What's the worth of a degree?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2014 6:23 PM GMT
    Another college question coming at you guys. I recently applied to University and am almost 99% sure I've been accepted. I'm majoring in Technology Management which is a degree of half business and half IT. I've been going to a community college that has been linked up with this University, so I have completed some dual-enrollment classes and am well on my way to receiving my B.S. degree! icon_biggrin.gif

    Now, I asked one of my friends what he thought about the degree and he said that it would be a terrible idea for me to do. He had valid points like "Who would want you to manage technology fresh out of college when they could hire someone else who's been in the field longer?" He said that it would be more wise for me to majoring in Computer Science or another field like that. I argued that maybe employers look more at experience and the way you present yourself, but honestly I really DON'T know what employers look for.

    Here's the thing - I've liked this degree because it's combined IT courses (server management, C++ programming, hardware support) and business courses. I find it a really fun mix so far and am enjoying it. However, I'm really looking for a job in the IT and related field and business if it comes along. I figure that if I land this degree that I still will have a shot of getting my foot in the door at least for an entry level job, and move up from there. I also wouldn't oppose to being a web developer, software analyst, or programmer.

    So here's my question: Do you think it's wise to be fulfilling this degree, or do you think the majority of employers will look at the degree specifically when going into that field and let it play a factor in hiring? I'm just kinda lost at what to do and really don't feel like majoring in Computer Science or changing my major as I will have to take some more courses.

    So far my experience looks like this:
    6 years of management experience (been in management since 15 in two different companies).
    2 years in an IT and video editing related field (I work from home and am a sponsor on Youtube.com)


  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Feb 05, 2014 6:28 PM GMT
    It's worth it if you use it to get ahead. Most people are disqualified from decent paying jobs if they have no degree... There are exceptions. I think people in sales can do well without a degree, if they have the personality for it.
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    Feb 05, 2014 6:31 PM GMT
    Your friend is correct. Go for computer science. To employers science and technical degree shows that you can go through the rigor and have decent level of analytical skills. I have never seen IT job advertisements where they ask for some special management skills. They always ask for good programming skills.
    Also, for an IT job, computer science grad will always get preference over some other related degrees.
    Not a big fan of these bachelor level management course.
    Management is all about experience, rather than some specific knowledge. Most of the people in IT at management level have grown from junior level positions. It's different story when you want to become a CEO etc in a company.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Feb 05, 2014 6:34 PM GMT
    I don't understand what your friend is proposing you do, drop out of school and get a job? But you already have a job and have had for some time. So, you already have a steady work history. That's something a lot of guys coming out of a school don't have.

    You wrote, "I figure that if I land this degree that I still will have a shot of getting my foot in the door at least for an entry level job, and move up from there." You'll certainly have more of a shot than anyone applying a) without a degree and b) with little to no work history.

    So, I guess I'm just not clear what the problem is exactly or what the alternative to getting the degree would be.
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    Feb 05, 2014 6:35 PM GMT
    MikeW saidI don't understand what your friend is proposing you do, drop out of school and get a job? But you already have a job and have had for some time. So, you already have a steady work history. That's something a lot of guys coming out of a school don't have.

    You wrote, "I figure that if I land this degree that I still will have a shot of getting my foot in the door at least for an entry level job, and move up from there." You'll certainly have more of a shot than anyone applying a) without a degree and b) with little to no work history.

    So, I guess I'm just not clear what the problem is exactly or what the alternative to getting the degree would be.


    I guess the real issue I'm having is that I don't want to be pursuing this degree and have a horror story of it becoming useless, and me not having a decent-paying job.
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    Feb 05, 2014 6:38 PM GMT
    Josh, I teach business and computer classes at a community college.

    I may be prejudiced, but I think you are doing the smart thing.

    The reality is

    1) You aren't going to start out as a manager anyway. You will have to work your way up.

    2) The IT departments are going to look at certifications. Are you Cisco certified? A+ Certified? Any other certifications?

    This is a great start if you are wanting to move into Information Management as a career. I believe there are jobs in this market.

    What specific reasons was your friend citing to say this was stupid? I think your friend is misinformed.

    I live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and our students graduating in these fields are getting jobs. So I am sure there are jobs out there.

