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certifications vs degree

pennywaltzpennywaltz Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
So I am looking for a career change from health research to IT, since I really enjoy programming. I am thinking I can still use my experience in managing data and statistical programming, so I am leaning towards training to be a DBA.

I am considering either enrolling at WGU and get a BA in IT and get certifications out of it.. or I can apply to a Masters program in Database Technologies (Regis University). So in terms of an entry level DBA job since I do not have any DBA work experience, which would make me more marketable, certifications of a Masters?

I do have a 2 degrees, a BA and Masters in Public Health. Nothing IT related. So it would be a second Masters

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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Do you already have a degree? If so I'd say work on some certifications and start trying to get your foot in the door somewhere. Another degree is not likely to give you much of a boost honestly.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    YFZbluYFZblu Member Posts: 1,462 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Your second option was applying for a Master's program - Do you currently have a degree of some kind?

    Edit: If so, I would forego the IT degree completely and get started with database administration studies. This is a field in which your experience and skills/capabilities with the technology is what really matters.
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    pennywaltzpennywaltz Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Do you already have a degree? If so I'd say work on some certifications and start trying to get your foot in the door somewhere. Another degree is not likely to give you much of a boost honestly.

    I do have a BA and a Masters in Public Health already. with certifcations, would it be the cheaper route to get the certifications?
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    pennywaltzpennywaltz Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
    YFZblu wrote: »
    Your second option was applying for a Master's program - Do you currently have a degree of some kind?

    Edit: If so, I would forego the IT degree completely and get started with database administration studies. This is a field in which your experience and skills/capabilities with the technology is what really matters.

    Can you elaborate more on what you mean by database administration studies?
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    unfbilly11unfbilly11 Member Posts: 100 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Everything is subjective depending on the employer but I think the hierarchy goes:

    1. Experience
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    2. Certifications
    3. Degree
    Nothing comes close to experience.
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    YFZbluYFZblu Member Posts: 1,462 ■■■■■■■■□□
    pennywaltz wrote: »
    Can you elaborate more on what you mean by database administration studies?

    Sure - I would say most of the posters on this site are largely self taught; if we want to learn a discipline / skill we pick up a book, learn the material, and lab it out at home.
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    LarryDaManLarryDaMan Member Posts: 797
    Forgo the additional degree, grab a certification or two to validate your IT knowledge and find any IT position. As others have said, experience is going to be very important. An overly educated person with little experience does not offer much value.
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    If you have the experience working with SAS and/or SQL you should be in a pretty good place. DBA do a lot they optimize databases, set up ETL's and a lot of other functions with in the environment. There are SQL programmers that maybe something you should look into. I only bring that up because in your first post you mention you enjoy programming. I work for a company who stores and manages large proprietary data. We have several roles analyst which I am, I build QA reports and clean some of the data that comes in for ETL. We have DBA's who manage the server and make sure they are optimized they also perform all our migrations and other DBA type functions. We then have SQL developers who build reports, work heavily in the data with an IT lean. I would consider these the SQL whizzes. Each environment is different so take it for what it's worth.
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    pennywaltzpennywaltz Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
    N2IT wrote: »
    If you have the experience working with SAS and/or SQL you should be in a pretty good place. DBA do a lot they optimize databases, set up ETL's and a lot of other functions with in the environment. There are SQL programmers that maybe something you should look into. I only bring that up because in your first post you mention you enjoy programming. I work for a company who stores and manages large proprietary data. We have several roles analyst which I am, I build QA reports and clean some of the data that comes in for ETL. We have DBA's who manage the server and make sure they are optimized they also perform all our migrations and other DBA type functions. We then have SQL developers who build reports, work heavily in the data with an IT lean. I would consider these the SQL whizzes. Each environment is different so take it for what it's worth.

    I do have experience with SAS, some basic experience with SQL (whatever I picked up from W3Schools). I really enjoy programming in SAS, which opt me to think being a DBA may be right for me.

