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    #1

    Default One thing you can do to get a great job in IT

    Just one thing, not two or three. Just one....

    I'll start: A STEM degree, Math, Sciences, Engineering, Computer Science.

    IMO you get a heavy hitter from a top 25 Uni in their respective domains, you'll never need to get a certification or advanced degree.
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    #2
    and experience. good grief, I am getting so many calls lately just because of my 'vast' experience.
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by DatabaseHead View Post
    Just one thing, not two or three. Just one....

    I'll start: A STEM degree, Math, Sciences, Engineering, Computer Science.

    IMO you get a heavy hitter from a top 25 Uni in their respective domains, you'll never need to get a certification or advanced degree.
    If you don't fit my culture, I don't care if you have a BS from Stanford and a Masters from MIT. Personality fit > experience > degrees / certs.
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    #4
    So, in closing, everyone values different things differently...
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Danielm7 View Post
    So, in closing, everyone values different things differently...
    Hot take....
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    #6
    It all depends on what you're doing in IT. I would argue a computer science degree from a top 25 university (along with the $100K+ in student loan debts) won't really have the ROI you're looking for with a network engineer, system engineer, VMware engineer, etc job. I would argue you could get the same jobs with the same pay ($100K+) with an IT degree and a couple certs + experience. Or just without a degree and the right certs.

    Most of the folks on this forum don't have a compsci or mathematics degree (myself included) and are constantly hit up with jobs. The one good thing about this field is that a degree isn't needed to play. Sure, it helps in some ways, especially in the beginning of your career, but I would argue that having a couple certs and being located in the right areas of the country are going to get your foot in the door easier and cheaper than a degree.
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    #7
    I can only speak to networking, but I would say experience. And I don't mean logging into a virtual lab. All of those objectives about cables and fire suppression and WAP placement refer to physical objects--you can't know how they work unless you get your hands on them.
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    #8
    I think experience is first and foremost, most people who have real world experience would agree.

    I'm asking on behalf of people getting into the field, whether it's some high schooler looking to join the work force or a career changer.

    The point isn't to argue, the point is to offer YOUR opinion to see what comes on top, second etc.... The beauty of this is there no right or wrong answer.

    Thanks for your feedback except for idiotic comment made earlier.....
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    #9
    Oh, we're talking quickest and easiest? A degree takes generally 2-4 years before you get any ROI and sink you into debt. I wouldn't say that's the most efficient way. If you're just looking to get into the field without experience then cert up. Quickier ROI, cheaper to obtain, and will get your foot in the door on an entry level job. From there, you can grow that experience, get a degree or more certs.
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    #10
    I wouldn't say the quickest and easiest, the most efficient with long lasting ROI.

    Taking into account like you mentioned getting "in" to a field and continuing to get return out of it throughout the life cycle of an employee.
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    #11
    If you're talking about long lasting or efficient ROI, then that's a little different. You're kind of moving the goal post throughout this thread I still would say a top tier degree with $100K in debt isn't the best ROI in most IT jobs. I think many people have said it on here before: In most IT jobs, your degree only really helps at the beginning of your career. That's why a lot of us shy away from recommending an expensive college or degree program for what's essentially seen as a check box for HR.

    You're not getting that latest raise or the promotion based on your degree you got 10-20 years ago. You're getting it on the accomplishments you received recently (certs, experiences, etc). I don't really think people care much at a network engineer, sysadmin, VMWare job what your degree was 10+ years ago. I don't personally see a degree as a long-lasting ROI because after a certain point in you career with enough experience, it doesn't matter for most companies if you even have a degree or not. Meanwhile, a lot of these jobs are asking for X current certs and X amount of years of experience before everything else. I would argue my CCIE is valued more by most network or security employers than a degree would be. I wouldn't advocate for someone getting a CCIE before getting into the field but having a gameplan on where you want to go with your education (certs or degree) and getting that experience started right away is going to give you a better ROI long term.
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    #12
    Hardly....

    The original heading: One thing you can do to get a great job in IT

    My last comment in the original thread: IMO you get a heavy hitter from a top 25 Uni in their respective domains, you'll never need to get a certification or advanced degree.

    This infers continual return.

    While not specific enough, self admitted. Clearly not moving the goal poles. You attempted to make an assumption based off the heading which was incorrect.

    The objective of the post was, what one thing can you do for your career that will help you soup to nuts.....

