IT Degree, should I get associates first?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by LilKatie24, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. LilKatie24

    LilKatie24 New Member

    Hi everyone. Here's my story. I graduated high school in 2003 had major surgery in 2004 (which I developed anxiety from ugh) and finally got my certificate in Computer Science in 2008, yea I know I was an awful student until the about 2006-2008 but for the first 3 years after high school I was a complete wash out.

    Well anyway recently its been getting to me. I've had off an on jobs mostly part time and temps in positions I haven't been trained in mostly people say I'm a secretary but other than that nothing substantial. I live at home and babysit for money on the side. My sister makes fun of me all the time for "being 25 living at home with no career" and I just want my own computer business but I have horrid credit and no money to start one.

    So I've been looking at degree's I have found Western Governors University's Bachelors in IT and I love that it also has IT certifications. But I wonder if I should get my Associates in IT first? That way I would be able to find some sort of job (hopefully in my field) so I would have something substantial? Does anyone get what I mean? What do ya'll think? And yes I know ya'll isn't a word ;)
  2. LilKatie24

    LilKatie24 New Member

    I also forgot to ask, if anyone has any experience with WGU? I have my certificate which is about 40 credits but I owe the college that I got it from 800 dollars. I'm paying them in monthly payments but they wont give me an official transcript until its all completely paid (which I understand) does WGU let you test out of certain classes?
  3. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

    In a sense, WGU lets you test out of ALL your classes. They use a competency-based model, basically you learn on your own pace and once you pass the required tests you earn credits. So if you already know a lot and are very self-motivated WGU could be a good choice, because you could finish relatively quickly.

    Re getting an associates degree, generally I think it's a good idea, if only because you could probably do it cheaper, and you'd have a degree sooner (2 years) rather than waiting to earn your bachelors (4 years).

    What exactly do you want to do within the field of computer science? Networking? Support? Programming? Web development? The WGU bachelor's degree is in IT management which is not very specific. There are many options available online to do an IT/CS degree so you have plenty of selection. If you're interested in getting into networking, Clovis Community College (one of the lowest-cost online schools for associates degrees) offers a 18-month CISCO course:
    Cisco Internetworking

    (I'll let someone else explain the "big three" schools and testing out, if you're not familiar with this visit for an overview, although some of that site is a bit out of date now it explains the basics.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2010
  4. 03310151

    03310151 New Member

    I would advise against getting into a career in IT. Many people on this board are in IT and currently employed so they can paint the rosy picture for you. That's not me. It's a difficult field to break into. Are you good at programming? Can you learn and understand computer languages with ease? Are you involved in any of the open source projects out there? You have to go high level or go home. Help Desk people are about on par with Taco Bell workers or call center agents.

    If you are just "good with computers" you need to look to something else. Do computers as a hobby but get your living somewhere else. The only plus you may have is that you are a woman (I'm guessing by your screen name) and some companies will trip over themselves in order to get you on their staff. Like it or not that is the way it is.

    The competition is absolutely fierce. Do you work on computers at work now and then go home and sit down to code for hours on end in your free time? The people you are competing against do. What certifications do you have? The debate on college vs. certification is a heavy one, but most people you are competing against will have both.

    A BS in Computer Science will get you a $12 hour help desk job in most places not named Silicon Valley, Dallas, LA, or New York.

    But, don't take my word for it. Go to Indeed and search for IT positions in your home town. See what the going rate is, what kinds of positions they are looking for and see if your interests and abilities line up with any of them. Programming, DBA, Analysis, Desktop Support, SysAdmin, Infrastucture? Which one do you like?

    If you are going to head back to school for a degree to actually earn a living (you are in the wrong place, everyone on here is getting their degree because they love learning and do not care about employability from their education) then you really have to do some local research. Jobs first, who is hiring and for what positions. Check with your local school and see if they will give you hiring rates for their CS graduates (hehehehe, good luck with that one).

    Hopefully one of the employed IT folks will be along to tell you how great IT is. Just remember, its not 1999 anymore and the days of a buss-boy from Perkins getting his MCSE at a boot camp and making 50K per year are over.

    Research what H1B's are doing to the IT career field. Have fun and good luck.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2010
  5. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Many cultures throughout history would have scorn for someone who didn't stay with their family at the age of 25. You aren't doing anything wrong, you are simply an outlier in a society whose values are habitually contradictory and often to our greater detriment :)
    I get what you mean and it makes sense. After an Associate's, there are two full years before you get a Bachelor's... so why not get something that can be useful for you in the meantime? Also, who knows what the future may bring, and you may not be able to complete your Bachelor's until much later. You will be happy you have SOMETHING, which is exactly why phase one of my BA plan is to get an AA ASAP, even if it's just a general degree. I also look at it as a milestone; once I receive it, I know that I am progressing and will have something already on my wall to help me remain motivated. The only real question is how useful an AA in IT is good for in the the job hunt, to which I will leave our experienced IT professionals, of which there are many on this board, do the talking.
    Who says it isn't? Gramarians and English teachers do not have the right to define what our language is, only the responsibility to teach it, and keep up with how WE change it ;)

    Keep it rizzle fo'shizzle,
    Maniac Craniac
  6. LilKatie24

    LilKatie24 New Member

    Basically computers is all I know and its what I'm good at. I build them, I fix them, some people know math I know computers. I live in a small town surrounded by smaller towns. I've lost out on two computer jobs at schools because I only hold a certificate they ended up hiring retirees from IT related fields. I want a Bachelors in something I'm good at, this way I wont get as discouraged as normal when I'm taking my classes. A Bachelors would help me be able to teach, possibly get hired on at the hospitals that surround us, heck maybe i'll even be able to pay off my debts and start my own business. I'm not looking to make a lot of money must enough to get out of my parents house and have a decent job but most places will hire only Bachelors. Really there's not a lot of competition around me because most of its in Dallas, Houston, and so forth but thank you for the response. oh and yes I am a woman :) but honestly thats worked more against me than for me.

