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Sam H
20-08-2002, 08:59 PM
I'm looking for a bit of advise for my future education, at the moment I was thinking about leaving college at the end of this year coming out with 6th form cert and going on to do a National Diploma in Computing Level 5 and also doing A+ and Network+ and at least getting the core MCSE exams done and finishing MCSE part time.

However I am slowly being convinced to stay another year and do Busary, also realizing myself that this may be Valuable as I have my whole life ahead of me to do tertiary courses and/or degrees. I am looking for some advise on my future education from those in the IT industry already.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers
Sam

Mike
20-08-2002, 09:07 PM
> form cert and going on to do a National Diploma in
> Computing Level 5 and also doing A+ and Network+ and
> at least getting the core MCSE exams done and
> finishing MCSE part time.
> However I am slowly being convinced to stay another
> year and do Busary, also realizing myself that this

Stay on and do bursary and go for a degree in something - I'm not speaking from experience, as I don't have MCSE or A+ or anything, but I do know of a few people (especially in the Tauranga area) who are sitting on their bums with their A+ and Network+ and nothing to do, because companies are hiring people with the degrees, not just the different certifications.

Mike.

robsonde
20-08-2002, 09:18 PM
Dont get A+ it is not worth it.

I got my A+ two years ago and have had a few crap jobs that i could have got without it.

many people who do the interviews dont know what A+ is and those who do know about it know any fool can get it with reading the right book for a weekend :-)

get a degree in comp sci or such like.

SoniKalien
20-08-2002, 11:09 PM
To make it the best of three, stay on and do your bursary.

I have CBC, DCO, CCMLIV, and still it don't mean jack.

I honestly wish I'd taken life more seriously 15 years ago and stayed on at skool and then uni. Besides, the standard of tertiary (eg technical institutes or polytechs) has dropped majorly compared to the demands of the job industry particularly in the IT industry.

BarryMcQ
20-08-2002, 11:37 PM
Hi Sam,

Definitely work towards a degree of some kind. There are several reasons for this:

1. If you end up wanting to move to another area of IT outside sysadmin, nearly all employers look for a degree (this is especially true overseas).

2. Although experience counts for a lot, when applying for a job that has numerous applications they look for those with a degree first (unfair I know but thats life).

Having said this, I find that New Zealand is one of the few places that will give you a chance without a degree.

Ideally you would want to get a degree, but work part time in IT somewhere to get the hands on experience. The Technical Quals MSCE etc. are nice to haves! I have met several people who had the bits of paper but were absolutely useless when drop into a real situation.

In short a degree will get you a foot in the door, the experience and practical knowledge should do the rest.

-=JM=-
21-08-2002, 12:02 AM
If you were wanting to get away from the area you are in at the moment. I would highly recommend that you go to the Christchurch College of Education (http://www.ict.school.nz) it's very cheap and the qualifications are good.

SoniKalien
21-08-2002, 12:19 AM
Thanks Barry, you've just confirmed that I'm washed up.. :D

> I have met several people who had the bits of paper but were absolutely useless when drop into a real situation.

I'm the opposite - I don't have the paper but judging from comments from others (and not just from PressF1) I'm apparently pretty capable.

How do you prove that in an interview that doesn't even have pooter in the room...??

Heather P
21-08-2002, 12:19 AM
Degrees give you a really good knowledge base and are to be thoroughly recommended.

BUT...

What is your money situation like? I know that these days you roll into Uni, Tech or the local accredited course and are instantly given a Student Loan form. Great, fine, excellent - course costs are covered.

What they don't impress on you is the catch - you have to pay it back! This sounds fine when you are 18 and starting the course. Not so good when you've 21, leaving the course and realise you're off into the world owing $30,000 (or considerably more) without a job.

Think about the money side as well as the course. Starting a year late or studying part time whilst working are also options. A big advantage being you've had some work experience and can apply the study to real life situations.

SoniKalien
21-08-2002, 12:34 AM
I have a $12,000 student loan, and have had it for 4 years, and it doesn't really worry me cos I only have to pay it back when I earn over a threshold (ie a job) so I accrue interest, but that gets written off if I'm not working.

Don't underestimate the power of the Loan. And don't be put off by scare mongering. Use the force wisely. Get a degree...

swings watch slowly in front of your eyes...

BarryMcQ
21-08-2002, 12:40 AM
>How do you prove that in an interview that doesn't even have pooter in the room...??

Hopefully you'll get a technical dude doing your interview (not always the case). As soon as you say I'm a visual person (ie. I need to look at what I'm doing) they 'll understand completely ;-)

Mike
21-08-2002, 09:50 AM
> >How do you prove that in an interview that doesn't
> even have pooter in the room...??
>
> Hopefully you'll get a technical dude doing your
> interview (not always the case). As soon as you say
> I'm a visual person (ie. I need to look at what I'm
> doing) they 'll understand completely ;-)

The problem isn't with the interview, it's with getting the interview to start with. I can't get the interviews - I get letters back saying "a requirement of this position was a tertiary IT degree". How I'd just love to shove it in the faces of their "qualified" technicians who probably know less than I do.

