College vs Certs

boxerboy1168boxerboy1168 Posts: 390Member ■■■□□□□□□□
Does having a degree offer any benefit to you in the job market over that of certs?

Having a degree do you still require the certs?

Do I need the certs even if I have a degree?

Been encountering a lot of, "You need a degree."
Currently enrolling into WGU's IT - Security Program. Working on LPIC (1,2,3) and CCNA (and S) as long term goals and preparing for the Security+ and A+ as short term goals.
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Comments

  • PCTechLincPCTechLinc Senior Member King City, CAPosts: 606Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Degree is definitely going to satisfy the "check the box" HR filters. Without a degree, you could climb the ladder, but depending on the company, you may not be able to proceed higher without at least a Bachelor's.

    Certs are going to be a must if you don't have established history with a company. It shows up-to-date knowledge on specific objectives, and most certs have CE or renewal requirements.

    Experience is also going to be on the "must-have" checklist. I used to tell my students: "There are degrees, certs, and experience. Whoever has the most wins." Not 100% accurate, but something to consider.
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
    Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance - Western Governors University
    Bachelor of Science in Network Administration - Western Governors University
    Associate of Applied Science x4 - Heald College
  • trojintrojin Posts: 175Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Definitely answer for all your questions is: YES
    I'm just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry
  • boxerboy1168boxerboy1168 Posts: 390Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I've been on the cert path currently for the last few months. There is a 2 year cyber security program at my local CC, thinking about going. Can't hurt right? Thanks in advance.
    Currently enrolling into WGU's IT - Security Program. Working on LPIC (1,2,3) and CCNA (and S) as long term goals and preparing for the Security+ and A+ as short term goals.
  • ErtazErtaz Posts: 903Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I've been on the cert path currently for the last few months. There is a 2 year cyber security program at my local CC, thinking about going. Can't hurt right? Thanks in advance.

    I will say this: If you're doing the program because it's hot right now, you're wasting your time and theirs. If you're doing it because you have a passion for it, then by all means: "Let's gooo!" Ask yourself what you want to do long term. "Begin with the end in mind."
  • MontagueVandervortMontagueVandervort Senior Member Posts: 368Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Look through job ads in your local (or desired) area and see what they're asking for.

    I search and have been searching job ads for years, and the trend I see is if they do ask for a degree, it's usually a Bachelor's. I see very few requests for a two-year degree, so I would say unless you plan to head to a 4-yr degree from the 2-yr, your time (and money) is better spent getting more certs.

    That's just what I see.

    Certs
    Bachelor's
    Master's
    Associate's

    In order of what I see asked for most to least.
  • boxerboy1168boxerboy1168 Posts: 390Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Let me ask this question... 4 years on the job working on certs starting from help desk or 4 years getting a degree and working on certs?
    Currently enrolling into WGU's IT - Security Program. Working on LPIC (1,2,3) and CCNA (and S) as long term goals and preparing for the Security+ and A+ as short term goals.
  • PCTechLincPCTechLinc Senior Member King City, CAPosts: 606Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Using my own experience, I did the degrees first, then worked on the certs... well, except for the degree I'm currently enrolled.
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
    Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance - Western Governors University
    Bachelor of Science in Network Administration - Western Governors University
    Associate of Applied Science x4 - Heald College
  • boxerboy1168boxerboy1168 Posts: 390Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    How old are you if you don't mind me asking?
    Currently enrolling into WGU's IT - Security Program. Working on LPIC (1,2,3) and CCNA (and S) as long term goals and preparing for the Security+ and A+ as short term goals.
  • PCTechLincPCTechLinc Senior Member King City, CAPosts: 606Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    36... Born and raised in Silicon Valley for 20 years, then migrated East to Central Valley where it burns you alive. :D
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
    Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance - Western Governors University
    Bachelor of Science in Network Administration - Western Governors University
    Associate of Applied Science x4 - Heald College
  • boxerboy1168boxerboy1168 Posts: 390Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Just curious because I'm 31 and making career change. I have always hobbied intch and have some experience from the military. It's always been a passion.
    Currently enrolling into WGU's IT - Security Program. Working on LPIC (1,2,3) and CCNA (and S) as long term goals and preparing for the Security+ and A+ as short term goals.
  • jcundiffjcundiff Posts: 484Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    PCTechLinc wrote: »
    Using my own experience, I did the degrees first, then worked on the certs... well, except for the degree I'm currently enrolled.

