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Should I pursue College or Certifications for an IT career?

Veteran

Cameron Sralla Dallas, TX

I currently have an Associates of science degree and a CCNA certification and work as a helpdesk coordinator for an MSP, but I am looking to take the next step in my career. I want to pursue Project management in cloud computing roles. Should I go back to school and get a degree, or are there certification tracks that would get me to the same place?

18 September 2021 9 replies Career Advancement

Answers

Advisor

Jennifer Liddle Huntsville, AL

Hey, Cameron! I'd love to chat with you about your question. Please give me a call when you have a moment: (256)384-7272.

p.s.
I work for a non-profit, Still Serving Veterans. No tricks or gimmicks. We're just here to help Veterans. :)

21 September 2021 Helpful answer

Advisor

Sharon Parker Roanoke, TX

Cameron, thank you for your service!

You might search a few Program Manager positions to find out if a college degree is required. However, if you want to get into upper-level management at some point in your career, you will be competing with others who most likely have a college degree. Only my perspective . . . Good luck!

19 September 2021 Helpful answer

Advisor

Gregg Rieber Port Washington, NY

This is from my local head of IT.

Pursue PMP certification while employed and ask for work on projects to apply the skills.

Get AWS certification that appeals

Apply to internal jobs with engineering or operations or externally to AWS/Azure

22 September 2021 Helpful answer

Advisor

Ashutosh Mehta Edison, NJ

Thank you for your service, Cameron. Project Management in Cloud Computing is definitely a good area to work. Based on your profile and aspirations, here are few steps I would suggest.

1. Get yourself certified with Project Management. While PMP is good but Agile is the way of working in many companies. You should get Scrum Master certification as a first step. If you want to pursue further in detail, go for Product Owner cert. Best thing to learn in this space is SAFE. You can get these certifications from https://www.scrumalliance.org/, https://www.scrum.org/ and https://www.scaledagileframework.com/.

2. Get yourself certified with Cloud knowledge. You should at least learn AWS (Amazon Cloud). Learning Azure (Microsoft Cloud) and GCP (Google Cloud) is part of next step. These days there are tons of material available online in www.udemy.com, www.coursera.com and on these individual company sites. All these companies have recently announced multi million dollar spend plan for educating people with their technologies. Another good sources is www.acloudguru.com and www.pluralsight.com to learn technologies. Another good alternate is to enroll is Cloud Computing course at some good university. You may find many such certification courses at www.edx.org. One of such course is with University of Texas at Austin: https://www.mygreatlearning.com/cloud-computing/courses/pg-program-online-cloud-computing-course.

Good luck!

Ashutosh Mehta

Advisor

Vanessa George Richmond, VA

The PMP certification would be a great asset to assist in qualifying you for Project Manager job.

Advisor

Joe Engle Indianapolis, IN

Hello Cameron. The best/surest route is to get a degree and add certifications. Most positions require a degree as a baseline. The certifications are needed for particular positions. Get a degree and take IT courses. Add certifications as possible and needed. Certs are not that hard to get. I know a fellow that has 6 or 7 (server related). He got them by studying on his own, for a few months per cert, after hours.

The above is the best/surest route to pursue, but it is also the hardest. (agree with Amit)

You could also take some IT courses, and add some certs on your own. That, along with your AS degree, might be enough to get you where you want to be.

Be sure you have a good resume. I put together a resume guide for veterans. If you are interested, just message me and I will pass it to you.

Thanks for your service, and best of luck.

Advisor

Chad Eaves Lake Zurich, IL

Hello Cameron,

In general, get the best and most comprehensive education you can invest in. A degree will offer more career/academic options and likely better compensation. While some companies espouse how people only need certs/tech ed for certain roles, this can also be a barrier to better pay and mobility. A degree also keeps the door open for an MBA or grad degree (though some programs do not require this).

Four questions that can help make this decision:
1. What unique and actual value do you/can you bring to an employer?
2. How can you develop an advantage over competition for your desired career path?
3. What job do you want in five years?
4. People that have the job(s) you want - what are their academic credentials?

Regards,
Chad

Advisor

Amit Chaudhary San Jose, CA

Based on my 20+ year experience,
-The more harder it is to do, the less competition you will have.
-Get a CS degree from any decent college, state uni or above.
-Project manager is a hard to get in job, too much bias and preferences during hiring and beyond that, the role is often given to a manager. If you decide to, There is PMP and Scrum master certs. Learning expectation are moderate though, new tools, etc, so more runaway
-The above within company is a great tip, use Glassdoor, etc to get salary idea.

Advisor

Amit Chaudhary San Jose, CA

Based on my 20+ year experience,
-The more harder it is to do, the less competition you will have.
-Get a CS degree from any decent college, state uni or above.
-Project manager is a hard to get in job, too much bias and preferences during hiring and beyond that, the role is often given to a manager. If you decide to, There is PMP and Scrum master certs. Learning expectation are moderate though, new tools, etc, so more runaway
-The above within company is a great tip, use Glassdoor, etc to get salary idea.

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