Is a degree absolutely necessary?

skully93skully93 Senior MemberMember Posts: 323 ■■■□□□□□□□
My boss got wind of me really buckling down for the MCSA and eventually on to some security, etc.

This seemed to unnerve him and he started throwing things at me like "all that is worthless, you have to have at least a Bachelor's to be anything!"

I would like to think that yes, a degree would carry you farther in addition to certs, but is not necessarilly the best starting point, esp for a more tech/admin level person. If I was wanting to get into say, management, then absolutely.

Any thoughts?
I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed.

-- James Thurber
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Comments

  • TeKniquesTeKniques Member Posts: 1,262 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Well IMO you need to get a degree if you want to get a good paying job. Most of the entry level IT jobs I see want you to have a 2 year Associates degree at the very least.

    At the company where I work, most of the upper level IT jobs almost strictly require a BS in Computer Science as well as high level certs, ie: MCSE, CCNA, etc.

    Some good advice would be to get an Associates degree if you don't want to be in school for a long time and then build up your certs at the same time. I think it all depends on mostly experience when it comes down to it. Some people have no school and just know what they are doing and have good jobs. But, if you want more security for a future, I would get a degree.
  • Ricka182Ricka182 Ancient Relic....... Member Posts: 3,359
    It's a tough call. I don't really see a whole lot of need for degrees in IT, but I wish I had one. I choose not to go for it out of high school, thinking I wouldn't need it. But for some reason, everyone wants to see a dang degree! I guess like you say, more for administrative and business qualities. I would think if you can get involved enough to get one, do it. But if you don't have one, don't fret, because it's not always about the piece of paper. The best person in an interview gets the job. Who offers a talking degree?
    i remain, he who remains to be....
  • skully93skully93 Senior Member Member Posts: 323 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Certainly.

    I can see myself pursuing a degree down the line, but not right now. I'm getting set to change states again in a few months (going back to CO, where you're free to not eat beef if you like...). There just seems no real reason to get into a degree right away. Down the road it will definitely be a big booster, but I know plenty of people with degrees (and debt!) that are getting beat out by people w/exp and certs.

    we'll all just have to hurry up and wait I guess ;)
    I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed.

    -- James Thurber
  • Ricka182Ricka182 Ancient Relic....... Member Posts: 3,359
    skully93 wrote:
    we'll all just have to hurry up and wait I guess ;)

    absolutly.
    i remain, he who remains to be....
  • garv221garv221 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,914
    skully93 wrote:
    "all that is worthless, you have to have at least a Bachelor's to be anything!"

    To say something like that is UNEDUCATED. I know ALOT of people who go to college & barely pass and are absolutely worthless. You have both sides of the spectrum. I also work for a guy who has no college education & owns 3 companies & easily pulls in 7 figures. Education is a great thing & priceless for the fact that nobody can take it away, but a degree does not lay out your future, especially in this field; you do.
  • skully93skully93 Senior Member Member Posts: 323 ■■■□□□□□□□
    garv221 wrote:
    skully93 wrote:
    Education is a great thing & priceless for the fact that nobody can take it away, but a degree does not lay out your future, especially in this field; you do.

    Thanks! That's the phrase I was looking for.

    In my native CO, lockheed martin is hiring like mad. they do this when they get gigantic security/defense contracts (such as the cold war, etc.)

    Now they have some stringent requirements, esp degrees. Certs don't matter to them.

    Then again, I don't think that's my gig anyway.

    I still don't see a lot of ads even for people with MCSE and higher Cisco certs, but I figure those must be worth something or they'd not exist.

    Back to work all of us!
    I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed.

    -- James Thurber
  • Mikey BMikey B Junior Member Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Up here a lot of companies ask for a degree, but when you start throwing fancy-sounding certifications at them, they go into dummy-mode. IT is small in my hometown, but because someone once told a hiring manager that an MCSE is good, you can be sure that "MCSE" showed up on the succesful candidates resume.

    For what it's worth, I only went to school for a year for IT, and have been working now for 6 years, but it really boils down to how much I emphasize customer service and quality of work over degrees or anything else.
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I don't think you need degree, but having one will make things easier.
    Andy

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • garv221garv221 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,914
    ajs1976 wrote:
    I don't think you need degree, but having one will make things easier.
    I agree, I also think that experience is worth more than a degree. Same with a MCSE & CCNP...That in my opinion is worth more than a degree. To me, only thing worth less than a degree is not having one. icon_lol.gif
  • btbpopbtbpop Junior Member Member Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I am over fifty, and I am changing careers midstream in my life, I decided to go into the IT field, when the .com's went a bust, and most of the corporations were outsourcing to India, and other countries. Good timing hey? Well anyway I have been employed at my job for over 17 years,all that time I could have gotten my Associate of Computer Science. Time does fly, even when you are not having fun, Ha, ha.Anyway I did get my CompTia A+, and Network +, and I am currently working on Server+, and the MSCA certs as well. If I were you get the certs first, to get in the door, then work on getting a degree part time. Like as said, time does fly by quickly. But do yourself a favor and go with your own instincts, you know your situation better than anyone else. Go with your gut instinct. That's all folks, Good luck with your IT career.
  • /usr/usr Senior Member Member Posts: 1,768
    Experience > degree, sure.