    If you feel certification is the answer then state it.... It's YOUR opinion
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    #13
    Personality. If I can't work with you I don't care what your credentials are.
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    #14
    Anecdotal example but I think typical in some ways:
    - I started school in 2010 and finished with an IT degree by 2012
    - Worked the entire time making about the average household income in California (~$50K)
    - Finished my degree without paying more than $15K
    - Next job was six figures (approx $110K + bonus of 20%) and started on my MS degree from 2012-2014 (cost was only approx $15K)
    - Got certed up during that time as well
    - Next job was a bump to over $170K and I worked on my CCIE
    - Got my CCIE + made it over the $200K bump

    End result: Didn't get a top tier or compsci degree but got a lot of certs, got a undergrad and grad degree for 1/3rd of the cost, and got enough experience to make more than the average engineer



    Here's what would have happened if I got a Comp Science degree from a top tier college during the same timeline:
    - Go to college for my undergrad full time between 2010-2014 and rack up $100K of debt *or* go to college part time while getting experience (which would have probably required some certing up as well) and maybe hopefully graduate by 2017 or this year depending on my pace and still have $100K of debt
    - After acheiving said degree and only having part time experience or no experience, I would then be getting an entry level job and starting my career off
    - After 3-6 years, I'm hoping to get over the $100-200K bump and still paying that debt off


    Doing the math in my head, I don't see top tier degrees as the most efficient and best long lasting ROI for most IT jobs. Like all things, you have to be smart in your career moves. There's not one silver bullet but I think the closest one is getting your foot in the door and starting to get experience. Probably the best way to get that foot in the door is a few entry level certs.
    Last edited by Iristheangel; 04-14-2018 at 04:58 PM.
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    #15
    - "After acheiving said degree and only having part time experience or no experience, I would then be getting an entry level job and starting my career off"

    This is where we have a MAJOR disconnect, not fault of yours or mine, just is what it is....

    I'm working off the assumption (which I personally believe to be accurate) that if you graduate from Stanford for example with a Computer Science degree, you are going to land a high level job immediately. (3 months after graduation tops, assuming you are leveraging internships and the connections).

    Students from these Universities can make 100,000 k per graduation or very close. Assuming they work hard and continually learn the business I could see them getting in the mid 100's easily after 3 years. One caveat to this, you are branded as a "special talent". The chances of you getting fast tracked into leadership roles are much higher with this model, than the certification model. IMO

    Nevertheless I am not here to debate but to elicit your experiences which I appreciate you doing.
    Last edited by DatabaseHead; 04-14-2018 at 05:00 PM.
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    #16
    Again, it's based on what you're doing in IT. I can tell you with relative certainty that most companies won't pay senior engineer rates to a fresh college grad (regardless of their degree or internships they have done) because they haven't run a network, built a production NSX install, or run an AD domain in the real world. If we're talking about programmers and devs, sure... maybe. But to be fair, you're on Techexams which caters largely to a different IT crowd than that such as networking/security/vmware/system engineers.

    Also... mid-100s after 4 years in college + 3 years of experience would still be behind what one can get paid in the same timeframe and you still have that $100K of debt to worry about from Stanford. I don't think that's a good ROI imho for the average tech job.

    I'm not sure if you're advocating this from a personal experience point of view or not but you've even written about your struggles to get to the six-figure point here on Techexams. If you personally got a degree from a top tier school, that's not a great endorsement. If you haven't, then that's fair and you're more basing this off of stuff you read. In that case, I'd like to see research stating that a Stanford/MIT/etc grad will get paid more on a longer term for jobs the ones that Techexams mostly cater to and what that difference would be. I'd be genuinely curious to read such research.
    Last edited by Iristheangel; 04-14-2018 at 05:10 PM.
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    #17
    I'm not scoping into one position or focusing one career track, just IT in general. Development, Production Operations, Database, Networking, Security etc.... It all falls into that bucket.

    If you want to focus on the infrastructure side that's cool. It's your choice, like I said previous and I'll say again. Thanks for posting your experiences.

    And one last thing I failed to mention. I think you having the CCIE for networking is greater than a degree for Cisco networking, no question about it..... Not that anyone assumed differently, but since I was so pro comp sci degree I felt I should mention that....
    Last edited by DatabaseHead; 04-14-2018 at 05:11 PM.
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    #18
    https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-av...-from-Stanford

    Not saying I have validate this but if it's correct it's very impressive.

    I have a 15 year old daughter who I have been pushing towards Math for quite some time so she can get into one of these programs.

    Freshman Year
    Algebra and Physics = A's in both.

