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Any point in a Degree?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by BraderzTheDog, May 27, 2012.

  1. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Aloha, long time no see (not that I've been missed).

    I've been thinking again which is never good, but with all the Vendor certs out there... Is there any reason to get a Degree?

    I would love to attend uni although I'm not very academic... (sorry if that was the most stupid thing you've ever read) as I feel it would broaden my knowledge in my particular area of interest. However is it worth the £27,000 (9k per year) tuition fees or would you say for the same money with the correct experience you could go a lot further by studying vendor certs?

    Regards,
    Brad.
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  2. Jiser

    Jiser Kilobyte Poster

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    I wouldn't be where I am today without my degree but it was only 1500 a year when I did mine. It included a years placement for the third year. Alot of my fellow students went on to work for their placement companies, a few I remember are BT, Intel and Oracle. If you get into a good grad scheme you can also be in an excellent career position. I myself havent been so lucky compared to some of my fellow alumni but earn a good enough wage for my position. If you wanted to do a degree, I recommend you find a course with a placement. In my case because of my experiance in my placement year I then went on to be the sole IT Tech for two schools part time whilst I finished my degree. I also used one of the schools for part of my final year project 'dissertation'.

    Ive also noticed, perhaps slightly more in the public sector that degrees are an 'essential' requirement for senior IT positions. So I think degrees can perhaps play a larger role the higher you go in your career.

    Degrees also last for ever, they dont expire, where many vendor certs do. Of course you can argue what you learn on degrees specially in IT will become outdated but a degree is a degree and requires a certain amount of effort, academic ability and shows potential employers you can stick at something.

    Also going of to uni can be a life changing experiance. Your away from home for the first time, meeting new mates, having a laugh, gf's/bf's, growing up etc. It can also provide some of the soft skills employers like so much. For example ability to 'work effectively as a team' to develop an application to a deadline and presentations.

    I see you have a few certs which is a great start. Are you working in IT? If not I would halt your CCNA for the time being - certs without experiance doesnt mean alot.

    Some of my colleagues over various jobs have mentioned in the past they wish they had gone to uni as well, ive certainly had alot more variety of positions and opportunities than they have had because of my degree. Colleagues who were the same level as me or slightly higher who didnt go to uni earned the same as I did despite years more experiance. Also some of them have had and will have doors closed to them due to the lack of degree. This could just be lack of ambition though or feeling to secure.

    Negatives? A degree depsite your 4 years of hard slog doesnt automatically mean a job. It also very expensive now so you have to think is it worth getting into potential debt. Don't forget that depsite this you are investing in yourself. Perhaps it could be worth working for a few years first to build up experiance and to gain enough money to get you through some of University.

    In an ideal world you would have a good mix of academic qualifications (degree), vendor certs (soft (ITIL) and tech (ms/cisco)) and experiance. A good dose of ambition and get up and go can help. I know people with degrees who didn't have ambition and as a result have stayed at the same level for years earning buger all.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), PGc, MCTS:Win 7, MCSA W7/MCITP EDST, ITIL Foundation, Prince 2 Foundation, C&G: Web Design, MOS 07: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook.
  3. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    It depends on the area of IT, the sector, the organisation and if you want extra points to migrate/work abroad (degrees give you extra points).

    However, alot of people think of the "degree" as the academic degree - there are alternatives that at the same level but are more economical, for example the NVQ 4 & 5 as well as the Professional Graduate Diploma in IT.
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  4. Cunningfox

    Cunningfox Byte Poster

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    I have quite strong views on this absolutely a degree is not required for a career in IT. I don't have one, although I did spend the best part of 2 years studying. My manager has a degree, but it's in Art :D and again I don't think he's had any issues either.

    My experience of degree courses (Computer Science specifically) is they are far to general, touching on large amount of tech and theory and really not going into depth on any. Computer Science is geared towards coding, at least mine was and it was not something I wanted to get into hence a failure to complete on my part.

