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Discussion: Degree vs MCPs certs

Discussion in 'MCDST' started by Stuka, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Stuka

    Stuka Nibble Poster

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    Hi all,

    I had a heated discussion with a mate on Saturday night. We both went to uni together, both studied I.T (BSc Hons) and we both ended up with a 2:1 degree.

    Now, he seems to think that me doing the Microsoft certs, when I already have a degree is a complete waste of time. He claims that the degree is far more advanced and holds more weight than any Microsoft Qualification, whether its the MCSA/MCSE or a billion MCPs!

    He seems to think that because I want to make a career working with networks/servers, that I'm "under selling myself" - because we studied stuff like Databases, programming, web design, SQL etc at uni...he believes that server stuff is just for "support staff" and "doesn't make you much money".

    This wound me up a little, because I'm now starting to wonder whether pursuing an MCP (rather, the MCDST) is worth it, since I have a degree. My mate's under the impression that MCPs are just for anyone without any experience with computing, a sort of "walk in" certification that does not concern any real background experience...

    I'm certainly not put off by his opinions, as I personally think that he's talking rubbish. But its niggling at me a little bit...guys, what do you think?
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
    Certifications: IT 2:1 Degree, A+, N+, MCDST
    WIP: MCITP
  2. DC Pr0Mo

    DC Pr0Mo Kilobyte Poster

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    Personally speaking I don't think it would be a waste of time, If anything it will widen your knowledge of all things microsoft. His train of thought sounds like you go to uni, obtain degree, nothing more to learn, when in truth the learnng process is just begining.

    Has your mate landed a job yet with his degree?
     
    Certifications: MCDST | BSc Network Computing
    WIP: 70-291 | 70-293 | 70-294 | 70-297
  3. Stuka

    Stuka Nibble Poster

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    The funny thing is, he hasn't had a steady job since he left uni!

    I don't think you can just walk out of uni with a degree and straight into a good job. You need more than that.
     
    Certifications: IT 2:1 Degree, A+, N+, MCDST
    WIP: MCITP
  4. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    Entry-level certs, like degrees, are meant to get you your first job.
    If the degree isn't being much help, maybe the certs will.

    I've just started a job and amongst the other new starts there's one person with an IT degree, and one with 9 years experience as a SOHO computer engineer. This is for a consumer support role so it's hardly taxing on the old brain. That's the job market just now though.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  5. Stuka

    Stuka Nibble Poster

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    I know where you're coming from, Soundian. Since I left uni, I've worked as an IT Tech in a secondary school for 3 years. I'm doing the certs to try and give my CV some weight. My friend just seems to think that I'm wasting my time as an IT tech, and that my degree should basically be earning me a lot more money.

    Like everything, you have to start somewhere. I don't plan on being a techy all my life.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
    Certifications: IT 2:1 Degree, A+, N+, MCDST
    WIP: MCITP
  6. DC Pr0Mo

    DC Pr0Mo Kilobyte Poster

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    Certifications: MCDST | BSc Network Computing
    WIP: 70-291 | 70-293 | 70-294 | 70-297
  7. zxspectrum

    zxspectrum Gigabyte Poster Premium Member

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    Im in the last stages of my degree now, ive gone part time so ill finish next year. However i dont think that i can walk into a 25k a year job, unlike some of the 'wet behind the ears' students who havent worked properly at all. Im counting on my potential employer wanting to invest in training for me while i work for them, but i know i cant fully expect that and may have to dip into my own pocket

    To be honets my experience of uni isnt that good, i think the majority of the lecturers wont give you a decent answer even if they tried, as one of my mates said the other day, i was asking a tutor something about databases and she replied, well how did you get to where you were, he told her, and she looked puzzled and said shed be back in a moment, but never did.

    End of the day if you have a degree and you can get all the other certs i cant see it doing you any harm, unless it makes you over qualified for a position that you want.

    Ed
     
    Certifications: BSc computing and information systems
    WIP: 70-680
  8. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Does your mate actually have a clue what he is talking about? It doesn’t sound like that to me.

