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Old 01-11-2011, 09:57 PM   #1
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Default Degree vs Certifications

I want to state my personal opinion and experience with regards to what education is most important. I have a Masters degree in Information Systems, I've had it for years, and could never really get my foot in the door because of a lack of solid experience. I took a microsoft boot camp at CED Solutions (technical training that prepares someone for certifications, highly recommend). I dedicated 2 weeks of hard studying and came out with my MCSA and Security+ certs. With two weeks I finally had employers calling me for interviews, which I could never get before, and I finally got a good networking job. I think the certifications added an extra amount provable knowledge to my resume. I believe certifications carry as much weight as degrees.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Degree vs Certifications

In my opinion Certifications actually prove you are experienced in a field. I find most degrees a waste of time
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Degree vs Certifications

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about degrees (or certifications for that matter) is that people will think you are smart if you have one. A lot of people think that education equals intelligence. It doesn't. An education is something that you (or your parents) pay for, whereas intelligence is something you are born with (or born without, depending on who you are). Experience always looks better on a resume than education...
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Degree vs Certifications

I used to struggle with this concept a lot - is it really worth it to be shelling out 1/4 the cost of some homes for an education (and just for a bachelors!) to get more money per check?

I've really struggled with trying to keep my school, or instead choosing to go after certificates only. The thing I finally settled on was if I can get a degree, couple it with experience and then throw in certifications to keep myself fresh, then I've got a three-punch special that most others don't have. I'll figure out how to pay the loans off, I always do for everything else, so it's just going to be patience.

The one thing that really changed my mind was the thinking I had that as long as I do well in school, get my degree and such, there's not much else I can look forward to. I was pleasantly reminded that there ARE people who recognize academic merit, and now I'm able to add more to my resume because of things like Honor Societies, etc. Those things can really stand out, as much as a certification can. With the Honor Society, I've got a visual clue that I know what it takes to be successful, on top of everything else.

My advice would be to get certs first, but to keep yourself on a path of lifelong learning, go for a degree, even if its just an associates. There are things I am learning in my college courses that I never thought I'd use, but alarmingly enough, I've found uses for them the minute the class taught me something. Learning is awesome, knowledge is power, and it feels good to know stuff.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Degree vs Certifications

Og, you do have a good point.
I'm one of those academic people too, but never completed University. In some ways I regret it (and I do want to go back to do something else), but the course wasn't for me, even though it ran around the same houses to what I do. I actually managed to get a lot more experience at home, but for what I do, you don't need a degree/certifcates; Experience really is everything.

So it depends on what you want to do. If its something like 3D modeling, you do not need any extra courses, etc. Just a computer, and time for example. I learnt a lot more in a year at home than I did in even 3 years at college and 2 years at uni.

I do love learning though, so I've been thinking of going in for a music course or something. Something to keep me going along with work, but money is also important.

I wouldn't want to get a loan out, but I know I'd have to if I wanted to go back into education. But that is one thing stopping me. Plus, I have no idea what I really want to do yet, and I'm 23 so... hmm...

I think if its something you want to do, do it, but don't just think that courses/uni (or whatever) is the answer to all, because its not.
All it does is lets interviewers see what you could easily be capable of doing with experience anyway.
There are many places that'll take you on based on experience, and will even teach you whilst getting paid.

Take into account that I've done some freelancing in 3D for some companies, and yet, my class mates at Uni, or at least the ones I still speak to haven't done anything with their degree. Nothing.
But like I said, the field I am into doesn't need a BA honors degree for people to see you are capable.
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Degree vs Certifications

The bottom line is a Degree or Certificate is only going to get you in the door for an interview. After that point it's up to you to show the employer that you're worth hiring. A degree is going to open up more potential doors than a certificate does because if you look at most jobs they require Degree's not Certificates. In my opinion a Certificate merely highlights your degree to help you stand out more.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: Degree vs Certifications

I am thinking about getting my certifications right now. I was thinking of getting the CompTIA certifications...does anyone have any recommendations on which certifications are most beneficial in the industry and which ones should be gotten first?
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