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If you have an IT degree, why take certs?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Mathematix, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    Hi all

    I've been floating around these forums for quite a while trying to get my head around why people take certs, their value both inside and outside of IT and their value next to traditional education. I have no interest in doing them, nor do I need them as I'm already working in an industry that I was aiming for in the job that I wanted, but I do have several actual friends with them who tell me they are lacking. I know that loads of people are going to bite me for this, but here are my findings anyway:

    1. Certs have no value outside of the IT industry.
    2. Certs are perceived as a quick way to getting into the IT industry.
    3. Certs do not provide a well-rounded education for IT or any other aspect of computing.
    4. A string of IT certs could actually cost more than going for a traditional degree.
    5. With degrees you have a recognised qualification for life, whereas certs need 'upgrading'.
    6. Test centers charge thousands for what could be got for a couple-hundred quid!
    7. Certs allow people not suited to any form of work in the IT industry to get work. I particularly take note of this thread regarding kobem's suitability for the industry. Although I agree, there are many others here that I would put in Kobem's group.

    As the title suggests, I've also noticed that people who are either about to graduate, or have actually graduated with a computing degree of some form still feel the need to take a string of certs. What is the reasoning behind this? Why do people thing that their degrees are lacking to the extent that certs are required to 'fill-in the gaps'?

    These are genuine questions, so please don't take it as me having a dig. I know how the concensus here is to group together when feeling threatened. ;)
     
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  2. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    True

    Also true, I learned not to take anything as a sure fire way into IT, I was told I would get a decent job in IT after I left uni but found out this was un-true.

    I think certs do provide a well rounded education for IT, I can only speak of the A+ but it is geared towards what you need to know as an entry level tech and that is what the A+ is for.

    Yes a cert could cost £1500 or more but a traditional degree usually means living away from your area and living in a crappy flat which costs a lot, most students end up with 10k or more debts so I think certs even if you have A+, N+, MCDST, MCSA, MCSE wouldn't cost you anywhere near the uni cost.

    Not all certs need upgrading.

    Thats why I recommend self study.

    Yes I agree someone could get into IT with a cert and not be suited to IT. btw who have you noticed?

    I have actually learned new things doing the A+ which I didn't learn at uni, they may have been talked about but I may have been pissed or asleep. Just because you have a degree does not mean you learned anything.

    These are genuine questions, so please don't take it as me having a dig. I know how the concensus here is to group together when feeling threatened. ;)[/QUOTE]
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  3. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Hi Mathematix,

    Some interesting points, and no, I'm not going to dig, as I don't personally feel there's anything to dig at.

    As someone without a degree, but aspiring to one day have one, and with certifications, here's how I see it at the moment.

    IT as an industry fluctuates as to the way it treats levels of education. Certifications are constantly upgrading to meet the changing standards of the industry we are in. This is one fundamental difference in IT as opposed to some places - the certifications we obtain in IT need to be re-sat or 'upgraded' as the technologies advance at a rapid pace. Someone who is an MCSE for Windows NT obviously worked hard to get their certification - but that doesn't prove that they have the established knowledge in a Server 2003 environment.

    As for my comment on the way education is treated in IT, there do seem to be fluctuations of 'buzz' certifications. These are often devalued through certain people abusing braindumps and 'cheating' their way into a job. This image does no one working in IT any favours. I (personally) think the MCSE is a certification at the centre of braindumping devaluation at the moment.

    A degree is a different level and method of education to certification, and I don't really think they should be treated in the same context.

    A degree teaches the student to be able to think and research independently. IT degrees seem highly theory based. They should allow the student to enter into a fulfilling career without having to certify as anything else. What I think the main obstruction is, is what the students themselves want to achieve. For example, someone having done a degree in 'Computing' could potentially cover subjects as diverse as mathematics, Java, artificial intelligence and databases. Whilst this is a good wide-ranging level of education, if the student wants to develop a career in networking, it's not going to stand them in much good stead at all, hence pursuing a CCNA or suchlike after graduating.

    I would expect students that have a degree to be able to self-study with more ease than most, because of the learning practises they have already gained at University.

    But, enough of the rambling. I will try to answer your statements briefly, and in context.

    This is true, but then most vocational certifications will have little or no value other than in the industry at which they are aimed. The same would be true for training as a dentist, as a florist, in travel and tourism or as an electrician or plumber.

