Certifications vs Degree?

lezylezy Registered Users Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi everyone,

Please, I need expert and professional advise. I am planing to do a degree in IT but I am confused as to wether getting some IT certifications would be better over 4 years degree in Information Technology. What can I do? I have got A+ already and preparing for Network+ now. I need advise to know which IT route is more recognise before I waste money getting IT certifications. Which one is preferable?

Thanks guys in advance for your assistance.


  • chrisonechrisone Senior Member Member Posts: 2,182 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Hey whats up! before people take this the wrong way, let i say that this topic has been covered plenty of times. I think the mods have merged like 5 different threads like this. Anyways i hope you dont take it the wrong way , just use the search feature with this exact same title you started your thread with and you will get years of results lol Just informing you before you get a load of people telling you to use the "search".
    Certs: CISSP, OSCP, CRTP, eCTHPv2, eCPPT, eCIR, LFCS, CEH, AZ-900, VHL:Advanced+, Retired Cisco CCNP/SP/DP
    2021 Goals
    Courses: eLearnSecurity - PTXv2 (complete), SANS 699: Purple Team Tactics (Feb 2021), PentesterLabs Pro (ongoing)
    Certs: eLearn: eCPTXv2
  • Cisco InfernoCisco Inferno Member Posts: 1,034 ■■■■■■□□□□
    1. Nobody wastes money on IT. Certifications.
    2. A degree trumps all.

    A Degree shows employers that hey, this guy has the ability to learn new things, follow instructions, reason and understand. Which in my opinion is VERY crucial to surviving in IT. You will learn to think differently through math class, english and all those other gen eds. Such classes supplement your technical courses. Not only will you learn valuable skills in school, but you will meet with people and network. This only helps you later on in life.

    A degree also retains its value throughout time. Cool, you got your MCSE NT 4.0. Its pretty much useless for Server 2012.
    Bachelor degrees don't have that problem. Its pretty much a milestone for your education and learning, and that lasts a lifetime. (If you want a degree that will never get outdated, you should become a History major lol)

    lastly, there are hoards of people jobless or in grad school who are scared shitless that their bachelors degree isnt enough to get hired. I would highly suggest a degree.

    --remember the trifecta. Degree, Experience, and Certification. They all rely on each other.
    1. just having a degree with no exp or cert doesnt cut it in IT.
    2. only having experience is the better of the 3, but how do you know the guy knows his stuff? plus, getting your foot in the door with no exp is very unlikely.
    3. only having certification shows determination but it is very hard to get a job unless you convince the interviewer real well. Save the high level certs for when you gain experience in order to avoid looking like a paper cert(cheater).

    Go get your network+. Get a part time job or internship to supplement yourself. obtaining low level certs and showing commitment in an interview is always a plus. Employers LOVE when you are going to school instead of playing ps3 all day. It shows dedication. IT is all about constant learning and staying current with new technologies. Let them know what you want to be in 5 years and how you can do your best to get there. I would rather hire someone in school striving to be a network engineer than someone without schooling.

    Stay in school. You'll be thankful when you finish school. in 4years you will have certifications, enterprise experience through awesome internships and your golden degree. Youll be much better off than someone trying to tackle the help desk after graduating.
    2019 Goals
    CompTIA Linux+
    [ ] Bachelor's Degree
  • ZaitsZaits Member Posts: 142
    Get Both and here is my best example for why I say both..

    Lets say you have 100 job postings available and out of those 100 jobs 90 of them will require a degree to even apply for the position. If you don't have a degree that leaves you with very little choice and A LOT of competition. Chances are out of those 10 jobs you'll make lower pay, might not be exactly what you want to do and wont have much opportunity for growth.

    Degree's open the door for better opportunities, but the knowledge you gain from getting a certification is what gets you the job. It's not just the certification that gets you the job you'll need to back up your knowledge by proving it. You'll see time and time again on these forums of stories that people put they have Linux+ or MCSE on their resume, but can't explain anything about the related technology. Don't get caught up on the title you get from the certification because thats not what's important. It's the journey you take to get it and what you learn along the way.

    Hope this helps.

  • shodownshodown Member Posts: 2,271
    1. Nobody wastes money on IT. Certifications.
    2. A degree trumps all.


    I'm going to say yes and no on both of those. I do agree that if you are in school stay there, It will make things much easier for you. With that said dont' amass a lot of debt. I work with several college grads who are so far in debt they are stuck. I also have worked with a few guys in the past who had AA degree's and were finishing there 4 years on the companies dime. which means lower debt and more opportunity as they can take paycuts to pick up skills.

    Now onto a degree trumps all

    1. This depends on situations. I've turned away many engineers who had degrees due to them not knowing networking, and I've also had to turn away guys or not even call them if they didn't have a degree. With that said the sharp guys will always get a call back or we can get them on a contract without the degree requirements.

