Which certifications are must-haves?

huffman142huffman142 Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
I'm completing my bachelor's degree in a few months in a non-computer field (biology). I've applied to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's MS in Information Systems. It covers networks, database, security, systems analysis and design,etc. The program courses can be viewed here: Online Master's in Information Systems

I was thinking of completing the CompTIA A+ certification through self-study this spring. I'm computer saavy...just never studied it in school. I asked the program director, and she said the curriculum is not necessarily focused on specific certifications, though many students complete them while in the program based on their employer.

So, with getting a Master's degree in Information Systems and having no work-related experience (as of now), what certifications do I HAVE to work on to even have a chance at a real job? What do I need to have to prove I can put the education to use?

Are the CompTIA set of certifications the first step or do I need to shift towards another certification after a few of the CompTIA?

I guess I'm just asking what are the ones that EVERYONE has as a foundation regardless of specialty?

Thanks for the advice,


  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    No such thing as must have cert.
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  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,548 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Yupp no such cert. Study for one that's relevant to the work you currently do or want to be doing.
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  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    Best thing you can do, start looking at the job-boards in your area and see if you can't find common certs they ask for. Do a search for the types of jobs you're trying to land, or perhaps even the types of jobs you'd like to get in the future, and see what comes up.

    For example, in my area, Windows Server admin positions tend to lean towards working with VMWare, so VCP is a common cert to see on the list along with MCSA/MCSE, and the like. See what patterns emerge when you search, and see what combinations of certs employers want to see.

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  • huffman142huffman142 Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Okay, that makes sense. I'm sure my graduate courses will help key me in on particular fields of interest. I think at this point I will start with CompTIA A+ since I will be applying with no field experience at the beginning.

    Thanks for the replies.
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    Exactly what has already been stated!

    The only thing that is 'must-have' is something that highlights YOUR personal knowledge and experience. A linux cert at one time for me would have been very important, but over the past 8 years or so, would not have mattered one bit...other than saying I have it.
    "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?
  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    dave330i wrote: »
    No such thing as must have cert.

    Quoted for truth.

    Back on topic, I co-sign what slowhand and Essendon said, with regards to studying what's relevant to the work you want to be doing.

    Additionally, I advise getting some work experience sooner, rather than later. You don't want to be getting out with a Master's degree and zero work experience, if you can help it at all. If you can afford to, try to get some work while in school. The experience will be a very valuable piece of your resume.

    To up and go from biology to information systems, someone like me would see opportunities for you in IT for Healthcare, Zoology, Agriculture, for example. Of course, that's just my version of looking at Human Life, Plant Life, and Animal Life. Biology is still the study of life, right? I was thinking if you liked that, and IT at the same time, it would be a good use of what you already know.

    Hope this helps.
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  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    Dave speaks the truth.

    Instant is right on the money about getting work experience sooner than later. I would do the bare minimium to get an IT role start gaining experience and then think about what certs best suit your needs and or career development.
  • JustFredJustFred Member Posts: 678 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I usually think more along the line of which technology do i enjoy working with and if i don't have the cert for it then i may as well get it, then learn other new technologies from there that am interested in.
    [h=2]"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." Spock[/h]
  • WafflesAndRootbeerWafflesAndRootbeer Member Posts: 555
    I assume you live in the DC/VA/MD area so I'll tell you to just go ahead and get the CompTIAs. There's a lot of field tech work for desktops and server you can do for quick money in this region and you have to have those certs to do that work or you won't get contracted. They are also mandatory for full-time tech jobs where you touch and service hardware.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    I'd grab 1 comptia certification and then reevaluate after you pass the exam. A+ probably would be your best bet. I would then consider transitioning into the CCNA.

    The Masters with no work experience is kind of an overkill at this point in your career. I would think you would want to get involved in IT first and get a few years under your belt before moving on to a graduate level degree program.
  • crrussell3crrussell3 Member Posts: 561
    I know you have already applied and/or enrolled, but you might want to look at WGU for their online masters. You gain certifications as you pass classes (gaining the cert passes the classes in a nutshell).
    MCTS: Windows Vista, Configuration
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  • crashdumpcrashdump Banned Posts: 134
    A must have certification is "Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Associate". It's really challenging. It's must have because all applications use some sort of database and Oracle is the leader in this market.

    But this exams really hard nut.
  • antielvisantielvis Member Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
    It won't seem so hard once you see your billing rate as a consultant.
  • About7NarwhalAbout7Narwhal Member Posts: 761
    crashdump wrote: »
    [...]But this exams really hard nut.

    What the hell does that mean? lol
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