Need an inside opinion

ArveanArvean Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
Ok, so I've just passed PROJECT+ and it's time to perfom a review and create a plan for the future.
When last week I mentioned to my boss that I'm doing this certificate she said " Certificates are for people narrow looking, and are a complete waste of time/effort/money" . She said that experience and knowledge are the only thing that is important and I shouldn't go any further with certification. She is extremely knowledgable person ( with no expertise in IT), and I'm working as an office manager/ technical admin.

My question is, How valuable certificates are in today's job market. Is MSCE opening any doors? DO you consider them to be a waste or an unimportant matter?
No trees were killed in the posting of this message. However a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
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Comments

  • mwgoodmwgood Member Posts: 293
    If she were right - this website probably wouldn't exist.
  • empc4000xlempc4000xl Member Posts: 322
    You already said the key words "no Knolowdge in IT". While experince does play a big part. The certs get you phone calls. A lot of companies don't know how to weed people out, so they use things like certs to do that to lower the numbers of people they call in for interviews and things of that nature. If you are planning on having a career in IT, you need some basic certs to open up doors. I say a MCSE and CCNA at a min. I got lucky and didn't need any certs to get my current position becuase I"m military, but all of civilians that I work with have a CCNA and MCSE at a min and several of them have CCNP/CCVP/CCSP and even one working on his CCIE now. There are always gonna be execeptions to the rules, but having certs gives you something the next guy may not have.
  • ArveanArvean Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    empc4000xl wrote:
    You already said the key words "no Knolowdge in IT". While experince does play a big part. The certs get you phone calls. A lot of companies don't know how to weed people out, so they use things like certs to do that to lower the numbers of people they call in for interviews and things of that nature. If you are planning on having a career in IT, you need some basic certs to open up doors. I say a MCSE and CCNA at a min. I got lucky and didn't need any certs to get my current position becuase I"m military, but all of civilians that I work with have a CCNA and MCSE at a min and several of them have CCNP/CCVP/CCSP and even one working on his CCIE now. There are always gonna be execeptions to the rules, but having certs gives you something the next guy may not have.

    Good Point EMPC.
    Well, I believe that her opinion is based on having a small business ( Real Estate oriented, with no extensive needs for IT). I really like your points, nobody can guarantee you a job either with or without certification. Still how else can you get a pre-eliminary advantage over competition?
    No trees were killed in the posting of this message. However a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
  • ThiassiThiassi Member Posts: 167
    empc4000xl wrote:
    You already said the key words "no Knolowdge in IT". While experince does play a big part. The certs get you phone calls. A lot of companies don't know how to weed people out, so they use things like certs to do that to lower the numbers of people they call in for interviews and things of that nature. If you are planning on having a career in IT, you need some basic certs to open up doors. I say a MCSE and CCNA at a min. I got lucky and didn't need any certs to get my current position becuase I"m military, but all of civilians that I work with have a CCNA and MCSE at a min and several of them have CCNP/CCVP/CCSP and even one working on his CCIE now. There are always gonna be execeptions to the rules, but having certs gives you something the next guy may not have.

    +1.
    ~Thiassi
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Every little thing helps. Some empolyer might not value them but the next might have them high on their list of qualifications. Don't limit your future on the opinion of one person. Especially if that person doesn't even work in the same feild as you.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    You must learn this very simple lesson in IT: people hiring generally want someone with the skills they need to do the job, and NO MORE. This means two things:

    A. Don't be surprised that in order to grow, you must move on from your current employer.
    B. Your current employer does not want you to move on, and expanding your skill set and marketability can lead to you leaving. Therefore, anything they can do such as discouraging you from more certifications, learning, etc., they may do.

    Don't get me wrong; there are some employers who do want you to grow, but in most cases that's because they need someone to expand their skill sets and knowledge, and those are the companies you want to try to work for, but always look at what will further your career, and move in that direction, regardless of what your employer wants you to do.

    I'm always surprised when people get indignant when an employer doesn't pay for their training or is generally uncooperative with them getting certified, and therefore think they're "sticking it" to the employer by not learning and expanding their knowledge. That is the dead WRONG way to look at it. If it were in the employers' best interest to get you certified, they'd help you get certified. The better way to "stick it" to them is get certified and move on.

