Should I not get a degree, and just get certs?

bhoopsbhoops Member Posts: 41 ■■□□□□□□□□
I have been focused on getting an IT degree, and WGU is my primary choice. I am currently planning on getting either a BS-IT or BS-IT-S. For most of my 25 year career in IT, I have not been able to get good jobs because I lacked a 4 year degree. If I did get a job, I was/am underpaid by 30%.

If I was interested in getting in to InfoSec, could I just get the relevant certs - or would I continue to be penalized for not having a 4 yr degree? I assume I would be penalized.

Comments

  • roch_gregroch_greg Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    That would really depend on where you hope to land. Companies can and do hire persons without a degree however usually the years of experience required is more.
    Goals for 2014: Cisco ICND1[X], Cisco ICND2/CCNA R&S[X], Junos, Associate (JNCIA-Junos)[ ]
    Ain't Nothing Illegal til You Get Caught --> Tickle from Moonshiners TV Show.
  • PolynomialPolynomial Member Posts: 365
    Suggestion: Re-read your thread. You answered your own question. ;)
  • CertinatorCertinator BS Network Administration ,CCNP R&S, CASP+, Member Posts: 43 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think you should go ahead and attend WGU so you can kill 2 birds with 1 stone earning a B.S. Degree and 10+ Certs while increasing your marketability all at the same time.
  • bhoopsbhoops Member Posts: 41 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Polynomial wrote: »
    Suggestion: Re-read your thread. You answered your own question. ;)

    Yeah, I was trying to figure out how to delete this thread, but couldn't figure it out. I really need a degree more than I need certs, but both would be perfect. I was kind of playing devils-advocate with myself. I know several people who do really well, who insist I don't need a degree, though they admit they got their start because they did have one. It's the irritating low pay that drives me insane. Actually, its not that low, but its a lot lower than my coworkers make.
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Do you have any certs yet? If not, I'd actually recommend getting 1 or 2 certs before starting WGU. It'll teach you how to study correctly, allow you to realize how to manage your time, and give you an idea of how long it takes you to complete certain certs. And the certs transfer in to WGU.

    If a specific cert might take you 6 months to complete, I'd recommend doing it 1st then transfering it in to WGU. if it'll take you a few weeks to complete, do it on WGU's dime.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • azjagazjag Member Posts: 579 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Degrees and Certs go hand in hand and help you land a job. More and more I see them used by HR to filter candidates. The degree shows that you are able to finish something you started. The certs show a level knowledge on a particular technology. Keep in mind people **** and dilute the effectiveness of both. You can get jobs that don't require them, but most companies use them as a baseline for minimum requirements. Intel and Boeing require a bachelors degree just to get an interview.
    Currently Studying:
    VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – Data Center Administration (VCAP5-DCA) (Passed)
    VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – Data Center Design (VCAP5-DCD)
  • bhoopsbhoops Member Posts: 41 ■■□□□□□□□□
    DoubleNNs wrote: »
    Do you have any certs yet? If not, I'd actually recommend getting 1 or 2 certs before starting WGU. It'll teach you how to study correctly, allow you to realize how to manage your time, and give you an idea of how long it takes you to complete certain certs.

    I have zero certs, and have no idea how long it will take to get one. Now I'm thinking of getting as many of the certs as possible before joining WGU, just so I don't have the whole "college" thing hanging over my head. I'd rather not talk to a mentor if I already know what certs I should get, and would rather not pay the $500 per month until I was ready. I might change jobs and/or move, or need to take a 2 month break, and I wouldn't want anyone haranguing me.

    I took some classes at another school, and they had some kind of coach program, and they were a giant pain. One time they called me the night before a term paper was due, and kept insisting I tell them what else I needed, and I pointed out I had A's in the last 3 classes I took, and they could help me by getting off the phone so I could finish my essay. I had to tell them 3 times to leave me alone. They also recorded and wrote down everything I said, and said something about having to report students who sounded like they might harm them-selves or others. Later I found out the coaching was outsourced and the "coach" had never even been to the school.
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I think you should get at least 1 cert before starting at WGU. I'd get one that would benefit you at your current job, or the next job you plan on getting. After your first cert, re-evaluate and go from there.

    Just my $.02.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • LionelTeoLionelTeo Member Posts: 526 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I never had a degree. My first job to second job was a 30% pay jump, my second job to 3rd was a 80% pay jump to a fortune 500 company. I earn higher than 75% of the people at my age in my country.

    Short answer. I am a living example.

    Long answer, its all about ROI. Compliance or Technical Path.

    A degree usually brings to the compliance path, team and project management, ROI assessment, risk assessment. Management Path would net you a easier job and better salary as compare to most technical.

