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Go for BS or see what's out there with AS?

anthclaanthcla Member Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey everyone. I've browsed this site for a little while as I’m researching stuff on A+, MCSA, etc. First time really posting here though. Anyway...

I'm going to be completing my associates degree next year in Information Technology from a community college. I have been considering then transferring to another school to get bachelors, either in Information Technology, Network Administration or Network Security. I have about 5 years of combined helpdesk and break/fix type support, but I still haven’t been able to land anything for a ‘good’ job. I only have the A+ at the moment, so this seems like it may be why, but most people seem to say not to get certifications without job experience, so I didn’t want to waste my money on that just yet.

Ok, point of my post, any thoughts on if it be worth my time (and lots of $$) to continue going to school for another 2-2.5 years for a bachelors, or would I be better off trying to find something once I get my associates degree?

Thanks!

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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I'd start working as soon as possible. You can always finish your education part time while working, or work part time while finishing your education. A degree and experience (weather AS or BS) is your best bet for finding a job.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    If you decide to go on, see if you can get a job at whatever institution you're at. You can occasionally land a job that gives great experience (as opposed to something like simply monitoring the computer labs).

    I'd keep studying for certs if you have the time. While an MCSA without experience doesn't look as good as one with experience, it's still better than nothing.
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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,042 Admin
    Finish the Bachelors degree first. With the degree, if a good opportunity comes along that requires a Bachelors degree, you'll be able to apply for the job. If you don't have the degree, you may miss a great opportunity simply because you put off your education to earn a better paycheck. (You have the rest of you life to figure out how to earn more money.) If you don't need to work to save up money for school then get the degree first to get it out of the way.
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    undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    I would recommend grabbing the degree first if you can afford it, but if you have to go into debt to get the degree then pass it by. The amount of money you lose through student loans doesn't make it worth it since if you work hard you can get to the same place without a BS. Unless you're wanting to teach, of course. I've found that most places that say they require a BS actually just mean they prefer a BS. If you have the certifications and skill and more importantly the experience they are more than willing to overlook the degree in most cases.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
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    ThePistonDoctorThePistonDoctor Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I just finished my BS in MIS and I'm finding that every job I apply for requires at LEAST a BS. Honestly I don't think you will make much unless you're an entrepreneur with anything less than a BS in the IT field in this day and age.

    Just my .02

    BTW - I also agree with dom about not being able to afford it...however I still think it's worth it. You can work part time while you do your BS and still gain experience and then when you're done sure you might have a lot of debt but you have a BS and tons of experience and a proven track record that will land you that 60-70k a year job right out of college.
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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Honestly I don't think you will make much unless you're an entrepreneur with anything less than a BS in the IT field in this day and age.

    I'm going to have to totally disagree with this statement. I don't have a degree and a lot of the people I know in the IT field do not have a degree either. Most of them are very successful. I have never even been asked about a degree by any of the companies I have spoken to. They are all MUCH more interested in my experience.

    A degree won't hurt, so if you are already in school I wouldn't drop out. Don't let it keep you from looking for a job just because you don't have one though.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    NetstudentNetstudent Member Posts: 1,693 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I got an AS to get my foot in the door. Then I started for my BS after finding a good job. So I have been working and going to school for a while. I'm glad I did. I'm close to being done with my BS and I got great experience before getting my BS. Most of my classmates that are about to get their BS don't have any experience and will have to start in the trenches with a 4 year degree. Screw that. I didn't want to go down that road, so I did what I had to do and got a job asap.

    Now I have moved up 2 times in the last 2 years, and I am working in network engineering with 1 semester and summer school left. In my eyes, I did the best thing I could have by getting a job before I graduated with my BS.

    Now when I get my BS, I'll probably get a raise and have a kick ass job to boot.
    There is no place like 127.0.0.1 BUT 209.62.5.3 is my 127.0.0.1 away from 127.0.0.1!
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    shednikshednik Member Posts: 2,005
    Netstudent wrote:
    I got an AS to get my foot in the door. Then I started for my BS after finding a good job. So I have been working and going to school for a while. I'm glad I did. I'm close to being done with my BS and I got great experience before getting my BS. Most of my classmates that are about to get their BS don't have any experience and will have to start in the trenches with a 4 year degree. Screw that. I didn't want to go down that road, so I did what I had to do and got a job asap.