    As for the value of certs, the average person in IT with a *PhD* makes 72K/yr. The average person in IT with an MCSE makes 75K/yr, and MCSE is not even close to the highest valued cert out there these days. Go on www.dice.com or www.monster.com or your favorite similar site and look at what the employers of the jobs you want are requiring. They want experience, but they also want certs. In the end, they want people skilled enough to be successful in the positions for which they are hiring. Certs help prove what you know.
    Good luck to all!
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
    Excellent post HeroPsycho

    When I was studying for my NT4 MCSE way back in '98, my employer was not supportive. I had to buy my own books, pay for my own tests, study on my own time and even take vacation in order to take exams. After passing 3 exams, I got a better offer and moved on. 3 exams later, I got an even better offer and moved on again. My original employer knew that I could perform my job, but also knew that I couldn't prove that to any other potential employers - that's why I got my MCSE. An industy standard cert also provides a base salary range which helps you for salary negotiations.

    I just recently updated my MCSE to 2003. My manager and director are trying to define how much reimbursement / bonus compensation I should receive since it is not clearly defined in our handbook. I made sure to remind him that they will be paying for it some way - now, at review time (last year they compensated me for my CCNA with a nice raise), or when they have to hire my replacement. Although I don't plan on leaving, sometimes you need to remind your boss (and he you) that you only work there as long as it is in both your best interests.
  • dtlokeedtlokee Member Posts: 2,381
    Many consulting companies require certification for partner purposes and to show their potential clients their engineers are qualified to do the job. Many times when you are a full time hire working for a single company the certifications don't mean too much as long as you can do the job. The company may not want you to get certifications because it will make you more valuable to another potential employer.
    The only easy day was yesterday!
  • cisco_troopercisco_trooper Too many Member Posts: 1,443 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Seriously man. Any employer feeding you this kind of non-sense is proving they are not looking out for what is best for you. While I've learned to expect this behavior from the corporate world, some people have not and let their employer's get the best of them. Some of these employers probably wonder what the hell is up with the lack of commitment they get from their employees. Too bad it is usually some stupid suit somewhere completely oblivious to the fact that HE is the problem. I know I got off on a rant a little bit, but my point is this...if they don't care about your need to expand...then get the hell out as fast as possible, because you are not going to make any more money than you already do. It really is that simple, in my experience.
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Banned Posts: 2,360
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    You must learn this very simple lesson in IT: people hiring generally want someone with the skills they need to do the job, and NO MORE. This means two things:

    A. Don't be surprised that in order to grow, you must move on from your current employer.
    B. Your current employer does not want you to move on, and expanding your skill set and marketability can lead to you leaving. Therefore, anything they can do such as discouraging you from more certifications, learning, etc., they may do.

    Don't get me wrong; there are some employers who do want you to grow, but in most cases that's because they need someone to expand their skill sets and knowledge, and those are the companies you want to try to work for, but always look at what will further your career, and move in that direction, regardless of what your employer wants you to do.

    I'm always surprised when people get indignant when an employer doesn't pay for their training or is generally uncooperative with them getting certified, and therefore think they're "sticking it" to the employer by not learning and expanding their knowledge. That is the dead WRONG way to look at it. If it were in the employers' best interest to get you certified, they'd help you get certified. The better way to "stick it" to them is get certified and move on.

    As for the value of certs, the average person in IT with a *PhD* makes 72K/yr. The average person in IT with an MCSE makes 75K/yr, and MCSE is not even close to the highest valued cert out there these days. Go on www.dice.com or www.monster.com or your favorite similar site and look at what the employers of the jobs you want are requiring. They want experience, but they also want certs. In the end, they want people skilled enough to be successful in the positions for which they are hiring. Certs help prove what you know.

    There are words of gold found in this post above.
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    I apologize for how long this is in advance.

    I did want to illustrate this whole thing a bit better. I have a brother who is loosely in "IT". His employer offered to pay for his classes if he attended a community college to learn some basics. He calls me up asking me what classes he should take. He said he wanted to further his skills because he was afraid that if he were to lose his job, he wanted to be able to find work easily, and he feared he didn't have enough skills to do that now. I asked him if this community college offered anything specifically prepping him for any major certifications - MCSE, CCNA, CompTIA certs, ANYTHING. Is this place a certified learning center for any vendor? No to both.

