True or False: Do you need an advanced degree to pursue a career in IT?

wickedpink88wickedpink88 Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
Ello,

I'm currently working on my AS in computer science and also my certifications my end goal is to be working in network administration or perhaps security since I'm hearing that there are going to be a lot of government jobs that focus around security. Anyways, one of my professors said that unless I want to do some sort of programming/software development that an advanced degree in computer science is unnecessary. All I would really needed for is to get an associates in Comp Sci then focus of certifications and job experience, most employers only really care that I have experience in the field and a basic degree in comp sci

true or false?
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Comments

  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Member Posts: 2,338 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I disagree with your teacher on multiple counts. I indeed, wonder if he has the degree to be a professor: (a) While he may be selling an Associate's Degree in Computer Science whatever that is, go search the job posting at Monster.com and see how many jobs actually demand that; (b) a bachelor's degree is not strictly necessary for networking, security, or even programming as plenty succeed without those; (c) a BS or MS in CS is very helpful for entering into or moving up in all those fields.
  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Unnecessary is a funny word. I would agree with him completely in the literal sense, and say degrees are wholly unnecessary even for software engineers. However, the connotation of unnecessary is probably closer to "not important" than "not the sine qua non," and I would absolutely disagree with the assertion that a more advanced degree is not important. All else being equal, a four-year CS degree adds a lot on its own. For many (not most; just many) IT infrastructure jobs, it will be an actual requirement.

    Frankly, a two-year CS degree won't do much for employment prospects in terms of being "necessary." While there are some jobs that specifically require at least a two-year degree, I would argue that employers of IT professionals who will accept two-year degrees but not accept people with no degrees are few and far between. I would absolutely and strongly recommend that you continue to pursue a bachelor's degree and even a graduate degree, both for the education you'll receive and the credential.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    If advance is a master then I don't believe so but it could help. If advance being a bachelors I would say more yes than no. I would recommend getting the bachelors and then work for a while and see if you need it or not.
  • MrAgentMrAgent Member Posts: 1,309 ■■■■■■■■□□
    ptilsen is absolutely right. Look at job boards and look to see how many want a 4 year degree and above. I know that I wont be able to get to where I want to be in my career until I finish my masters.
  • wickedpink88wickedpink88 Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks all for the replies I'll defiantly do a bit more research on job sites to see what they are looking for.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,735 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I've never considered a BS in CS as advanced. I would go and finish your Bachelor degree before life and work get in the way.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • pertpert Member Posts: 250
    I have an associates and am being payed pretty well and consider myself almost fully employed. I don't really know how much a bachelors or masters would make a difference. There is no real way for me to gauge it until I have one. I'm very confident that going from NA to NP provided me more competitive advantage than going from an associates to bachelors would have. I feel that if I had a masters right now I could make 20-25% more than I currently am. I plan on going back for Masters, but I feel like there is more Cisco certification related knowledge I need first in order to perform on the job. I'm 100% sure that knowledge is more useful to my work than a masters, but I'm not sure if its as financially as valuable.

    As far as jobs stating they want a Bachelors or Masters. Well the jobs I've held all said they wanted a Bachelors in the add, but my college education never came up once during the interview. To be fair, its possible every place I applied for that didn't reply back to me threw my resume in the garbage when they saw I only had an associates. So its impossible for me to judge.
  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I should add, just for some anecdotal evidence, that I have an AAS and am pursuing a BS. I've been plenty successful, but I attribute none of it to my AAS, which was not required for any of my jobs and from my conversations with previous managers, was at best a minor factor. I can tell you that there were lots of employers that didn't interview me or accept my application based on lacking that bachelor's degree. More were willing to give me a chance than not, but I want to make it clear that there are opportunities left on the table based on that degree. My own desire for a graduate is as much a personal goal as a professional one, but the evidence I have seen is that it will help in this field.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    As a working professional in IT, I disagree with your professor. A computer science degree can be an asset on your resume. Even if you decide to start working, I recommend that you finish your degree while you have the momentum to do it.

    Hopefully, you're not going broke to do this. That's my only warning. :)
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewislampkin (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
  • VAHokie56VAHokie56 Member Posts: 783
    I agree every single job posting does state they want a 4 year degree, on the other hand every job in IT I have ever interviewed for and got the offer said that as well and all I have is a 2 year degree in Turf grass management so....When I start to look the jobs people who I report to hold AKA management foke I can imagine some of them demanding a 4 year degree or depending how far you go up the management chain. If you want to stay purely technical I do not think only having a 2 year or no degree at all will hinder you as long as you have certs and experience to back it up.
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  • wickedpink88wickedpink88 Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    instant000 wrote: »
    As a working professional in IT, I disagree with your professor. A computer science degree can be an asset on your resume. Even if you decide to start working, I recommend that you finish your degree while you have the momentum to do it.