    Any cert > degree, there's no way.


    You can hardly reason that a bachelor's degree isn't as meaningful than an MCSA or CCNA. Six months to a year of studying one vendors products is hardly equal to the knowledge and experience you'll get while attending college for four years.
  • /usr/usr Senior Member Member Posts: 1,768
    By the way, I don't mean to bash you or say that you're wrong. From a practical standpoint however, a hiring manager or HR person will not think that a certification is greater than a degree.
  • NPA24NPA24 Senior Member Member Posts: 588 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Just a background on what I did. I started college and I wasn't even thinking about IT at all but I was doing tech support for dell. During my sophomore year in college I decided I like business related stuff and also computers seemed very interesting to me. So when I had to declare my major in my junior year I decided to major in Management Information Systems. It was the best of both worlds for me, a mix of business with a diverse learning path for computer technology.

    I soon kept seeing articles and forums with the controversy of College versus Certifications. So I decided to keep my job as a tech support for a local outsourcer in Orlando for experience, still continue to go college, and then started to study for certifications. Multitasking is key in this environment.

    I finally graduated college with my degree last year May 2003, got my A+ in May 2004, revised my resume, and kept submitting my resume to every company out there. Keep in mind I still had a tech support job and I have been doing tech support for about 2 1/2 years. In June 2004 I had an interview for Desktop Support IT position in for a bank. I got pass three interviews and got the job offer.

    So in my experience of all this, it's worth getting a degree just for personal goals but I think in this industry diversification in knowledge and experience will get you in the door. It takes time and a lot of patience. So for everybody a degree is not for everybody but if you are already in IT you might as well get it if the company will pay for it, because it's something no one can take away from you.

    At the moment I still continue to get certified and get as much experience as possible and hope to be Microsoft certified cause that's kinda what my boss is pushing us to get. I apologize for this long essay. Good luck to everybody and to their success path as I continue mine.
  • garv221garv221 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,914
    Any cert > degree, there's no way.
    You can hardly reason that a bachelor's degree isn't as meaningful than an MCSA or CCNA.
    I know your not trying to bash, either am I. I agree that not any cert is not better than a Bachelors degree; however I feel that a MCSE & definitely a CCNP is better. Not MCSA/CCNA, you downgraded my quote. I have a degree, I'm not sure if it helps. All anyone has ever cared about is what I have done. I have been in the field for 4.5 years I'm in charge off all Systems & Cisco gear (80 VALNS 3500 users)..The one thing that makes this possible is determination, stepping up to the plate & definitely not letting anyone take credit for what you can do, let everyone know how smart you are, especially outside of the IT Dept.
  • linuxguylinuxguy Member Member Posts: 50 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Just to point out...

    If you down grade the cert, we can down grade the degree...

    Let’s see...hmm...

    CCIE vs. AS?

    Who wins? Well, the judges are in and it is the CCIE. Hey, a CCIE will beat a BS any day. I am finishing my degree to get those doors that would not be open to be opened, but that is why I also am getting certs. Plus, for those that are going to ask, I am the Net Admin for my company, a national metals manufacturing company and I interface with our internationally held sister companies (with out a degree yet).

    The fact that if you are going to try to bet out the next guy is you have to have all three. Some HR will want degrees, some will like certs more, and some will not care. While yet others will want both and all high positions want experience. Bottom line is you have to show the future employer (and yourself hopefully) you are you of those people that continually grow and do not become content and quite excelling.

    All of this is, as usual, IMHO.
    If you do not feel like a newbie you probably should. :)
  • /usr/usr Senior Member Member Posts: 1,768
    I suppose there is no point in arguing, but you're comparing a bachelors degree and a cert which is quite possibly the hardest cert there is to obtain. That doesn't really make for a valid argument. How about comparing someone with a Doctorate in a particular area of IT, and the CCIE?
  • linuxguylinuxguy Member Member Posts: 50 ■■□□□□□□□□
    True.

    I was making the point do to the above post where they changed a post to compare a BS to a CCNA instead of the listed CCNP. I would not hold the above point to try and base the argument.

    If you read my post, there is no argueement to it. I think all have there place and you are incomplete without any of them. If the degree was enough, why are there so many with degrees using this forum? I am not going to join a flame war. I was simply pointing out that if you change the cert you can make the case either way. You changed it down one, I changed it up one. To turn the tables if you will.