    "So, what classes do you think I should take there?"

    "None."

    "NONE?!"

    "None. Go find some place, preferably a certified learning center, who offers classes that specifically gear you for whatever major certifications are in the area you are interested."

    "They won't pay for that."

    "Okay, so you pay for it, or if you can't, go buy a book that will prep you for a cert, and learn on your own."

    "But these classes are free!"

    "Yeah, and you're getting ripped off."

    This might seem a bit irrational on my part, but it's actually very well reasoned. The employer is willing to pay for the classes at the community college for a few simple reasons:

    A. In their experience, sending people to these classes plus experience on the job tends to result in people who can do the things the business needs.
    B. It's cheaper than the classes I mentioned.
    C. People who do the community college classes tend to stay at the company. People who get certified move on. Why? Because people who get certified get offers for more money, and of course, they leave.

    Take a wild guess what the boss's attitude there is concerning certifications!

    "Waste of time, you don't need them. See Steve over there? He's been doing this job for *insert long period of time*, and he doesn't have any of those stupid certs! What you need is experience!"

    My brother calls me up one time, and just starts railing about how dumb the Windows admin there is. The admin is told he needs to patch all the workstations and servers because of some virus outbreak in the news, so he tells everyone in a broadcast email to run Windows Update themselves. My brother then mentions that numerous desktops didn't get patched because people either didn't do it or forgot, so a few weeks later, a new virus slips past the AV (who knows if it was even updated within the last year), and infects most of the network which could have been prevented had they installed one patch from like a year ago, so this idiot, my brother, and a few other workers had to go around disinfecting the machines for like a week. Boss blames the workers who didn't run Windows Update on their machines, or otherwise takes a c'est la vie attitude, or complains about how insecure Windows is.

    Go back and count all the things the admin did WRONG...

    1. Since these were WinXP machines, the users in order to be able to run Windows Update had to have admin privs, which means they were routinely logging in as an admin on their local machines.
    2. Uhh, there's this thing called WSUS, helloooooo? IT'S FREE!!!
    3. Even if you are naive/lazy/dumb enough (take your pick) to expect users to do this, don't you think you should have audited to ensure the machines were patched? Microsoft makes MBSA to do this, easy to use, and once again, FREE!
    4. Someone had to tell him to patch the servers, not him doing it routinely, evidenced by the fact a missing patch from a year ago was the one they needed to prevent this, wasn't installed, and there were no plans to install it until the boss said, "ohh, no, there are these things called viruses, maybe we should patch!"

    Those of you who are studying or already have gotten MCSE 2003 know that every single one of these things are covered as learning objectives in various MCSE exams.

    I contend that the boss's assessment that you don't need certs, just experience and some community college courses, is wrong. I bet an MCSE or MCSA (one who earnestly learned what is required, not a brain dumper or someone who doesn't really care) would have not made all of these crucial mistakes, and stoof a much better chance of averting this catastrophe. You be the judge.

    One last thing:

    Don't take your employer not supporting you or discouraging you to get certified personally. They're doing the same thing you're doing when you get certified: doing what they think is best for their interests.

    There is one exception: Take it personally if it motivates you. icon_twisted.gif Just let it go when you move on. If you take that kind of crap personally, you'll hate pretty much everybody and have an ulcer before you're 30. icon_lol.gif
    Good luck to all!
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    Is this place a certified learning center for any vendor? No to both.

    "So, what classes do you think I should take there?"

    "None."

    "NONE?!"

    "None. Go find some place, preferably a certified learning center, who offers classes that specifically gear you for whatever major certifications are in the area you are interested."

    ":


    WOW, sorry you just put your brother behind the proverbal eightball. A college degree is always more desirable then certifications. You can easily acquire the needed certs along with or after a degree....but to skip a degree and think that certs are better????? icon_rolleyes.gif
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Banned Posts: 2,360
    Plantwiz wrote:
    ....but to skip a degree and think that certs are better????? icon_rolleyes.gif

    So, a degree is better then? I wonder, how come so many of these kids with B.S. in CS have trouble finding jobs now vs. CCNP's w/ experience?

