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What to do? (Community College, High school senior)

zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hi I am a high school senior and I am planning on pursuing a career in IT, in this case network security. I am currently reading on A+ and I plan to take the exam after graduation and then over the summer I will study N+ and Security+ with some friends and hopefully get certified by the end of summer. I will be attending a community college during the fall and I am a bit stuck on what I should get my associates in, I was thinking about doing computer science just so I can have a background on writing code and have some knowledge about it, but I don't know if this would be beneficial to me in the future. I will provide a link of the courses my community college offers and if anyone wouldn't mind checking it out and recommending me something I would greatly appreciate it. I am getting the certifications I listed above just so I can get an internship so I can rack up some experience or a help desk job while attending school. Thanks for the help http://www.nvcc.edu/catalog/cat2013/academics/programs/

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    MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I graduated in 2010 and it doesn't seem like long ago at all. I wish I had even more of a jump start in IT. I did PSEO (college credit) in high school for my Gen Eds. If I were you, I'd talk to the staff at your community college and figure out what courses you can get done that could transfer. I'd also take a serious look at WGU. Figure out what direction you'd like to head in IT (assumption, since you're here), and work towards that. Start with your A+ and Security+ and report back. Having gone to both a community college and a brick and mortar, I'll tell you that a full-time job and WGU combined is easier, more enjoyable, and cheaper than attending classes at a traditional school, and it's nice to make a salary alongside full-time school as well.

    Also, if you don't know much about WGU, it's just about $3000 a semester, or $6100 a year for as many courses as you'd like to take (12+ to be considered full-time). They have a B.S. degree that can be finished easily in 3-4 years if you dedicate at least 10 hours a week to it. All of the IT degrees are focused around certifications, which are a huge plus. If you have any prior college credits, they can sometimes be transferred in.
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Does anybody have any advice?
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    MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Any particular reasons you're stuck on going to a community college?
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    MSP-IT wrote: »
    Any particular reasons you're stuck on going to a community college?

    To save money, I can get admission to GMU or VCU but I would rather save money and go to a community college. And my dad wants me to take this route to save money and since he is paying for my education along with financial aid I might as well listen to him.
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    CoolAsAFanCoolAsAFan Member Posts: 239
    I would say if your going to pursue Bachelors/Masters eventually in CS, then go for CS on your Assoc. If your going to eventually transfer to a different school to get a bachelors, it really doesn't matter (obv should be in IT), just make sure credits can transfer. This is what I did, AS CIS at community college, and now I am working towards my bachelors IT-Security at WGU.

    Saving money by going to a CC for your assoc degree is quite common, then you transfer to a bigger/better school for your higher degrees.
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I am going to major in IT, but wouldn't getting an associates for network security beneficial in anyway? If not should I just do something related to business or even just get my associates in IT? Thanks
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    MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The only advantage I'd see of getting an A.A. before a B.S. would be to land that first job. A degree would be more of a selling point than saying "I'm currently enrolled and have completed 80 credits towards a B.S. degree in..."