    The lack of a degree I don't believe has hindered me in the slightest, I simply ignore the degree requirement if I see it on a job I want to apply for as I can't see it's purpose other than proof you can learn and I will happily tell any interviewer that. It may make a difference at the very top level of business, but then companies are more interested in business related degrees rather than anything else.

    That said, the experience of going to University was brilliant that first year was amazing, I wouldn't trade that at all. The debt is massive concern though especially these days, my debt was only 2 years worth and I only finished paying it back by around age 30 (although it would have been quicker as one job didnt make deductions when they should have, so would have been 28).

    It's really up to you what you decide.
     
    Certifications: CCNP, CCNA, MCP
    WIP: ??
  5. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Okay, thanks for the advice,

    I am currently working in an entry level job in the IT sector. Working both first and second line based rolls. My main interest at the minute has developed in networks, and I feel Cisco is the only way to break into that area, (well give me tools to get an entry level interview in networks) :)

    If I were to study a degree it would be a network based one, my main concern is having already attained the CCENT and about to sit the CCNA. Would I have already covered alot about networks? Is the 27K worth or should I continue to climb the corporate ladder?
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  6. Cunningfox

    Cunningfox Byte Poster

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    In my opinion for 27k and talking networking you could probably do CCNA, CCNP, CCNA:Sec, CCNP:Sec, CCIP, CCIE and maybe more and be a networking god. Is that worth more than a degree in terms of career, you betcha though I susupect it'll be more work as well.

    With experience you'll be looking at close to 6 figures with that lot I reckon, add a second CCIE and that'll probably do it. Purely looking at money, a BSc 1st with a CCNA will be looking at £25k maybe a bit higher if you land well post graduation? I know what I'd pick if I had £27k burning a hole somewhere ;).
     
    Certifications: CCNP, CCNA, MCP
    WIP: ??
  7. Stevie.f

    Stevie.f Bit Poster

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    Yes. Undoubtedly there is a point to having a degree. I have a degree in IT, and the experiece of university is something that I will take with me for the rest of my life. It is not just about learning, but learning how to learn, if that makes any sense. A lot of what was covered is fairly useless in the real world but it certainly provides a good foundation to build upon, and uni was the best time of my life.

    I don't think that anyone needs a degree, but if anyone wants one then they should go for it.

    The only problem that I've had is that a lot of companies want industry certs as well, so most graduates should probably look into getting some kind of certification as well in order to get a decent first job.
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons) Comuter Networks, CompTIA Cloud Essentials
  8. Wireless_Snake

    Wireless_Snake Nibble Poster

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    It all depends what type of personal you are currently I teach degree students and some of them just can not handle the pressure. There is a lot of work involved and in all fairness some of the stuff you do you might not even use once you get a job. That being said I went to university and got my degree in Computer Networking and I must say it was the best time of my life (so far) not just for the acedemic stuff but also the other stuff.

    What do you want to do? I would recommend that you have a think about it. There is advanatges and disadvantages to getting a degree its about personal interest. If your already doing a IT job I would recommend that you achieve your CCNA and then decide.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons) Computer Network Tech, CCNA, CCAI
    WIP: CCNP, VCP 5, SCP
  9. Monkeychops

    Monkeychops Kilobyte Poster

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    It's different for everyone so hard to say really.

    I wouldn't be where I am today without my degree as my first job was at a place where at the time a degree was a must have for any new hires.

    It wasn't a requirement in my current position however, but then I wouldn't have done the things I had done previously without that first job :p

    If you're already in an IT role and are wanting to pursue networking then to be honest as much as I think degrees are good I'd struggle to recommend it purely from a job point of view. As an experience then yeah it's great :)

    Not having one can be an issue when going for higher level jobs but again it's hard to generalise like that really as every person/job/company will have a different take on things.

    End of the day do what you want to do :)
     
  10. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster Forum Leader

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    It's so hard to say. I went to Uni and did electronics. But when I went it didn't cost 27K + rent and living expenses. With part-time work through my 2nd and 3rd year and summer jobs, I came out with under 2K debt.