    2. That is not so true much more. If you get a degree and don't do something with it in a specified amount of time(this is different depending on degree) then its not worth the paper it was printed on. My wife works with people who have high level degree's in all sorts of subjects. They have yet to write a paper, book, do speeches, or anything so the communities they work in won't touch them. Also I remember reading top Tier MBA only has a shelf life of 8 years. While these are much longer than a cert, it just to point out that don't rely on these items as much as you think. In the end a balance of the 2 will work.
    Currently Reading

    CUCM SRND 9x/10, UCCX SRND 10x, QOS SRND, SIP Trunking Guide, anything contact center related
  • okplayaokplaya Member Posts: 199
    Do yourself a favor and choose an area of IT in which you have interest in. Just because you've read that a certain IT profession can bring a big salary doesn't mean that you'll actually like it, and/or you'll make that salary.

    And if it matters, I have a degree, certifications, and work in IT so I'm speaking from personal experience.
  • Cisco InfernoCisco Inferno Member Posts: 1,034 ■■■■■■□□□□
    shodown wrote: »
    I'm going to say yes and no on both of those. ....SNIP....

    very valid points. regarding just a degree and not knowing networking if you read the bottom of my post i highly suggest supplementing it. also. the whole masters thing is pretty much more important with business degrees and mbas.
    2019 Goals
    CompTIA Linux+
    [ ] Bachelor's Degree
  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    I just read an article about how competent computer programmers are in huge demand in California - like pre dot com burst levels. Usually, following a build up like that, support jobs (which is what most of us do) follow later.

    All that to say, if you plan on making a career out of software engineering go get yourself a computer science degree. Otherwise, roll the dice on a combination of school and certifications and good luck to you!
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Here's what I would do now if I had it to do over:

    1. Begin working toward a 4-year degree in Information Systems or Business with IT concentration... (not Computer Science, unless software engineering or perhaps database development is your career path). However, I would start out at my local community college to knock out my university "core" classes and get some IT courses under my belt, and get the 2-year degree. During this time, I would attain at least one or two entry level certifications... A+, N+, MCP, something.

    2. After the 2-year degree and a couple certs, I would hopefully be able to land an entry level job... helpdesk or desktop support or similar. I would gain that valuable real-world experience interacting with other IT professionals in a production environment, and more importantly, have that first domino to fall with that "work experience" barrier. Concurrently, I would be enrolled in a University to complete my 4-year degree. I might would work on more certs, but probably not at the expense of completing the degree or continuing gaining some work experience.

    3. Continually look for the next step up, even if it means have to find a "lateral" job if it's the only thing that can be found in the entry level/junior level that would give some exposure to the areas that are the desired IT specialization areas.

    In five years, a person that follows this ought to be in a much better position than his peers who go to college and try to find a job and get certs afterward.

    My 2 Cents...

    - blargoe
    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...
  • AkaricloudAkaricloud Member Posts: 938
    blargoe wrote: »
    Here's what I would do now if I had it to do over:


    I completely agree and that's kind of the track I've been trying to take.

    I got an AAS degree from a community college, transferred to a 4-year university and started working Desktop Support for the university. Now I just completed my W7 Enterprise Desktop Support MCITP and am about to finish my BA in Management Information Systems. In a few months I'll have my BA, my MCITP and 3-years Desktop Support experience. Since I worked during college I have 0 debt and am walking away with about 10k$ saved.

    Certs, degrees and experience all help but why not work on all three at once? It's completely doable.
  • Megadeth4168Megadeth4168 Member Posts: 2,157
    blargoe wrote: »
    Here's what I would do now if I had it to do over:


    +1 This is good advice!

    From my own experience, both a degree and certifications are valuable, however, without the degree you may find yourself hitting more resistance in your career path.

    I have 11 years experience in Information Technology, I started right out of high school and didn't bother with college. I gradually built my experience and certifications to a point where the level I was at in my career didn't match my potential level. I knew I could make more and work in a larger environment but the lack of degree was holding me back from a few good opportunities. So, after almost 10 years of not being in school, I started going to college.

    Since getting just my associates in December I have changed jobs and increase my pay by almost 50%. There's something to be said for that.

    I wish I would have took the approach of a 2 year community college degree (with entry level certs during summers) then finish a 4 year degree while getting a full time job... All before getting married and having kids. Unfortunately, the route I took has caused me to miss a lot of time with my wife and kids.

    Now, for the other side of the argument.... One reason I didn't really "do" college right off is because I just couldn't get into it. I had a few classes here and there but my mindset when I was younger was undisciplined. The classes I would attend, I might leave at break or could easily be talked out of class by friends. As a result, my grades were not so hot... Good enough to transfer, but that's all. I find that now that I want to be in college I do much better, not just with my grades but also with what I get out of the classes. It could be argued though that the result of my grades are due to my years of real world experience for those types of classes.

    Anyway, my opinion is that you should eventually get a degree and certs to supplement your experience but you should not put off the degree.
  • djfunzdjfunz Member Posts: 307
    blargoe wrote: »
    Here's what I would do now if I had it to do over:


    I have to echo this suggestion. I wish I could turn back the clock 10 years and follow this guide.
    WGU Progress - B.S. IT - Completed
  • lezylezy Registered Users Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you guys for your input and great advise. I really appreciate it for being honest in your responses. I will start the degree process asap and at the same time triving to get more IT certifications. My field of interest is networking, PC Support and Business Information System.

    Thank you all.
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