Can't decide which four year degree to pursue.. advice appreciated

ck86ck86 Posts: 62Member ■■□□□□□□□□
Finally just finished my transition from 5 years in the Army to the civilian world during the past couple of months. My main focus right now is schooling and getting my degree done, and doing well in school. I will eventually find myself a job in the IT field while going to school and hopefully it won't be impossible with my secret security clearance, security+, soon a network+ cert, and my five years basically doing basic admin work.

Firstly, I had been debating which degree to pursue for a while now. I spent a good amount of time on these forums a few months back while I was in Iraq so that I knew exactly what I would do when I made this transition. I went from originally planning to do a tech school kind of thing, then decided getting a four year degree was much smarter considering I have the post 9/11 GI Bill and can go to school pretty much anywhere for free. That said, I am currently taking my general classes and planning to get a business administration degree, and my long term plan is to pair that with my IT experience/certifications and land a decent job in the IT field.

The more I'm looking into a business administration degree, the more uninterested I become. I've always had a thing for computers and am debating if I should just go for computer science because I think it will keep me much more interested and motivated. The problem is that I kind of have some turn-offs toward that degree when I've read things about the education being outdated by the time you graduate and it not holding as much weight these days. That and the fact that I am not huge on math and programming pushed me into the idea of getting a business degree and mixing that with certifications/experience.

I can motivate and push myself to go after either degree honestly, but can anyone with one degree or the other in the IT field give me any kind of information for how much weight these types of degrees carry in the civilian work force? If you were just now starting clean with school, which route would you go these days?

Once again I can go to pretty much any school in the country for free, and after getting a high GPA my first couple of semesters in my current school I plan to apply to prestigious universities.

Thanks in advance :D

Comments

  • CrapMasterZeroCrapMasterZero Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    May I recommend Electrical Engineering. IMO it's one of the most versatile degrees out there, you can do almost anything with an EE degree: hardware, software, finance etc. I have BSEE and I am doing Information Assurance.
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaPosts: 5,163Mod Mod
    Don't pay too much attention to people that tell you education is overrated or will be outdated as soon as you leave school. There have been many discussions on this forum about the merits of going to school, and particularly ones involving vocational vs. academic degrees, but it's generally agreed that education is valuable and will help you move forward in both your career and life in general.

    Recently, I started a thread on the benefits of an IT professional learning to code. In your case, wanting to get neck-deep in security, might be an even more compelling option to make sure you remain competitive. Still, if you're not keen on actually doing a compsci degree, then taking a second look at that business degree, or possibly finding a school that has a degree-program more closely related to IT might be your best bet. There are schools that have computer engineering programs, while others have more direct network admin/management curriculum.

    Another option may also be to study whatever interests you, whether it relates to your chosen career path or not. Simply having a four-year degree, (or higher,) tends to help you for pretty much all the same reasons listed in that "Do You Agree" thread, and many people go into lines of work completely unrelated to their field of study. As you mentioned, you've got security clearance and you're working on certs, so you're already on your way professionally and you're always able to expand your specific IT/security skillset through more certs and working.

    You've got plenty of options. I'd recommend taking a look at the particular programs offered by each school you're considering, see what interests you, and take it from there. Incidentally, what schools are your top picks so far?

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  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    And make sure to use that clearance and don't let it go inactive.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    earweed wrote: »
    And make sure to use that clearance and don't let it go inactive.

    +1, even if you can just find a Help Desk job that requires clearance while you are taking classes it would still be beneficial.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • ArabianKnightArabianKnight Posts: 276Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    With technology today you can work your degree any way you like. By getting your gen-ed courses out of the way and obtaining an associates and then getting your upper div courses. Once you have an associates you can do only 2 years in whatever degree you like and get multiple bachelors.

    For example I want a degree in middle eastern studies + IT so I would get one or the other and work on the other one after or even during and get a dual degree.

    With online degrees it is more available to do this and with your GI Bill I would suck up as many degrees as possible.

    The more classes you can handle the better. It typically takes 4 years for a degree, but with online courses some offer a 3 or even 2.5 years for a BS degree. If you live with your mom like me you can have ZERO expenses and get paid to go to school with GI bill like I am doing. You dont need a job so taking a bunch of courses is doable.

