If you had 3 years...(career advice)

AMandevillAMandevill Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
Not sure how to start this post, but basically I physically work with a lot of CCNA-level certified people with bachelor or higher degrees. They really want me to get a degree.

The beginning of last year I grew fond of networking and studied a couple months, achieving CCNA the middle of last year. I was lucky enough to fall into my current job which pays for all college or certification training I want for the next 3.5 years. Since I have arrived at my new job I studied 1.5 months each for ROUTE and SWITCH, and I am confident in passing TSHOOT next month after I get some leadership courses done here at work to achieve my CCNP. I am married but no have kids yet, so I really want to use the next 3.5 years as efficiently as possible.

The people I work with (biased bachelor degree or greater individuals) think that I should focus on finishing my Bachelor of Business (70/124 hours), but I wanted to post here to see the other biased opinion of people who are pursuing or already have a CCIE degree. The equipment I work on every day is a large network written exclusively by CCIEs with some very high level equipment. I cannot keep working at my current job more than 3.5 years and want to increase my chances of finding a high paying job, but someday I would like to move into management(someday). I do not work physically with CCIEs, but I have several of them I can call to ask any questions if I pursue the CCIE. Also, I find it much easier to study Cisco certifications because it DIRECTLY helps me fix problems at work immediately and I can improve our network in areas with the things I learn. It is harder for me to focus on college because it is a broad spectrum of things I may or may not use again.

My goals:
80k+ a year income
Making myself in high demand therefore more geographical choices for work
Specializing in network administration or engineering (unsure if it is a seperate field, but I also work with a lot of WAN devices)
Someday (5++ years) would like to work in management

Current status:
A+/Security+/Net+/CCNA/CCNP certified(projected 1 month)
70/124 Hours towards Bachelor of Computer Science
27 Years old
5 Years networking experience(when contract is up will have 8 years of experience)

This is a large life decision, so I want to get as much advice as possible, thank you for your time.

Comments

  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    The best advice here is to do both.

    The degree never expires.

    Also, don't depend on contracts to be around for 3.5 years unless you're not a U.S. citizen.
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewislampkin (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
  • Dieg0MDieg0M Member Posts: 861
    CCIE without a doubt in mind but a degree is easier to get. Since you have no kids and have access to real gear I would highly suggest to go for CCIE right now. Get a degree later if you really want to.
    Follow my CCDE journey at www.routingnull0.com
  • amb1s1amb1s1 Member Posts: 408
    If you can do both, that be great but I found that impossible. I can't tell you going my experience is that my CCNA land me a job in 60k, my CCNP land me a job in the six figure and my bachelor land me a job in the 30k. In my case the certification got more return than my degree. You can do the certs and then if you want to become a manager you can work in your degree.
    David G.
    http://gomezd.com <
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  • AMandevillAMandevill Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    The concern my fellow colleagues have is that some places will only hire you if you have a degree, in that some employers won't even look at your resume if you don't have one. Has anyone seen this to be true, or is having the CCIE what really matters to employers. (To me, it would be more important to be able to already do the job rather than be capable of learning it)

    Also, do most employers expect people at the CCIE level to also have Juniper and Foundry certifications? I work with a mix of the different devices and have an understanding of their concepts and command line, but haven't thought of pursing their certs.

    Again, thank you for the insights.
  • EdTheLadEdTheLad Member Posts: 2,112 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Logically, you are better of going for ccie now since you are in the middle of study, what you learn for ccnp will carry through to ccie.If you stop now and go for degree you will forget alot of what you have learned and it will be like taking a step back.Also you have all the resources available now, ccie's to ask questions to, training, equipment etc.The degree will also affect your work as you will be spending time on non work related subjects.
    The degree will be easy to get after ccie, some jobs will nitpick and require a degree, some wont, with a ccie i dont think you will have a problem finding a job. Now there is one big snag here....... will you be able to pass ccie exam? its not easy, degree is easier as it doesn't require perfection to pass i.e. i.e. high test score.
    I have a bachelors and to be honest i feel like it was time wasted, maybe your colleagues feel a little like that, to negate the feeling they make out that its prestigious, makes them feel better.Get the degree later, you had your chance at the degree before you started work, don't change your path half way.
    Networking, sometimes i love it, mostly i hate it.Its all about the $$$$
  • W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
    AMandevill wrote: »
    (To me, it would be more important to be able to already do the job rather than be capable of learning it)

    Again, thank you for the insights.

