Introduction, and a question regarding college reputation vs course quality/relevance

absaelabsael Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi everybody, I've been lurking here for a few days, and decided to register and introduce myself, and ask for help with a question that I've been trying to resolve.


First, a bit of info about me (this is kind of long, sorry; if you want to skip the non-essential stuff, please go to the tl;dr at the bottom icon_wink.gif). I'm an older guy who has been in the computer industry (PC repair, desktop support, some network admin, and customer service) for my entire life, but recently I've been having a hard time finding jobs, and I'm currently unemployed. I've never had any certs, but I'm studying for the A+. I'm leaning towards doing the Network+ after that, but I'm still undecided on that one because I would definitely like to get the CCNA, and I'm wondering whether the time spent studying for the Network+ would be better spent on the CCNA.


Also, I'm working towards an AS (for transfer, not a trade degree) at the local community college. I'm halfway done with the AS. I'm planning my course schedule for next semester, and I need to select courses that I can transfer to a 4-year college, so I need to decide which one to attend (I'm pretty much set on getting a BS of some kind, for reasons of personal satisfaction as well as career advancement). I've spent a lot of time visiting college websites, trying to figure out which BS to pursue. I will have to take an entirely-online program.


Ideally, I think that I would probably be happiest in an IT job. However, I'm not quite convinced that a BSIT would open as many doors as a BSCS or even a BSCIS, based on a perusal of job listings. OTOH, a BSCS at a "good" college would involve some pretty intense courses, and despite the fact that I'm maintaining a GPA of 3.9, I'm not sure that I want to subject myself to that when I'll probably not have a use for the majority of the courses.


I live in Arizona, and Arizona State offers an online BSIT. I'll be guaranteed admission to ASU when I graduate from the CC. Also, they have a course equivalency guide that I can use to determine which courses at the CC will definitely transfer to ASU, instead of relying on the promises of an admissions counselor. However, the BSIT there requires a number of courses (at least 4 "core" courses, not gen-ed) that I think would be essentially worthless in an IT job. Overall, I would rate the curriculum at ASU as average at best. I much prefer the curriculum at Bellevue U and Strayer. However, I don't know how the actual quality of the courses compares to ASU. And, just as importantly IMO, I'm concerned that employers would not be nearly as receptive to a degree from either of these as they would to an ASU degree.


(tl;dr): So, my question is this: I'd like to get a good job in IT. Should I get a BSIT from a well-known state U, like Arizona State, even though many of the courses are not what I consider ideal (although I'll make up for some of that with certs)? Or should I pick the college with what appears to be the best BSIT curriculum, even though it may not be as respected by employers? Or should I do a BSCS, or something else (like BSCIS) instead, even if it probably means considerably more work, and would be less relevant to my "ideal" job? Thanks!

Comments

  • tprice5tprice5 Posts: 770Member
    People are constantly asking questions similar to this and the thing is, there is no answer. Anyone here can tell you how they broke into the industry, and that may be completely contradictory to what someone on a different side of the country would say. West coast market is different from east coast, and east coast market is different from southwest. Moreover, westcoast market isn't the same westcoast that it was 5 years ago. It is a constantly evolving, ever-changing, fluid mechanism. There are too many variables to possibly say one way or another.
    What I think everyone here can agree on is that you have to be good at what you do to excel in this business. If you have any one of those degrees you mentioned, getting an entry level help desk position should not be a problem. How far you go from there will depend on your dedication to yourself and your studies.

    (tl;dr): Go with the school that you think will instill in you the most amount of relevent information as possible, because in the end, that's what is important.
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  • tjh87tjh87 Posts: 66Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Do Network+ if you want a broad understanding of networking. Do CCNA if you want a more in depth, vendor specific knowledge of networking. Obviously, the CCNA holds more weight. If you are brand new to networking, Network+ would probably be a good foundation. Some people say its a waste of time. Personally, I think it does what I stated above; provides a good foundation.

    As far as the college thing goes, tprice5 said it. The subject has been beaten to death in this forum. In short, if you want a more technical degree, do the BS CS. If you want a mixture of business with general IT knowledge, do the BS CIS or BS IT. Personally, I am going the BS CIS route. I want a management role in the near future and I felt it would best prepare me for that. Some will argue that the reputation of the school is all that matters, while others will argue that its the degree that matters. I say its a little of both. As long as the school is regionally accredited and has some form of recognition, I'd say having a Bachelor's degree period is more important than the name of the school (so long as it isn't from "Crackhead University," or something like that).
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  • absaelabsael Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the responses. tjh87, may I ask which college you decided on for the BSCIS?
  • tjh87tjh87 Posts: 66Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    absael wrote: »
    Thanks for the responses. tjh87, may I ask which college you decided on for the BSCIS?