    So are degrees - and they are perceived as a quick way into any industry, through the innumerate graduate programs leaking around the place. At CF, we will always try to give rounded advice that experience is a must, but something has to give in the experience/certifications debate. If you have no experience in IT, a cert may provide you with an edge over another candidate, but you will still have to prove your mettle in the working environment to keep your job and your career on track.

    Only experience can provide a well-rounded education in IT. Certifications help focus your knowledge on specific aspects and areas. The vast range of disciplines you can enter in IT makes it difficult for your education to be completely 'rounded'. Certifications help you to focus where you want your expertise to lie, and help show prospective employers what you could be capable of.

    That would depend how many certs, in all honesty. The average cost of a degree (from this link) was £33,512 last year. I could get a lot of certifications for this price.

    See my point above. The beauty for me of working in IT is that it's an industry that's always advancing. A certification that doesn't change with the times is near useless in such an environment, and the people working within it should be able to show that they are developing along with the technologies they use.

    Not true. Training providers charge thousands, and it's always up to the individual as to whether they study with a provider or not.

    Certs are not a Golden Ticket into Willy Wonka's IT Wonderland. First, people have to pass the certification. To use your example, I believe Kobem is actually studying for a degree, so that works kind of against your argument.

    Nevertheless - yes, people will get certs in the belief they will get a way into IT. If they do somehow blag their way into a job, they will have to prove themselves every day. If they don't have what it takes to work in IT, then they will be sacked, and they will find it difficult to get work. Just because someone has a certification, it doesn't make them unsackable; it doesn't make someone instantly hireable.

    Hope this helps towards your debate. Thanks for an interesting topic of discussion :biggrin
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  4. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    So if University didn't give what was promised, what makes you think certs would? Even though they are geared towards your ultimate goal, there is nothing there to offer any more of a promise.

    Reading over the forums I see many with certs still asking the same questions as a regular graduate.

    I beg to differ on that score. I've seen certified individuals struggle with problems that should not be an issue for them. Some of the problems themselves regarding both hardware and software issue I have resolved through trial and error without any major disasters - I simply am not sold on certs purely on this issue.

    Not true. In my university days I live in halls, student flats and privately rented accommodation which were all of a very good to reasonable standard - and I wasn't the world's richest student!

    I've had a look at the material that is covered for the A+ certification as an example. For my degree we barely spent a semester on that material and covered it all. doing a quick mental calculation on that it costed me personally roughly £400 and I got a bonus of learning why architectures are that way and their history. I think i came off with the better deal!

    Fair point. But given that technonogy advances at such a rate, if someone has a four year-old cert and have not been in IT all that time, what do they do? A good degree is with you for good.


    Awesome!

    I won't mention names. All I can say is that if more had your passion an willingness to learn they have a genuine chance, IMO! ;)

    If you didn't pay attention you can't blame degrees for that. Also, degrees don't teach you everything, nor do they promise to! what degrees do is seperate the 'men from the boys' in terms of those who have the scope to grasp concepts quickly from those who don't for their chosen profession. Maybe it's not the most reliable system, but it is generally very accurate.
     
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  5. Rob1234

    Rob1234 Megabyte Poster

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    If you have an IT degree, why take certs? - Short answer you can never learn enough!

    I have a degree which taught me a lot but I have to agree with what Arroyn says a degree course can cover a wide area of subjects which mine did but but like she says if you go in to networking or security learning a lot of what I learnt will not be needed but Security+ would be a good cert to take.
     
    Certifications: A few.
  6. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
    WIP: > 0
  7. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Sorry to answer questions with a question Mathematix, but I am curious.

    You have a degree, and have a job in IT, which you are happy in (I am making this assumption off your profile, and the fact that you have never compained about it!)

    How did your experience go, with finding your job without any other certifications? Did you have a work-based placement which you moved in to? Did you tailor your career with that specific job in mind?
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  8. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I know people who have IT degrees and barley scrape through each day in their jobs

    I lived in halls also and yes they were a reasonable standard but I thought they were too expensive for a student.

    Well when I did Business computing at uni we did learn what they A+ was probably back then in a semester, the reason I am doing it was because I stopped looking for jobs so I could just concentrate on paying of my debts, but that will be finished end of March so I thought I better relearn what I am fuzzy on and relearn anything I have forgot.

    Degree material changes also.

    :D


    I think some people want to do IT because they believe its really good money, I just enjoy it.


    agreed. :D
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  9. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    *phew* :biggrin

    Ahhh! But why do you still want the degree?