    Now I have moved up 2 times in the last 2 years, and I am working in network engineering with 1 semester and summer school left. In my eyes, I did the best thing I could have by getting a job before I graduated with my BS.

    Now when I get my BS, I'll probably get a raise and have a kick ass job to boot.

    See there is not real cut and dry answer for this it all depends on your needs and your situation...I was going to school full time and after my second year i started working as well about 30ish hours a week since most of my classes had to be at night anyway. Then in my last year of school I worked full time and continued taking a full load of classes. It all depends on what you want and need to do...if I hadn't gotten my bachelors degree I wouldn't have the great job I have today and since it was a college grad program i was hired through I had to have less than 2 years experience. Luckily I was just a few months under that when I was hired. Now out of school I'm working for a huge worldwide company, making 46k, and have all kinds of chances for growth. So it's up to you I actually liked the later part of college had a lot of interesting courses and since I get tuition reimbursement I've already decided to head back for my masters this fall. Not saying you have to have some type of degree to be successful many people make it without them, but having that piece of paper will never hurt you when trying to get a job. It's all up to what you want to do...good luck with whatever you decide to do icon_exclaim.gif:D
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    HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    I'm going to have to totally disagree with this statement. I don't have a degree and a lot of the people I know in the IT field do not have a degree either. Most of them are very successful. I have never even been asked about a degree by any of the companies I have spoken to. They are all MUCH more interested in my experience.

    Completely agree. I do have a Master's Degree, but it's in education, and a BA in History, and I've never to my knowledge been dinged for lacking a degree in anything technology driven. However, I have been dinged for lack of experience or certification.

    And I know plenty of guys who have no college degree at all and are doing well.
    Good luck to all!
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    dtlokeedtlokee Member Posts: 2,378 ■■■■□□□□□□
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    I'm going to have to totally disagree with this statement. I don't have a degree and a lot of the people I know in the IT field do not have a degree either. Most of them are very successful. I have never even been asked about a degree by any of the companies I have spoken to. They are all MUCH more interested in my experience.

    Completely agree. I do have a Master's Degree, but it's in education, and a BA in History, and I've never to my knowledge been dinged for lacking a degree in anything technology driven. However, I have been dinged for lack of experience or certification.

    And I know plenty of guys who have no college degree at all and are doing well.

    It depends on the situation, there are a few large companies ne me that won't even talk to you without a degree in a related field. It seems older companies are more deeply rooted in this belief, almost to a fault when trying to attract talent. If nothing else a 4 (or more) year degree shows a level of dedication to your career, and you can make some really good contacts in college. It's not to be overlooked and no matter what technical degrees and experience you have you will always be better off to have a degree in addition. It's been said many times before in the forums, experience + degree + certification is best. You can take one of them away but you will most likely suffer in your paycheck.


    As for the OP, finish your degree, don't give up on it. See if you can find a job where they have tution reimbersement if you plan to work and go to school at the same time.
    The only easy day was yesterday!
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    HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    dtlokee wrote:
    It depends on the situation, there are a few large companies ne me that won't even talk to you without a degree in a related field. It seems older companies are more deeply rooted in this belief, almost to a fault when trying to attract talent. If nothing else a 4 (or more) year degree shows a level of dedication to your career, and you can make some really good contacts in college. It's not to be overlooked and no matter what technical degrees and experience you have you will always be better off to have a degree in addition.

    What's best is also to have a multiple college degrees, all related certifications to your specialization, and 30 years of experience. The question is though which is he better off with in the near future - certifications, experience, or a more advanced degree.

    Out of the three, good experience is the best bet. If you can find good experience, I'd go for that. I also know that generally speaking, higher end certifications tend to trump college degrees. So, if it were me, I'd be getting certified with CCNA, CCNP, MCSE, whatever, and getting experience.

    Now, with all that said, it's easier now to get your degree than it would be later most likely. If you do choose to go this route, I would recommend also pursuing one of the certifications above at the same time.
    Good luck to all!
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    empc4000xlempc4000xl Member Posts: 322
    I say get the AA and certs and go to school part time. You can always get education part time or online, but each semester you spend in school full time you are letting experience get away. Experience only comes with time. Most of the people I work with are getting there BS degree's while they work, and in IT you can do a lot of your course work at work, because most of its work related as long as you are staying on top of your task(which is staying on top of your technology). I wouldn't leave without a AA.