    It's really a roundabout argument, I suppose. I think the best solution is ultimately to get what you want, but to realize it's good to have some of each (experience, certifications, formal education).

    Maybe it is a better idea for his brother to get a certification in the short run, and a degree down the road...I never heard him say "don't get a degree", he simply said, take the certifications for now.

    It must be noted I was chosen over someone with nothing but experience at the time, versus a guy who had a bachelor's in computer science, and a little experience. I refuse to believe it is better. Some employers prefer more of one, some prefer the other.

    Oh well, just collect all 3...

    Beer time for me!
  • silentc1015silentc1015 Member Posts: 128
    Plantwiz wrote:
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    Is this place a certified learning center for any vendor? No to both.

    "So, what classes do you think I should take there?"

    "None."

    "NONE?!"

    "None. Go find some place, preferably a certified learning center, who offers classes that specifically gear you for whatever major certifications are in the area you are interested."

    ":


    WOW, sorry you just put your brother behind the proverbal eightball. A college degree is always more desirable then certifications. You can easily acquire the needed certs along with or after a degree....but to skip a degree and think that certs are better????? icon_rolleyes.gif

    You're right about a Bachelor's, of course. But I disagree about an associates degree. I think numerous specific certs can be more valuable than an associates. Also, I'm not so sure his brother was guaranteed a degree. It sounds like he was just permitted to take a few classes here and there. I may be wrong, but that's the impression I got.

    It's more complex than that too, which is simply better than the other. You have to really want a degree and be interested in a wide variety of material. It's hard to put yourself through 4+ years of something you loathe, especially if you already have a good start on your career. So, there's a lot more to consider than what's mentioned here, IHMO.
  • silentc1015silentc1015 Member Posts: 128
    Mrock4 wrote:
    Plantwiz wrote:
    ....but to skip a degree and think that certs are better????? icon_rolleyes.gif

    So, a degree is better then? I wonder, how come so many of these kids with B.S. in CS have trouble finding jobs now vs. CCNP's w/ experience?

    It's really a roundabout argument, I suppose. I think the best solution is ultimately to get what you want, but to realize it's good to have some of each (experience, certifications, formal education).

    Maybe it is a better idea for his brother to get a certification in the short run, and a degree down the road...I never heard him say "don't get a degree", he simply said, take the certifications for now.

    It must be noted I was chosen over someone with nothing but experience at the time, versus a guy who had a bachelor's in computer science, and a little experience. I refuse to believe it is better. Some employers prefer more of one, some prefer the other.

    Oh well, just collect all 3...

    Beer time for me!

    Experience is king, and it sounds like he's getting it. So, if he looked at his options, and his employer was willing to pay for a full BS in Comp Sci cirriculem AND he actually wanted to dedicate himself to that AND he could juggle it with his schedule AND it didn't make his professional work suffer then that would probably be better than going for some certs. That's alot of stipulations. :D
  • empc4000xlempc4000xl Member Posts: 322
    I woulda told your brother to take the classes at the community college and work on the certs as the classes finished. You were kinda right in him getting the prep books and preparing for certs on his own time. Never turn down free eductation.
  • silentc1015silentc1015 Member Posts: 128
    empc4000xl wrote:
    I woulda told your brother to take the classes at the community college and work on the certs as the classes finished. You were kinda right in him getting the prep books and preparing for certs on his own time. Never turn down free eductation.

    This is pretty good advice, but I must admit I have taken some utterly worthless community college courses. Many of them were an absolute waste of time (this isn't just an expression, time is valuable) that would have been better spent working on certs.
  • empc4000xlempc4000xl Member Posts: 322
    empc4000xl wrote:
    I woulda told your brother to take the classes at the community college and work on the certs as the classes finished. You were kinda right in him getting the prep books and preparing for certs on his own time. Never turn down free eductation.

