IT Career JumpStart

Oct 12 2009   7:52PM GMT

College Degree vs. IT Certification: Both Beat Either/Or

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

Ken Rosen posted an interesting blog for Microsoft’s “Born to Learn” last week (on October 6, to be precise). It’s entitled “Certification or College Degree: Which Should You Choose (hint: both),” and it makes the same point that I’ve made many, many times myself in my writings on IT career and certification topics, as far back as the mid-1990s. Either one by itself is better than nothing, but both combined beats either one by itself.

Cert vs. Degree

Interesting Question: Cert vs. Degree

What’s interesting is that Rosen reports that IT pros who lack the degree are pretty sure it’s worth pursuing and earning, while those who have the degree aren’t so sure about things themselves.  Rosen also makes the well-rehearsed pitch that a degree testifies to one’s ability to learn and to communicate in written and oral form, while the IT certification’s provide narrower testimony about specific areas of technical competence. Both kinds of skills are vital for IT professionals, but they speak to different aspects of the same jobs in IT and are equally important for success in those jobs.

Neither degree nor certs last forever, either, so it’s also important to maintain a willingness to learn, along with ongoing demonstrations of ability and accomplishment. That’s why going after a graduate degree may make sense for those looking to differentiate themselves from the herd of others who have bachelor’s or associate degrees and some level of IT certification. It’s also why climbing the certification ladder makes sense for so many people, and why “soft skills certs” (like the PMP, for example) also add some cachet to resumes nowadays.

Life is a journey and an adventure. Why not do some more learning along the way?

2  Comments on this Post

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  • Oliverhicks
    I think a combination of a degree and relevant certifications make all the difference to your standing in the job market. When choosing a computer degree program look for one that also prepares you for various in-demand certifications such as the degree programs offered by California College San Diego (CCSD). In addition to a sound theory their practical based [A href=""]computer degree programs[/A] also trains you for certifications in A +; Intro to Oracle; MCSE; C.N.A.; Novell; CCNA; CAN; CCNP; SUN Solaris and more.
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  • Ed Tittel
    Dear OH: Lots of university and college programs now offer IT certification curriculum options. This is especially true for major online/distance learning outfits such as University of Phoenix, Capella University, Kaplan University, and so forth. Also, some of the biggest IT training providers--such as ITT Technical Institute and DeVry, offer combined IT certification/degree plans as well. Best wishes on your continuing IT education and professional development. --Ed--
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