Certifications vs Degree?


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RolloofTheNorm

This thread may not get any replies, but here goes nothing. So lately I've been thinking about getting a few certifications on the side while in college, Since I'm a newbie the certification (s) I was looking at is Comptia, but I mainly want to developing or devops if you may. I was wondering what certification is a good route for that? Is comptia good for entry level starting out? 

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+Fahim S.

Certs and degrees are a good way to get a foot in the door, as they show the ability and aptitude to learn, but in the grand scheme real experience is worth so much more.

For an experienced hire, I won't look at what certs and degrees a candidate has, just their ability to competently speak about a subject as well as the passion they show as they do.

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RolloofTheNorm

Well the thing is that I dont have the experience which is why I want a cert for something entry level if that makes sense. 

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+Fahim S.

Absolutely makes sense, and I did say they are good to get your foot into the door.  I would do just enough to get a position, but then focus on experience after that.

What language are you using in college? what sort of development do you want to do?

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RolloofTheNorm

So far I'm doing python and I want to do cloud developing. 

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adrynalyne
1 minute ago, RolloofTheNorm said:

So far I'm doing python and I want to do cloud developing. 

Comptia is a waste of time then. 
 

At best you might want security+ for clearance but even then...

 

Look at developer specific certs. 

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shockz

You’ll get all sorts of different responses. 
 

For me my degree got my foot in the door, but for any other job I’ve had in the last 15 years since (yikes), nobody has ever asked for it. Outside of it looking fancy on a resume, it doesn’t do much else, except collect dust in a file cabinet. 
 

Certifications are a must until you can build your experience, and even then I’d still either stay up to date on them, or at least get ones that are more advanced if you let them lapse/rot on the vine.


Eventually after gaining enough experience to put on a resume, you might get some leeway on older certs. A portfolio of work might also bypass some of the certificate scrutiny. As you gain experience, just being able to talk in-depth about a specific subject goes a long way. 

 

Doing it all over again, I’d probably have skipped the bachelors degree. Maybe an associates, but I’d have focused on getting industry certs way sooner. 
 

Don’t waste your time on Comptia certifications, unless you’re focusing on a career in level 1 or 2 helpdesk work. 
 

IT/DevOps is still an industry where experience goes a long way over a fancy degree.

 

The whole college experience continues to look less and less promising, even back when I chose that route (2005). I’d try some certs first and see where you land after job hunting.

 

There are boot camps you can attend as well for certificate prep, but they cram so much into them where if you don’t take the certificate test right away, you won’t retain what you learned. I did a boot camp once and would never recommend it again. I passed what I needed to pass, but I barely retained the important details afterwards. I opted for community college technical classes when I needed to get Cisco certified. Took about a year, but the ability to process and do labs through out that year allowed me to retain all sorts of relevant info long after, and it stuck with me. I also got a higher score than other co workers who did the boot camp route. 
 

As for what certs you should look into, we’d need to know what you want to do for a job. DevOps is a pretty large industry... from vms/docker/container management and resource provisioning to code review and scripting. To automation of builds, testing, etc etc etc. 

Edited by shockz
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RolloofTheNorm

I mainly want to do cybersecurity and devops.

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StrikedOut

I agree somewhat with what others here have said but, I have recently found that many employers will not entertain a candidate for a senior role without some form of higher degree. So although right now, getting a foot in the door and the experience is far more important (and for long term success), don't ignore the advantage of having the degree can bring, especially if you wish to move to a larger company at a more senior level.

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Brandon H

Another good way to get your foot in the door and get experience is an internship. Check with your college, a lot of times they can help you find one.

 

This will help you gain the experience you and the job market are looking for while you are acquiring your degree and certifications of choice. Security+ cert is a good one to start with as mentioned above.

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+mram

Certifications will get you in the door better than a degree will, because very few (technical) degrees actually offer practical experience that can be used.  So I'll mirror what people said above - experience is the key.

 

Having said that, just like the old "paper MCSE" of old, bootcamps will not snatch the pebble from my hand.  It's really easy to know when someone knows their stuff in an interview vs those who do not.  Bootcamps do have value though -- if you know enough to be dangerous and you need a push over the finish line.  Just don't expect to learn and retain enough from a bootcamp alone to merit job-useful skills.

 

I like looking at breadth of certifications too.  Unlike the recommendations above, I have A+ from Comptia, but then again I got mine in 1994 while they were "permanent"... don't they expire now?  But back then I got that plus the Microsoft certs.  Never focus on just one vendor.  If not A+ then Security+ or Network+ but they're challenging in their own right.  Go thin and wide on your certs and get your foot in the door somewhere quickly to establish experience and keep at it.

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shockz
33 minutes ago, mram said:

Certifications will get you in the door better than a degree will, because very few (technical) degrees actually offer practical experience that can be used.  So I'll mirror what people said above - experience is the key.

 

Having said that, just like the old "paper MCSE" of old, bootcamps will not snatch the pebble from my hand.  It's really easy to know when someone knows their stuff in an interview vs those who do not.  Bootcamps do have value though -- if you know enough to be dangerous and you need a push over the finish line.  Just don't expect to learn and retain enough from a bootcamp alone to merit job-useful skills.

 

I like looking at breadth of certifications too.  Unlike the recommendations above, I have A+ from Comptia, but then again I got mine in 1994 while they were "permanent"... don't they expire now?  But back then I got that plus the Microsoft certs.  Never focus on just one vendor.  If not A+ then Security+ or Network+ but they're challenging in their own right.  Go thin and wide on your certs and get your foot in the door somewhere quickly to establish experience and keep at it.