    Hopefully, you're not going broke to do this. That's my only warning. :)

    lol I'm not going too broke but jeeze textbook prices are a killer ;)
  • wintermute000wintermute000 Banned Posts: 172
    In the infrastructure engineering field FWIW all anybody's ever asked me about re: education is my Cisco stripes, and I'm in a senior/design role. Nobody gives two sh-ts about my degree. FWIW its in political science har har har but hey it meets the 'degree' requirement as long as they don't specify its 'CS' degree. LOL

    I can see if you're in dev for example a degree being much more of an asset, for infra engineer / sysadmin etc. its worthless in my experience
  • YFZbluYFZblu Member Posts: 1,462 ■■■■■■■■□□
    False, obviously - Since a ton of people on this very site are doing it.
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Banned Posts: 2,360
    False.

    -Dwight K Shrute
  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Member Posts: 2,338 ■■■■■■■■□□
    it meets the 'degree' requirement as long as they don't specify its 'CS' degree. LOL I can see if you're in dev for example a degree being much more of an asset, for infra engineer / sysadmin etc. its worthless in my experience

    In all my jobs throughout my career, the vast majority of my co-workers have had a B.S. or M.S. in CS or EE degree and are well-compensated for them. Again, of course it's possible do well without any degree. Even my current team considers engineers without a degree--but only if they hold a CCIE. Which returns us to "No, it's not necessary!" but "Gee, it helps!"
  • nerdinhidingnerdinhiding Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I am a working professional with 14 years experience in IT from pulling cat5 to designing data centers to programming control interfaces. I highly recommend getting an undergrad degree because despite my experience when you apply to a company and the HR folks are checking their boxes off, if you don't have that degree then you either 1) get disqualified or 2) get shuffled to the bottom of the pile and they hold your app as a stand by if the others fall through.
  • NinjaBoyNinjaBoy Member Posts: 968
    My opinion as an IT manager, this isn't a true false question - it's a "fuzzy" question.

    While there is no set legally requirement for entry or progression in the IT Field, each company and/or country will have their own requirements. Will it hurt/hinder you? Maybe, maybe not.

    I know quite a few IT Professionals who have worked their way up, up to IT Manager positions without certain academic degrees. I know some that have been "held" back longer or have not progressed. Then again, I can say the same thing for people with degrees.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,164 ■■■■■■■■■■
    In the US you will need a four year degree. The pool of jobs where just experience and an associates will get you in the door is drying up. Now a bachelor's is not an advanced degree, but once you hit that level you'll actually specialize in an area of computer science. At the associates level you've merely done some pre-reqs and a few programming courses. He is right that in IT a Master's isn't really required as experience with a four year degree will usually trump it. That being said, the Data Analyst position we hired for came in at two levels, with the second requiring a Master's degree.
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  • eansdadeansdad Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    For civil service in NJ a Computer Technician position (basically desktop support) requires a 2yr degree or 3 yrs exp minimum. Most jobs I see ask for a degree (either AS or BS) but can be substituted for exp.

    Having certs are good, having certs plus exp is better, having certs plus exp plus degree is best.
  • pertpert Member Posts: 250
    I think it's obviously untrue that you need 4/6 year degree to get X job in IT. However, I don't know either way how big of an impact it has on salaries the higher you go up when the only difference is degrees. As strange as this seems, I've been places where the difference between 2 and 6 year degree was almost 80% more in salary, even when the master's holder was technically inferior and less capable. I'm also not sure at what point me getting more cisco certs will be inferior to getting a bachelors or masters.
  • kriscamaro68kriscamaro68 A+, Net+, Server+, Security+, Win7 MCP, Server 2012 Virtualization Specialist, MCSA 2012 Member Posts: 1,186 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Speaking from my experience I have not had a single day of college in my life and, have applied for positions that require 4 year degrees and was able to land the job over people with degrees. Not having a degree has never really held me back. I have had years of experience to go off of though.
  • paulgswansonpaulgswanson Member Posts: 311
    You do not need an advanced degree to work in IT. Case and point myself. No degree, was working on one but I quit 1/2 way through as I lost interest.