    Anybody can become familiar with performing a task based on repetition, but what happens when you run into an unexpected issue that you haven't done a million times? Your ability to learn how to do a job, find information and understand concepts is always going to be more important than your ability to repeat a task based on what you've already done. You take away the capability of learning and you quickly become obsolete in IT because technology changes and you're always going to have to learn how to do something you've never done before.
    Being a sys admin sucks but I love it
  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Member Posts: 1,539 ■■■■■□□□□□
    If you want management...get a degree. If you want more money over your lifetime...get a degree. Although you can attain CCIE and other certifications to make relatively good money, you will make less than if you had a degree and CCIE.
  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    I'm still saying do both.

    As you already alluded to, the CCIE would be easiest to attain right now, due to several things in your favor
    1 - momentum (coming fresh off CCNP, mind still warmed up)
    2 - study (coworker CCIEs for support)
    3 - financial (employer is sponsoring education and certification training)

    If the employer is seriously bankrolling this stuff, take them at their word. Go baller-style, and get Cisco 360.

    With regards to schooling, I'm not clear on if it is business or computer science (in one place you said they were pressuring you to get a Bachelor of Business, in another, you said you were a little past midway on a Bachelor of Computer Science).

    Regardless of the subject, do both. I would recommend going heavier on the certification training, and taking your classes one-at-a-time right now. By taking your classes, you can appease the higher-ups so that you don't have a hard time at work. By doing the certification training, you can make yourself better at your job.

    With your goal being 80K, you can get that at the CCNP level.
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewislampkin (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    TechGuru80 wrote: »
    Although you can attain CCIE and other certifications to make relatively good money, you will make less than if you had a degree and CCIE.

    It's not that cut and dry. It depends on what you want to do. If you plan to be an engineer/architect your earning potential is the same degree or not. I know, I know, the studies show people with a degree earn more over their life, but that is a very broad spectrum from doctor to fry cooks.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • tjh87tjh87 Member Posts: 66 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I have found that in the IT field, certs generally command more attention than degrees. This probably applies more to technical-level professionals, though. Once you start going for CTO, CIO, and Director level positions, degrees are probably more important. Personally, I have moved up positions on 3 separate occasions before I got my Associate's in CIS. All three times, my employers were more concerned with my experience and my certifications. I am working on my Bachelor's now along with CCNP, and then more certs. A mixture can't hurt, but I would put more emphasis on certifications if you had to pick one or the other.
    2013 Goals: /COLOR][COLOR=#ff0000]x[/COLOR][COLOR=#0000cd CCNP, [ ] CCDA, [ ] VCA-DCV
    2014 Goals: [ ] CCDP, [ ] CCNA Security
    , [ ] CCNP Security
    2015 Goals: [ ] Finish BS in CIS,
    [ ] CCIE R&S Written
    2016 Goals:
    [ ] CCIE R&S
  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Member Posts: 1,539 ■■■■■□□□□□
    It's not that cut and dry. It depends on what you want to do. If you plan to be an engineer/architect your earning potential is the same degree or not. I know, I know, the studies show people with a degree earn more over their life, but that is a very broad spectrum from doctor to fry cooks.

    Incorrect. There are simply jobs out there that one will not get without a college degree. Second, over a lifetime a degree bearing employee will make more money than one who does not have a degree.

    There are similar jobs that you can get with or without a degree...but in case you haven't looked at how a company decides the pay, a degree automatically receives an increase. Therefore the earning potential is not the same.

    It's like being in the military. You can get a high position by putting in the years (Warrant Officer), but you cannot be an officer for the bigger bucks without a degree.

    Both will get you to the top of the payscale...not one vs the other.

