HSE TESTIMONIALS

SECOND DEGREE VS. CERTIFICATIONS: don’t waste time or money

Experts weigh in on whether a reader should pursue an advanced IT degree or go for certifications

When you’ve got about three years of IT experience under your belt and you want to increase your earning power what do you do? Do you go back to school and earn an advanced degree in IT ? Or do you take your first steps in pursuing vendor certification? Those were some of the questions I received recently from a reader who has worked as an IT administrator (the only IT guy) at a small civil engineering company. He currently earns about $43,000 a year and wants to bump up his salary but his time for education is limited due to family commitments. So what’s the best option?

I’m often asked by IT folks whether to pursue advanced degrees – in 2005, we discussed the pros and cons of MBAs for IT pros (see below for links to those newsletters) - but we’ve never discussed IT degrees for relative IT newbies. I wanted to get some professional opinions so I put the questions to two recruitment agencies, an IT manager at a construction firm, and a certification trainer. This is what they said:

Advice from staffing companies:

James Del Monte is president of JDA Professional Services, an IT staffing company based in Houston. He says: “Having a 4-year degree in anything is a good start and will open most doors. Having a technical degree is preferred in lieu of experience. So he is off to a good start. Given his situation, my suggestion would be to get Microsoft and Cisco certifications. He sounds like he is more interested in a technical career and could use some formal training in this. It also sounds like he is looking to improve his situation more immediately. I would suggest a Master (MBA) if he is interested in more of the business aspects of IT or views himself getting into management. That of course is a longer term commitment. His compensation for what is described seems fair. His next move would be into a larger company where he can learn from others.”

Sandi Henrikson is regional manager at Sapphire Technologies North America. She says: “A degree is desired by many employers, even if it is just a non-technical Bachelor’s. If the worker is young or early in his/her career and has the time to devote to going back to school (i.e. not a lot of family obligations or a demanding job) then investing their efforts in obtaining a degree would be recommended. However, where this candidate says he has limited time, it may be better to focus his energy into getting certifications. With certifications you can pinpoint the specific career path you want to follow and fine tune your skills precisely to the position that you want to aspire to. There are many online certification courses for the person who cannot dedicate themselves full-time, as well as the ability to pursue a Master’s degree part-time down the road if you choose. Many companies, including Sapphire, offer discounted training offerings to assist their employees in keeping up-to-date with the latest technology.”

Advice from an employer:

A. Reader, who wants to remain anonymous, is an IT manager at a construction company, and offers this advice: “What is the employment objective of the individual? Is the individual currently working in IT? If IT management is the goal then a Master’s degree in IT is probably going to serve the needs of that position well. An IT manager with a Master’s degree with a good balance of advanced and current technical and business background brings tremendous tools to the 'table'. One of the most difficult aspects of IT management is having a manager who is skilled enough and current in his/her grasp of emerging technologies such that they can communicate effectively with the project managers and technical specialists.

“If an individual is looking to enhance their marketability in core technology positions such as network engineering or project management I see the choice of Master’s vs. certification as a bit of a toss-up. If one wants to be a project manager with a specialty in security, the Master’s degree could serve well; certifications would be a plus, but could also be seen as overkill or the reverse with the Master’s degree. The credentials become a ‘flashpoint question’ of what does this person want to be, a manager or super-tech? By the same token a well-seasoned engineer with project management and security certifications along with a solid resume would be a very appealing candidate.”

Advice from a certification trainer:

Wendell Odom, CCIE No, 1624, splits time between writing Cisco training books for Cisco Press and teaching classes at Skyline ATS. (Wendell will also be blogging for Network World’s Cisco Subnet site in September - watch this space for details. If you have any burning Cisco certification-related let me know and I’ll forward them to Wendell, or keep an eye out for his blog and you’ll be able to contact him directly).