    Iv been working in IT for more than 6 years and no degree involved
    http://paulswansonblog.wordpress.com/
    WGU Progress: B.S. Network Management & Design <- I quit (got bored)
  • kurosaki00kurosaki00 Member Posts: 973
    no you dont "NEED" an advanced degree to work in IT.
    Maybe someday in your career you will be presented with the option of, if you get this degree you could aspire to much bigger things.
    meh
  • halaakajanhalaakajan Member Posts: 167
    Not true, Why do you think fresh grads from top schools work for top companies? It is because of their education and what they can do.
  • wintermute000wintermute000 Banned Posts: 172
    Can't speak for dev or R&D for example, but in infrastructure engineering, once you have experience and certs its all that matters - up to a point.

    After that, yes degrees are highly beneficial for breaking past the management ceiling, but conversely, it then becomes 'any degree' (BA or better) rather than only a Comp Sci/IT. At that stage (5+ years after graduation) whatever you learnt in uni is not relevant and everybody knows it. Its more the fact that having a degree demonstrates your academic and learning capability. So yes it can be a tick box that presents a barrier to those without one, but its not because its not a comp sci degree. And the barrier only really presents itself once you're mid level and looking to progress past that.

    Most mgrs I've had do have degrees, but only a minority came up the strict Comp Sci/IT path, most had degrees in something else (even liberal arts like myself). In fact at management level something like an MBA is far more useful and highly regarded than comp sci.

    Having said all that if I was in your shoes I'd go all the way and at least get a Bachelors, there's no point just doing an associate. Either get a BA or go hard on your mid level certs then come back to do your BA part time later - Purely for purposes of landing your first network admin job, Cisco/MS/Vmware stripes are FAR MORE USEFUL and FAR MORE RELEVANT than a smattering of background knowledge in fuzzy topics you won't apply (like lifecycle mgt, capacity planning etc.) at a junior level and a smattering of programming knowledge (which you'll never use in network admin except for scripting, and if you're any good you can learn it yourself whether bash or powershell etc.).

    I investigated the option of going back to get a BA in Comp Sci last year and not a single person I asked recommended it including all my managers, HR, past managers, people I know in management positions, peers (other network engineers). They all said CCIE if I want to stay technical, or MBA then go into management.
  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Member Posts: 2,338 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Can't speak for dev or R&D for example, but in infrastructure engineering, once you have experience and certs its all that matters
    I'm not in development or R&D and have no desire to be a manager. Again, I had no trouble getting monetary compensation for my degree more than a decade after earning it, and indeed, folks without a CS/EE degree need a CCIE to be considered for my team. Perhaps Australia is different, but clearly experience and certifications are not all the matters over here.

    Experience, education, and certifications are all quite important.
    Cisco/MS/Vmware stripes are FAR MORE USEFUL and FAR MORE RELEVANT than a smattering of background knowledge in fuzzy topics you won't apply (like lifecycle mgt, capacity planning etc.)
    Typically a CS degree does not require classes such as "lifecycle management" or "capacity planning", but does provide you options in computer networking, databases, operating systems, computer architecture, algorithms, discrete math, data structures, public speaking, statistics, etc. While certifications have a narrow focus and tend to fade in usefulness in a few years, my education has continued to be a brilliant foundation to build upon, and I don't see its relevance disintegrating in the next few years.

    I'd add, nothing stops you from reviewing/updating your foundation if-needed just as you would a certification. I took my first college class in over a decade recently on a topic that wasn't around back when I graduated. :)
    I investigated the option of going back to get a BA in Comp Sci last year and not a single person I asked recommended
    I wouldn't, either, since B.A. degrees are not as helpful in IT. Most schools offer a B.S. in Computer Science which is much better. (In general, actually, I tend to question the utility of going back to school for a second bachelor's degree.)
  • wintermute000wintermute000 Banned Posts: 172
    I meant BA as in bachelors not as in arts, sorry wrong terminology.
    I'd question the usefulness of your hiring policy but hey different market different roles I guess. I'm not attacking you but just playing devil's advocate: you're a CCNP like myself, how does your CompSci degree make you a better routing or switching engineer than a CCIE for example? Since you said CCIE is the only thing that gets you past the degree barrier, then you're implying that degree + CCNP = CCIE which is just totally wrong IMO.

