Author Topic: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.  (Read 4052 times)

davisgang90

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Question is whether the Bachelor's degree is necessary or if he is better off pursuing certification.  He is interested in Server Administration type jobs.  He is burned out on school and wants to get to the work force.

He has some certification so far, is very good with computers to include networking.  He is not a strong programmer.

Appreciate any Mustachian IT professional advice I can pass on to him.

nawhite

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Re: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2013, 11:11:36 AM »
With the Certifications, he will very likely get a job with some of the basic ones like CCNA/CCNP (tons of demand for these 2 in my experience), Security+, or Microsoft/RedHat certified, especially if he is willing to work in a major city (I don't know where he is currently). 

The advantage of the Bachelor's degree is that if he ever decides that IT isn't for him, the Bachelors opens more doors than just the Associates and Certifications.

davisgang90

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Re: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2013, 11:15:42 AM »
We are currently in the Washington DC area.  Appreciate the feedback!

Louisville

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Re: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2013, 01:24:48 PM »
I finished an Associates in IT in 1998. Went to work and never looked back. Steady jumps in pay as I piled up experience have me just under six figures now. Your results may vary, but here in fly over country, for technical jobs, experience counts more than education.

auntbecky

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Re: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2013, 01:34:41 PM »
I finished an Associates in IT in 1998. Went to work and never looked back. Steady jumps in pay as I piled up experience have me just under six figures now. Your results may vary, but here in fly over country, for technical jobs, experience counts more than education.

This is almost identical for both my spouse and I.  Started about 3 years later, but otherwise, this exactly.  That being said, we both have hit plateaus and are going back to get our degrees now.  Is it needed?  Not really, but we are both looking to start jumping into the consulting pool and wanted to start off closer to on the same playing field as the other consultants we often work with.

gimp

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Re: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 03:24:04 PM »
IT and CS, combined, is the only field I know of that both pays really well and requires no formal education. I know a great many self-taught people, and a great many more whose EE/CE/math/physics/economics jobs required learning, so they did, and never looked back.

Having said that, the barrier of entry is higher without a BS. Someone with a lot of experience, and proof, can often skip the degree entirely. But as more and more resumes are scanned by computer (or illiterate monkeys who should never be making interview decisions), the lack of degree will automatically disqualify them from many jobs without second thought. This means a lot of job advancement comes through networking.

Realistically, entry level can be done with the associate's without huge issue. Further advancement can be accomplished by internal promotions, by knowing where to submit your resume to skip the beancounters and the machines, and go right to the hiring managers, or through taking a step back and finishing the full degree.

Also the good news is that quite a few companies will pay for employees to get their degrees.

So. In short. Will it prevent him from getting a job? No. Will it make it harder? Probably. Will it prevent career advancement? No. Will it make it harder? Probably.

Of course, another thing to consider - if getting the BS requires two full years of work, that's a sacrifice of about $40k/yr (plus 15k, minus 10k, depending on location) in addition to all the school expenses. Therefore it has to be done very carefully and deliberately; otherwise one might find themselves earning 5k/year more with a BS than an AS, which would take a decade and a half to make up for the lost wages, and even more to make up for the tuition.

jfLip

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Re: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2013, 03:30:42 PM »
I'm not exactly an IT guy, but I work in HR at a technology firm near DC.  I'd say look into this training:

http://www.sans.org/

I think it's well-respected in the tech world, and they have training in the Washington DC/NOVA area.

auntbecky

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Re: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2013, 03:45:17 PM »
I'm not exactly an IT guy, but I work in HR at a technology firm near DC.  I'd say look into this training:

http://www.sans.org/

I think it's well-respected in the tech world, and they have training in the Washington DC/NOVA area.

My husband swears by SANS training.  It is extremely thorough training.  It is pricey but very much worth it.

nawhite

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Re: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2013, 04:32:09 PM »
I'm not exactly an IT guy, but I work in HR at a technology firm near DC.  I'd say look into this training:

http://www.sans.org/

I think it's well-respected in the tech world, and they have training in the Washington DC/NOVA area.

Many employers will pay for you to attend the training/classes after you are hired so I wouldn't go taking these willy nilly before he has some idea what specifically he wants to do. If he can get hired without a cert, he doesn't need it now.

davisgang90

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Re: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2013, 05:51:46 AM »
I appreciate the replies so far!  My son has the following certifications:

IC3 Computing Fundamentals, Key Applications and Living Online
MTA Security Fundamentals
MTA Windows Operating System Fundamentals
Comp TIA A+

I don't know much about IT certs, so I don't have a good feeling for how "good" those are for an entry level position with a general Associates Degree.

Sparafusile

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Re: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2013, 06:05:08 AM »
IT and CS, combined, is the only field I know of that both pays really well and requires no formal education. I know a great many self-taught people, and a great many more whose EE/CE/math/physics/economics jobs required learning, so they did, and never looked back.

I am one of these people. While I am mostly self taught, I have valued the instruction I have received. I find it's much easier to learn complex ideas when there is somebody around to tell you you are thinking about something wrong, if nothing else.

One more benefit to having CS skills is you can easily jump to being an entrepreneur. Starting a software business is a very low cost and low risk endeavor in most cases which means the business is almost immediately profitable and giving you an income.

hybrid

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Re: Son will finish Associate's Degree this Spring. Wants to work in IT.
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2013, 07:02:04 AM »
I started working in IT in 1998 and a cert got me in the door.  But that was 1998, and there were a lot more jobs than qualified applicants back then.  Fifteen years later my experience counts much more than a cert, but I say that knowing full well some doors are closed to me without a degree and/or current certifications.

Your son should do both, but I prefer the certs personally.  Especially a CCNA as was mentioned previously, that will give him a foundation not just in Cisco but in basic networking technologies.  Microsoft certifications are a big plus as well, the business world is Microsoft dominated.  Also, I would get a headhunter involved once he has the cert and/or degree in hand.

Long story short the job market isn't like 1998.  Yes, there is strong demand for IT.  Experienced IT.  Your son needs to get his foot in a door first and establish himself, and there is a lot of competition there.  I interviewed folks for a help desk position early last year and we had zero problems getting qualified applicants.  All four of the candidates we ultimately interviewed had experience and by themselves qualified for the position.