    If you don't mind me asking, how much are you paying for courses at the community college? I'd bet it's close to the cost of WGU.
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    the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Definitely go the Computer Science route. Programming will definitely help you in the long run and personally I tend to believe it will give you way more options. Take it from someone who got a degree in Computer Security, get a general IT/CS degree. It's tough to jump right into security with no experience and I've personally experience interviews where they said I wouldn't be a good fit because the position wasn't security related. Also, I'd advise you to stick with community college just to get what a college course is like. I've worked on the online side of higher education and often there is lot of culture shock when people jump right into it. My university required that you have 60 credits before you applied to finish your degree online. Online education is good and serves a purpose, but for someone fresh from high school I don't tend to believe they are ready to be so completely on their own.
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    nsuarez31nsuarez31 Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Security field has a higher pay but as far as getting experience that is what you need to focus. Look for SRP, APS, Financial institutions jobs and pay range. Certifications are definitively a plus but there is so much around to go that some organizations have special focus on programming, ERP tools, methods and languages. You can always get as much as you can in the Comm College and get credit towards your the degree you picked. From my experience, employers look for experienced and knowledge candidates no matter where you came from.
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    A semester is ~$2000, and I do plan on transferring to a university to get a bachelors.
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    the_Grinch wrote: »
    Definitely go the Computer Science route. Programming will definitely help you in the long run and personally I tend to believe it will give you way more options. Take it from someone who got a degree in Computer Security, get a general IT/CS degree. It's tough to jump right into security with no experience and I've personally experience interviews where they said I wouldn't be a good fit because the position wasn't security related. Also, I'd advise you to stick with community college just to get what a college course is like. I've worked on the online side of higher education and often there is lot of culture shock when people jump right into it. My university required that you have 60 credits before you applied to finish your degree online. Online education is good and serves a purpose, but for someone fresh from high school I don't tend to believe they are ready to be so completely on their own.
    Thanks for the reply, so is this a good plan to follow? Get an associates in computer science then a bachelors in IT and then go for certs related to network security?
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    nsuarez31 wrote: »
    Security field has a higher pay but as far as getting experience that is what you need to focus. Look for SRP, APS, Financial institutions jobs and pay range. Certifications are definitively a plus but there is so much around to go that some organizations have special focus on programming, ERP tools, methods and languages. You can always get as much as you can in the Comm College and get credit towards your the degree you picked. From my experience, employers look for experienced and knowledge candidates no matter where you came from.


    Thanks for the input, what's SRP/APS? Also as I stated above would an associates in CS and a bachelors in IT be good and then I would get certs related to network security? Thanks
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Bumping the thread
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    blargoeblargoe Member Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    zafeer20 wrote: »
    Thanks for the reply, so is this a good plan to follow? Get an associates in computer science then a bachelors in IT and then go for certs related to network security?

    That is what I would do, I think. Doing two years of CC is a very smart choice if you want to get later get a degree from a public brick and mortar university; also, you can often get lab experience with Windows, Linux, Cisco, etc as part of the IT curriculum.

    I have a batchelor in Computer Science, and while it is a programming intensive degree, many of the foundataions I learned while in college are applicable to me as an admin/engineer when looking for oppportunities for automation and gathering information from mulitiple sources of information. But I probably would have gone with a general MIS degree if I had to do it over again.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    blargoe wrote: »
    That is what I would do, I think. Doing two years of CC is a very smart choice if you want to get later get a degree from a public brick and mortar university; also, you can often get lab experience with Windows, Linux, Cisco, etc as part of the IT curriculum.

    I have a batchelor in Computer Science, and while it is a programming intensive degree, many of the foundataions I learned while in college are applicable to me as an admin/engineer when looking for oppportunities for automation and gathering information from mulitiple sources of information. But I probably would have gone with a general MIS degree if I had to do it over again.

    Thanks for the input, so you think an MIS bachelors would be best if I am trying to score an admin position? As you stated earlier in your post I can use the lab work in CC as experience on my resume?
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Bumping the thread
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    SephStormSephStorm Member Posts: 1,731 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Z, go through and read everyone's posts. Lots of advice. IAC, Going to CC is a good idea, if you can, id consider taking as many general education courses as you can and maybe seeing if you can minor in IT, taking some programming courses. This way when you transfer you have as many options as possible. Either way, for the love of all thats holy, please try to get an IT job while you are in school, maybe on a helpdesk. Don't expect your degree to make your career.
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    ZomboidicusZomboidicus Member Posts: 105 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Here is my advice; Go to a community college first and get a feel as to which field of IT you are more interested in. Attend CC with the possibility of transferring in mind, and consider transferring as soon as you have figured out what you like. No need to stick it out for the entire 2 years where the program may not be as competent in what you want to learn. But hold off on taking too much general electives till later. Let's say you can take maximum of 6 classes in a semester...take only 2 general elective per semester for the first year. The IT classes you take on earlier will most likely be able to transfer as general electives and fill into the 120 something credits that you would most likely have to finish at state school. But I would double check that as well, if there is a state school you would interested in if you didn't have to attend CC.

