Certifications, Associates, Do They Hold Any Weight In CS/IT?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by HauntedCarnival, Sep 16, 2020 at 3:37 AM.

  1. HauntedCarnival

    HauntedCarnival New Member

    Long time lurker, first time poster. Hello!

    What does everyone think of the certification programs? I'm 28 and decided I wanted to pursue a BS-CS or BS-IT but I just got done paying off over 5K in old student loans from a CC I never got any credits from or graduated from (young and very dumb). So I really don't want to get back into debt with a certain student loan company again right now.

    Another big thing for me is I know very little. Most of these BS programs people will tell you it's more for working professionals and people with experience. (They are not lying) I have tried out some BS-CS courses and I felt like it was way over my head, not prepared for a whole degree at all. I even considered just starting from the beginning and getting an Associates of some kind in CS/IT but still unsure.

    But back on the certifications, If you scroll down through this page I am referring to these programs: https://www.degreeinfo.com/index.php?forums/it-and-computer-related-degrees.18/

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
  2. Fortunato

    Fortunato Member

    IT certification programs can be a useful first step on the career ladder, a mid-career boost, or a way to add knowledge or prove out skills with a new tech. But the trick is that they can also be an expensive waste of time if you chase the wrong ones. Right now, I'd look at the Amazon AWS certifications, anything in info security, and some of the more popular data platforms. But you also need to think about what it is you want to do day to day. IT (and CS) seems like an easy career to get into and make a ton of money, but it's also an easy career to get into and realize you absolutely hate what you do but are addicted to that sweet, sweet middle class lifestyle your decent salary and benefits affords you. There is a big difference between CS and IT. If you aren't clear on that difference, you aren't ready to decide which certifications or degree programs are right for you.
  3. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    Yes, they hold weight.

    But what really hold weight is your programming skills...

    Keep in mind that some of the most successful IT entrepreneurs don't have any degree. They're just very good at programming.
    Founder of 'Jsdelivr' is only 27 years old.
    He has never attended any college lol

    I'm sure he's a millionaire now.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    A disproportionate percentage of millionaires went to university and earned a degree. A disproportionate percentage of billionaires did not. What you do is up to you, but I'm making sure my kids have degrees on their CVs.
    Mac Juli likes this.
  5. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Active Member

    Guess I know what you mean.

    But being a father of two myself, I am not sure what I am going to do, and if I compare the average income of a craftsman with the average income of that what sociologists call "academic precarity", this makes me even less sure what I should do...
  6. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    Degree is just a degree that can help you when you want to work for someone else...

    If I ever have a kid, I'll teach him how to test the whole degree program out with CLEP and ACE stuffs.. 4 years of education is a big waste. If you get the max amount of CLEP and ACE credits, you can finish it in a year. I have earned 76 transferable credits in only 3 months by the way.

    If I could go back in time, I would spend at least 10 months testing out all of the CLEP exams before enroll into any university. I spent lots of money at a very expensive private university but never graduated. CLEP and ACE could totally save me. It could help me finish my degree in a year. You can get over 100 transferable credits from CLEP. That's what I had to do instead of struggling with some upper level sociology class at a university.

    This 30 year old real estate guy is a millionaire too:

    He never attended any college lol
    Now he has $6 millions.. he makes $30k a month from youtube.
  7. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    Teach your kids how to finish the degree in only one year by testing out CLEP and ACE. That's all that we need.... don't need to pay 4 years of time and money.
  8. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    For U.S. - that's OK if that's what you want, I guess ... but what do you suggest for people in other countries? CLEP and others, e.g DSST will get you nothing here in Canada. Universities will not accept it, not even Athabasca, which is sort of an expensive "Big Fourth," and there's no similar test out vehicle. Ditto for Europe and the rest of the world. Big 3 degrees are fine elsewhere - they're RA. But, in itself, the test-out credit you can use to construct one is not. It's a US product - not for export.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020 at 4:05 PM
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  9. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    You can still get an online US degree while in Canada.
    And there are CLEP and DSST testing centers in Canada too.
  10. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    Parenting is easy when you don't have kids, but once you do you find out they come complete with their own ideas. For example, my middle son is doing university the conventional way, because he's interested in film school and (to the extent the pandemic permits this semester) is getting a lot of out of that hands on experience with the specific technologies and close interaction with his instructors. He's in-state and living off campus, so he's doing it about as inexpensively as one can.
  11. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    The two things are not mutually exclusive. No matter what path you choose, you can do it wisely or not.

    Before I get into that let me just say...

    There's nothing wrong with being a plumber with a bachelor's in philosophy. In fact, I think we should all aspire to higher learning for the sake of learning. The problem comes in in terms of cost of time and money. My father had quite a successful career as a police officer with, first, just a high school diploma. Then he earned an associates and eventually a bachelors and eventually a masters. He didn't need any of those degrees for his job. And he received a nice tidy pension at the end. And plenty of places would have been delighted to hire him without a single credit more than he went into the NYPD with. But he wanted options AND he was willing to time it out in a way that worked for him AND it was so affordable that he didn't even have to once consider taking on debt.

    That said, let's talk about two guys I went to high school with who became mechanics. One is named Alex and the other is Bill.