    I am seriously thinking of WGU because of there competency-based model and I would be able to get my degree quicker.
  7. LilKatie24

    LilKatie24 New Member

    Maniac Craniac

    Thank you for your response, right now before I apply to WGU I'm researching online schools that have AA IT degrees that would go towards a Bachelors. I've even thought of general degrees as well. If you find any good ones send them my way :)

    oh and also the next time my older sister picks on me this is what I'm going to tell her

    I am not a loser nor lazy I am simply an outlier in a society whose values are habitually contradictory and often to my greater detriment.
  8. gettingthere

    gettingthere New Member

    focus on certs as a short-term goal, in that case. they'll apply to your degree but they'll hold weight themselves as you look for options.

    if you want to teach, microsoft and cisco have certified instructor programs and you can get cert'd to teach at training companies based on the other certs you earn. i am both mct and ccsi and i've done it for years with no degree at all.

    these will help short term, and apply to your degree for long-term as well :)
  9. muaranah

    muaranah New Member

    If I were you, I would think about joining the Air Force.
  10. LilKatie24

    LilKatie24 New Member


    message to short.
  11. muaranah

    muaranah New Member

    Because you can get technical training, work experience, perhaps a security clearance which can also help lead to well-paid employment, quite a bit of money for higher ed, the chance to get a bachelor's degree relatively cheaply and a salary, among other things.
  12. LilKatie24

    LilKatie24 New Member

    Well yes I understand all those things and my father was in the air force, he was actually a thunderbird. But its not for me.
  13. muaranah

    muaranah New Member

    Too bad, because it has helped a lot of people with situations similar to yours get a professional boost. You generally will make a lot more money in IT in a position requiring a security clearance, and you already know what having student debt feels like.
  14. rickyjo

    rickyjo New Member

    Yes, I believe you should get a two year degree on the way to a 4 year degree when it comes to IT. You will find many experts recommend certs, some recommend a degree, or both, or neither. I'm not kidding I've heard people insist that you can do IT based on experience alone and I know somebody who has been quite successful and never been to college a day in his life and holds 0 certs.

    I think it has a lot to do with who hires you. If an IT person hires you I believe specialized certs would be the most help, if a corporate person hires you the degree will probably hold more water (I'm generalizing, of course). I would just incrementally get credentials until you feel like you are in a good position in life. In IT there's not a starting point on value, an A+ alone helps a little, a CCNA or MCSE or 2 year degree helps more, a 4 year degree helps even more. That's how I see it. There is value in each credential you get, simply amass them one at a time until you are where you want to be.

    And if you like computers, do computers. You and I are in the same boat, and if I get paid a little less, so be it.

    Also, if I had to do it all over again, I'd start with the A+ and then get my CCNA. Cisco certifications seem to impress people the most. And many community colleges have you obtain the credential on the way to your 2 year degree, giving you the 2 for the price of one 1 aspect.
  15. LilKatie24

    LilKatie24 New Member

    I also think I should go the 2 year degree route first, if anything at least I'll have more credits under my belt and a degree that might help me find a somewhat decent paying job on the way to my Bachelors. Has anyone heard of any good online Associate degree schools? Some that are kind self paced?
  16. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    Hi Katie,

    Since you live near hospitals, perhaps you should consider a degree/career in Health Information Technology/Management. Health IT is essentially working with computers in a medical setting, with the unique challenges that come with this industry.

    There are a number of online programs in HIT. Here are a couple of options for you:


    SUNY - BS/BPS in Health Information Management

    University of Cincinnati - BS in Health Information Management

    Weber State University - AAS in Health Information Technology

    Best of luck!
  17. LilKatie24

    LilKatie24 New Member

    Interesting! Thank you for this I hadnt really thought about going into the IT health field. Yes We have many major/minor hospitals and clinics close to were I live and this would help me get requirements for my Bachelors.
  18. 03310151

    03310151 New Member

    It worked for me. After I completed tech school I had an A.A.S. in Electronic Systems Technology, Security+ certification, and a T.S./SCI clearance and a lot of good enterprise level experience. I have two Associate degrees, 2 Bachelor's and an MBA in IT Managment without a cent of student loans. The GI Bill is a great way to get an education.

    The Texas Air Guard is hiring. What about the military is not you? Rules? Responsibility? Accountability? Discipline? Don't say deployments because that is a weak-sauce arguement. I've deployed numerous times and working on computers even in a hostile environment is not dangerous.

    Don't you love your country (I'm just kidding of course, one does not have to serve in the military to love their country....but really...don't you love your country?)
  19. LilKatie24

    LilKatie24 New Member

    Seriously now I have to explain why I don't want to go into the military? I just don't .

    all right I'll explain further. My father was in the military, I have seen what it did to him I just don't want to take the chance thanks though for your reply.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2010
  20. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    You started off on the right track by looking at WGU. Among the fully online schools, they are one of a few that really stand out in regards to both quality and price. On this site, there is a forum specifically for IT degrees. You might get better responses if you post your same question over there :)

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