    I did just the opposite... got the gig (help desk), then started growing the certs, almost 20 years later, I am just now working on the degree ( figured why not, since my company is paying 95% of it) ( for my personal desire to "check the box" not because it has hampered me over the years :)
    "Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn't Work Hard" - Tim Notke
  • boxerboy1168boxerboy1168 Posts: 390Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    With your experience... how long did it take you to get into the degree salary range?
    Currently enrolling into WGU's IT - Security Program. Working on LPIC (1,2,3) and CCNA (and S) as long term goals and preparing for the Security+ and A+ as short term goals.
  • jcundiffjcundiff Posts: 484Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Just curious because I'm 31 and making career change. I have always hobbied intch and have some experience from the military. It's always been a passion.

    since you are prior service, if no one has told you about it yet, be sure to check out Fed VTE, lots of free IT/IS training (https://fedvte.usalearning.gov/)
    "Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn't Work Hard" - Tim Notke
  • boxerboy1168boxerboy1168 Posts: 390Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Wonderful thank you!
    Currently enrolling into WGU's IT - Security Program. Working on LPIC (1,2,3) and CCNA (and S) as long term goals and preparing for the Security+ and A+ as short term goals.
  • ErtazErtaz Posts: 903Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    jcundiff wrote: »
    since you are prior service, if no one has told you about it yet, be sure to check out Fed VTE, lots of free IT/IS training (https://fedvte.usalearning.gov/)

    Yup. This is a great resource.
  • gespensterngespenstern Posts: 1,243Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    Definitely everything. Relevant bachelor's and relevant master's, all relevant certs and relevant experience. Then proper interview preparation (there are tons of books with titles like "how to ace interview at...") and then you choose to be ANYWHERE you want and be paid hundreds.

    If you do just something then you are weak and have to pick up what was left behind by those who did everything and those who are famous enough to not worry about designations.
  • mzx380mzx380 This site changed my life New YorkPosts: 453Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    The ideal order would be:

    Undergrad ---> Certs ---> Graduate --->Certs
    You will definitely need the degree to check it off your list for HR managers. You can get a degree from a big name school but that factors in more for business than it does for IT so long as you can show an employer that you can get long term projects done. Certifications will show that you are willing to invest the time off hours to further your education which is also valuable in our industry. Grad school should be to ascend the ladder and future proof yourself since undergrads are valued as HS diplomas these days.

    Once all that is done, keep learning and attempt to specialize in one thing as opposed to JOAT so you are not keeping your career stagnant.
    Certifications: ITIL, ACA, CCNA, Linux+, VCP-DCV, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
    Currently Working On: Microsoft 70-761 (SQL Server)
  • ThePawofRizzoThePawofRizzo Senior Member Posts: 388Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I would recommend a degree first. If you only have time/money for an AS degree, then go for the two year degree (Be sure it is a degree that could transfer for a Bachelor's later if you decide.) I would agree that most jobs asking for a degree go for a Bachelor's, but just having an AS could put you ahead in some HR or manager's filters.

    You'll have breaks between semesters, so perhaps aim for some foundational certs during those breaks (A+ and/or N+) are a start.

    I've worked for managers that insisted on degrees, others who favor experience more, and others who love certs. So, ideally try to maximize each of the three wherever you can, because it really depends on who is doing the hiring.
  • PocketLumberjackPocketLumberjack Posts: 162Member
    I got my first IT job with no experience, the Director told me they interviewed me because I had customer service experience and a degree. Also why not do both with a WGU degree?
    Learn some thing new every day, but don’t forget to review things you know.
  • dhay13dhay13 Posts: 580Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Definitely agree with the FedVTE advice. Very good resource.

    Also, I think you need all 3. I started college with very little IT knowledge. The degree was almost worthless at that time because I had no real world experience (other than a 2 month internship). After I got a little experience I started acquiring certs. Any of the 3 can get your foot in the door but many jobs 'require' the degree and it is almost impossible to make it through HR without that. A degree alone will not get you far either so don't stop there. If you have a basic knowledge of IT then maybe start with a few certs and get that first job. I would still advise working towards that degree because later on if you want that promotion having the degree may not help you but not having it will hurt you.

