more than 2-4 classes of credit for your certs.

    Additionally a degree in CIT or MIS is generally 45% basics, 30% business, and 25% tech. Even if you were given credit for all technology classes you still have a few years of classes to go.
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    bas13bas13 Member Posts: 16 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Yeah I can see your point.

    Another thing is I'm having a really hard time deciding if I want to stay network based or go towards programming. I like both equally. I've been learning PHP/MYSQL lately along side studying for my Security+ exam and the days go by when your having fun thats for sure. Assuming your scenario I'd like to seek for at least 25% reduction in the network courses for a BA in CS. That would eliminate a whole year. I understand I'll have 75% of programming + generals. None the less I'm going to try and hangle my way in with administration and a teacher at a Uni who gives credit for such certifications. No point in taking "computer literacy" "basic routing" etc. when you have an MCSE / CCNA / CCNP. If I'm lucky I can finish up my degree by 26 and will have about 6/7 years of experience which should give me a good head start to those getting out of school with just bachelors degrees and no experience. Not to mention I plan on interning part time so I can get some experience at some of the hardware these local companies use in my home town. Qwest, Comcast, Westhost, Convergys, LDS Church, etc.

    Do you know what work title it is for someone who utilizes both networking and programming skills?
    How many times do you have to fail in order for you to do something extraordinary?
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    SlowhandSlowhand Mod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    There's been a lot of discussions on this forum about these topics. . . what school is the best one, which type of school is best to go to, and if computer science and CIS/MIS/IT are really compatible. The only real advice I can give you is this, regarding what type of school you should pick: go with what you want to do, and with what feels right for you. If you want a traditional degree and you like writing code, then getting a Bachelor's degree in CS from a brick-and-mortar school might be best. If you really just want to get the diploma and want more of a vocational degree, then online schools are your best bet. With either choice, you'll still need to research which school will fit you, which are reputable, and which will give you what you need.

    One thing I can do, as well, is give you an example, in what I'm planning on doing about school. Right now, I'm going to a community college, working on finishing up an Associate's degree in Computer Information Systems. Well, two A.S. degrees actually, both CIS, with one being microcomputer and web programming, and the other in network and systems administration. These two degrees overlap by about 80%, in terms of general education and basic CIS classes, differing only in the fact that I took a bunch of web design courses, database design courses, and a VB6 course for the microcomputer programming degree, and a good number of systems administration and networking courses for the other. In reality, I was really planning on doing a computer science transfer to a four-year university, but I ended up taking the CIS classes for fun, while I procrastinated with my math requirements for CS.

    So, now I've finally polished off the algebra classes I needed for the CS path, and I start the two-year process to get my transfer degree to go to UC Berkeley. I've taken a couple of CS courses, so I'm ahead of the game there, but I still need four semesters of calculus, a semester of discrete math and one of linear algebra, and three semesters of physics. Looking at this workload, the time I spent working and doing the CIS degrees part-time was a break from school, and a chance to get some experience in the field. I'm currently working as a systems engineer for an ISP/Datacenter, but I'll probably pull myself out of the working world altogether to hit the books next year. Of course, the certs and the Associate degrees will certainly help in my cause to score some contract jobs here and there during breaks from school, as well as help me save up some money in the here and now.

    That's the basic plan. I intend to lose myself in school for a while, be a 'real college student', a Renaissance Man, and really savor the experience. I plan on taking an Electrical Engineering & Computer Science degree at UCB, with the hopes of even doing graduate work when the time comes for that. For me, I don't really think an online school would suit me, I want the experience of going to school, taking the classes with my peers, and really getting into that world for a while.

    I hope it gives you some ideas, maybe some things to think about when you're looking at what you want to do with your educational plans. Good luck, and let us know what you decide to do.