    Since you currently are unsure of what you want to do, I think it's better for you to concrete your idea of your IT career ladder earlier in your education. Do not get fixated on which "title" you want to obtain in your IT career. I went to school with so many people reciting "I want to become an admin" but unable to regurgitate what that exactly entails. All that being said, I think "INFORMATION SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY, A.A.S" degree will be generalized enough for you. You can speed up the process of figuring out what you would like by, for example, moving ITE221 and ITN260 from that program to your second semester instead of following the recommended curriculum flow.

    Also, try not to let finances get in the way of education. You can always apply for grants, loans and scholarships. Don't skimp out on good education to save few bucks for you and your dad. I understand it's easier said than done, but loans in particular are handed out like a piece of candy. If you take out loans, your education becomes your responsibility, and you would not have to let your dad's financial situation decide the course of your education.

    My 2 cents.
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    blargoeblargoe Member Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    zafeer20 wrote: »
    Thanks for the input, so you think an MIS bachelors would be best if I am trying to score an admin position? As you stated earlier in your post I can use the lab work in CC as experience on my resume?

    Either way, you're probably going to start at the bottom rung (helpdesk / desktop support), but as far as learning that is applicable to admin positions (and support for that matter) MIS is probably a closer fit. When I realized I didn't want to write software for a living, I still finished my BS in Comp Sci, but I supplemented that with the Cisco Academy at my local CC and got my CCNA during my last year in college, and gained some entry-level Networking knowledge. I picked up hardware and OS skills working an internship at a mom-and-pop system integrator shop, and landed a full time job at the same place after I graduated. I still feel very lucky and blessed for that opportunity even though it didn't pay very well, for the diversity of experience and that I was able to skip the "call center/help desk" role to a big extent.

    I would say, and most here would agree, that lab work doesn't really count as work experience as it applies to a resume. I do think it would be appropriate to communicate that you are familiar with _____ (fill in the blank with whatever you did in the lab, if you feel that you have some skill in that area), but don't try to pass it off as equal to real world experience, because no employer will see it that way when he finds that you only did it as part of your lab exercises in class.... my two cents.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the very informative response, I guess i'll get an associates in IT and from there see what interests me and then get my bachelors in that field. I appreciate the help.
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for clarifying that.
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I have another question guys, as you may know I am going to a community college and then transferring to a 4 year university. I was wondering if an associates in CS would be good and a major in MIS, of if I actually like CS I'll major in that. Is an MIS degree better than a CIS or IT degree? What do you guys see as the most beneficial or on the rise degree? Sorry for the many questions but I do not want to waste my time so I am trying to gather as much information as possible. Thanks
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    stryder144stryder144 Member Posts: 1,684 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Better is subjective, so a concrete response would not be possible. As such, if you love programming, then getting an MIS or vanilla IT degree would probably not be as beneficial. Thus, the CS degree would make more sense. Granted, having an associates in CS will get you noticed if you are looking for a job as a programmer, so getting a bachelor degree in MIS/IT might be helpful from a diversification perspective. I have met quite a few former programmers who have tried to break into a more traditional IT job (networking/sys admin/help desk) and had issues with getting a foot in the door. So, having a bit of training in both areas can't hurt. That being said, you could get a straight CS bachelor degree and a few more traditional IT certs and be fine for whatever opportunities come your way.

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    HiTekHiTek Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Zafeer, I think you should check out NVCC, they have guaranteed admission to almost any 4 year college in Va, but you have to choose an AS degree and not an AAS. They offer CS and IT degrees that transfer to GMU's CS and IT BS degrees. I'm currently enrolled at NVCC for IT.
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    zafeer20zafeer20 Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    HiTek wrote: »
    Zafeer, I think you should check out NVCC, they have guaranteed admission to almost any 4 year college in Va, but you have to choose an AS degree and not an AAS. They offer CS and IT degrees that transfer to GMU's CS and IT BS degrees. I'm currently enrolled at NVCC for IT.

    Thats what I am most likely going to do. I'm going to go to NVCC for computer science and then major in MIS or IT. I am apart of the pathway to the baccalaureate program, I might not go to GMU though it might be V. Tech or VCU.
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