    You need to trust your instincts.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Feb 05, 2014 6:41 PM GMT
    Love it, moprhic says one thing, Quest another. Hmm… which is right? Currently I'm leaning more toward Quest but WTH do I know?!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2014 6:41 PM GMT
    TheQuest saidJosh, I teach business and computer classes at a community college.

    I may be prejudiced, but I think you are doing the smart thing.

    The reality is

    1) You aren't going to start out as a manager anyway. You will have to work your way up.

    2) The IT departments are going to look at certifications. Are you Cisco certified? A+ Certified? Any other certifications?

    This is a great start if you are wanting to move into Information Management as a career. I believe there are jobs in this market.

    What specific reasons was your friend citing to say this was stupid? I think your friend is misinformed.

    I live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and our students graduating in these fields are getting jobs. So I am sure there are jobs out there.

    You need to trust your instincts.


    This makes me feel so much better. Thanks, Quest!

    I am not certified at the moment but I'm working on that very soon! I think my friend has this idea that I'm shooting for straight management when I get out of the field, but that's simply not the case. I have no problem working my way up and am confident with my work ethic that I will move up quickly.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2014 6:44 PM GMT
    I'm not qualified to say its bad or good, but on the face of it I'd say keep going. You never know where your education will be useful, or where you'll eventually end up. I admire your ambition and hard work. icon_smile.gif
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Feb 05, 2014 9:43 PM GMT
    MANY employers want to see that you have received a bachelor's degree, in anything. I guess it proves that you're reasonably intelligent, and that you have some degree of ambition, and that you successfully completed something that you started.
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    Feb 05, 2014 10:03 PM GMT
    Webster666 saidMANY employers want to see that you have received a bachelor's degree, in anything. I guess it proves that you're reasonably intelligent, and that you have some degree of ambition, and that you successfully completed something that you started.

    Bachelor degree in Literature, History, Art isn't really going to help you in having an entry level job in these times. So just having a degree for the sake of it isn't worth it.
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    Feb 05, 2014 10:05 PM GMT
    Intensity69 saidYou don't need college.

    You do. You can't fake a degree like a profile.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2014 10:07 PM GMT
    Intensity69 saidYou don't need college.

    I DONTKNOWWHY you'd say that.
    No, I DONTKNOWWHY.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2014 10:10 PM GMT
    ikilledcaptainplanet saidyou have 2 to 3 years experience already. that's what employers seem to care more about nowadays especially with so called "entry level jobs". icon_mad.gif

    Very true. Entry level jobs are almost dead at not very big companies. Available entry jobs are either too competitive to get in or are very mediocre.
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    Feb 05, 2014 10:12 PM GMT
    JumpMan_Josh said
    TheQuest saidJosh, I teach business and computer classes at a community college.

    I may be prejudiced, but I think you are doing the smart thing.

    The reality is

    1) You aren't going to start out as a manager anyway. You will have to work your way up.

    2) The IT departments are going to look at certifications. Are you Cisco certified? A+ Certified? Any other certifications?

    This is a great start if you are wanting to move into Information Management as a career. I believe there are jobs in this market.

    What specific reasons was your friend citing to say this was stupid? I think your friend is misinformed.

    I live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and our students graduating in these fields are getting jobs. So I am sure there are jobs out there.

    You need to trust your instincts.


    This makes me feel so much better. Thanks, Quest!

    I am not certified at the moment but I'm working on that very soon! I think my friend has this idea that I'm shooting for straight management when I get out of the field, but that's simply not the case. I have no problem working my way up and am confident with my work ethic that I will move up quickly.



    Does your degree require an internship? If it doesn't ask if you can get into an internship anyway. That's a great way to get your foot in the door and get hired.

    Around here, a lot of students end up getting jobs at schools. However, with the business management classes, you could look at applying to work IT for banks.

    If you get the opportunity once you finish the Associates degree to minor with your Bachelor's look at health information technology. It can bundle the management courses, IT knowledge and a few healthcare management types of classes and hospital IT can pay quite well.
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    Feb 05, 2014 10:13 PM GMT
    From my work experiences, you'd get the job by **selling yourself in the interview to the employer and learn on the job. I think it helps that it shows you had training in the IT field but you will probably learn everything again anyway. Look at the financial factor and investment time that you're willing to put in. Then decide if it's worth it to pursue this degree. GL
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2014 10:14 PM GMT
    Get a computer science degree...

    what you need to understand about tech. management is that you need to start off as a person doing the tech level work before you have the experience to manage anyone. The project schedules and other expertise can only be learned as an entry level team member... how will you know if such and such takes xx amount of time if you have never done it.

