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How important is a degree?

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Kev

Post Fri Jun 23, 2006 5:08 pm

How important is a degree?

I have my own business so it never really became an issue for me, but I was asked by my nephew recently if you can make it in IT security world without a college degree. That got me wondering, if someone had a CEH,CISSP,MCSE,and perhaps a few other great certs, how far could he get?
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don

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Post Fri Jun 23, 2006 6:08 pm

Re: How important is a degree?

Important but not essential. I know, because the person you described in your question is me. I do not have a degree. I did attain CISSP, Security+, MCSE 2003 and have over a decade of experience in IT.

I will readily admit that I wish I had one, but I am not willing to put in that kind of time - especially now with a family, career, etc.

Having a degree makes it much easier to get your foot in the door. This is much more important for the younger crowd just getting into the field. If you own your own business, as stated in your post, it clearly is not that important. Drive and persistance is what you need. One other thing I would add to the list is maturity. Going through the college experience and then entering into the work force, most (not all, because plenty party too much in school) grow emotionally a significant amount. This includes the ability to speak and write as an educated professional.

Most who do not go through that process find it difficult to live in that world. But it is not impossible. Those without a degree have to work harder and smarter than those that do. It's the price one pays for their chosen path.

So... bottom line, if you're young and can afford it - DO IT! Most do not possess the demeanor, drive and energy to go through life one step behind the others.

Hope this helps,
Don
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oyle

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Post Fri Jun 23, 2006 7:13 pm

Re: How important is a degree?

In my opinion, it's important to have it, but it has not done anything for me at all. I do not even list it in my signature. I attained my Associate's in "Computer Studies, with a concentration in MicroApplications" from my local Community College.
While I was working full-time at a warehouse, I was taking 1 class per quarter. Algebra class was 1 hour a day, 4 days a week, in the morning. I worked in the warehouse 2nd shift. Algebra class was toughest, but the teacher was fantastic. I can't rave about her enough. She actually would let you call her at home if you had a problem with a math question. But the College offered free math tutoring on the side, that was a big help. Took me from Sept 87-Dec 1997 to achieve. Graduated in June 1998.

Did my Bachelor's from an online college in Thousand Oaks, CA, outside of LA. Found airfare for $200.00 to San Diego. There was a Microsoft Technet convention there. They offered Microsoft cert exams there for half-price (at that time, they were $100.00). So on the spur of the moment, I cracked down to study for the Microsoft AD exam. Allowed myslef about 2.5 hrs to cram for it. Of course I bombed, but I kept working on it and passed it finally.

Took a day off from SD to visit family in LA. Stayed the night in LA, visited the school the following morning. (You really have to experience LA freeways. No WONDER everything in CA is so expensive). I found out at the school I enrolled in the wrong major; I enrolled in "Computer Science", which means programming. I am the world's worst programmer. Changed my major to "Management Information Systems". So they gave me credit for my certifications, and I had to do 5 online classes, plus write a 75-pg min. "Final Report." Took me 8 months for the classes and report. Did report on "Steganography as used by terrorists to institute attacks on America".
Had to pay $250.00 for diploma. As stated on diploma, "graduated June 10, 2003" little over 3 years, it's done nothing for me except give me a good feeling. BTW, it cost me approx. $2500.00

I have a friend that has a PhD in Astropyhsics. He says it's done nothing for him; all he's been able to get out of it is a part-time teaching job at Kent State. He tells me, "the only degree that matters is 98.6".

Don't want to sound negative or depress you or anything, but this is a real-world story. Don't believe all the hype from the schools.
Local school in my area advertises very heavily on TV. (Will not give the name here). Mostly they offer Associates degrees. I looked into them one time; they wanted about $27,000.00 for an Associates degree. I got mine from Community College for half of that. They tried to justify it as "it's their name on the diploma" that makes the difference to employers.
An Associates degree is an Assocaites degree, no matter where you get it from. AN Associates degree is only a starting stepping stone, by itself, it will not get you a job.

Take it for what you will. It's tough out here.

 
Last edited by oyle on Fri Jun 23, 2006 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MCP, MCP+I, MCSA, MCSE(NT4/W2K), CCNA, CCA, NWCCC, VH-PIRTS, CEH
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"hackers are like jedi, crackers are like the sith: do not fall prey to the dark side".

From 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k: "the ten laws of geek", law x
                  -Tapeworm
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Dengar13

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Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:11 am

Re: How important is a degree?

In my experiences it helps somewhat, but not always.  I would venture to say that a Master's would deem someone overqualified unless one was to go for a very senior position.  I have an Associate's in Business Administration and I am doing fine.  The only reason I am going back to finish up my degree is to use my G.I. Bill.  I earned that the had way and will be damned if it goes to waste.  It makes me laugh that some help desk jobs in my are requires a B.S.  I think that that is BS!  I mean I understand a mid-senior level job and a developer's job, but help desk, get real! 