    So it looks like everyone agree that certifications is best for me. Where do I start?
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    nelnel Member Posts: 2,859 ■□□□□□□□□□
    If it were me, i would skip getting another degree if you already have a undergrad & post grade degree. Work on certifications for your chosen career path.
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    Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,310 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I don't have DBA cert advice but since you're already in the health field, is there any way you can connect with people already doing the job you want in that field, or at your current workplace? Might be helpful to pick their brain and see if there are specific needs for that field then try to tailor your learning to that direction.
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    pennywaltzpennywaltz Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Danielm7 wrote: »
    I don't have DBA cert advice but since you're already in the health field, is there any way you can connect with people already doing the job you want in that field, or at your current workplace? Might be helpful to pick their brain and see if there are specific needs for that field then try to tailor your learning to that direction.

    Sadly I do not have a network icon_sad.gif hence I came here to see if I can get some direction on where should I start. I was laid off from my last research job (Research Assistant).. it has been a little over a year now and I haven't been able to find any work. No one is hiring Research Assistants. Since I am young (in my mid 20s), I figure research may not be a career for me, so I am trying to figure out how to translate my skills (research study design/data collection, statistical analysis) into other jobs. I figure since I know SAS and a little SQL and I enjoy writing and checking code, I figure DBA is right for me.
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    dou2bledou2ble Member Posts: 160
    I echo what everyone else is saying - get a cert since you already have a degree. You're in your mid 20's and a DBA type cert shoud help you land an entry/Junior job.

    For the statement below it all depends on the company/firm. Some only hire college graduates, and some require that plus a cert for Sr level jobs. In my experience, 2 jobs without degree and 2 with, these companies also pay more and offer better benefits.
    unfbilly11 wrote: »
    Everything is subjective depending on the employer but I think the hierarchy goes:

    1. Experience
    ...
    ...
    ...
    2. Certifications
    3. Degree
    Nothing comes close to experience.
    2015 Goals: Masters in Cyber Security
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    dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    unfbilly11 wrote: »
    Everything is subjective depending on the employer but I think the hierarchy goes:

    1. Experience
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    2. Certifications
    3. Degree
    Nothing comes close to experience.

    No. Experience doesn't mean anything if you've been doing it wrong for years.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
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    DissonantDataDissonantData Member Posts: 158
    dave330i wrote: »
    No. Experience doesn't mean anything if you've been doing it wrong for years.

    Are you suggesting that the OP needs to get a related degree?
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    EdTheLadEdTheLad Member Posts: 2,111 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Just make sure you know the technology you complete the cert for, the market is flooded with people who **** certs. That's why companies give technical interviews.
    Networking, sometimes i love it, mostly i hate it.Its all about the $$$$
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    dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Are you suggesting that the OP needs to get a related degree?

    No. What I'm saying is experience /= knowledge.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
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    YFZbluYFZblu Member Posts: 1,462 ■■■■■■■■□□
    dave330i wrote: »
    No. What I'm saying is experience /= knowledge.
    The other poster wasn't suggesting that experience == knowledge. He was outlining the hierarchy from the perspective of HR when reviewing candidates for job openings. That's how I perceived the post at least, and in that sense he is correct.
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    dou2bledou2ble Member Posts: 160
    YFZblu wrote: »
    The other poster wasn't suggesting that experience == knowledge. He was outlining the hierarchy from the perspective of HR when reviewing candidates for job openings. That's how I perceived the post at least, and in that sense he is correct.

    I disagree with the spacing he put in that hierarchy if you're looking for anythng mid to sr. But this can also depend on the size of the company. Smaller companies tend to go for more experience but less quals because they pay less/fewer benefits.
    2015 Goals: Masters in Cyber Security
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    ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I really doubt you'll find anyone here that will recommend a degree to you at this stage. I guess WGU would be okay, but I think just focusing on technical skills is going to be your best bet. Certifications are nice, but I haven't seen that they're as big in DBA world. You might certify on the specific system you're on at some organizations, but from what I've seen they are barely a factor in hiring. Same with programming, web development, software development, etc. In certain jobs they might want you to certify on a certain vendor tech, but it's really not nearly as prevalent as in infrastructure.

    That being said, you have to start somewhere. Maybe an entry-level Oracle certification would be a good fit. I'm just not convinced the WGU degree will do it for you, and unless you have a lot more undergraduate programming than I'm thinking, any master's program that would take you would kind of be a joke.