    This is pretty good advice, but I must admit I have taken some utterly worthless community college courses. Many of them were an absolute waste of time (this isn't just an expression, time is valuable) that would have been better spent working on certs.

    yeah they can be, but long range you can use them for a degree even if they suck. If they actually do get you prepared for a cert its a win/win. At the point right now I'm taking cert classes and they fall into a degree program 2. I took CCNA and a few other classes, I'm starting CCNP soon and that will be 12 upper level credits. Thats how I look at it, long rage and short range goals.
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    Plantwiz:

    I've been heavily involved in hiring personnel from admins to senior engineers. Aside from gov't jobs which they flat out had already policy they weren't willing to change about requirements for a degree, every other company with which I was involved in helping to select new employees did not require college degrees, and they valued MCSE more than a college degree if the candidate had one.

    In the positions I've had, only one did my college degree help significantly, and that was the gov't job. My degree isn't even IT related, which goes to show that its value even in that situation was due to antiquated hiring doctrines.

    Don't get me wrong; I think by attending college, I'm a better critical thinker, researcher, communicator, and problem solver in any situation, IT or otherwise. But those things weren't assumed because my degree is on my resume to companies considering me. They knew I had these skills by talking with me. If you already have these skills, in most cases, you have the advantage.

    Regardless of how you feel about degrees, my brother was going for an Associates Degree, not a Bachelor's or Master's. Also, he complained he had no time other than what he was spending on those classes to do anything else, and he had no intention of doing anything more than get the Associates, since his employer wouldn't pay for anything else, hence why I recommended he go for certs instead.

    You can also get a college degree after certs, too, btw. Plenty of people do it.

    Last salary review data I saw, average PhD holder in IT makes 72K/yr. Average MCSE holder makes 75K/yr.

    So you be the judge.
    Good luck to all!
  • c0d3_w0lfc0d3_w0lf Member Posts: 117
    Do MCSEs really make $75,000 on average? Of course, I know there are all sorts of other considerations that go into those calculations, but...damn! I was figuring I'd be lucky to $60,000 after getting my CCNP and MCSE. Maybe I can raise my expectations some...
    There is nothing that cannot be acheived.
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    You have to remember it's a statistic.

    Some MCSE's could also have other certs...

    College degrees...

    20 years of experience...

    Working in areas where cost of living is higher than where you are...

    So you do need to take that with a grain of salt.

    That salary review btw is dated 2005, although I don't think things have changed that much.
    Good luck to all!
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Those salary surveys are not a good thing to base your pay on. If you have the MCSE and CCNP and zreo experience you are not likely to make $75k. Some people have just a CCNA with years of experience and make $90k. Does that mean you will make $90k when you get a CCNA? No most likely not, but put a few of those guys in the survey and your average just jumped way up.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    Very true. According to that data, I should be making around 75K/yr, but I'm making significantly more, and my salary was determined before I got my VCP recently.

    Remember, though, that in most cases, people with zero experience don't tend to be CCNP's, or MCSE's, etc. I know we all have stories of greens who have those certs, but I think if you were to look back in your past of all MCSE's and CCNP's, etc. that you know, most were experienced. Therefore, there is some value in this data, although it certainly is the case that part of the explanation those cert holders are paid as they are has something to do with their experience, too. I just know guys who are MCSA's for example and have been in IT for 15 years, and I've already doubled their salaries in half the time. There is some merit to this data.

    Also, my experience being hired and being involved in hiring processes also suggest that major certifications tend to trump college degrees, especially less advanced ones like Associates Degrees. Obviously, degrees and certs are better than certs, but if you had to choose one, I'd choose certs provided it's something a bit higher level.
    Good luck to all!
  • hypnotoadhypnotoad Banned Posts: 915
    I'm convinced that most of those salary surveys are inflated so you'll click their advertising for X cert package or X online degree.

    The Ph.D. in CompSci is really geared towards research. It's not necessary for 99.9% of private-sector jobs. I was a Ph.D. student for a while -- back when I thought academics was where it's at. Ph.D. (CS) vs. B.S. or "professional" M.Sci. is really no comparison.

    I've met A+'s who can't put in a hard drive. I've met B.S's who can't write a hello world in less than 3 hours in anything other than VB. I've met grad students who can't do high-school math.