    An IT Degree or Certifications: Which Do I Need to Succeed?
  • tjh87tjh87 Member Posts: 66 ■■□□□□□□□□
    TechGuru80 wrote: »
    Second, over a lifetime a degree bearing employee will make more money than one who does not have a degree

    Statistics show this is true. But I feel like a degree pays off more in the long run than it does immediately. If I were responsible for hiring for my company, I would prefer a person with a CCNA over a 4 year degree any day. I am currently pursuing my BS degree and I can say from experience, I learned more applicable information in studying for my CCNA and CCNP than I have in almost 3 years of college. Colleges are significantly behind in applying pertinent information to current IT trends. I worked for a company where there were 10 Network Engineers/Admins in our section. Of those 10 professionals, only 2 had college degrees. The rest had real world experience and/or certifications. I just got hired on as a Sr. Systems Engineer with my current company. In the interview, there was not one question about my degree (I had just earned my Associate's in CIS) or my plans for further education. They only cared about my prior experience with networks and how I could apply my CCNA to their current situation. My suggestion is to do both. A degree will pay off in the long run for management positions, but experience first, then certifications are what many employers are looking for.
    2013 Goals: /COLOR][COLOR=#ff0000]x[/COLOR][COLOR=#0000cd CCNP, [ ] CCDA, [ ] VCA-DCV
    2014 Goals: [ ] CCDP, [ ] CCNA Security
    , [ ] CCNP Security
    2015 Goals: [ ] Finish BS in CIS,
    [ ] CCIE R&S Written
    2016 Goals:
    [ ] CCIE R&S
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    TechGuru80 wrote: »
    Both will get you to the top of the payscale...not one vs the other.

    The top of the payscale isn't being employed by someone else.
  • ScalesScales Member Posts: 95 ■■□□□□□□□□
    If you have the opportunity to do both, go for it.

    That being said, a university degree does not have an expiry date. So when you get over re-certifying and let your certification lapse you will always have your degree from university.
  • sides14sides14 Member Posts: 113
    Regardless of what people think, you are always employed by someone else. Whether you work for a company that pays your salary or you are the boss and work for the customer, you work for someone else.
  • sides14sides14 Member Posts: 113
    Get both. Most people that I know in the IT world have finance and business degrees (never really understood that, but it seems to work pretty well). While you can make extremely good money having a ton of certifications and experience, several posters have hit the nail right on the head. Many senior level positions require a 4 year degree and regardless of your experience and certifications, many good people never make it past the general HR screening because they do not have that degree. This doesn't mean that you don't have the opportunity to make good money, think of it in terms of security and as a resume cushion. I worked for a number of years when I got out of the Navy without a degree and made really good money. I didn't have the pressure to get a degree because the money was really, really good. My company's policy was non-degree people were hourly and degree holders were salaried. Why would I be in a hurry to get my degree when I was making significantly more than my salaried peers for doing the exact same job? The certifications were nice and they helped get me nice raises over the years, but what really got me the best raises was when I completed my bachelors and then my MBA.
  • boobobobobobboobobobobob Member Posts: 118
    CCIE would be the best ROI for you.

    It's really a simple question. If you had a degree tomorrow how much more would your pay increase? 10k? If you had a CCIE? 50k?
  • thadizzythadizzy Member Posts: 72 ■■□□□□□□□□
    CCIE would be the best ROI for you.

    It's really a simple question. If you had a degree tomorrow how much more would your pay increase? 10k? If you had a CCIE? 50k?
    That is a common misunderstanding that a CCIE automaticly grants you a ton of more money. It doesn't.. Being a senior network technican does, with or without a CCIE in the back.
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    TechGuru80 wrote: »
    Incorrect. There are simply jobs out there that one will not get without a college degree. Second, over a lifetime a degree bearing employee will make more money than one who does not have a degree.

    There are similar jobs that you can get with or without a degree...but in case you haven't looked at how a company decides the pay, a degree automatically receives an increase. Therefore the earning potential is not the same.

    It's like being in the military. You can get a high position by putting in the years (Warrant Officer), but you cannot be an officer for the bigger bucks without a degree.

    Both will get you to the top of the payscale...not one vs the other.

    An IT Degree or Certifications: Which Do I Need to Succeed?

    Sure some companies have a hard degree requirement, but that doesn't mean you can't get a job at another company earning even more without the degree. Not every company basis their pay scale on degrees.

    Military to civilian is complete apples to oranges and not even worth consideration here.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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