    In day-to-day practical terms, it doesn't help a lot. The solid grounding in binary logic has been useful - subnetting a breeze when you can see it in binary - but day-to-day I mostly use stuff I learned long after uni. Though it has helped indirectly. It makes some employers take you more seriously. And when I went to work over in Japan, it was essential for the residency visa.

    Overall?
    Pros: fantastic environment, people take you more seriously after, and it certainly raises your game academically.
    Cons: £27K and 3 years of your life.

    Summary: probably wouldn't do it now. If your family are well-to-do it's not so bad, but I would be scared of taking on that kind of debt-burden. Would probably plug for an NVQ or Apprenticeship or something. And I'd miss out on a great experience.
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+; Security+, CTT+; MCDST; 4 x MTA (Networking, OS, Security & Server); MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Support; MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Administrator; MCITP - Server Administrator; MCSA - Server 2008; MCT; IOSH; CCENT
    WIP: CCNA; Server 2012; LPIC; JNCIA?
  11. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    The question of degree vs not gaining a degree can go on forever.

    However if you decide to go for a degree, there are other routes:

    1. Part-time degree, eg local university or college of HE
    2. Distance learning degree, eg OU
    3. Work based degree, eg BA (Hons) Learning through Technology

    As long as you're working while you study, you won't graduate with a massive amount of debt that graduates are racking up (as long as you live within your means). However there is a trade off; instead of graduating within 3 years, it'll take 5-6 years (depending on how many modules you do per year).
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  12. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    1. If considering studying full-time, study abroad in a country that does decent prices and tuition.

    2. If you are not academic at all then its likely a waste of time.

    3. Don't do a degree if you are primarily interested in IT support jobs or vocational subjects easier learnt elsewhere.

    4. If you have a half decent job already then study part time with evening classes, distance learning or modular credit.

    If you are interested in maths, physics, electrical engineering I think a degree is pretty important.

    The people that started companies like Cisco had electronics masters degrees.

    However if network engineer is the job you want and you are already in IT I'd recommend either a part time foundation degree or just following the Cisco academy tracks.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  13. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    I have to say it really depends. I don't have a degree but that fact certainly hasn't held me back career wise. What I have in my favour however was 10 years service in the Army which has stood me in good stead when I have had interviews.

    I then look at my brother who did not only a degree but also stayed on to do his MSc and I can see that it paid off for him really well (lives in a £1 million house, successful wife and about to move to Australia).

    Two apples from the same tree that fell into two different gardens, we both work in IT, are both relatively successful and both went different ways after school (my Uni degree was going to war, quite literally, whilst his was Industrial Archaeology).

    I think you have to ask yourself, what do you want from it and then decide if a degree is right for you.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
    Sparky likes this.
  14. pete.grant

    pete.grant Byte Poster

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    Personally I would look at degrees like any other commodty and in doing so would ask myself, is it value for money and is it worth the investment. I know far too many clever people who have left Uni and have either struggled to get work or are earning peanuts, so in today's climate I personally don't think they are worth the investment.

    People often point out how Uni is a life changing experience but let's face it, £27+ is an awful lot of money just to 'find yourself'.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
    Certifications: A+ IT Technician, CCENT, CEH, CPTS, CIW Security Analyst, ITIL v3 Foundation, Master CIW Administrator, MCITP (Windows Server 2008:SA), MCSA on Windows Server 2008, MCSA:Security on Windows Server 2003, MCTS (70-648, 70-652), Network+, SCNS, Security+, Server+
  15. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    You may as well just do 3 years in the Forces and use that as a way of 'finding' yourself, worked for me and a whole host of other people.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  16. Denver Maxwell