    That being said -- there's a college out there for anyone. The university I work at now is accepting people who get 10's on their ACTs and they are telling these kids that they will make $70,000/year right out of college. I am seriously disgruntled with the universities at the moment.
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    Plantwiz:

    I've been heavily involved in hiring personnel from admins to senior engineers. Aside from gov't jobs which they flat out had already policy they weren't willing to change about requirements for a degree, every other company with which I was involved in helping to select new employees did not require college degrees, and they valued MCSE more than a college degree if the candidate had one.
    Perhaps on a job by job basis, but around here you'll find college trumps certs and experience and college are almost a tie...depending on the position and the companies objective for staffing.
    ...
    Regardless of how you feel about degrees, my brother was going for an Associates Degree, not a Bachelor's or Master's. Also, he complained he had no time other than what he was spending on those classes to do anything else, and he had no intention of doing anything more than get the Associates, since his employer wouldn't pay for anything else, hence why I recommended he go for certs instead.
    Personally, college was a waste of time for me, but I've not worked for a company yet that didn't want that expensive piece of paper. And it's not the degree so much as the experience gained from the process of attending college that matters to having a better trained employee.
    You can also get a college degree after certs, too, btw. Plenty of people do it.
    No kidding? Never thought of that icon_rolleyes.gif

    You can pick up certifications in between classes as well as throughout your life. Learning should not be an end.

    Last salary review data I saw, average PhD holder in IT makes 72K/yr. Average MCSE holder makes 75K/yr.

    So you be the judge.
    Depends on the company and the area of the country. Around here, you'll be hard pressed to hit that with either at most companies. Regardless of what I write, you'll find something to say otherwise. Hey, that's fine. I don't live near you and you are not here, so we can only pull from what we truly know.
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    Plantwiz wrote:

    No kidding? Never thought of that icon_rolleyes.gif

    ...

    Regardless of what I write, you'll find something to say otherwise.

    ...

    WOW, sorry you just put your brother behind the proverbal eightball.

    I'm fine with discussing this, but I'm not gonna do the personal attack stuff/heavy sarcasm, etc. Been there, done that, and life is too short.

    We agree to disagree.
    Good luck to all!
  • Megadeth4168Megadeth4168 Member Posts: 2,157
    Around here, where I'm at, I have never heard of a degree being more valuable than certifications.
    Every Job I've seen has always been

    Experience > Certs > Degree

    I do believe that it can depend on a job by job basis, but I haven't seen it yet, so I would be willing to say that most jobs probably prefer experience most, then certifications then a degree.

    My own personal experience goes from applying for a job against over 400 applicants, many of which have degrees. Apparently I was the only one in the top 10 interviews that did not have a degree, yet I still got the job.

    I have also been offered jobs without applying, these people did not even know I had certifications, they only knew I had experience... A couple of these jobs paid a bit more but I still declined. I have my reasons for that.

    I can tell you this though... I would never turn down free classes towards a degree.
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    Given my current work experiences, if my employer today would offer me free classes to get an Associates Degree, I'd say no.

    Why would I want an Associates Degree when I have my experience, MCSE 2000/2003: Messaging, and a Master's Degree (even though it's not IT related)? Would you? Similarly, if my employer offered free training classes to get A+, given the certs, education, and experience I have, I'd decline that, too.

    I don't think anyone here would disagree with me on that. Why is that? (And no, I'm not belittling people who get A+ or Associates Degrees or their accomplishments.)

    Not saying my answer is for everyone. It's right for me given my current qualifications and where I want to go. However, it's just to point out that there is no limit to the amount of certifications and degrees you could get, but there is a limit to the amount of time/energy you have to achieve them.

    You have to start evaluating what is the wisest use of your time, and it all comes down to where you want your career to go. In my case, I'm looking to get experience and credentials necessary to propel me to a salary range currently 25% or higher than I'm making now. An Associates Degree or A+ likely won't do that for me - free training or not. However, developing my expertise as an Exchange expert and/or getting into SAN's more likely will.

    And the sword swings both ways - even though my current employer has no interest whatsoever in getting me experience and certs in SAN's, I will gladly spend my own money to do so if necessary.

