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University or Certs

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Smiley, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. Smiley

    Smiley Bit Poster

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm currently in the middle of a decision between University and Work/Certs. Basically I've had enough of my current IT job, I've been there 3 years and had a really good time though I can't progress anywhere and it's doubtful anywhere else would hire me.

    I'm 21 years old and I dropped out of both college and 6th form (stupid choice).

    I have recently been presented with the opportunity to go to University and do a Network & Security degree (the 2 fields I'd kill to be in). I also have the benefit of being able to drop my job whenever I need to, though I will miss the money lol!

    I'm not doing this for career progression but more for the wealth of knowledge found at University (especially this one, they taught me my CCNA). I may even pursue it further if I did well enough.

    My basic question is, is it worth it?
    What would you do?
    What did you do?
    What would you of done if given the choice again?

    Thanks in advance

    :D :D Smiley :D :D
     
  2. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Hi Smiley

    There are two views on this:

    1. What do think it's worth to you, your career development & any future plans of migrating to another country and
    2. What do you think it'll be worth to employers, noting that some jobs (well the level of jobs I'm looking at) specify/require a degree or equivalent.

    Well what I did was both of them together. I worked full-time and did my degree part-time. During work and breaks I studied for my professional certs.

    I would do the same thing all over again.

    Yes it was very hard, there were times when I wanted to pack it all in, however I didn't. I continued to gain the experience that is valuable (plus the no breaks in work history), the professional cert to reflect my experience and the degree that I was aiming for.

    Working full-time and studying part-time isn't for everyone, choose the path that suits you the best :)

    -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
  3. Smiley

    Smiley Bit Poster

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    How long did your Part-time degree take?
     
  4. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    It took me 5 years, part-time. However in the 5th year I dropped out due to personal circumstances, hence why I got my BSc and not my Hons. I could have finished after 4 years, without paying for my 5th year (the 5th year is only for the Hons part).

    I did the HNC -> BSc route.

    -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
  5. Smiley

    Smiley Bit Poster

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    Did you find a degree opened more doors?
     
  6. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Hi Smiley, I did the exact same thing as Ken, except that I didn't do any certs until I'd finished my part time degree. I've read many discussions on this website about Cert Vs Degree and in my humble opinion, if its possible to have both, this is the way forward because I know people who have applied for jobs and been knocked back because they either had a degree but no cert or vice versa. That is probably quite rare but in my company, certs are well thought of but become less useful the higher you get up the management ladder, this is where I feel your degree would come into play. All of my managers have BSc's, Prince2, ITIL etc.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  7. Smiley

    Smiley Bit Poster

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    Thanks alot for the input guys, given me a bit too think about.

    How do you reckon it would pan out for me if I decided to pack my job in and focus on my studies, could try and get a data input part time job somewhere. Would this effect me in the future, would my current job experience become void after a certain amount of time out of work?
     
  8. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Its hard to say mate, to be honest in the current climate, any job is a good job. Why not think about doing your degree along side working like me and Ken did? I've got a significant other, baby etc so if I can juggle work and a degree I know you can. Try approaching your employer to sponsor you. Thats what I did and they paid for the whole degree, again like Ken, I only did my BSc withouh honours because I wanted to start on my MCSE and can add the honours on later if I fancy it. The Open University do some great part time degree's www.open.ac.uk your local uni may do something similar, one afternoon per week and evenings.

    That way you can practise what you've learned in your degree and keep your CV looking sweet
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  9. Smiley

    Smiley Bit Poster

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    Does anyone know if there are any part time degrees aimed at Networking/Security?
    I've had a look about but can't seem to find anything. I live in the West Midlands if that helps at all.
     
  10. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    I don't know off the top of my head, I think the first port of call is to contact all the local universities in your area. However if you have no joy there, contact the OpenU - you can do your degree there, but instead of 2 evening a week, it'll be distance learning for the most part :)

    -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. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Welcome:)

    If I could go back in time, I would have gotten a job after my GNVQ at college, done some certs whilst working then progress onto a part time HND or degree whilst working.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  12. Smiley

    Smiley Bit Poster

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    Thanks a lot for all your input guys, as usual this place has been invaluable.

    I will let you know how it goes.

    One last question - What are the chances of a 21 year old with 3 years IT Technician experience and a CCNA landing a job as a Junior Network Engineer or a Networking focused job?
     
  13. StormTHX

    StormTHX Byte Poster

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    Smiley,

    Go to the University while you are still young. You stated that the studies are in an area that you would "kill" to be in - I think you answered all your questions with that statement.

    The facts are that you will have managers that will favor one over the other. Some will even be intimidated by your education - all of this is out of your control and not worth stressing over.

    The fact is that a degree or certification has to be something that you will be proud of once you have earned it. A degree can never be taken away from you and although some cert titles will never expire they will eventually become outdated and you will need to brush up and renew every 5 to 8 years just to re-educate yourself.

    You can say that what you have learned in your degree will eventually become outdated as well, but it will still hold more weight than an old cert IMHO.

    Someone above stated that both is best and I agree very much with that, but at your age and in this economy I would go back to school if I had your opportunity (I am much older than you) and finish what you started in a field you want to be in.

    Good luck.
     
    Certifications: MCDST, MCP (210), A+, ITIL Foundations
    WIP: Taking a break then onto MCSE
  14. Smiley

    Smiley Bit Poster

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    Thanks alot for the advice and guidance, I'll let you guys know what I do and whether I manage to get in. :D
     

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