    As I stated, it dependes on who the HR person is and the companies experience. If person A comes in w/ a BS and flops then person B comes in with a MCSE who will the HR lean toward for position C? All paper is to get you the interview anyways.

    To say again...
    You are incomplete without all three areas.
    general eduducation = collage
    technical skill = certs
    proof of ability = experience
    If you do not feel like a newbie you probably should. :)
  • garv221garv221 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,914
    I agree Linux. I would without a doubt rather have a CCIE than any thing else even comparable to a degree. The amount of knowledge to obtain a CCIE is immeasurable & no college degree could replace where CCIE stands. CCIE is on everyones wish list.
  • /usr/usr Senior Member Member Posts: 1,768
    CCIE is on everyones wish list.

    Not mine. icon_wink.gif


    Realisitcally, I understand your points. Certifications are directly related to an area of IT. You gain direct knowledge of a product or aspect of the job. With a degree, it's more theory-oriented.

    However, I would bet money that most HR people look for a degree first. They are familiar with "Bachelor degree in ....." and may stare on confusion at "CCIE". It also seems that a degree is usually the requirement to be considered for the job in the first place.

    You're right though, all are necessary now. However, I still believe an MCSE is not as important as a degree. icon_wink.gif
  • /usr/usr Senior Member Member Posts: 1,768
    I also believe that one plus to degrees is the flexibility. Just for the sake of comparing the highs of both ends. A CCIE and a Master's degree. With a master's degree, I would think that you would have a lot more flexibility as to the type of work you could do within the same field.

    I'm not that familiar with the contents of the CCIE, I just know it's a hard cert to obtain. Would the CCIE even matter if you wanted an Information Security job?
  • TeKniquesTeKniques Member Posts: 1,262 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Another good thing to point out in this discussion would be that while most employers are looking for bachelor degrees, having certifications will decrease those requirements.

    For example I saw a job posting that said they wanted a BS in Computer Science, but they also said that a 2 year AAS degree with certification would also be acceptable.
  • /usr/usr Senior Member Member Posts: 1,768
    Webmaster should make a forum called "Is a degree required?"
  • linuxguylinuxguy Member Member Posts: 50 ■■□□□□□□□□
    If a HR person actually knows tere job they will know what a CCIE is when hiring for a position that warrants it. If you have a CCIE you know almost everything about networking, while sleeping.

    The CCIE has majors if you will. You acn get your CCIE in 5 areas, security being one. Yes a CCIE has more flexability but at a price. You will make more with a CCIE. All the CCIE's I know (not a lot, but several) can go out and make over 100k salaries. I know MANY folks with MS and not near that bank account.

    As I said, I am getting my degree. I do not have it yet, and I make a nice living. It will get better when I get my CCxP (I plan on obtaining all P level cert before going for CCIE).

    I know many folks with no BS who make 65-75k.

    If you are going to be a good IT person, you must have all three. They bring in different aspects.

    Cert folks,
    I am not saying your certs will be enough
    Degree folks,
    I am not saying your Degree is enough

    I am saying that if you are going to grow you will end up with both but you can get by with one or the other about the SAME. If you could not, this would be such a one sided conversation that noone would be involved.

    If you want to be in security a CCIE in security and the CISSP will make you in the top percentile for any job you want.
    If you do not feel like a newbie you probably should. :)
  • garv221garv221 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,914
    However, I would bet money that most HR people look for a degree first. They are familiar with "Bachelor degree in ....." and may stare on confusion at "CCIE". It also seems that a degree is usually the requirement to be considered for the job in the first place.

    You're right though, all are necessary now. However, I still believe an MCSE is not as important as a degree. icon_wink.gif

    The jobs I see in the paper say " at least 3 years exp." or another one will say "MCSE required"...Thats just for the papers, once you get in the loop of IT in a city & get connections to other IT dept. & firms people ask directly "what certs do you have? CCNP, MCSE?" I've never heard of someone coming straight out of college and setting up a network. I heard of them coming out of college & looking for a job & studying certs to get a job. I also would not want to work for a company where the HR dept is confused on what a CCIE is.
  • skully93skully93 Senior Member Member Posts: 323 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yah, there are always some very dreamy, hefty requirements for jobs. It weeds out the weak. I apply for things that I'm 75% qualified for and at least get calls back sometimes, so I must be doing something right.

    Bottom line, if you want the job, apply. The worst they can do is not call :).

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say if you have some exp, get your certs and go from there. if you have NO exp, perhaps the degree might be a better place to start?

    I had enough exp to get in as an assistant to an Administrator. Just loading images, fixing things, etc. He taught me a bunch of stuff, and I've grown from there.

