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  1. #1
    nyvrem is offline Registered User
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    CS Vs IT + Certs. Which one better for future job options ?

    Hello all,

    I'm posting this on behalf of a friend who's just lazy to register for an account here. And I myself would like to know more about the IT industry.

    His currently has a first degree in history (iirc), and his thinking of doing a full career switch into GIS. His current job already has him doing some GIS work, but he wants to be a specialist in that area. And in order to do so, most of the future job requirements he has seen requires him to understand programming languages such as Java and Python. I mentioned to him about an Online degree and actually showed him a U Mass Online 2nd degree in IT program.

    Second Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology | www.umassonline.net

    It's actually quite cheap, about $12,000 for the whole program. But it only requires you to do 10 classes. Then comes the dilemma, would it be better for him to do a,

    1) IT degree such as U Mass and take up additional IT certs from Oracle, Python etc.

    Or,

    2) Find a CS degree to complete (Seems like CS is very programming heavy)

    His already got 1 foot into the GIS industry with his current job, so it's more of a job progression for him when he seeks new employment. His also considered doing a Masters in Environmental Sci with a specialization in GIS, but he says there's a lack of programming taught in the programs.

    I believe the plan for him is to, 1) get a second degree in IT or CS, then follow that with a Masters in GIS once his got both feet in the industry.

    Dose that sound crazy ? Spending to much money ?
    Or is there a better/more steamline approach towards this situation

    :)

  2. #2
    TEKMAN is offline Semper Fi!
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    Since he has a college degree. That's all need in term of college education . Now, he needs to get some IT certifications, which depends on his specific IT field (i.e: system engineering , network engineering , cyber security forensic, database administration, and etc). I see most of successful folks in the IT industry have crazy college degree likes Psychology , Chemistry, History , Education , and etc. In his later career, if he wants to enhance himself for a better opportunity would be a Master degree in Information Technology .
    Ph.D| Nova Southeastern University (W/D)
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  3. #3
    ahardinjr is offline Registered User
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    If your friend wants to stay in the GIS field and be a subject matter expert in GIS, then I don't think a degree in IT or CS is the way to go. I actually think you friend should look for a graduate degree and / or certifications in GIS. The reason I say this is because an IT degree will focus too heavily on IT topics that will not benefit your friend. Also, while a CS degree will be programming -heavy, it will most likely only have 1 or 2 classes in the programming languages your friends needs to know. Lastly neither degree will go into details in regards to the many non-programming aspects of GIS.

    You didn't state what GIS technology your friend is working with, but lets assume it's ESRI's ArcGIS system. He may want to find a certificate similar to these ones to complement the Master in Envir. Sci.:
    Geographic Information Systems Certificate: Certificate Programs
    Geographic Information Systems Summer Academy: Academics

    If you look at the certificate details for the ones above, there is so much more to GIS than programming or IT work - that is why I don't think an IT or CS degree is the way to go unless your friend wants to leave the GIS sector and move into a different IT / CS role. To improve his programming skills, I think he can find lots of independent options such as online courses or books.
    MS Information Technology Network Management - Western Governors University
    MBA Information Assurance & Security Management - CSU San Bernardino
    BA Biological Sciences - UC Davis
    Security+, Network+, Project +, MCTS Vista, ITIL v3 Foundations, CNSS 4011 & 4012

  4. #4
    nyvrem is offline Registered User
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    I guess the idea of doing a CS/IT degree was because alot of future jobs require some knowledge of computer programming and his thinking a CS/IT degree might give him better leverage in the job market VS just a GIS cert. His already certain of doing a Masters in Envi. Sci or GIS. But he wants a CS/IT degree to back his GIS knowledge. I hope you get what I mean. I told him about ASU 's software engineering program.

    Software Engineering Online Degree | ASU Online | Arizona State University

    His looking into this at the moment. I guess knowing how to use the GIS Tools + knowing how to programming it might let him enter a technical role in the future?
    Again, I think it's about job prospects in the future and having that something extra.

  5. #5
    novadar is offline Registered User
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    GIS is one of those areas where credentials, etc are wide open. There are a great many folks who have degrees in Geography (which makes sense right?) or Public Administration (like my Masters is in) because the technology is more about how it is used, GIS tools have very little value if not used properly. The most passionate GIS folks I run into are State and Local Government types. They are super sharp and really love the stuff. I am decent at designing polygons on overlay maps with simple point geometry. It is cool seeing the BI tool "draw" on the map. But these folks eat, breath, and sleep Georasters!

    I would advise your friend to do the following:

    1) Not worry about trying to be too general, there is not much value in IT knowing a little about a lot. Deep knowledge wins every time.

    2) Don't bother with another Bachelors degree. He has "a" Bachelors, that's enough just like TEKMAN says. He and I see it every day.

    3) Here is a generic GIS cert (GISCI > Home) but not sure on the value. I am a BI/Data Warehousing person so I got an Oracle DBA cert many years ago. A name brand matters most ESRI, Oracle (MapViewer), MapInfo are big players. Get deep, expert skills on one. Read blogs voraciously, test new features, build stuff for fun.

    4) Technical roles only go so far after a while and it takes a lot to be up on the latest at all times, if he really "wants" to go to school an MBA with an IT Specialization would make the most sense. Once he has proven himself as a technologist then he will have much more respect managing technologists.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by novadar; 07-21-2014 at 09:01 PM.

  6. #6
    nyvrem is offline Registered User
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    Ahh Thank you. Noted. My friend is still on the path to wanting to do a CS degree or something close to it.
    Not to sure why. Maybe an unfulfilled dream.

    Is ABET accreditation very important for landing a job?
    I noticed the ASU Software engineering course is not ABET accredited.

  7. #7
    novadar is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyvrem View Post
    Ahh Thank you. Noted. My friend is still on the path to wanting to do a CS degree or something close to it.
    Not to sure why. Maybe an unfulfilled dream.

    Is ABET accreditation very important for landing a job?
    I noticed the ASU Software engineering course is not ABET accredited.

    No worries, I know all to well the unfulfilled dream take, I call it a monkey on my back.

    AFAIK, ABET is not going to be particularly relevant to Software Engineering , only mainline licensed engineering types of jobs will care about it. I have never once heard my product development (software engineer ) colleagues talk about it. In fact many of them are CS majors without engineering degrees. And on the other hand several are like me with liberal arts Bachelor degrees - mine is in History , these guys have Philosophy and English degrees. I have worked for a VERY large software company for nearly 15 years now. YMMV.

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  9. #8
    TEKMAN is offline Semper Fi!
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    I agree with novadar, ABET is not important in term of the workforce. Software Engineering do not require state license like Electrical Engineering , Computer Engineering , and other complicated Engineering . At this point IT profession is still not regulate by the Government.

    Well, if he wants to get a Bachelor in CS, then go for it. But I would recommend a Master degree instead. The master degree would concentrate into the core of the profession instead require additional general studies.

    Also, he wants is one thing and useful for the career is nothing thing. I want to have a Doctorate degree because I was born in the third world country. My parents did not complete middle school, my siblings did not complete high school except one is current in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Virginia Commonwealth University. A Doctorate in the IT industry is not a good return on investment. But since half of my degree is paid by Department of Veteran Affairs, then I am heading that way. And I do not plan to seek full-time tenure track. In fact, I am start opening my own technical training academy.
    Ph.D| Nova Southeastern University (W/D)
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