    However with all that said. If you are under 25 I would get the BS. If older I would roll out with the AA and get the BS later. Savings for things like 401k and your later years are slipping by if you wait to long.
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    phantasmphantasm Member Posts: 995
    I found crap with my AS, working on my BS, still havent find crap. lol.
    "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -Heraclitus
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    Tyrant1919Tyrant1919 Member Posts: 519 ■■■□□□□□□□
    AAS Degree, 4 years of experience, a few CompTIA certs = Money in the bank. For me at least.
    A+/N+/S+/L+/Svr+
    MCSA:03/08/12/16 MCSE:03s/EA08/Core Infra
    CCNA
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    sir_creamy_sir_creamy_ Inactive Imported Users Posts: 298
    Roll up the sleeves and do the bachelors. It'll pay off
    Bachelor of Computer Science

    [Forum moderators are my friends]
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    paintb4707paintb4707 Member Posts: 420
    I personally rather stick with the Associates then cert up and get experience. Experience outweighs education tremendously in my eyes and I think any intelligent employer realizes that. Education is learning about, experience is actually doing it. Two completely different things, and the way I see it, you can always learn on the way why you're building the experience. In fact, I learned a tremendous amount working on a help desk for 7 months and I feel as if that it put me on an entirely different level. I especially see it versus my classmates in school that have zero experience in the field. I think the amount I learned from 7 months on a help desk (working full time) couldn't have possibly been taught to me from a 4 or even 6 year degree.

    Not only that, you'll save a lot more money in the future. You may find that it takes longer to find a good job but in the end, you're not paying double school payments so the money you're making could balance out.

    But then again... one may never know until they get out in the field. I haven't even completed my Associates yet so I have no idea what's ahead of me. I do know that I will have roughly 2 years of experience (and more certs?) by the time I graduate so employers should take me without the bachelors, but most importantly I don't know if it will create a road block for me in the far future.
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    CherperCherper Member Posts: 140 ■■■□□□□□□□
    It is easier to get your Bachelors while you are still in school than it is to go back and get it. Getting the BS will make you more money in the long run than all the certs and experience. This is proven time and again, just check out the numbers that are put out regularly by the labor department. That isn't to say you can't make good money without a degree, but without the degree you will often run into a glass ceiling that will keep you from climbing the ladder to management.

    Now before this gets someone upset, note I said often. Many government jobs require a degree. You can't qualify without one, regardless of experience or certifications.

    As someone who has been in both positions, the degree opens doors well beyond IT. If you burn out in the field someday, a degree will still open doors where a Microsoft cert is just paper outside of IT.
    Studying and Reading:

    Whatever strikes my fancy...
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    mog27mog27 Member Posts: 302
    Paying back school loans kind of sucks. I still owe around $30,000 after consolidating. I shell out over $200/month towards it which I think is a 30-year repayment plan. Eventually I hope to put out more to it. The job I have now (working in Information Assurance) requires a 4-year degree so I'm glad I got it. I plan to go for a Masters with the caveat being that I don't have to pay for it; my company does.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin

    "The internet is a great way to get on the net." --Bob Dole
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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,042 Admin
    Cherper wrote:
    It is easier to get your Bachelors while you are still in school than it is to go back and get it.
    So true. It is a very common thing to hear about people taking a long time to get back to college--usually because of a marriage (or two) and kids. It took me 15 years to get back to school to complete my Masters degree because of the usual life-obstacles and excuses.

    If you can attend school without working then do it in a heartbeat. Working and going to school will cause you to take longer to complete your schooling (due to taking fewer classes per semester) and will likely result in a poorer GPA. It took me seven years to complete an undergrad degree because I couldn't get by without working full-time (and switching majors a few times didn't expedite things either).
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    anthclaanthcla Member Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    wow, 19 replies overnight, awesome. Alot of these are pretty much what I was expecting, but great info. Thanks for all the responses and opinions
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    nelnel Member Posts: 2,859 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Its one of those catch 22 situations - should i get it or should i not. i am doing my bsc degree PT and work FT and find it a pain in the arse but i think it will pay off (or at least im hoping) i go to uni with many people my age who have no experiance at all who are my age (22) whereas i have nearly 6 yr. and if i want to do my bsc honours then i will need another 2 yr PT study.