    Any network veteran after 5+ years knows enough about OS, arch, dbs etc. to do their job. I can stand up a LAMP stack from scratch or write a simple SQL query / perl script etc. and as a network engineer (design/projects) I do not need more general CompSci knowledge than that. My ability to design and drive routers/switches/callmanagers/firewalls, know the local telco environment/processes/provisioning and plan a LAN/WAN from a technical and business case / budget POV is far more relevant. Thankfully employers here seem to acknowledge that. Perhaps the US (i'm guessing?) market is different. But from what I hear the UK market is similar to ours (From speaking to recruiters, peers etc.) in that experience + certs is the key, the CompSci degree is window dressing (in our narrow field anyway).
  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Member Posts: 2,338 ■■■■■■■■□□
    you're implying that degree + CCNP = CCIE which is just totally wrong IMO.
    I stated no such thing. I stated that experience, education, and certifications are all important. In fact, each of the CCIEs on my team actually has a CS/EE degree as well. They're compensated much better than someone with a CCIE alone.
    Any network veteran after 5+ years knows enough about OS, arch, dbs etc. to do their job.
    Of course. But they don't know enough to do the job one level up, which is why they're doing the job they're doing. I remember a sign in school, "Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten." It's easy to imagine that what we know is all that one really needs to know. I'm always excited to run into 30-year veterans who remind me that there's further to go. :)
    how does your CompSci degree make you a better routing or switching engineer than a CCIE for example?
    This week I plan to make a couple technical presentations with large sums of money on-the-line. My degree trained me to make technical presentations in front of many people, whereas a CCIE certification does not. The executives I will be chatting with are also college-educated. Having intermediate certifications plus a degree better prepared me than someone with a CCIE and no degree. Are there situations where the opposite is true? Of course, which is why my team mostly consists of CCIEs! I find the advantage of the degree to be at its max when dealing with new technologies, people, processes, or projects.
  • gbadmangbadman Member Posts: 71 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I stated no such thing.

    You didn't state it, but you did certainly imply it. If, without a degree, only a CCIE would put you on the same footing as someone with a degree + CCNP, then it follows that a degree + CCNP = CCIE.
    My degree trained me to make technical presentations in front of many people, whereas a CCIE certification does not. The executives I will be chatting with are also college-educated. Having intermediate certifications plus a degree better prepared me than someone with a CCIE and no degree. Are there situations where the opposite is true? Of course, which is why my team mostly consists of CCIEs!

    I think this is a little too categorical. While a degree does give you opportunities to hone your presentation skills, I wouldn't say that a hypothetical degree holder will usually be a better presenter than a hypothetical non holder. I would only say that a degree holder is a little more likely to be a better presenter (and a good interview should suss out who has the required technical presentation skills anyway).
    A CCIE on the other hand is a different matter. It does usually signify that the holder has a certain level of technical ability.
    I find the advantage of the degree to be at its max when dealing with new technologies, people, processes, or projects.

    I agree with this. I think that the versatility and roundedness that a degree gives you is its only key benefit in this field. That's why I come to a different conclusion about what point in your career the advantage of a degree is most significant. It seems to me that it's most useful to your development in the first 5-7 years, then starts to fall away after that.
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  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Member Posts: 2,338 ■■■■■■■■□□
    gbadman wrote: »
    You didn't state it, but you did certainly imply it. If, without a degree, only a CCIE would put you on the same footing as someone with a degree + CCNP, then it follows that a degree + CCNP = CCIE.
    The nuance is a CCIE may put one on equal footing with CCNP + degree in the job market, but a CCIE is not equal to a CCNP + degree. Each has advantages/disadvantages relative to one another. Getting one doesn't make the other irrelevant.
    I think this is a little too categorical. While a degree does give you opportunities to hone your presentation skills, I wouldn't say that a hypothetical degree holder will usually be a better presenter than a hypothetical non holder.
    Such courses typically require you to give actual speeches to groups and grade your performance. It follows that someone trained by a good school to give technical presentations, who scores above average grades, will usually outdo someone without that training. Will that always be the case? Of course not! Just as some CCIEs cannot outdo me technically, while others with no certification can. This is one reason employers interview after making a short list based on experience/education/certifications.
    I think that the versatility and roundedness that a degree gives you is its only key benefit in this field. That's why I come to a different conclusion about what point in your career the advantage of a degree is most significant. It seems to me that it's most useful to your development in the first 5-7 years, then starts to fall away after that.
    That's only true if you stop adapting, learning, and re-inventing yourself after 5-7 years, I'd say the moment you stop adapting in this field, is the moment you start to become obsolete or irrelevant. As I often say, "Adapt or die!".

    (Edit: Even if one disagrees on the day-to-day benefits of a CS/EE degree, it's hard to argue with the higher salaries and variety of roles typically available to someone with one in America. If networking became an undesirable job tomorrow, I could still switch to software development, and only have my pay cut to $130k or so, enough to survive on.)
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