    Florida Institute of Technology...aka Florida Tech.
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  • GoodBishopGoodBishop Posts: 359Member
    So this is difficult. Sometimes the school matter, and sometimes it doesn't. I think what matters more is gaining good experience, solid certs, and showing you have a thirst to learn. Plus that you're a reasonable person who would fit well in the culture of the company that you would work for.

    Go with the school that you personally will learn more from. Forget the name of the school - learn what you need to learn to succeed.
  • --chris----chris-- Posts: 1,516Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Cat skinning; more than one way.

    Please don't think my short answer is meant to offend, its not. Its just how I see things.


  • alan2308alan2308 CISSP, MCSA 2008, MCSA 2012, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security Ann Arbor, MIPosts: 1,854Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    absael wrote: »
    Also, I'm working towards an AS (for transfer, not a trade degree) at the local community college. I'm halfway done with the AS. I'm planning my course schedule for next semester, and I need to select courses that I can transfer to a 4-year college, so I need to decide which one to attend (I'm pretty much set on getting a BS of some kind, for reasons of personal satisfaction as well as career advancement). I've spent a lot of time visiting college websites, trying to figure out which BS to pursue. I will have to take an entirely-online program.

    As someone who was in the same boat a few years back, I can tell you that you'll learn more about the nuts and bolts of things in the AS program. Once you transfer over your coursework will be more academia than routers or servers. So I say pick based on what matters most to you. Most of the time having a degree is a yes/no check-box and as long as its an accredited university you'll be fine.
  • zrockstarzrockstar Posts: 378Member
    I'll try to answer all your questions based off of my experience. First, I would recommend deciding CS or IT as soon as possible. That being said, I would recommend staying away from CS unless that is really what to do. Reason being is you said you were older and have probably been out of school for a very long time, and seeing how you are doing something entirely online, the CS degree might be too much to handle. Now I say this from experience having gone back to school 8 years after graduating high school. A CS degree is just as much a math and science degree as it is a programming degree. The curriculum is mostly comprised of skills you haven't used in many, many years or like in my case, were never even taught.

    Now, assuming you decide to go for an IT degree, I would recommend doing both N+ and CCNA. That is the route I did, and I felt like a huge chunk of the CCENT half of CCNA I already knew because of studying for the N+... no regrets there, especially if your school can get you discounted vouchers, which most community colleges can.

    As far as school reputation goes, I would say the bigger and more prominent of a company you want to work for, the more important it will be. If your goal is to work at a Fortune 100, it will probably be easier to get in with a good school on your resume. If the corporate world isn't for you, then it probably won't matter as much. In either case, I believe a degree from ASU will serve you well, especially if you continue your same academic performance.

    Hope this helps, and best of luck!
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Posts: 4,162Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    Name (unless it's a very well known school like MIT/Harvard/Stanford) is more of a regional think. Arizona State is well known within that region so the name is more then fine. As for courses you don't believe are ideal for the major, well that is basically out of your hands. You take what they say to take. That being said, there is usually a very good reason for the course they "force" you to take. I didn't see a reason to take public speaking since I was a computer guy when would I make presentation and I've been doing presentations since high school. But I took the course and now I see that it definitely not only helped, but I stand out against others when giving a presentation.

    Also, when it comes to jobs, no one is looking at your coursework. It sounds like you have a decent amount of experience under your belt so the fact of the matter is a degree will be a check box for you. I'm finally at the stage where I won't be listing my coursework on my resume anymore. As a new grad I listed it because there wasn't a ton of experience to put on there, but now there is.

    I always suggest that if you have the ability to do a CS degree that you do it. If not, IT/CIS for the most part is the same (plus or minus some business courses and perhaps programming). I know plenty of people in IT without an actual degree in IT/CS/CIS (Music Theory, English Lit, etc).
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  • zrockstarzrockstar Posts: 378Member
    the_Grinch wrote: »
    Also, when it comes to jobs, no one is looking at your coursework.

    I agree and disagree. I leave Nature Writing off my resume, but classes like Cisco Internetworking, Cisco Router Configuration, Cisco VLAN/WAN Technologies, A+ Essentials, Networking Essentials, and Database Theory/SQL are definitely listed and for good reason.
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