    I don't have first hand experience but look into WGU. Lots of members here have attended WGU and have had good luck. I had good schooling but am also buried in student loan debt. I wish I had known about WGU 10 years ago.
  • trojintrojin Posts: 175Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    mzx380 wrote: »
    The ideal order would be:

    Undergrad ---> Certs ---> Graduate --->Certs

    >MSc
    >just more certs :)
    I'm just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry
  • jcundiffjcundiff Posts: 484Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    With your experience... how long did it take you to get into the degree salary range?

    just saw your question, I started in IT ( career change at 26) in 98 ($25K), switched to InfoSec in 2011 (60K exiting IT to InfoSec) hit 6 figures (125-135 range including VC last year). This is from 2 companies and multiple roles at each... 12 years at one and almost 7 at the other now.
    "Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn't Work Hard" - Tim Notke
  • kMastaFlashkMastaFlash Posts: 1,012Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    You will need both a degree and certifications. Get your Bachelors degree and you should be good to go! Focus more on certifications after your Bachelors program.
    2018: CCSK
    2019: CWSP,Cloud+,Project+,CASP,PenTest+,CWNA,CCNA Security,GXPN,GREM
    2021: LPIC-2,JNCIS-ENT,eLearnSecurity Courses
  • dontstopdontstop Posts: 569Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    In my experience the Degree was a waste of time but at the end of the day when it comes down to it. Apples to apples comparison of two candidates the one with the Degree will come out on top (unless there is a substantial difference in experience).

    tl;dr Get both, never regret.
  • NetworkingStudentNetworkingStudent Posts: 1,320Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    PCTechLinc wrote: »
    Degree is definitely going to satisfy the "check the box" HR filters. Without a degree, you could climb the ladder, but depending on the company, you may not be able to proceed higher without at least a Bachelor's.

    Certs are going to be a must if you don't have established history with a company. It shows up-to-date knowledge on specific objectives, and most certs have CE or renewal requirements.

    Experience is also going to be on the "must-have" checklist. I used to tell my students: "There are degrees, certs, and experience. Whoever has the most wins." Not 100% accurate, but something to consider.

    This is Gold right here. (See quote above)

    Completing a degree shows that you can meet a goal and accomplish something.

    I have only met a few people that had no degrees and they got into IT.

    However, at some point you need to have a at least a two year degree.

    Some companies will require a Bachelor degree, and if you don't have one you can't work at that company.

    I don't think you need a degree to start out, because you could get the A+ cert, but at some point you will need a degree.


    What parts of IT interest you?
    Networking, programming, security ect ect
    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

    --Alexander Graham Bell,
    American inventor
  • boxerboy1168boxerboy1168 Posts: 390Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Oh I am going for Security.

    Going to start ASAP, hopefully start a cyber security class this summer, hopefully I can take enough to qualify for PEL assistance.
    Currently enrolling into WGU's IT - Security Program. Working on LPIC (1,2,3) and CCNA (and S) as long term goals and preparing for the Security+ and A+ as short term goals.
  • jcundiffjcundiff Posts: 484Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    This is Gold right here. (See quote above)


    I have only met a few people that had no degrees and they got into IT.

    However, at some point you need to have a at least a two year degree.

    I don't think you need a degree to start out, because you could get the A+ cert, but at some point you will need a degree.

    I have known many over the 18 years I have been in IT/IS , I have also seen more than a few with 4 year degrees in areas with no jobs working entry level help desk gigs.

    On the 2 year degree, they are a waste of time and money, unless you have plans to continue on to a BS... I'll hire someone with 2 years experience and no degree over the guy with the 2 year degree and no experience all day long.

    At the same time, there comes a point where you need to have the check box checked... I am currently doing my BS at WGU because I want to check the box, not because my company requires it. YMMV
    "Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn't Work Hard" - Tim Notke
  • jcundiffjcundiff Posts: 484Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Oh I am going for Security.

    Going to start ASAP, hopefully start a cyber security class this summer, hopefully I can take enough to qualify for PEL assistance.

    why wait? get started learning via FEDVTE today, its free and will give you a basic set of knowledge to start with when you do start on a degree... :)
    "Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn't Work Hard" - Tim Notke
  • boxerboy1168boxerboy1168 Posts: 390Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Oh I am already on it.

    Been studying Linux Net+ and Sec+ for months. Failed first time up on Net+ with a 669 plan on taking it again soon.
    Currently enrolling into WGU's IT - Security Program. Working on LPIC (1,2,3) and CCNA (and S) as long term goals and preparing for the Security+ and A+ as short term goals.
  • dhay13dhay13 Posts: 580Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Also, check out cybrary.it. Lots of good videos there too. If school is a goal look into WGU. I went to a traditional B&M school and did very well (3.83GPA) but I have tons in student loan debt and from what I have read on here I may have actually learned a little more at WGU. I have been thinking about doing my Masters at WGU. You will also earn a few certs along the way through your coursework so you will be that much further ahead when you graduate.

    Also, don't expect to get hired straight into security. Very hard to find anyone willing to do that. You will likely need to build your resume doing helpdesk, Sys Admin, etc, before landing that security role but you never know until you try.
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