    Yes, but wouldn't experience from NT specifically be enough to be able to work with Server 2003? In my experience this is the only area of computing where experience is somewhat undervalued in respect to certs. I know that this comment goes against the perception of certs + experience = job, but the onus is still there that no matter what, a certs is required. I actually have a problem with that.

    And as long as braindump users can get jobs, certs will continue to have little value.

    But, if certified candidates are going for the same entry-level jobs as grads then you have no choice but to compare the two levels of education to deduce who is most suited to the job.

    For every job that I've had in computing (support and programming), my CV has carried me through - in many cases being accepted for a job without interview and always showing that I've been capable of doing the job, often excelling. Not sure how many certs can say that. On the other hand I have also experienced drought periods.

    Strongly disagree on this point! the reason why degree education is so diverse as you've quite rightly stated, is to give the student the grounding to learn further concepts out in the professional world. A degree prepares you to be a professional, whereby certs, as far as I can see, claim to give you the skills that are supoosed to make you a pro. This clearly can't be true for certs.

    Contradicted your previous statement a little there. But perfectly right none-the-less.

    Other 'vocations' offer more transferrable skills. Someone in travel and tourism, for instance, could just as well perform in retail or customer relations, for instance.

    Degrees are by no means a 'quick way' into anything. First degrees take a minimum of three years to complete, whereas a cert can be done in a couple of months, maybe?

    After I graduated I had no experience in IT, yet walked into a support role after a ten minute interview!

    This is the first ever arguement for certs that has ever made any sense to me! :biggrin


    Need to be careful with these stats, as different degrees cost different amounts. Law and Medicine are the most expensive and reflect your quoted amount as far as I've seen. Less than half of £33,512 makes more sense.

    Yeah, but this goes back to my point above regarding experience. Does an experienced individual really need a new cert to prove that they can use the new tools? Surely if they're working in the environment then they would have experience anyway.

    Not true that an individual can study with the same materials for less, or not true that training providers always charge thousands?

    Doesn't go against my arguement in the slightest! I find it hard to believe that they are doing a computing-related degree at masters level. I know that at my old University they would not have got on the course, and if they did, be asked to leave.

    And this is one of the other problems I have with certs! If someone isn't able to perform when they have certs that say they can, this means that a genuinely skilled candidate has to again wait their turn. This not only is unfair to a skilled candidate, but also wastes the employer's time and money.

    Certs need to be a lot tougher to weed out the weak individuals.

    Thank you for such great replies. I have to say that you had me thinking! :biggrin
     
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  10. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Hi,

    I might as well put my 2 cents in :)

    Just like Arroryn stated: Professional/Vocational certs are aim specifically at specific industries. Take your Specialist Nurse, eg Cancer Nurse or Asthma Nurse, they have to take a course and be certified in that area before they take on a specialist role.

    That may be a view of some people, but not all, alot of this is spread thru marketing and braindumps.

    Professional certs are not there to provide a well-rounded education for IT, that's what acadmic/vocational (NVQ's, diplomas, degree's are there for).

    That's neither here or there, I did my degree part-time in the evenings and it cost me £600 per year for 5 years (£3000), I do have a long list of professional certs also, however I got some of them sponsored/paid for by my employers.

    Not all certs need upgrading, but also remember that degrees are not suited for everyone, hence NVQ's, which would you say is higher a degree or an NVQ 5? If you look at the NQF you'll see that they are at the same level. This is why the NQF exists and this is how we are able to vocational, academic and professional certs/diploma's and degree's to one framework in the UK. See here.

    Not true, I think you're getting confused between, training centre's and testing centre's. Like any purchase, the consumer (eg student) has to shop around to see what "company" is offering the best deal. IMO, the academic institutes that are academies normally offer the best rates as they get Government funding.

    Again, this is a general view and is applied to every industry. The word "cert" can be changed to "diploma", "degree", etc...

    A short List:
    1. Degree's do not teach everything. Having a degree does not mean that you can enter an IT job and run a system. If degree included everything in them, you'd never finish your degree.
    2. So that you can specialise.
    3. For career progression & I believe that (and I'm saying that as an IT Manager)
    4. So you can show CPD (continuing Professional Development), in the US I believe it's called CEU??? And as a profession (just like lawers, nurses, doctors) I believe that this is a good thing. To ensure that we as professionals do not stagnate.