    Denver Maxwell Nibble Poster

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    honestly, is a degree worth £27k, nope.
    however it is a major life achievement (something to have pride in), but its not worth the paper its printed on in the world of IT, i see loads of people with degrees that can’t do sh8t, loads of them can however!, but really it does not matter to me one bit if someone has a degree, if they have the knowledge and capability mixed up with a good bit of determination and honesty. ive seen people without a single qualification totally dumfound people with master degrees in IT (Networking ect). The best Technical people ive worked with had a deep interest in the technology that they used and worked with, had the ability to ask "how the hell do you do that" (its the only way to learn), and were quite willing to show others. Best networking bloke i know completed his degree at 27 when he already had a bunch of MS + Cisco Certs. Best all-rounder (Network, Server, Desktop, Security etc) has not a qualification to his name (well ITIL and Prince..).
    Doing a degree is a growing up experience, its fun, its hard work its an amazing experience, but no in IT I don’t think its worth the money, unless your really in IT to make BIG money... and if you are id advise you to consider that there are far easier higher paying careers out there..
    If I was 18 and was starting out, id go straight for a job, get MS + Cisco Basic certs, find out what I liked, get some experience working in smaller company’s (all round IT) without the worry of debit. Then when I was about 20-21 id re consider the degree.
     
    Certifications: VMware VCP v5, GVF Level 3a, ITIL V3, Windows 2008 something or other...
    WIP: Prince 2? CCENT? mmm donno
  17. Gav

    Gav Kilobyte Poster

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    I didn't go to University, and I'm in a position where I could still go back to Uni, and not be a mature student (I'm only 19!), but I don't see much point (that, and I don't have any A-Levels...). I've been fortunate in that I've had a rapid career progression and I'm now in quite a senior position. I also earn a fair bit more than even the most generous graduate salary, which I'm quite happy about.

    IT seems to be one of the few careers where you can progress without a Degree. However, this doesn't necessarily seem to be the case in the USA. I did, briefly, look at jobs in the States, and a lot of the senior roles specifically requested degrees. The job applications in the UK tend to ask for a degree or equivalent experience, but this doesn't seem to be the case in the US.

    With all the above in mind, however, I am a very 'academic' person, and think I would have enjoyed studying Computer Science at University. I'm not sure whether, in hindsight, I would have dropped out of school, but I would definitely recommend to anyone else that they pursue academia as far as they can, regardless of future career prospects.

    - Gav

    (P.S. - if you want to PM me to discuss the finer points of anything above, feel free!)
     
  18. zxspectrum

    zxspectrum Gigabyte Poster Premium Member

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    Well i did go down the degree route and as im applying for jobs in the IT sector i find that i still need all the rest of the certs like your comptia or n+ and others that people have mentioned.

    My degree was too general, we covered a lot of topics and only a few of them will help me out. I mean ethical research was one of the subjects. I also found that some of the 'lecturers' merely read off slides, and when you posted questions to them, the reply was have you read your books, have you looked again at the slides. There were few from the industry who actually had any IT relevant experience.

    Would i do it all again, no, not a chance, id read up more and save myself the hassle, and go down the certification route. Im glad ive got the degree because i can be proud of what ive achieved, but id rather be able to have my certs now. Ive not been able to do them purely down to cost and im 21K in debt

    Ed
     
    Certifications: BSc computing and information systems
    WIP: 70-680
  19. Monkeychops

    Monkeychops Kilobyte Poster

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    Not sure what I'd do really if I was 18 again having to make the choice, at the time I 'only' came out with about 10k debt from student loan (which thankfully is all done and dusted now), but with the increased fees now it's a lot more expensive.

    I know that the debt is taken as 'good' debt, it's all means tested and you don't pay if you don't earn, but just seems like it'll be there hanging over you for a long time.

    Tough call.
     
  20. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I don't buy the 'good debt' argument for most people, it still has to be paid back, and this is at a time when jobs are hard to find, salaries are dropping, and costs are rising, this generation will probably have to pay more tax and have higher housing prices also.

    I wouldn't want to leave university with more than 15k of debt.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
    lewisb likes this.

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