<a real pissed off> Mike.

Mike
21-08-2002, 09:52 AM
> job) so I accrue interest, but that gets written off
> if I'm not working.

no it doesn't... or does it? I was told that when you finish studying the interest accrues whether you're working or not... was I lead astray here?

Mike.

mark c
21-08-2002, 11:51 AM
Do Bursary, then do a degree and work in the industry at the same time. Take longer, pay some of your way at the same time, get heaps of experience, and come out with a good degree. Cost you, but it's an investment for life. I got a degree when I left school and have always found once you say you have people think " Oh right, well can do that can do anything." Not always true of course but it's a valuable ticket.

Guy I know left school maybe five years ago, started IT Degree at Auck. and worked part time in the industry and then gave up his degree and went full time and now doing v. well. He isn't going to bother, he says, with the study anymore and feels assured of employment, and I feel he's right. Another option, if the opportunity is there and you're confident you can hang in.

But having a degree does make life easier.

Best of luck whichever you choose. Your posts are great. You've got an IT future if you want it.

Heather P
21-08-2002, 02:20 PM
I'm not knocking a computer degree. In fact I'm doing one. Slowly. One or two papers a semester. (The lady in the cafeteria at Tech last night made a comment about me still being around. I replied that I'm a permanent student).

I also have one daughter at Uni (history - wants to be a teacher) and another who did a photography course this year (came top of class) in order to get into Tech next year.

But I am of the generation who look at student loans and worry about the future of the country. Hairdressers with loans of $28,000? Kids doing private courses costing thousands (make-up, photography) that have no chance on their own of leading directly to a job? Computer students with debts of what, $50,000?

By all means do a degree but consider the money side as well. As far as the training institutes go there will be plenty of advice on how to obtain loans but no advice on the implications of having one.

nzStan
21-08-2002, 02:56 PM
Take a degree or diploma or even a cert if you want to but I wouldn't waste my money on MSCE or any MS based qualifications. I've gone for their courses but never taken any of their exams. In order to keep the qualitifications you need to keep up to date with their technologies eg if your MSCE was based on Win98/NT4 several years ago, you'll need to resit for W2K etc. You could end up with a qualification that is valid for maybe 5 years.

When I'm hiring staff I look at their experience. MSCE is nice but in the end my questions are still, "Show me what you can do without supervision. Do you have initiative? Can't you solve problems from many angles? Do you look confident? Are you a team player?" Seldom do I exclaim, "Oh look you got a MSCE!!!"

antmannz
21-08-2002, 02:57 PM
Go for getting a degree if you want, but I would really recommend doing it part-time, along with an entry-level IT position (the likes of ISP call-centre work).

Sure it'll take longer, but IMO there's nothing like experience - when I was in a position to employ ppl (a year or so ago now) I ended up employing someone with 2 yrs experience over those with degrees. Reason? he was the only person who "tinkered" and could tell me "how and why". Those with degrees invariably shrugged their shoulders when asked why they would do something a particular way!!!

My daughter is kinda the same. She's studying p/t for CBC, considers herself as reasonably techy, but would be hard pushed to explain simple things such as a PC start-up process, what a defrag does (or why everything else should be closed while it's operating), etc.

So ... I'll say it again ... IMO nothing counts like experience.

Biggles
21-08-2002, 03:04 PM
Unfortunately the reality of how capable someone is versus what pieces of paper they have is always out of sync and is likely to only get worse.

Employers and their hiring practices vary widely, but as a rule the Degree will give you a better chance of getting noticed than the short course qualifications. With a candidate sight unseen but a pile of CVs to work through, there is a natural tendency for employers to regard those with degrees as having demonstrated a willingness to knuckle down and be in for the long haul. And many employers are frequently not as technically knowledgeable as the people they are hiring (heck, that's what they are hiring you for, after all), so multiple short course qualifications which they may not be familiar with might leave little impact while a BSc is something they can relate too.

Degrees have always had an element of marketing value about them - it is just a sad fact of life.

And there are many many people willing to fork over the money to go and get degrees. It is a competitive market and you'll sell yourself short if you believe you can go and compete in job interviews with half a dozen BSc, some of whom will also have additional qualifications.

So go get the degree. (advice from a university drop-out).

tech
21-08-2002, 03:05 PM
Brilliant. When can I come for an interview with you!

nzStan
21-08-2002, 03:16 PM
Take a number. To get into IDG you need someone to die or retire...