Wendell says: “I think employers want both types of folks - certified and those with a Master’s in an IT-related field. However, the real trick is to look at job roles within IT and within the networking-centric part of IT. The vast majority of job roles within the networking part of IT requires the skills proven with certs more so than the skills and knowledge proven with a Master's degree. I would say though that someone with a Bachelor's degree plus some certifications - even if the degree is not in IT - has a distinct advantage over those without a degree. I've talked to many students and readers over the years who were somewhat frustrated by having their options limited in some ways by the lack of a degree.

“Also, you need to separate your thinking in terms of whether the employer is a company implementing networking technology [an IT user], or a reseller/vendor/consulting company. An overwhelming number of students tell me that [IT user organizations] do not care a bit about certifications for current employees. They are about skills first, and certifications second, for potential employees. So, for those employees, I'd say getting certified is an important step if they’re looking to land the next job. However, the resellers/vendors/consultants see some inherent value in the certification branding, so oftentimes the skills and certifications tend to be on an equal footing. There's also a much more likelihood that these companies would help you move towards getting your next certification.

“A quick word on the Master's in an IT field. If you want to work in the broader world of IT, and not just networking, then I'm a big fan of getting a Master's. It's just a lot tougher to get there, especially once you're past the carefree days of youth. However, if you're going to focus on a career in networking, I'd recommend a [Cisco Certified Internetwork Engineer] cert over a Master's in IT – CCIE certs are more centered on the technologies you'd work with. I've never met a CCIE who thought the cert didn't have a big impact on their career.”

Thanks to all the experts who offered their advice and thanks to the reader for writing in with the question. As a seasoned IT pro, I’d like to know your thoughts on this issue. Or if you’re an IT newbie – let me know if you are pursing a Master’s degree or vendor certifications

PECB has signed a partnership agreement with Clarionttech Services Nigeria

PECB has signed a partnership agreement with Clarionttech Services Nigeria

December 4, 2017 – PECB is pleased to announce a collaborative partnership with Clarionttech Services Nigeria, to bring PECB training courses in Nigeria. This partnership will enable both companies to strengthen their presence in the market by providing better access to their services, recognizing that both companies work to achieve the same goal.

“Our success with Clarionttech Services Nigeria has allowed us to connect with our customers and deliver the services that they really want and need. PECB has built a strong reputation in the international market for its expertise and ability to develop and deliver training courses on many ISO standards,” says Eric Lachapelle, the CEO of PECB. “We are excited to partner with Clarionttech Services Nigeria and lend our expertise to help create better services for Nigeria market. We look forward to growing this partnership as market demand for ISO Standard Trainings continues to grow,” added Lachapelle.
 

Ugochukwu Nwaelele, CEO, Clarionttech Services Nigeria
We are glad to partner with PECB in the provision of ISO Standard training and certifications. Our strong presence in major cities of Nigeria as a professional training and certification center has given us a large market share of individuals and cooperate bodies seeking ISO certification. Working with PECB in the provision of these services has opened unlimited doors to many Nigerians and is a source to fly high the brand of Clarionttech and PECB to gain more customer loyalty in the Nigerian Market. 

About PECB 
PECB is a certification body for persons, management systems, and products on a wide range of international standards. As a global provider of training, examination, audit, and certification services, PECB offers its expertise on multiple fields, including but not limited to Information Security, IT, Business Continuity, Service Management, Quality Management Systems, Risk & Management, Health, Safety, and Environment. 

We help professionals and organizations to show commitment and competence with internationally recognized standards by providing this assurance through the education, evaluation, and certification against rigorous internationally recognized competence requirements. Our mission is to provide our clients comprehensive services that inspire trust, continual improvement, demonstrate recognition, and benefit society as a whole. For further information regarding PECB principal objectives and activities, visit www.pecb.com.