    Just my opinions.

    -Ken

    This is not to say that I place more value on professional certs that degree's. Each type of cert/cred/qual has it's own place and each should be repected, especially when more and more are being mapped to the NQF.

    -ken
     
    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
  11. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    Hey, no problem! Havnig a 'non-cert believer' like me better helps people better balance their decisions. :)

    I used to work in IT, but now work in games.

    I never worked any internships, as the degree that I took meant constant study for three years. During that time I didn't know what I wanted to do with it, I know that I didn't want to become a business application developer, so thought about working for defense. During my studies I specialised in academic AI (NNs and genetic algorithms) for my final year.

    My job-finding pattern hasn't been smooth, as after graduating I landed a first-line IT support role within four months. Did I like it? Not particularly, but the money was very good and I was having a kid at the time. after one year work dried up in IT, so I joined the NHS in both IT and non-IT roles depending on where the work was. NHS IT often asked for my return, but although the people I worked with were a great I couldn't just up stick and move a few doors down into the IT department for various reasons involving job security.

    Just after graduating I didn't realised that I wanted to work in games until a games recruiter contacted me. Whilst doing the jobs described above I spent four years preparing myself, using my education to get to know how games are developed and writing them for myself. After programming for the finance industry (which I did very reluctantly) I joined the QA department of a game studio and moved up to programming which is considered to be a rather unnatural progression. I made use of the 2 years in QA to prove myself as a programmer by getting the message across that I have this education and can program.

    It's about perseverance when looking for a job in computing. Yes, my degree can from a good university but I realised that if this education couldn't get me what I wanted then nothing will. I knew that it was down to me to make sure that my education really did make me an individual capable of doing the job at hand. :)
     
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  12. JonGlory

    JonGlory Byte Poster

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    If you have an IT degree, why take certs?

    Because a degree is generally a waste of time, a jack of all trades master of none, A cert like CCNA , or MCSE is focused on a certain technology only, it is more interesting in my opinion to learn.

    I got a degree because I had the chance to get one, it would have been a waste of time apart from the fact that I got it, and can state that i got it, as for learning new material in network computing, it was a waste of time to be honest.
     
    WIP: LIFE
  13. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Thank you for that :)

    I didn't realise you worked on first line before progressing to where you are now - and great kudos to you for the way you have obviously gone about your education and your career. Your comments about finding a job in IT being about perseverance are spot on, and a lot could do well to take note of that.

    I have always been cautious when discussing the degrees and certifications debate, as they are two completely different ways of going about progressing your career.

    So we don't end up with a thread full of quotes, I'll try to be succint in my answers to your post :biggrin sorry if any of this appears sarcastic, but some Knights are saying 'ni' in the background, and it's making me flippant :biggrin

    Well... kind of to right a wrong, to tell you the truth.

    I had an excellent standard of secondary education, and was destined to go to Uni - I had a conditional place and so forth - but *reasons* that were unfortunately well within my control meant that I never went. Without sounding too 'up myself', I want to do my standard of education and what I feel my intelligence is worth, by pushing myself as far academically as I can. A degree falls into that list, as well as several certifications I would like to pursue.

    But ever since I decided not to go to University, my perspectives on gaining a degree changed, and JonGlory's post may (or may not) help emphasise my personal thoughts on it.

    I believe that for a lot of people, you are specialised (via a degree) at too young an age. Deciding what you want to do as a career, potentially for the rest of your life, and dedicating three years of your youth to studying something you may not truly desire to do... it seems almost wrong, but that is the academic system we have. I hear of a lot of students doing degrees because 'they just need a career that pays' or 'their brothers did it'. That's shocking. I hear a lot more satisfied mature students, because they have had the time and experience of working in the real world, and have a true idea of where their desires actually lie with regards to a career.

    I have two cases in point - myself, and my boyfriend (sorry, he's going to get mentioned quite a bit in this post...)

    I love IT. I love computers. I love... being a geek. And the degree I'd accepted to do was... *fanfare* ... classical archaelogy and ancient history.

    Although history is one of my *passions* I can think of no way now how I would have forged that into a career I could have accepted. I cannot speak publicly, so I could never have taught, for a start.

    The other case in point is my other half - he has worked as an electrical engineer for the last ten years, and this year started a part-time degree sponsored by his company. I have never seen anyone so passionate about what they were studying. He passed his first module, and his lecturer felt obliged to tell him he'd scored 100%. I'm so proud of him.