    It depends on your financial situation, i have to get by using credit cards to pay fee's because i havent got the hard cash to pay for it in full and the company i work for refuses to help basically. but i hope it will get me the good job i want and see it more of an investment towards myself.

    i have found it seems to be a very HR thing to screen people by education - which i dont believe is the best way because experiance counts for a hell of a lot more because i feel my uni degree does not relate much to the real world to be honest, most of its theory etc lecturers INSIST everything works the way they teach it and if you question it you are always wrong and they are right etc etc.

    but at the end of the day i think you will probably end up going back to uni one day and finishing the bs you want, so why wait and go do it! try and gets certs on side even if it is a slower process than you would like. i havent had the chance to do any certs in a long time bcos of uni but when it stops in the summer im either going to continue with my mcse or the ccna.

    Good luck in whatever you decide and let us know what you choose. remember there are alot of people on here with good experiance and advice, so treat it as if its gold dust icon_thumright.gif
    Xbox Live: Bring It On

    Bsc (hons) Network Computing - 1st Class
    WIP: Msc advanced networking
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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    This discussion always comes to the same end.

    People with degrees think they are necessary, while people with out them don't feel the same.

    I will be starting school part time soon just to cover myself from all angels (degree, experience, certifiacion).
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    dtlokeedtlokee Member Posts: 2,378 ■■■■□□□□□□
    This discussion always comes to the same end.

    People with degrees think they are necessary, while people with out them don't feel the same.

    I will be starting school part time soon just to cover myself from all angels (degree, experience, certifiacion).

    Yup, and like nel said a a lot of HR screen people based on their education level. Maybe it's because they fall into the category of "people with degrees" so they feel they are needed. Many managers will fall into the same category. Who writes the job descriptions and does the hiring? The HR department and the department managers.

    It a lot like the agrument people make about certifications being worthless. The people saying they are worthless are usually the people who don't have them. I feel the same way about the degree agrument, it is typically the people who don't have one that are saying they aren't worth it.

    Take into consideration the source of the advice when it comes to certs and degrees. I personally don't think my degree was worth what I paid for it (both in terms of time and money). If I had it to do again I would still go for a college degree but maybe at a smaller instution that cost less money (since it's basically just a "do you have a degree" andswer)
    The only easy day was yesterday!
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    blargoeblargoe Member Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    If you were trying to get a "good job" and didn't have a degree, you were fighting an uphill battle.

    Now, don't be discouraged, you have a few things going for you:

    1. You WILL have a degree very soon
    2. You have 5 years of verifiable experience already.
    3. You have the drive to do better for yourself.

    You should not be SO concerned about the money right now, as many others have said. This early in the game, it's like chess. Think three moves ahead. Sometimes you have to make a lateral move to position yourself to move on to something more skilled. Experience is king, and you have some of that going for you.

    Personally, this is how I would proceed.

    Keep working! Yes, continue to look for a better opportunity (note: not necessarily better money, but more exposure to different things or to whatever it is that you "really" want to do)... but keep working a job in IT. Maybe something as simple as working the same kind of job for a company that will reimburse college tuition expenses (every company I have worked for recently has a program like this) would be good for you.

    Continue the education, PART TIME, while working FULL TIME. You have *a* degree, having *the* degree will help you land that really great job... later. Just the degree won't get it for you, but the better experience that you will have in 3 or 4 years, plus that new BS degree, will open the doors for you. Going to school part time also allows you to not have to put up a bunch or money or borrow huge sums of money up front. It is easier to work a full time job and take a couple classes a semester in the evening, than to go to school full time and attempt to find part time work in IT. I had my BS for 5 1/2 years before I found that "great" job, stepping through crappy and progressively better positions.

    Go ahead and get the certifications that validate your base of experience and knowledge. A+ shouldn't be a problem for you based on the kind of work you have already been doing. MCP, MCDST, MCDST, MCTS:Vista, or Network+ may be possibilities too, depending on your level of knowledge and kind of experience you have had.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
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    TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I would concentrate fulltime on school and get the bachelors out of the way if that's an option for you. At the same time pick up a few entry level certificates and try and get some part time experience in the workplace.

    You don't want to be backfilling your college education later on in life, you could be using the hours to spend quality time with your family or if you want to use them for work you could use them to prepare for a premium level cert or simply work later in the office on projects to further your career with a decent company. So get the bachelors now if you can.