    There are Certs with both technical and compliance path. Which a degree may not cover, example would be like penetration testing, intrusion analyst and foresnics, which are still current not covered well by a degree program. Afterall, a degree equips you with the necessary management skill for your future career. But this doesn't mean going the cert path would mean you do not understand ROI, risk asessment, project and team management. Afterall, these are soft skills that a degree develop you, you should also pay attention to it and develop it youself. A side track question, how many degree graduates that is holding managerial positions actually had these soft skills?

    Certs and Degree shows the same thing, they shows that you have upgrade yourself, you are better stronger, you are independent, able to upgrade yourself without your employer sends you for course.

    Now, let's move to the ROI part. For getting a degree, let's guess you will have a 30% salary pay increase, you paid 25k to 30k for a degree. Certs on the other hand are troublesome, because not all certs have value. Let's say you studied 5 GIAC certs, you will pay 25k to 30k for official course, probably also get you a 30% salary increase. So for 5 certs that will expire in 4 years time as compare to a degree, you will probably be on the losing edge.

    But there is an alternative, 5 certs via self study method. Researching, getting books on amazon, study day and night till your all burn out, but with the correct books, you can cover 3000 to 6000 pages in a year. Cost will be as cheap as 500 to 1000 dollars for the books. Let's say we look at some certs that is possible to hit without official course and looks impressive on resume. SEC+, CEH, GSEC, GCIH, SSCP, GISP, G2700, CISSP, CRISC. For about 10k in total of exam fees, you could possibly hit over 50% to 80% increment in about 2-3 years time. If you get into a company that reinburse you, then you probably don't have to even pay for it.

    My question is, how far are you willing to go to plan this yourself? If you are a self study freak, like me, who have a book everywhere I go, I covered approximately 1 books every 2 months unless its something really new like assembly and debudding. Then the certs path is suitable for you, else a degree would be relatively safer.

    Once you understand ROI, risk management, its easy to make decision like. How about starting a business with 40K instead of spending them on a MBA course?
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,775 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I would say get at least one cert while you are considering your options. If you find you enjoy self study you might prefer to continue certs.

    I am currently working on an Associates in Computer Science because in my area it seems to be the minimum requirement for most job openings. I am also working on a few certifications as I believe they actually show a higher level of achievement then the local community college degree. You get what you put into school work and a lot of employers know it's fairly easy to pass classes without actually learning much.

    Both will help your resume when looking for new positions so do what suits your learning style better.

    Good Luck
  • AverageJoeAverageJoe CISM, CISSP, SSCP, CYSA+, SEC+, NET+, A+, LINUX+, PROJECT+ Member Posts: 298 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I think you've already come to the conclusion that you should get a degree because you've seen first hand that for 25 years you've missed out on opportunities and/or pay granted to college graduates. Can you make up for not having a degree through experience and certification? Yes. Is it faster, cheaper, or better than having a degree? There's no easy way to know that since it depends on your specific circumstances.

    The ideal situation is having all three: degree, certs, and experience. That's who you're competing with for a lot of IT related jobs! And there are an awful lot of folks seeking cybersecurity/infosec jobs that not only have degrees, but have cybersecurity/infosec related degrees (as opposed to unrelated degrees) and certificates.

    I have a bit over 25 years of IT experience myself, but one thing I've noted is that most hiring authorities don't give a fig about that. After all, having cut your teeth on punch cards, vacuum tubes, or monochrome dumb terminals may make for some interesting stories, but it generally doesn't help too much with modern IT problem sets (at least most people don't see the connection). As a matter of fact, several of my peers have stopped bragging about 25 years of experience and now market themselves as having "over 10 years" of experience along with their most recent certs and their degrees.

    One thing's for sure: you want change, so make a change. Start a degree (you don't have to finish it overnight... try it out and see) and/or try some certs. They can be very complementary. For example, take a couple of infosec classes and take the Security+ exam. Then you're closer to a degree and have a cert. Just working on a degree might demonstrate to some supervisors or employers that you're serious about increasing your responsibilities (and pay).

    You'll never finish either (degree or certs) if you never start, so start and see where it goes. As I tell my younger techs, you'll probably never look back and say "man, I wish I didn't have a degree."

    Joe
  • jvrlopezjvrlopez Member Posts: 911 ■■■■□□□□□□
    People I work with get paid more with a degree.

    Not having one at the 6 year experience mark is a glaring, obvious shortfall on my behalf...really need to close it out and join my coworkers.
    And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high. ~Ayrton Senna
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    Pretty simple, degree in a related field.
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