    I still don't think I could be the sole admin for a big network, but I at least have some exp to go with my certs.
    I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed.

    -- James Thurber
  • danilzhangdanilzhang Junior Member Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    hi, iam from Singapore. Personally, i think in the place where iam staying at, a degree is a must if one wants to work in the IT related firm. (Unless you are just doing IT ad hoc job, then it doesnt really matter if u have degree, but the salary isnt appealing at all). That makes me think that a degree is important.

    But on the other hand, some people might be good in studies but suxs at planning and technical skill...so whats the heck of having a cert without "Brain".

    I graduated from Info-comm in Diploma (One grade below Degree), and i have difficulty getting a IT-related job.That makes me feel gloomy. Most companies will publish that they want "Degree with 3-5 yrs experience".

    Fortunate as compared to some of my mates, i got a job in the semiconductor related industry and planning to do self study on CCNA and get a hold of the cert.

    Degree is important...but experiences are more important i think ?

    iam new here..hope to learn more from pals here :) thanks
  • linuxguylinuxguy Member Member Posts: 50 ■■□□□□□□□□
    All my posts are related to the US. I can not speak with knowledge about anywhere else.
    So, it could be very well so in other places. I have had friends from Russia say that without "University" you can do almost nothing. But, here you can get by without one. And get by quite well. You can also get by without certs quite well, if you have a degree. I will stand that if you desire to be a true IT PRO you will end up with all three.

    PS. I checked into what my certs would cover as far as lifecredits and to get my MIS it breaks into three sections
    1) Basics (eng, math,etc)
    2) Tech classes (hardware networks, OS admin, etc.)
    3) Business classes

    With life credit and the basics done I have to take two semistes of business classes to get my BS. The Professor must think the COMBONATION of my certs and experence is (in his words) far beyond the coverage of those coarses. FWIW

    And, because someone will try to knock this.... it is from a well know collage.
    If you do not feel like a newbie you probably should. :)
  • SturmbahnSturmbahn Junior Member Member Posts: 11 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Certifications prove that you have knowledge in a certain area (Cisco - networking, MS - Windows, etc). Certain degrees (CS or similar) can also prove this to a lesser degree, but a degree also requires a minimum level of competancy in communication, arts, math, science, etc. So, although mid-range to upper level certifications show a more focused level of technical understanding than a degree, a degree shows how much effort you've put into becoming a well-rounded individual. It also shows how much you're willing to work - not even the price of the completed CCIE can compare to your average student loans.

    No matter how many losers ****, lie and BS their way through a degree, there will always be an overwhelming majority of people who did work and study hard across their range of subjects for their degree. Besides, it is much harder to BS through a BA or BS and nearly impossible for a Masters or Doctorate due to the close interaction with the instructor - not something that can be checked answering multiple choice questions on a computer screen for a certification.
  • linuxguylinuxguy Member Member Posts: 50 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Okay, this is most of my point but you slant it to one side. I agree that it shows a well roundedness, but that does not matter to every HR person nor for every job. It think it matters a great deal at a perssonal level and over all (you need all three... are you all as tired of reading that as I am of typing it icon_wink.gif ). There are to many folks with no degree and certs that land great jobs. There are equally the same amount of folks that come out of collage get no certs and have a great job. The only thing a degree helps with is 1. your first job 2. deciding between condadites 3. managment. Those are not hard and fast rules but pretty true across the board.

    As far as your thoughts on the CCIE ???
    The CCIE has one of the hardest writtens and has an 8 hour hands on lab (no bs'ing that).

    How does the debt matter? He who owes more is smarter... is that not really BACKWARDS?

    CCIE - paid less (in your example) and makes 100k
    BS in CS - paid more and makes 50k (based off cost of living in this area)

    Let me see who failed math between the two???

    Check this... I am not into the whole bigger salary thing. For me it is enjoying what I do. I have turned down worse jobs paying more. It is not all about the money. I would add that most CCIE have a degree. That are knowledge oreinted. Rounded knowledge is what makes the better person who inturn makes the better IT Pro.

    BTW- I have smiled during all of these. I enjoy healthy conversation. Just a note to say, I am not arguing anybody.. just chatting. icon_cool.gif
    If you do not feel like a newbie you probably should. :)
  • /usr/usr Senior Member Member Posts: 1,768
    You're leaving out an essential argument when comparing the two.

    You can leave college with a Bachelors and make 40-50k a year.

    You'll make more with a CCIE, but to get to that level, you HAVE to have an incredible amount of experience, hence would get paid more anyway.

    You can't just study and get a CCIE in a year, with no prior certs or experience.

    Give someone with a bachelors the equivilent experience that a CCIE would have when he could actually get the cert, and they would make comparable amounts of money.
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