    Get a comp. sci degree, it's a solid choice.
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    Feb 05, 2014 10:18 PM GMT
    I really feel you should stay the course, especially as you stay with Walmart--I know Walmart can suck, but I think you'll find yourself catapulted up it's corporate latter after you get your degree; a year after graduation, laughing at your former classmates making half what you are, that's if they can find a job.
  • joxguy

    Posts: 236

    Feb 05, 2014 10:22 PM GMT
    First get a degree, no matter what people say, only a few exceptional people make it big without one.

    Second I see your choice as a unique one. You have the IT knowledge and work background and now you are adding the business end. Many IT people I have met or worked with knew the IT part, but had poor people or management skills.

    You will have the potential to get a first level IT position and then have the knowledge to compete for management type positions.

    I have done teaching at the public universities and the University of Phoenix. Many of the working students I had in class were coming back to school for business classes so they could complete for management positions.

    Go with what you have started, good luck. Let us know how it goes.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2014 11:31 PM GMT
    Subject choice is very important when studying. For example, law is notorious for producing unemployed grads. Computer science is a good choice though. Testing and programming are both in-demand skills.
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    Feb 06, 2014 3:15 AM GMT
    When I see resumes with a laundry list of certifications without any experience to back it up, they go straight to the trash. Don't waste your time/money on certs. Get a degree first. Get employed. And get your employer to pay for the certs.

    I like to see some type of degree, either from a community college or 4-year college. That tells me you at least have the fundamentals, and put some effort into obtaining your degree. A bunch of certifications just tells me you're really good at memorizing answers to pass the test.

    As for what to major in, don't go into Computer Science. Based on what you described as your ideal job, it sounds like you should stay in Technology Management. Besides, most managers would question why a CS major wants to do a network admin's job. Just doesn't make sense.

    If you want to be a web developer, software analyst, or programmer.. you might want to consider Computer Information Systems instead.
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    Feb 06, 2014 3:19 AM GMT
    xrichx saidWhen I see resumes with a laundry list of certifications without any experience to back it up, they go straight to the trash. Don't waste your time/money on certs. Get a degree first. Get employed. And get your employer to pay for the certs.

    I like to see some type of degree, either from a community college or 4-year college. That tells me you at least have the fundamentals, and put some effort into obtaining your degree. A bunch of certifications just tells me you're really good at memorizing answers to pass the test.

    As for what to major in, don't go into Computer Science. Based on what you described as your ideal job, it sounds like you should stay in Technology Management. Besides, most managers would question why a CS major wants to do a network admin's job. Just doesn't make sense.

    If you want to be a web developer, software analyst, or programmer.. you might want to consider Computer Information Systems instead.


    I mentioned Cisco and A+ in my post because those are actually built into our degrees we even cover the cost of the exams.
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    Feb 06, 2014 3:44 AM GMT
    I'll cast my vote with the ones who say to stick with Technology Management. Some people like to manage projects and people, others are troglodytes and just want to work on computers (I was the latter). With your education you could jump either way.

    I would like to agree with morphic but before I retired I'd read lots of programmer's blogs and web zines and there was a never ending chorus of programmers complaining about idiot managers.

    My two best supervisors had good technical backgrounds but I attribute their good management skills to being women. I believe that women are better at team building and consensus building; better at herding the cats, so to speak.
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    Feb 06, 2014 3:54 AM GMT
    After 10+ years, I think I'm done with IT, kinda. Probably gonna try votech school and learn HVAC repair. Data centers are actively hiring HVAC techs. Gotta keep those servers ice cold so that you all can post on the faceybooks and shit. icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2014 3:56 AM GMT
    xrichx saidAfter 10+ years, I think I'm done with IT, kinda. Probably gonna try votech school and learn HVAC repair. Data centers are actively hiring HVAC techs. Gotta keep those servers ice cold so that you all can post on the faceybooks and shit. icon_lol.gif


    We're adding that this fall.