    Graduate from high school and got a job working at a Jiffy Lube. This affirmed his desire to be a mechanic which was good because he had never been around a garage before so it was a good babystep into having your head in the hood of a car all day for pay.
    After settling, 100% on mechanic, he enlisted in the National Guard and signed on to become a diesel mechanic. Came home and enrolled in the community college for automotive technology and left Jiffy Lube to get a job at another place as, basically, a mechanic's helper where he also did very low level auto work such as oil changes, brakes, changing filters etc. He didn't finish his associates because he got hired full time as a mechanic and made a nice career for himself. Debt = $0. Years of relevant experience by age 25 = 7 years

    Graduate from high school and got a job working retail. Enrolled in a private trade school run by some guy who used to work in NASCAR. Experience by age 25 = 5-6 years Debt = $30k

    I say this not because one was necessarily better than the other. It's just that people act like there are two paths and that's it, no variation between the two. You can go to college and graduate debt free. You can take on a trade and make garbage money and be buried in debt. These two mechanic friends have made somewhere in the neighborhood of $42k - $55k annually for their careers. I know other mechanics who have been at it for over a decade and can't break past the equivalent of $15/hr.

    You know what my plan is for my two kids? Have a plan.

    You want to become a surgeon? You want to become a cosmetologist? Fine, whatever you want to do is fine. However, you need a meaningful plan to get there and you need to understand the finances involved. How much does it cost to become that thing and how much are you likely to make as that thing. It's fine to become a barber provided you don't incur a whole lot of debt to get there and are OK with the earning limits therein. Sure, you can open a shop and maybe even more shops and become a super success. Of course, you can do that with any business. There's a point where you transition from barber to business owner or from physician to business owner and the math changes dramatically (and the guarantees become fewer).

    Know your math. Know your alternatives. Know what needs to happen for the goal to happen AND what happens if one or more of those things don't happen. If you wash out of surgical residency you can still be a physician and just practice in another area. If you wash out of medical school then you're relying solely on your bachelors and so on. My daughter is 14. She's at that age where she's beginning to seriously think about these things but still has time before she needs to start hammering out a solid plan. She wants to work in medicine. Great! The plan she devised, with only minimal input from me, is to earn a BSN and eventually apply to medical school. But even if she can't get into medical school or the school she wants or with the financial aid package she wants, she's still a nurse. Pretty clever kid!

    It doesn't matter so much what you want to do. It's about doing whatever you do smartly and with an intentional thought process rather than just showing up to a college that "looks nice" so you can study "stuff."
    Mac Juli and SteveFoerster like this.
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    So it would seem! For some reason I thought that Athabasca would take them for their BGS program, but I don't see a single reference on their site about it. And I know UVic will take AP exams, but apparently not CLEP. Oh well.
  13. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    I spent 3 years at a very expensive private universities and never finished it. I was forced to pay lots of tuition and am struggling financially.
    I had a job offer before graduation.
    I think the whole university education was a wrong decision. I had to test out every existing CLEP exams before get into the expensive private university so I could finish the degree within a year. :):):)

    Save your time and money. Get your degree fast with CLEP, DSST, ACE credits...
    Many millionaires don't have a degree anyways lol
  14. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I once thought they (Athabasca) might take CLEP for the BGS also, Steve. But a reliable poster (I forget exactly who) contacted them and asked that specific question. The answer: NO CLEP, DSST etc. whatsoever in ANY program.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  15. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Active Member

    ...yeah, this comes 20 years too late for me, but hopefully not for my daughters... :)
  16. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    I have a friend who lives in Canada and has no intention to leave, and needed a degree in middle age. I showed her how to get one - from COSC. It's not like they don't accept Canadians or something.
  17. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Never said they didn't. As I said, Big 3 degrees are fine in-and outside of US. They're fine everywhere including Canada because they're RA. Maybe I just have a not-so-secret wish that CLEP etc. or some similar system could get a person a Canadian degree. And that maybe a similar system would work for other countries.

    PS. I just found out that it would be easier than I thought - if I did want to take CLEP exams. There are a couple of centres in the Toronto area I didn't know existed.
  18. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    My friend got vast majority of her credit through nontraditional providers. Sophia, Study.com, and Shmoop (no longer accepted), mostly. I also do not think a COSC degree is any worse than the one from York and Ryerson. It would not train you in arrogance as time spent at UofT, though.
    Johann likes this.
  19. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I don't need training in arrogance - I'm a natural. Gifted, even. :) I share your opinion of the 3 schools. One's as good as the other. Canada is lacking in credit through non-traditional providers and schools that will let you construct a degree from them - as do COSC, TESU and Excelsior.

    Sorry to hear about the demise of Shmoop. I liked the name. Always reminded me of Betty Everett and the Shmoop-Shmoop song. ...No, that was Shoop-Shoop, I guess
    Here it is from 1964. Cher re-did it in 2019. There are a dozen or more versions. Betty had the original. Sang duets with Jerry Butler, too. An artist to remember. She died in 2001. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Everett

    AND -as for arrogance - I'll have you know, I won the Seniors' Swaggering Contest last year! :) -J
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020 at 12:41 AM
  20. HauntedCarnival

    HauntedCarnival New Member

    This is all I'm looking for honestly. I'd like to get a BS eventually but I just want something to start with to get an entry level position somewhere. (Also so my resume has at least something formal on it besides what I've been self-taught). I've read through so many forums this past year and it seems the general consensus is you don't even need anything to get a entry level help desk job, or how you can be a self-taught dev and get junior programming positions as long as you have created your own projects and can demonstrate you know how to code.

    But honestly, I have no idea what path I really want to take. I've always loved tinkering around with computers (building, troubleshooting, custom OS's/Linux) and also like front-end web development (I've made websites just for fun).

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