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To OU or not to OU?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by one, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. one

    one New Member

    Hi, I am new to IT, I have a non IT degree, but I want to change careers. Since we are not allowed to do second degrees anymore I am taking the route of training providers and self studying.

    In a few weeks I will be attending an intensive training course which will empower me with the basics of computing. With that training I will aim to get a first line/entry level job.

    My question is should I invest my time in an OU It degree afterwards? Or am I better off self-studying a microsoft certification such as A+ etc?

    To anyone who's done an IT degree, did you feel that you gained an allround knowledge or was is it relevant and really closely matched the technical knowledge you needed for your first job or your chosen career?

    There are written articles that say University degrees are out of touch with industry requirements/requirements of employers. Did you find this to be the case?

    I would prefer to see the immediate benefits of any learning I invest in, and for that knowledge to be directly applicable to my role but at the same time help me to progress onto a more important role. So which do you think would be better, an OU degree or another form of self studying?
  2. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

    Personally, I would look at concentrating on experience and qualifications that are based around the area that you wish to get into. If its support work, or perhaps project management, then an IT degree (and the 6 years taken to get it) may be less use to you. If you are going into programming, whilst experience will serve you better, you can learn some very valuable transferable skills through a computer science degree.

    I've completed 60 points of the 360 needed for a degree in mathematics, and for the nine month I was studying it was a pretty hardcore time. If I am to return to it, or perhaps look at a Masters, it'll be a time when I'm not studying for IT certs, and am in a comfortable position in a job that I won't need to change for a couple of years. To put this into perspective I already hold a physics degree, so I know the amount of time to achieve both!

    Degrees don't necessarily have to be in the chosen path you end up on, because it is supposed to be about the transferable skills that you can use in any walk of life. Some degrees are out of touch, but again if you have gain good skills from it, then perhaps that is all that is needed. Skills I thinking about: logical thinking, analytical thinking, problem solving, common sense approach, excellent communications - verbal and written, ability to present information to any level of a company.
    Certifications: MBCS, BSc(Hons), Cert(Maths), A+, Net+, MCDST, ITIL-F v3, MCSA
    WIP: 70-293
  3. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    It's not the case of you're not allowed to do a second degree, it a case of funding. For second degrees, you have to pay the full amount, before it was sub'd.

    Hopefully, you didn't get "sweet-talked" into one of those training schemes where you're "guaranteed" a starting salary of £25k (but the small print catches you out).

    If you want to do the degree, I would say "go for it" :) If you're going to do MS certs, start of with the entry level ones. BTW the A+ is a Comptia cert, not a MS one.

    My degree was in Computing (specialising in Software Engineering) and to be honest, while the overall subject was/is related to my career, it wasn't relevant or really matched my field. I wanted to work in the Software Engineering field, but I work in the support field :)

    Do I regret doing my degree? No
    If I could go back in time, would I do the same degree again even though I know that I'd still end up in support? Yes
    Would I do this (or another related IT/Computing) degree, if I had a degree already? I don't know, I'd probably be something like what I'm doing now. Considering a Master's degree (in a related subject to work, eg IT management) and continuing with my CPD.

    If I ended up in the programming field, probably not.

    It's hard to say as there are so many routes... The NVQ route (which can go up to Master's degree level), the academic route (degrees, etc), the professional route (professional diplomas, vendor/vendor-less certifications, professional accreditation), the "only" work based route (where the person doesn't get certified, but uses his/her experience only).

    Granted, with some of what you do, you may get immediate benefits. However with other things, benefits aren't immediate, patience and experience is key.

    Certifications: CITP, PGDip, 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: MSc in Tech Management
  4. millsie

    millsie Byte Poster

    Hi mate,

    Just wanted to quickly chip in, I am currently on an OU course, studying the Cisco CCNA exploration T216. I would personally recommend them as I believe they have a great level of support and inside knowledge and good relationships with the vendors of technology. With Cisco, they are an academy and as such, their students have access direct to the Cisco own academy on their website, this is very handy as you get the info from the horses mouth so to speak and it is constantly updated rather than reading from books which can go out of date.

    I personally wouldnt trust the "guaranteed pass" companies as not only do they charge silly sums of money, they dont always give you the training you need to pass any exams only give you what they feel is correct.

    Also, if you are wanting to change careers like myself onto IT, then as most on here will tell you, get some basic certificates under your belt such as Comptia A+/N+ and any Microsoft certs like MCDST. This is what i'm trying to build up in the hope it will help me get in the door (which is getting increasingly difficult I might add)

    I would trust OU as they have a great history and you are assigned a tutor who can help anytime and they have good forums etc so other students can help you.

    With myslef, I have done it the wrong way round really, I should have got the basic certs first (well Idid get the N+) like MCDSt and A+ then go onto Cisco, but hey, I'm still learning!

    All the best with whatever you decide to do.

    Certifications: N+, CCNA, MCDST
    WIP: CCNP route 642-902
  5. jo74

    jo74 Byte Poster

    I recently started a thread asking if anyone on this forum's done the OU's CCNA. :)

    Certifications: A+, N+, Sec+
  6. one

    one New Member

    thanks for the feedback, I will no doubt have new questions and require more advice in the near future. Keep up the great work.

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