    In my brother's case, his career goal when he asked for my advice was he wanted to ensure that if he lost his job tomorrow, he wanted to be able to find another job making at least the same amount of money as he is now. IMO, a certification would be more likely to achieve that than an Associate's Degree. In the end, the small amount of money you spend to self learn or even take an official training course is very small compared to what kind of opportunities you're opening for yourself if you get a major certification.
    Good luck to all!
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I think you really need to scrutinize an associates degree. Some are quite good, well-rounded, and can transfer the majority or all the credits/hours to a four-year degree at another institution. You can also get half of your four-year degree done significantly cheaper than had you just gone exclusively to a four-year institution.

    However, there are many others that are absolute trash. Unfortunately, these are typically the tech-centric AA degrees. These are usually more expensive than something like a state college, and you basically just end up with a few certifications. Few, if any, other schools will transfer in your IT courses.

    Posts detailing this scenario pop up from time to time. You'll see people absolutely crushed that they spent $30k for an IT AA degree that they really can't do anything with. Degrees are important, no doubt. However, they're not all created equal. I would encourage people to hold off until they're ready to do it right.
  • silentc1015silentc1015 Member Posts: 128
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    Given my current work experiences, if my employer today would offer me free classes to get an Associates Degree, I'd say no.

    Why would I want an Associates Degree when I have my experience, MCSE 2000/2003: Messaging, and a Master's Degree (even though it's not IT related)? Would you? Similarly, if my employer offered free training classes to get A+, given the certs, education, and experience I have, I'd decline that, too.

    I don't think anyone here would disagree with me on that. Why is that? (And no, I'm not belittling people who get A+ or Associates Degrees or their accomplishments.)

    Not saying my answer is for everyone. It's right for me given my current qualifications and where I want to go. However, it's just to point out that there is no limit to the amount of certifications and degrees you could get, but there is a limit to the amount of time/energy you have to achieve them.

    You have to start evaluating what is the wisest use of your time, and it all comes down to where you want your career to go. In my case, I'm looking to get experience and credentials necessary to propel me to a salary range currently 25% or higher than I'm making now. An Associates Degree or A+ likely won't do that for me - free training or not. However, developing my expertise as an Exchange expert and/or getting into SAN's more likely will.

    And the sword swings both ways - even though my current employer has no interest whatsoever in getting me experience and certs in SAN's, I will gladly spend my own money to do so if necessary.

    In my brother's case, his career goal when he asked for my advice was he wanted to ensure that if he lost his job tomorrow, he wanted to be able to find another job making at least the same amount of money as he is now. IMO, a certification would be more likely to achieve that than an Associate's Degree. In the end, the small amount of money you spend to self learn or even take an official training course is very small compared to what kind of opportunities you're opening for yourself if you get a major certification.

    These are some very wise words right here. This is key. It's all about looking at your individual career goals and deciding what steps it takes to get you there. For some people it might be certifications, others it might be entry-level experience, for others it might be a degree, or maybe something totally different. For instance, right now I'm trying to get a position that will process me for a top secret security clearance. I'm in the same boat as you, in regards to an associates degree. I have no degree, but an associates wouldn't help me a bit. At the career level I'm at, if the employer cares about a degree at all they'll want at least a Bachelors, probably a masters. Going after an associates degree will just make employers wonder if I'm insane.

    You also touched on the importance of leveraging your time in the most valuable way. This is another bit of great advice. I was in a situation recently that exemplifies this. I was studying for my CCNA while working as a UNIX admin at my regular job. CCNA is mostly new material in regards to Cisco IOS and detailed understanding of the lower OSI layers. I discovered employee reviews were coming up in 2 months, so I put it on hold and got my RHCE very quickly. This wasn't difficult because I already have a lot of experience. Now I'm back to CCNA study. The thing is, I'm going to use the RHCE to negotiate at least a 10% raise. I'm sure I'll get it too. I know my employer really values that cert. That's why I choose to take a break from CCNA and get it quickly at a very opportune time. This raise will also set a new baseline salary for myself if I were to look for another job. Right now my goal is high income in a job I enjoy. So, adjusting my use of time in that situation helped me get closer to my income goals. Had I continued to study for CCNA, I might have it by the time reviews come up. But they would just shrug and ask why a UNIX admin needs a CCNA. This is not really a correct way of thinking, but I know how their minds work.
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