    Yes there are many people who get by just fine in IT without a college education but you will find that many of those people have already been in the industry several years when the technologies were young and the uses of them emerging. Times have changed. These days many companies expect you to have a Bachelors, if not for entry level then often for advancement.
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    blargoeblargoe Member Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    IMHO, I just don't think struggling to find part time IT work experience is going to help him in this case. The kind of part time work he would probably find is the same kind of stuff he has been doing already for the past 5 years. Experience isn't his problem, it's the kind of experience that he needs to move up to the next tier.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
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    HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    blargoe wrote:
    IMHO, I just don't think struggling to find part time IT work experience is going to help him in this case. The kind of part time work he would probably find is the same kind of stuff he has been doing already for the past 5 years. Experience isn't his problem, it's the kind of experience that he needs to move up to the next tier.

    Right. That's why it's worth stressing "good experience". Not all experience is good. If you're doing what you've always done for more than a year and not learning either technical skills or soft skills (customer/business relations, project management, etc.), the value of that experience decreases. In fact, doing the same old same old for more than say five years can actually be a negative on your resume when you're still working primarily technical in nature jobs. I've been in a position where I've had input on hiring candidates, and I've seen guys get pigeon holed before walking in for an interview because the position is for a systems engineer, and the candidate is MCSE in NT4, has been in the same position of sysadmin for 10 years, no new certs, no new college degrees, etc. They were deemed to be a complacent dinosaur.

    It's foolish to pass up good experience in this case, even if it delays him from getting a BS degree. In the end, surveys show generally speaking good experience trumps college degrees in IT.
    Good luck to all!
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    by American InterContinental University Online - AIU Online's Bachelor of Information Technology, with a concentration in Network Administration degree completion program can be completed fast. The main objectives of the BIT Network Administration degree are to prepare students to identify various hardw - ... Degree Info | School Info | Request Info
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
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    eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875 ■■■■■■■■■□
    This discussion always comes to the same end.

    People with degrees think they are necessary, while people with out them don't feel the same.

    I will be starting school part time soon just to cover myself from all angels (degree, experience, certifiacion).

    I'm going to break the mold...

    I hold several undegrad and graduate degrees, but I will attest to the fact that they are not necessary, regardless of the size of the company.

    I know many people in IT, in companies of various sizes, at various points in their career and at various levels of their organizations that do very well. One woman I know that works in IT in the financial services industry has no degree and what I would call sporadic formal education...last year she made 250k+. What she does have is experience, and a proven track record for delivering results.

    This example is not the norm. It's not the norm because everyone doesn't work as hard as she does (degreed or not). However, this situation is somewhat common...I encounter it regularly.

    When a degree is listed as a requirement for a job posting, it is often done as something that can be used to disqualify, rather than qualify, a set of candidates. I too agree, most job postings that I see these days state that a bachelors degree is a requirement. I would also like to point out that the people writing the job postings often know very little about what they're writing. For example, I remember in 1998 seeing a job posting looking for 5+ years of Java programming experience!

    Holding a bachelor's degree is kind of like going to a store that has both automatic and manual entry doors. The automatic doors open when you walk close to them, but if you don't want to use that route you can always go through the manual door. It will just take more effort.

    Despite what I've said above, I will always recommend pursuing a degree. You should, at a minimum, check the bachelor's degree box early in life. Having one just makes life easier...those automatic doors work for you, which allows you to focus on other things that will help you win a job.

    Furthermore, if you can build experience while going to school that, in my opinion is much better, because you will have separated yourself from the countless others that graduated that year.

    Another bit of advice about degrees, especially undergrad, is that you should pursue a field that interests you and that you can tolerate for 4 years. Additionally, the merits of attending a well-known school cannot be understated. The name of the school on your resume often overshadows your major field or anything else.

    Also, work on things that will make you stand out from the crowd. Another forum on here talked about the value of volunteer work. Not only does it make you feel good, it sets you apart from the crowd.

    Work on your appearance, and practice your interview skills. The most common type of interview these days is the behavioral event interview, which puts the interviewee in a situation and asks them how they would respond. If you can learn how to nail one of these interviews you will benefit immensely.

    Another thing that you can do is join Toastmasters. Although some of the Toastmasters stuff is kind of cheesy, and there is a lot of time-wasting that occurs (in my opinion), you can't beat the skills that you develop by actively engaging and speaking about different topics on a weekly basis. Also, you can't beat the price!

    Why not work and go to school. Look for what's out there now, but it sounds to me like you're too close to earning the bachelors to stop now...keep pushing forward!

    MS
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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,042 Admin
    filkenjitsu, it'd be more helpful if next time if you just post the exact URL from www.elearners.com.
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