    So, back to the topic... I want a degree because I owe it to myself to push myself. I was given my intelligence for a reason. To not use it, would be a waste.


    Allowing someone with only NT experience to work on your Server 2003 infracstructure (I think) would be tenuously disastrous at best. I will answer other portions of this later on.

    I agree with your comment on degree education (and its diversity) but not on certifications. A certification cannot *give* you the skills to make you a pro. Entry level certifications such as the A+ and N+ prepare you for the wondrous world of IT. Certifications such as the CCNA and MCSE clearly state on the company sites, that people undertaking such exams should have years of experience working on the technology before attempting the exams.

    There are people out the braindumping their way through, or being duped by training providers, but in the end skills will out and these people will be out of jobs. But I do agree with you entirely that it is unfair, and one hired braindumper means an honest person has to wait. But fairness is not the way of the world unfortunately. As you have already said, perseverance is the key.

    But surely they would be getting their job because of their customer-facing skills, as opposed to their vocational qualification? I could easily work into a customer-facing service role with my helpdesk experience, and my certifications wouldn't come into play.

    Again, it depends on the level of certification you are focusing on. If you are describing entry level certifications, then the difficulty should not be compared to a degree, and they would take a couple of months. But the quick route only depends on the ability of the person with the Cert. As I say, if you are rubbish at the job, cert or not, you'll be out on your end.

    I only mean degrees as a 'quick route' once they are obtained and used to gain entry to graduate programmes; I wouldn't want to belittle the time, money or effort anyone spent getting a degree. But getting a CCNP for example, demands you to have the CCNA as a prerequisite. There's around a year studying for someone who has experience in the industry.

    Thank you :)

    I personally think that would depend on the individual circumstances. If you are static with the company you work for, but progressing internally, and your boss knows that you can do the job... then no, you don't need to recertify. But if you are looking for a new job, the likelihood of the prospective employers having a virtual test lab to give you a practical are slight. The Cert is like your swimming certificate. They won't throw you in just to see if you can drown if they see it, but when you do finally enter the water, they expect you to be able to swim as well as that certificate says you can.

    Another thing about certifications which hasn't yet been mentioned, is that they can be a route to get onto a degree course.

    Just because you have computing certifications, does not mean you have previously suceeded academically. When I go for a degree, I will use my A Levels and the strength of my work experience to get on the course.

    My other half did not have the same opportunities as me at school. If we use stereotypes, I went to a top-notch grammar school, and he went to a defunct comprehensive, where no one was allowed to sit higher than Foundation or Intermediate GCSE (unless they were really special...)

    As a result, his CV is missing even the most basic GCSEs to get you into a lot of sixth form colleges, never mind considered for a degree course.

    His work sponsored him to do an ONC in electrical engineering through his local Tresham college. I'm not sure what happened RE his GCSEs - I think he had to do a test before they let him on the course... at any rate, he got his ONC - a vocational qualification.

    The strength of this ONC and his work experience were what got him on his degree course, despite his lack of 'standard' qualifications.

    I believe that educational institutions also consider computing certifications in the same light. So they could be used by people to open up opportunities for undergraduate levels of study - if the OU isn't for you, that is.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  14. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    What makes everything in this debate moot is that I've worked with some people who only had a degree, some people who only had IT certs, some people who only had A Levels and some people with NO certifications of higher education. In all cases, from each group, some of them were good, some of them were bad.

    Seems to me that it doesn't matter a jot what your educational background is - either you 'get' IT or you don't. No amount of certifications, degrees or swimming diplomas will persuade me that you are a better prospective employee than the guy/gal who can sit and chat to me for fifteen minutes about routing protocols simply because you ENJOY doing it.

    I have a diploma (not quite a degree) which isn't remotely related to IT - I also have some pretty decent certifications to me name which I am (rightly) proud of. However, that isn't the be all and end all for me. Far more important is the fact that I LOVE what i do for a living - I live it and breathe it. And, if you can get to an interview and convince an employer that you love it too, then you will have no problems working in this industry, for the simple reason that there are hundreds, if not thousands of people out there who got IT degrees, or IT certs, because they thought it was the way to untold riches. IT isn't like accounting, or HR, or Sales. You can't just come to work and do your 8 hours in a daze. You need to love what you are doing - without that it doesn't matter whether you have an MCSE, a CCIE, an MSc or a PhD
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  15. dpbarry

    dpbarry Bit Poster

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    Hi folks ..