    I agree with Dave 100%, but experience is probably the second most important part of your resume in any area of IT (the first being the quality of the resume itself — never underestimate how quickly a bad resume with good content gets thrown out). I'm really not sure how you break into DBA or a programming-related field with no related credentials or experience, but people have done it. The trick, ultimately, is going to be to actually have the skills and be able to convey them. Certainly, whatever programming you've done will have to feature prominently.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
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    dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    YFZblu wrote: »
    The other poster wasn't suggesting that experience == knowledge. He was outlining the hierarchy from the perspective of HR when reviewing candidates for job openings. That's how I perceived the post at least, and in that sense he is correct.

    If that's true, why am I getting cold calls from recruiters for Sr. consultant/architect positions when I have 3 years of IT experience? They may claim they want experience and they may think they want experience, but what they really want is knowledge. As a potiental candidate, you should be selling your knowledge, not experience.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    "The only source of knowledge is experience"

    -Albert Einstein
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    dou2bledou2ble Member Posts: 160
    N2IT wrote: »
    "The only source of knowledge is experience"

    -Albert Einstein

    But how do you show that experience? For one to just say they have 10 years of experience but no cert or degree to backup/compliment that is not the best approach. imo

    The IT world is very big and I guess this approach works for some, but from my experience it pays to be an expert in an area which means experience + cert + degree.

    As a consultant I constantly come across IT guys who say they have 10+ years experience in Windows server, AD, GPO etc and then when the Microsoft consultant shows up with half that experience he shows they're all doing it wrong or at least not to best practice.

    Another issue is that it depends on the cert. To me comptia and microsoft certs are so easy to brain **** they don't hold much value. ISC2, CISCO, VMware and ISACA on the other hand are tough.
    2015 Goals: Masters in Cyber Security
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    dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    N2IT wrote: »
    "The only source of knowledge is experience"

    -Albert Einstein

    Do I need to bring out the driving example?
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    LMAO - Dave I just did that to get you going a bit. BTW I love the driving example.
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    PolynomialPolynomial Member Posts: 365
    What's the driving example Dave?

    >_______________>
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    YFZbluYFZblu Member Posts: 1,462 ■■■■■■■■□□
    dave330i wrote: »
    If that's true, why am I getting cold calls from recruiters for Sr. consultant/architect positions when I have 3 years of IT experience?

    Because experience isn't the only thing recruiters are looking for, and I never said it was.

    If recruiters at large sought out knowledge first, a lot of the Cisco and Microsoft certified techs posting on TechExams would be employed in Jr. admin positions, rather than slogging it out on the helpdesk or in desktop support.

    The reality is the opposite - much of the IT market is flooded with incompetence because experience is sought out by recruiters first. Once again that's not to say there aren't exceptions. Some are able to move forward faster than others - and to be clear, that's a good thing. I really do wish candidates were judged on the merits of their capabilities first, all across the board. Because in the end that's what really matters at the job, obviously.
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    gbadmangbadman Member Posts: 71 ■■□□□□□□□□
    YFZblu wrote: »
    The reality is the opposite - much of the IT market is flooded with incompetence because experience is sought out by recruiters first. Once again that's not to say there aren't exceptions. Some are able to move forward faster than others - and to be clear, that's a good thing. I really do wish candidates were judged on the merits of their capabilities first, all across the board. Because in the end that's what really matters at the job, obviously.

    This is so spot on. These knowledge vs experience debates always inevitably lead to people projecting their outlook onto the debate. While experience will usually enrich and firm up the capabilities of someone with existing and expanding theoretical knowledge, that doesn't mean to say that experience in and of itself is priceless.

    Someone who's spent 15 years as an Engineer doing a narrow set of prescribed routine tasks and hasn't done much structured studying to expand their bank of knowledge isn't going to be of much use to anyone. Unless the person asking is looking for them to do that same narrow set of tasks, in the same way (very uncommon in reality).
    And similarly someone with a lot of book learning without real world contextualisation is going to be similarly useless. And labbing is never really the same. Experience also gives you skills in the equally important non-technical dimensions of your field of work

    I think you're unlikely to find people who are equally well-endowed with both sides of the skills 'marriage' claiming that either qualifications or experiene is much more important than the other.

    Unfortunately, the fact that so many old-style techies are trapped in the 'experience is king' mindset has real-world negative consequences. The main one is that the presence of these individuals on hiring panels often leads to time-served but dim and ineffective people being hired over sharper candidates.
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