    Sophomore Year This will be next year.
    Geometry
    Trig


    Either way thought it was an interesting add.
    Last edited by DatabaseHead; 04-14-2018 at 05:17 PM.
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    #19
    When I was in school, my theory behind the whole thing was to get a business degree but back fill with IT certifications. I got the business degree but unfortunately never got the certifications. Fortunately I landed quite a few good jobs without the certifications but now I want to move on and can't do it because I don't have the certifications so I've been back filling as fast as I can.

    I don't really have much interest pursuing the top technical roles, but do have an interest in pursuing the c-suite stuff so I decided to go for an MBA instead of a M.S. and keep going with the certifications.

    There's no right and wrong way to do it. You just have to find something that works and stick to it.
    Last edited by Squished; 04-14-2018 at 05:27 PM.
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    #20
    @Squished you have to admit those numbers provided in that Quora are pretty impressive and if there was a silver bullet, which there isn't, it would be the CS degree from a top 25 school.

    I have a business degree as well, and most of what I learned could be taught in a few books.....
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by DatabaseHead View Post
    @Squished you have to admit those numbers provided in that Quora are pretty impressive and if there was a silver bullet, which there isn't, it would be the CS degree from a top 25 school.

    I have a business degree as well, and most of what I learned could be taught in a few books.....
    Yes and no. if you can graduate with that CS degree from a top 25 school without a mountain of debt, I say absolutely go for it. These people graduating with 150k-200k in debt (or more in some cases I've seen) are out of their minds.

    My business degree included a co-op program which proved to be invaluable. If it wasn't for that co-op program, I wouldn't be where I am today.
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    #22
    I am not a networking engineer I work in security these days. The CCIE does help though. Credibility and it's hard to discuss network security without a fundamental understanding of how a network works.

    Ok, fair enough on putting EVERYTHING in the general IT bucket and ignoring the crowd in which you're asking. Certain IT fields are going to have better salary options in general.

    I grabbed these off of Glassdoor.com since they're going based on job titles and reported salaries.

    Something that would probably benefit from a CompSci degree more would be jobs like:
    - Average salary of a database developer - $86,090
    - Average salary of a senior database developer - $101,137
    - Average salary of a programmer - $66,192
    - Average salary of a senior programmer - $83,771

    Here's a middle area that would probably benefit from both degree and certs:
    - Average salary of a devops engineer - $138,378
    - Average salary of a senior devops engineer - $157,347

    And then of course some of the other IT jobs I mentioned above:
    - Average salary of a network engineer - $77,484
    - Average salary of a senior network engineer - $98,127
    - Average salary of a systems engineer - $77,182
    - Average salary of a senior systems engineer - $99,507
    - Average salary of a security engineer - $138,322
    - Average salary of a senior security engineer - $165,752
    - Average salary of a presales engineer - $88,455
    - Average salary of a senior presales engineer - $112,784
    - Average salary of a vmware administrator - $79,168
    - Average salary of a VMware engineer - $102,670
    - Average salary of a senior vmware engineer - $133,442

    Just based on those numbers, you can get a great ROI and potentially paid more in other parts of IT *without* needing that top tier degree (and subsequent $100K debt). That's partly why I wouldn't recommend a top-tier compsci degree as the "best and longest lasting ROI " in IT. Maybe it helps in certain jobs but as you can see above or you can pull your own numbers from Payscale, the salaries are comperable (and better in certain cases) on the other side of IT and you don't need to rack up $100K of debt to get there.
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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by DatabaseHead View Post
    https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-av...-from-Stanford

    Not saying I have validate this but if it's correct it's very impressive.
    One could also make the point that the four years of gaining experience instead of sticking around Stanford could net you the same or better pay after gaining valuable experience - just without the debt. It all depends on what that experience is. I went to college from 2010-2012 and my first job after graduating was $110K + 20% bonus. It wasn't because of the degree as much as the experience I was getting from 2007-2012 and my boss was impressed by my certs (partly from my degree program and partly stuff I got on my own).

    Also important to note: Quora points out that most of these jobs (80%) are in the Bay Area and $112K isn't crap in the Bay Area. That's almost poverty level in fact. If you're in San Jose or San Francisco, you've got roommates and you can't buy a house at that salary. Tack on $100K of student loan debts and welcome to eating Top Ramen a couple times a week.