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    BigToneBigTone Member Posts: 283
    At least get your associate's from an accredited college. I've heard a ton of good things about Western Govenor's University (Online) They have online Associates and Bachelors. They actually give credit for certs. Even at a local community college that is really cheap and wouldn't put you into debt... Not to be rude or anything but I'm not really sure you did very good research before you decided on a unaccredited school.
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    Gabe7055Gabe7055 Member Posts: 158
    Nothing looks better on a resume than a BS degree from a credited well know brick and mortar Uni.

    I am going thru the same thing. If you have an AS from a technical college, most credited Unis will give you 40 or so credits or at least mine did. I would say go get a student loan and just go thru the four years while using the certs and training you got from your AS to find a job and start getting expereince. It might be tough for the next four years but you will be glad you did it for the rest of your life.
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    ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    When I went for my Associates the local community college give me credit for some of my certifications. I have been looking into completing a BS and from what I have found it doesn't look like many traditional brick-n-mortar schools will accept certs for credit. They seem to prefer to have you test out of a class instead. There is usually a fee associated with testing out. Usually it is reasonible, but I found one school where the fee was equal to the tuition for the course.

    I am looking at completing my degree through an online school, but I am planning going to one that is tied to a traditional school (currenlty looking at Penn State). If you know what area you will be moving too, look into the schools that are there. Some of them may have a distance learning program and you can start talking classes now.

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    bas13bas13 Member Posts: 16 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hey guys thanks for the advice it's much appreciated. BigTone I had done research but I wanted certifications alongside a degree. I know degree's have more weight then certs but the local University doesn't have a very good computer science course because the program is fairly new and they don't offer certs either. I live in a small town so I don't have many options, hence the reason I plan on moving to whatever University has a good Computer Science program and will accept my certifications to eliminate a lot of the basic "computer/networking" courses.

    On a good note though my general education classes (math, english, science, etc) are going to be at an accreditable college so in reality if I can find a college to accept my certs I'll be doing well because they will accept my generals from the accreditable university and my certifications from my technical non-accredited college. In which case I'll knock off about a year and a half for a Bachelors degree, plus would of spent a year getting an Associates degree in IT and gained all those valuable credits to get me some experience while I finish out my degree.

    Slowhand: Thanks for the advice. I know what your saying about diving into school. I've wanted to experience this too and get the most out of my BA degree. None the less I'm very ambitious and will do whatever it takes to be in the top of my class. I always have and always strive to be the best but thanks for your example.

    Gabe7055: Yeah I agree. I definitely want to get my hands on a brick and mortar Uni degree. Yeah I'm thinking if I got to I'll take the 4 years to get my Bachelor degree and get experience while I do it. I would probably have to do work part time though if I want to finish my BA in CS on time. thanks for the info though!

    ajs1976: It sucks huh. I wish every college was accreditable. I've read some articles that more and more brick and mortar colleges are starting to accept certifications but I have yet to see it. I'll have to do some more research and see what I can find. Penn State is a good school I hear though. good luck.
    How many times do you have to fail in order for you to do something extraordinary?
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    nelnel Member Posts: 2,859 ■□□□□□□□□□
    i dont know if there is any diff between the US and UK in uni terms but me myself have chosen to get one of the most vital things - experiance! ive been working full time since i left school at 16 in IT. since then i have started a degree part time so i have the academic qualifications aswell as experiance - ALOT of employers look at your academic qual's aswell as certs and experiance! Ive found if you can prove you can work at a high degree level it can open as many doors as your certs will.
    So i decided to do the degree part-time at a good local uni, it takes longer time wise than it would full-time but by the time i fin my honours degree i will have my honours degree, hopefully mcse and working towards ccna whilst having nearly 10 years experiance and i'll just be 25. not bad i dont think.

    ive come across people older than me, they have better certs, degrees but i trounce on them because my experiance takes me to that extra level. you dont get the big jobs over night with the big bucks and fast bmw's! tiny details like this on your cv could decide whether you or another bloke gets the job!

    i guess what im trying to say is yes its ok to go and get a degree in this and that and this cert and that cert but its vital to have experiance aswell. Dont rush things because employers can tell a mile away if someone knows what there doing :)
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