It really doesn't matter if your 1994 A+ doesn't expire, the material you are certified for is completely obsolete. Sure, some low level stuff is still relevant, but I probably wouldn't even bother putting that on a resume. Which is the same reason as to why a technical degree someone got in 2000 is also basically obsolete without continuing education/experience that should be notated on a resume.

 

In order to stay competitive and up to date, you should be re-certified in relevant, current technologies. And/or have the resume to back up your experience to ensure you're still current. I've had to participate in new hire decisions, and if I see a resume with only decades old certs, as well as them being lower on the totem pole in their prior positions, that'll certainly wave a red flag in terms of who I want to bring in for an interview.

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Brandon H
3 minutes ago, shockz said:

It really doesn't matter if your 1994 A+ doesn't expire, the material you are certified for is completely obsolete. Which is the same reason as to why a technical degree someone got in 2000 is also basically obsolete.

 

In order to stay competitive and up to date, you should be re-certified in relevant, current technologies. And/or have the resume to back up your experience to ensure you're still current. I've had to participate in new hire decisions, and if I see a resume with decades old certs, as well as them being lower on the totem pole in their prior positions, that'll certainly wave a red flag in terms of who I want to bring in for an interview.

yep, that's the entire reason WHY they expire now. The technology world is ever changing especially where coding and security is involved.

 

The way I see it now a days is certificates help prove knowledge/experience and degrees just help you get higher pay. In a lot of cases it's better to get your foot in the door somewhere first (certificates and internships can help with this) and prove your worth. Once your worth is proven your employer a lot of times will help pay for a degree so they can justify putting you in a better higher pay position.

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RolloofTheNorm
Posted (edited)

So is Comp Tia A+ useless for a person like me with no experience and looking for a entry level job (like working at a help desk)? Also I was looking at Cisco Certs also. Is that a better route for cloud computing/developing? 

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adrynalyne
1 hour ago, RolloofTheNorm said:

So is Comp Tia A+ useless for a person like me with no experience and looking for a entry level job (like working at a help desk)? Also I was looking at Cisco Certs also. Is that a better route for cloud computing/developing? 

You really shouldn’t need any cert for a help desk job. 

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RolloofTheNorm

Well then what certifications do you prefer for a person with no experience and want to land a entry level position? 

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adrynalyne
1 hour ago, RolloofTheNorm said:

Well then what certifications do you prefer for a person with no experience and want to land a entry level position? 

Doing what, specifically? Your current mentions are too broad to answer that question.

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RolloofTheNorm

Cloud engineering or devops

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+mram
10 hours ago, shockz said:

It really doesn't matter if your 1994 A+ doesn't expire, the material you are certified for is completely obsolete. Sure, some low level stuff is still relevant...

 

10 hours ago, Brandon H said:

yep, that's the entire reason WHY they expire now. 

I think you both kind of missed my point.  At the time  the A+ was valuable.  Whether or not it's still valuable today isn't the point - the point is if this is something for the original poster to decide, and if the A+ helps reach their target goals, absolutely go for it along with other tests.

 

This is about endorsing someone to not be myopic/focused on one certificate to the exclusion of all others no matter how minor they might seem.  I believe it shows dedication in the field.  When I see someone with only Microsoft certificates, I have found they're not going to be overly prepared to deal with 3rd party issues. I like seeing ITIL, DevOps, other vendors ... it shows dedication and flexibility.  The certs that we think are silly now might be valuable later, even if they do nothing more than point out that you've been in the field that long.  Would ITIL3 be useful?  Not in 20 years, but if you had an ITIL 3 and an ITIL 7 (in 20 years!) cert it'd show dedication to the field.  I know people who have Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 certs.  Do I say they don't know exchange?  Oh hell no.  They've done it for 10 years and not much has changed in the product since that point.  Etc, etc.  Unlike degrees, which this topic is all about, certificates tell the story of your interests in the field, and those stories are great for interviews.  So get lots of them from any vendor that relates abstractly to your target career choice.

 

Genuinely not trying to be argumentative here, cause I agree fundamentally with you both, but I'm advocating for any minor certificate that anyone can get no matter what target technical career path they would choose, if they were bypassing a college degree in favor of certifications.  The more the merrier - make a map of certs that relate to the topic you want to have a career in and hit the books.  There's usually a book for any test out there.

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adrynalyne
44 minutes ago, RolloofTheNorm said:

Cloud engineering or devops

As I mentioned before, that is too broad.

 

Both of those subjects consist of many different parts, not all done by a single person.

 

What do you define as devops? cloud engineering?

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RolloofTheNorm

Like doing cloud developing and cloud security. Like I just want to know is doing a Comp Tia or a CCNA is a good route for that. 

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adrynalyne
22 minutes ago, RolloofTheNorm said:

Like doing cloud developing and cloud security. Like I just want to know is doing a Comp Tia or a CCNA is a good route for that. 

No.

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RolloofTheNorm

ok well then what certs do i need for that then?

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RolloofTheNorm

Thanks for this. I didn't know there were so many other certs like these out here. I guess that was my bad for not searching enough. Over the weekend I found this YouTube channel by the name of I.T. Career Questions and he basically was talking about he prefers getting a CompTia A+ and I went with it. If you wanna check out his channel here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/user/PCSimplest

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