About Clarionttech Services Nigeria
Clarionttech is helping many companies including multinationals reach accepted international Standard; We provide quality structure for companies and train ambitious individuals by teaching, inspiring and supporting them towards achieving their certifications. Our objective is to equip our students with the required knowledge and skills to pass their certification exams at one sitting to make them relevant to their chosen profession. This has given us an edge as an academy center.

Set Your Goals And Make Them happen...

Goals big and small can be the stepping-stones to a happier life and the way we set them can make a difference to achieving them. 

Clarionttech is helping many companies including multinationals reach accepted international Standard; We provide quality structure for companies and train ambitious individuals by teaching, inspiring and supporting them towards achieving their certifications in the various areas of professionalism and career-field. Here's how.

WHY DO IT?

Having goals for things we want to do and working towards them is an important part of being human. The path towards our goals may not always run smoothly or be easy, but having goals, whether big or small, is part of what makes life good. It gives us a sense of meaning and purpose, points us in the direction we want to go and gets us interested and engaged, all of which are good for our overall happiness.

Over 2000 years ago, Aristotle said: "Well begun is half done." And with regards to goals, he's right (as he seems to have been on a lot of things). Paying attention to how we set our goals makes us more like to achieve them and achieving them makes us feel good about ourselves and our lives.

WHERE TO START?

  1. Decide. Think of something you want to do or work towards. It doesn't matter what, as long as it's something you want to do - ideally something you're interested in or feel excited by. It should be something you want to do for its own sake, not for something or someone else. It can be a big thing or a small thing - sometimes it is easier to get going with something small. And it often helps if it's something that's just a little bit beyond what you currently can do - goals that stretch us can be motivating!
  2. Write it down. Carefully. Writing down our goals increases our chances of sticking with them. Write down how you will know you have reached your goals and when you'd like to have achieved it by. Ask yourself: what it will 'look' like and how will you feel when you've done it? How does it connect to who or what you value in your life? Describe your goal in specific terms and timescales e.g. 'I want to undergo a professional training and get certified in the Human Resource Management by the end of August' rather than 'I want to do some training.'  Write your goals in terms of what you want, not what you don't want. For example: 'I want to be able to wear my favourite jeans again', rather than 'I don't want to be over-weight anymore'.
  3. Tell someone. Telling someone we know about our goals also seems to increase the likelihood that we will stick to them.
  4. Break your goal down. This is especially important for big goals. Think about the smaller goals that are steps on the way to achieving your bigger aim. Sometimes our big goals are a bit vague, like 'I want to be healthier'. Breaking these down helps us be more specific. So a smaller goal might be 'go running regularly' or even 'to be able to run around the park in 20 minutes without stopping'. Write down your smaller goals and try to set some dates to do these by too. Having several smaller goals makes each of them a bit easier and gives us a feeling of success along the way, which also makes it more likely that we'll stay on track towards our bigger goal.
  5. Plan your first step. An ancient Chinese proverb says that the journey of 1000 miles starts with one step. Even if your goal isn't to walk 1000 miles, thinking about the first step on the way will really help to get you started. Even if you don't know where to start there's no excuse - your first step could be to research 'how to…' on the internet or think of people you could ask or to get a book on the subject from the library. Then think of your next step…and the next…
  6. Keep going. Working towards our goals can sometimes be difficult and frustrating - so we need to persevere. If a step you're doing isn't working, think of something else you could try that still moves you forward, even a tiny bit. If you're struggling, ask people you know for their ideas on what you could do. They may help you see a different way. Thinking about different ways of reaching our goals makes it more likely we'll be successful. If you're really struck - take a break and then re-read the goal you wrote down when you started. If you need to adjust your goal - that's ok too. Then have another think about a small next step…
  7. Celebrate. When you reach your goal take the time to enjoy it and thank those that helped you. Think about what you enjoyed and learned along the way. Now, what is your next goal or project going to be?

Do not hesitate to let us in the know of your intending goals, and accomplishment. Also, you can add getting that professional training and certification with us at Clarionttech Services Limited.