The bottom line is, it depends on where you are in the country for the relevance of a degree.
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MCSA: Security/Messaging
Former U.S. Marine and damn proud of it!
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Sniganoo

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Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 4:42 am

Re: How important is a degree?

Having a degree helped me move to the USA from the UK and get an H1-B visa.  It has probably helped secure job interviews as well.  Having said that, I have now been out of work for over a year and cannot get an IT position for move nor money even after working for consulting companies in the USA and as an independant contractor in the UK for the last 7 years.  Before that I have been involved in every area of IT from a PC Support Technician and mid range admin to a Lotus Notes architecture guy.  This is partly why I am now getting into the security side of things and taking the CEH exam.

Degrees used to be an indication of a certain level of intelligence but they are as common as MCSE's these days so my advice is to get up to speed with the latest technology, learn all you can about it and you will be picked up eventually.......I hope.....
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Sniganoo

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Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 4:44 am

Re: How important is a degree?

PS - If anyone can get me job in the UK or USA then please get in touch..  :0)
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oyle

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Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:34 am

Re: How important is a degree?

On the other hand, you could always try this here.

But I would never do this myself. It's up to you.
Last edited by oyle on Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
MCP, MCP+I, MCSA, MCSE(NT4/W2K), CCNA, CCA, NWCCC, VH-PIRTS, CEH
--------------------
"hackers are like jedi, crackers are like the sith: do not fall prey to the dark side".

From 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k: "the ten laws of geek", law x
                  -Tapeworm
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oleDB

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Post Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:46 am

Re: How important is a degree?

I have a bunch of certs(CISSP,GCFA,CCNA,MCSE,HPCSA) and a college degree and haven't really been rewarded financially for any of them. The standard mgmt response after getting a cert is thats great, but were not giving you raise for that. I also have 8 years experience in IT and can only say that it helps dress up your resume.
For the most part, the predominant factor in landing a new job or getting a raise, would be a traditional two pronged method of ass kissing and networking. IMO giving management the perception that your doing a good job provides superior financial rewards versus actually working hard and producing results. Its really blows my mind how easily swayed most managers are by brown nosers. It makes me sick.
That being said, if your company happens to offer education reimbursement for getting a diploma, then you absolutely should take them up on this. Most people graduate college with 20K+ in debt, so this is a good opportunity to at least get "free" schooling part time. Most companies do make you pay them back, if you leave soon after. That is the only reason I'm pursuing a Masters degree in CompSci, because I know I won't really be rewarded for it, at least not at my current company. I guess the bottom line, is that you do gain knowledge out of getting a degree or pursuing certs, you just typicaly don't see any short term rewards out of them.
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oyle

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Post Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:46 pm

Re: How important is a degree?

Yer right about most of that. Sadly, "It's not who you know, it's who you blow".

Don't mean to sound negative, or piss anybody off, but that is essentially how it works. You have to know somebody with the influence, and I don't. I know a lot of people, but none of them have the clout to get me in someplace fulltime perm.

That's one of the reasons I've been looking for a full time perm job for the last 5 yrs. I haven't done any ass-kissing, I've tried to get a job on my own merits and qualifications. If I'm not too expensive, then I'm  a threat to them; if they piss me off, I can take them down. Heck, their loss.

I often thought about getting into new car sales, cause it's fun hanging around new cars. But there's the ass-kissing thing again, magnified a couple million times over.

I had this girl in my Networking Essentials class, first class I had when working on my MCSE. She said she was IT director of her company, and they were sending her to class to get certified. She admitted not knowing anything about computers. She was in her early 20's. I asked her during break time how she got to be IT Director of her company. She told me, flat out, "I was in the right place at the right time" Argh, I could have strangled her right there. I'll bet I know what position she was in: on her knees.

Well, someday I'll die, and all my problems will be over.

Sorry for negative attitude. Bad story is over noe, back to "normal". Ancient history class is over.
MCP, MCP+I, MCSA, MCSE(NT4/W2K), CCNA, CCA, NWCCC, VH-PIRTS, CEH
--------------------
"hackers are like jedi, crackers are like the sith: do not fall prey to the dark side".

From 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k: "the ten laws of geek", law x
                  -Tapeworm
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Kev

Post Fri Jul 21, 2006 7:53 pm

Re: How important is a degree?

I would say it takes being a bit of good salesman,i.e communicator. I have been lucky in the  people I have met and have managed to get work. Network admin are not always good at "networking" if you know what I mean. There is a lot of work out there but you have to think outside the box sometimes.

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