    Source: https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/04/...ed-low-income/
    Last edited by Iristheangel; 04-14-2018 at 05:59 PM.
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Iristheangel View Post
    One could also make the point that the four years of gaining experience instead of sticking around Stanford could net you the same or better pay after gaining valuable experience - just without the debt. It all depends on what that experience is. I went to college from 2010-2012 and my first job after graduating was $110K + 20% bonus. It wasn't because of the degree as much as the experience I was getting from 2007-2012 and my boss was impressed by my certs (partly from my degree program and partly stuff I got on my own).

    Also important to note: Quora points out that most of these jobs (80%) are in the Bay Area and $112K isn't crap in the Bay Area. That's almost poverty level in fact. If you're in San Jose or San Francisco, you've got roommates and you can't buy a house at that salary. Tack on $100K of student loan debts and welcome to eating Top Ramen a couple times a week.

    Source: https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/04/...ed-low-income/
    You failed to acknowledge that 95% of these students were offered stock options, I'm not sure if you are even offered those. Not many people are..... Stock options can be VERY beneficial. In fact most of our executives at the company I currently work for receive most of their pay from options and bonuses.

    90% were offered signing bonuses, that's worth noting as well.

    Also, you are working on the premise that the whole cost of the education was going to be paid by the student. There are lots of scholarships available for students looking to fund their education. And the interest rate on a undergrad is MUCH lower than a masters.
    Last edited by DatabaseHead; 04-14-2018 at 06:45 PM.
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by DatabaseHead View Post
    You failed to acknowledge that 95% of these students were offered stock options, I'm not sure if you are even offered those. Not many people are..... Stock options can be VERY beneficial. In fact most of our executives at the company I currently work for receive most of their pay from options and bonuses. 90% were offered signing bonuses, that's worth noting as well.Also, you are working on the premise that the whole cost of the education was going to be paid by the student. There are lots of scholarships available for students looking to fund their education. And the interest rate on a undergrad is MUCH lower than a masters.
    I am offered stock options. This is not atypical. Most start ups in the Bay Area do this in lieu of a higher salary because a lot of them are new startups or trying to keep their employees around for some time. Most I've seen also do startup bonuses as well. It's the competitive nature of the beast living in the Bay Area. I'm not sure if you live in the Bay Area or not - I assume you might since you're interviewing with Facebook. I was born and raised there and my father has been a CEO of various tech startups in Silicon Valley since the early 1990s to currently. Stock options, signing bonuses, etc are pretty typical for a start-up and it's not something reserved for folks with top-tier degrees. That's the whole "dream" in the Bay Area - get on the ground floor of a startup like Facebook once was and get rich when it closes.

    In fact, many Bay Area-based non-startups also offer similar competitive packages. If I were to move to Palo Alto Networks tomorrow, I'd be given a sizable RSU balance (six figures) + a signing bonus and many of my peers without degrees received similar offers from various companies based in the Bay Area.


    Again, this goes back to "highest and most efficient ROI" which based on the salary levels of a new Stanford grad and that they're getting stock options just like anyone else, I don't see a high ROI for $100K of debt. Sure, they *might* be able to get some scholarship but that's not a given and you're still paying interest while making what could be considered poverty level in the Bay Area hoping that your company breaks out and you get rich on your stocks or you might get a raise 2-3 years down the line where you can maybe pay to move out of mom and dad's house or not have to live with roommates anymore. I'm being blunt but honest here when evaluating here.

    I listed average salaries based on various roles in IT and showed that there are roles that make greater salaries without needed a CS degree. Those average salaries are based on the US in general. If I focused in on the Bay Area specifically (like your Quora survey did), those salaries are bound to jump so I would say that you could easrily make way more money without taking on student debt or a 4 year detour away from the work force through other means.So whether it's "how to get a great job" or "longest lasting and more efficient ROI" as your qualifiers, I don't think a CompSci degree from a top 25 college is the #1 way to that for the numbers and reasons I empirically showed.

    One last thing I would add: You're hanging out at a cert forum where many folks became wildly more successful than you or I without a degree and even some without certs. Most people here have infrastructure or security jobs since there aren't a lot of industry-recognized or appreciated "tech exams" for programming, database, etc. You're comparing one side of IT (programming, database, etc) and the ROI acheived there to a crowd of folks who most probably don't work on that side of the house and are happily making more money without a CS degree. For most of the folks here and the kinds of jobs they work, a CS degree from a top 25 school will be more of a money pit than an advantage. Just food for thought.
    Last edited by Iristheangel; 04-14-2018 at 10:35 PM.
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