    Ive read down through the above post and in my opinion (for what it's worth) is that each (degrees, certs etc) has their part to play.

    I'm nearly 20 years in my current job and my highest level of education is a HNC in Business IT (computing). I didn't do a degree because, to be honest, I didn't think I was smart enough to do one. Looking back now, I'm in someways sorry I didn't do one based on people I've worked with. I just don't have the money or time to do one now. A colleague from another support unit who did a part time degree said that it was difficult trying to juggle his day time work and studies and if I was contemplating on doing a degree, to look carefully as to which course I wanted to do. His course actually didn't bear any resemblence to what his actual work entailed but needed a degree to progress up the career ladder and the course he did was the nearest.

    In my colleagues opinion (we discussed it) practical experience in his job was what counted. He doesn't know of any degree that prepares someone to do the practical everyday jobs that are required to manage and run a networks system. Yes, the business side of the course helped, but he witnessed (as I have) that theoretical knowledge doesn't mean that the person also has the practical knowledge. It has to be balanced. That is where day to day practical skills need to be honed.

    I keep hearing from informed sources in industry that our universities are not aiming courses at what industries need. Courses need to have a balanced approach of theory and genuine practical skills

    I've been asked by everyone who has worked with me as to what degree I did to gain the knowledge I have of computers. The bewildered look on their face says it all when I say I don't have a degree. I just end up explaining that I went to the University of Life and picked it all up as I went.

    I follow up by saying Yes, go for a degree but also do the following:

    1. Whilst you will (hopefully) end up having a degree, remember that you are only being taught the technolgy that was applicable and predicted at that particular time of your degree and you need to follow up and read up on current technologies.

    2. Gain as much practical experience as possible. How?? Build you own systems and test out theories. You will be surprised at some of the outcomes. Not all you learn in theory is practical.

    3. Read, read and practice

    :tune Just my opinions and observations.

    Declan
     
    Certifications: None at present
    WIP: None at present
  16. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    I had a typed a massive post for this thread and then deleted it after I read this as it is 100% true and summarised what I was going to post. Again to back up what zeb has posted it you actually care about what you are doing when configuring a network ,or whatever you are doing, then you will go places. There are way too many people working in IT who just don’t do things the right way and this generally creates more work for everyone else.

    The original question was “If you have an IT degree, why take certs?”

    Nowhere in my degree did it tell me how to migrate from Windows NT to a Server 2003 domain. The MCSE at least gives you a starting point if you had to take on that kind of project. Also I think certs give a structured way to learn a particular product, that can only be a good thing.

    Given the choice to put a degree, certs or commercial experience on my CV I would take all three to be honest! :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  17. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    -Ken
     
    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
  18. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    Like all test centers are not created equal, likewise for universities. Granted that many have weak courses that give a First on a whim, but disregard a good first degree from a good university suggests that not enough research has been done by the employer in finding good graduates.

    And yes, with a degree from a good institution and a genuinely hard-working gradtuate, their degree should be a ticket to employment - they have put the work in and deserve it!

    I've never come across a cheat from a good university, tbh. Regarding kobem, a lot of what was said to them about not being suitable for IT because they cannot grasp certain concepts rang true of many other users on these forums, but such matters appear not to be highlighted to these other individuals.

    Fair enough.
     
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  19. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    Good point. Maybe I am, but ultimately I'm focussing on the final cost of being awarded the cert.

    No way. If a cert is interchangeable with a degree, then universities would offer certs. To my knowledge none do.

    Certs simply don't have the content to match an appropriate degree.

    I agree, as long as they are respected for what they are worth. I have to admit that I do take exception to the in-depth knowledge given to me through a degree being comparable to a cert, especially when a degree takes so much more work to get.
     
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  20. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    Thanks for the kudos, Arroryn. :)

    That's an interesting and again very informative post. Thanks again! Your experiences with your boyfriend strangely somewhat reflect my experiences. My big brother went to boarding school and didn't bother with university, whereas I chose to go to state comprehensive, sixth form college, and follow onto university. I can see your reasons for wanting to do certs as you are:

    1. Clear where they lie in respect to a degree.
    2. Doing them as part of a passion and to fulfil your work role.
    3. To round off your education you are still going to pursue a degree.

    Looking over these forums not many people seem to realise the valid points that you have made. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.

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