    Get 2 degrees in 4 years!!
  • ck86ck86 Posts: 62Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the replies guys. Always great and helpful advice on here.

    I've decided for sure I want the four year degree and university experience at this point, so WGU and such is off the table for me. If anything I'd use a place like that to get an additional degree in the future if time allowed and it would be useful.

    I have considered Electrical Engineering, but honestly a little intimidated by the program. I'm going to look back into it though as I know it's something that would go a long way and hold my interest. Computer science just worries me because it feels very broad and non-specific. Regardless of the degree I pursue I plan to continue getting certifications on the side and work in IT.

    I haven't honestly decided on a college yet. Going to look around at the programs/rankings now and get a list going.

    As far as the security clearance, I plan on looking for a job that would keep it active while I'm in school. Do you guys know of any job hunting sites that specifically look for security clearances?

    Another quick question; do employers care much whether you have an IT degree from a traditional school or from an online program? I know plenty of other factors go into play, but out of education specifically do they carry different weight?

    Thanks
  • ck86ck86 Posts: 62Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    With technology today you can work your degree any way you like. By getting your gen-ed courses out of the way and obtaining an associates and then getting your upper div courses. Once you have an associates you can do only 2 years in whatever degree you like and get multiple bachelors.

    For example I want a degree in middle eastern studies + IT so I would get one or the other and work on the other one after or even during and get a dual degree.

    With online degrees it is more available to do this and with your GI Bill I would suck up as many degrees as possible.

    The more classes you can handle the better. It typically takes 4 years for a degree, but with online courses some offer a 3 or even 2.5 years for a BS degree. If you live with your mom like me you can have ZERO expenses and get paid to go to school with GI bill like I am doing. You dont need a job so taking a bunch of courses is doable.

    Get 2 degrees in 4 years!!

    Thanks for the advice. I agree with the GI bill paying us to go to school now getting a job isn't necessary. I personally want to hold an IT job to keep my clearance, save more, and continue to build experience while I get my degree. That is a good plan though - IT has a broad range of things you can do and multiple degrees could be useful.
  • ck86ck86 Posts: 62Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks earweed. Bookmarking them all. :D

    Is it fairly easy to land an entry level IT job that requires a clearance? Not too confident in my IT skills after my last couple of years in the Army.. didn't learn much and feeling pretty rusty.
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Right now I'm in a position that I would have had a job as a tier 2 help desk last week if I'd of had my clearance. If you're anywhere near a military base you'll have better luck. You may have to relocate to get one.
    I screwed up and let mine go inactive. I didn't even know it went inacytive after 2 years.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • ck86ck86 Posts: 62Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    It goes inactive after two years? I was under the impression that it lasts for 10 years regardless of it being used.
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I may be wrong . I'll check
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    2 years before they need to do a new investigation. It's actually inactive now but can get activated easily by whoever hires you.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Accounting and IT and a very nice blend. Finance too
  • thomas130thomas130 Posts: 184Member
    I think two degrees would be a waste of time. One would be enough
  • it_consultantit_consultant Posts: 1,903Member
    There are some that merge IT with Business which I think is nice because you can shoe-horn your way into management based on the business cred. Any way you go bachelor's degrees are very valuable and worth the time and money.
  • it_consultantit_consultant Posts: 1,903Member
    kasel23 wrote: »
    It goes inactive after two years? I was under the impression that it lasts for 10 years regardless of it being used.

    Provided its sponsored by a security manager you get re-investigated after 10 years. If it is not sponsored it dies after two or three years. If you are AD military then the DOD picks up your sponsorship. If you leave the military then you have some time before it goes inactive where a company can pick up the active clearance. Otherwise it goes inactive.
  • nelnel Posts: 2,859Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Do something you are interested in i would say. Theres nothing worse than doing something which is utterly boring to you, trust me ive been there. A degree can take up a great amount of your time so choose wisely. Dont get me wrong things like comp sci or EE are good degree programs but if you have no interest then i would consider something else.

    Good luck with your future goals
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