    Getting a degree is a great achievement but IT is a constant learning process and certs are valuable especially in IT support. This can be desktop or network support.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  9. crazy horse

    crazy horse Byte Poster

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    I finished my degree last year and started a graduate position in second line (granted I had a years experience already in IT). I have gone on to do my MCDST and will be doing my 70-680 soon. My Degree although in IT doesn't provide me with all the skills needed for my current role. Certain modules help but the only way to get better is to continue learning and gain further skills.

    Therefore, I disagree with your mate as I think getting certified has certainly helped me in my role and shows my employer that I am prepared to learn and take my job seriously.
     
  10. Sco0t

    Sco0t Byte Poster

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    Haha exactly. Your mate hasn't had a steady job since he left, thats the proof of the pudding. Surely having any job whether it's not as good as you were hoping to walk into is better than nothing?

    I wouldn't be left disheartned, a degree just get's your foot in the door. It's about how hard your willing to work to progress further.

    I was lucky to leave Uni and literally walk straight into a job that was better than I expected.

    Just keep plugging away and look out for anything that you think you are capable off.

    Like I once got told a job description listing several skills, is like a wishlist for an employer..obviously it's good to have them but not always a pre-requisite.
     
    Certifications: Bsc Net/Sys Support, HND Tech Support
    WIP: Network+
  11. danielno8

    danielno8 Gigabyte Poster

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    Your mate is a silly billy
     
    Certifications: CCENT, CCNA
    WIP: CCNP
  12. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    You're exactly right. A degree doesn't give you a shortcut up the IT career ladder... everyone starts at the bottom (unless you have an uncle who is an IT manager and is willing to take a chance on you). That said, the knowledge that you get while pursuing your degree will likely help you advance up that ladder faster than others, and over time, your degree will help you get jobs that are otherwise unavailable to those who don't have a degree.

    Your friend has fallen into the trap... the mindset that tells him that he is "too good" for the bottom of the IT career ladder. Problem is... no employer in their right mind is going to hire someone without experience to administer networks or servers. A degree doesn't automagically qualify you to administer networks or servers. Anyone who has been in IT for any longer than a few months knows how different "book learning" and "classroom/lab environments" are from a "real-world environment". And IT managers certainly know this.

    To answer your question, a degree and certifications are not mutually exclusive, and both are helpful in getting a job. But NEITHER is a substitute for experience. Someone with experience will almost always get the job over someone with certifications, a degree, or both. That said... someone with experience + certifications + a degree will usually get a job over someone with just experience. ;)

    Hope this helps.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  13. Sco0t

    Sco0t Byte Poster

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    Hit the nail on the head with that one, ahmen to that.
     
    Certifications: Bsc Net/Sys Support, HND Tech Support
    WIP: Network+
  14. Stuka

    Stuka Nibble Poster

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    Thanks for your contributions, guys. Some really interesting responses there.

    I agree with you all. A degree is not the Holy Grail to success in IT, it just shows that you can learn and take things onboard. I think my mates more concerned that I'm just a humble techy, with a degree under my belt. But as I told him, its tough out there, and like many of you have already said, you have to start somewhere...I might be a tech for another 3 years, but I'll eventually move up the ladder.

    For me, a degree in IT doesn't mean you have to stick to something like Database admin, or programming. Thats what my friend seems to think. You can go to uni and do a degree in IT, but end up pursuing a career in missionary work!

    Respect to you all.
     
    Certifications: IT 2:1 Degree, A+, N+, MCDST
    WIP: MCITP
  15. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Yep... my degree is in Chemistry, and I never got a Chemistry job.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  16. jaydean

    jaydean Bit Poster

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    I have been in the IT industry a number of years and have a MSc and a Microsoft MCSE

    The Microsoft MCSE has been more useful, for majority of role, the reason?

    Well it shows that you know and can apply many of the best practices esposed by the manufacturer of a product, be it Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle etc

    The Degree is nice when you move up to senior management posts, but the Vendor certs are the way of industry.

     

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