:P

(hehehe joking I have an office at Orewa with that saying).

Sam H
21-08-2002, 05:11 PM
Thanks a lot for all the posts guys, I guess I will be returning to do 7th Form and then go on to do a degree. I have been thinking about the part time and working bit and started thinking I may do the 1st year of the chosen degree full time to get used to uni life then doing the remaining part of the degree part time while working in the industry part time.

Thanks a lot for helping me out on this matter, I'm looking forward already, uni is supposed to be the most exciting time of your life I hear.

Cheers
Sam

Heather P
21-08-2002, 05:16 PM
Yeah. Some people enjoy it so much they go back for a second dose.

[I must be mad....]

Graham L
21-08-2002, 05:46 PM
Part time is difficult. Needs a lot of dedication and self-discipline. There are always more interesting things to do (like watching television ;-)) and getting home from work wanting to relax but with homework to do ...

It's not impossible, but ... Of course, some fulltimers find other activities other than study to use/waste lots of time, too.

robo
22-08-2002, 09:35 AM
Sam

It's mostly who you know and not what you know. I got my first three jobs with people because I knew them or someone who knew them.

After that my experience helped a lot. Even now, a lot happens because of people I have helped before (or worked with ten years ago).

I would recommend you do Bursary, and a degree helps. I have a degree in accounting and management, and being a qualified accountant as well as a geek is an awesome combination of skills.

I have some MCSE passes (three plus Excel) and they really don't count for much, I hardly ever mention them.

It is very hard to go back to school later.

As to how you prove you are any good in an interview, it's tricky. Some people are crap employees but great at interviews. If someone is late, then I mark them down. It comes down to how well you get on with them and if they sound like they know what they are talking about. I interviewed IT managers a while back and there are plenty without personalities (sorry, but it's true).

My best advice comes back to the top of this post, be nice to people, help people who have problems on their PC at home, and then you might find they help you get a job. It's karma, dude.
robo.

Biggles
22-08-2002, 11:02 AM
>It's mostly who you know and not what you know. I got my first three jobs with people because I knew them or someone who knew them.

Not entirely true Rob. We've employed plenty of people here over the years where the process came down to reviewing CVs, short listing from those and then interviewing. Then based on the interviews making a final short list. Second interviews sometimes followed - sometimes it came down to the people involved sitting around and giving their views on the interviewees.

So there were several hurdles for the job seeker.

1] Having a good CV - when looking for an network manager several years ago we had several applicants who either had a degree or were part way through one. We were looking to hire a part timer, so a couple of applicants who were working on finishing their degrees and wanted part time work fitted in well. But the fact they were working on the degree made them stand out ahead of others who had limited practical experience.

And they had good CVs, which indicated an ability to communicate clearly and to discern what was important an focus on that. CVs that wander all over the place and tell you what food the employee’s pet likes to eat don't impress. So these guys progressed to round two, the interview ...

2] Doing a good interview. Rob has mentioned how some IT managers he interviewed didn't have much personality. Being able to come across well in and interview is very important. You can't assume that just because you’re applying for an IT job, that dressing like a slob and staring at your shoes for the whole interview is going to be acceptable. In fact, many IT jobs require you to interface with dumb us .... with other people, and good communication and confidence is something an employer will be looking for.

In the case of our two applicants, at the interview one immediately stood out as having confidence, good communications skills and yes, he fitted in with our personalities. This latter point should not be over-looked - employers are looking for a good atmosphere within their teams and will naturally lean torwards people they think they and the other staff will get on with.

3] Practical experience. Graham L mentioned how doing study part time can be very difficult, and it’s true. (hey, I found it impossible to do fulltime…). But everything else said about the importance of a degree notwithstanding, there is always an element of employers looking for someone with practical experience. If you have the degree, and the degree only, you will be at a disadvantage against other people who have the degree plus actual experience. New (as in new to their career) employees can be very expensive for a company, as you end up paying them to learn on the job, degree or no degree. But very experienced employees cost more to hire. So an employer is always looking for best bang for buck – finding someone with the best qualifications and experience willing to accept the salary being offered.

In the case of getting your first full-time job out of varsity, if you can show not just the degree but work experience from part time work, complete with a reference, and you’re happy to take the crap money being offered, you’ve jumped a major hurdle.

A second point about part time work while studying, is that it can lead directly to full time employment. I work with two people right now who were hired as part timers while studying – both are now full time.

godfather
22-08-2002, 11:09 AM
I concur with Bruce, I have done a lot of hiring of staff.

The major hurdle is getting an interview, as that places you on equal footing (despite any educational differences)

If you need a degree, its to get you to the interview.

Attitude and impression are about 80% in my view, as you shouldnt have made the interview stage without the ability.

Another important thing I always applied, was that abilities can be learnt but attitudes dont change.