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Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

(OP)
Curious.  I currently am 8 yrs away from a 20yr military retirement.  Taking A+ Certification class next week via New Horizons.  What certs should I pursue next??  Network+, Security+??  CCNA?  Microsoft??
Also I have been chipping away at my bachelors degree through Park university.  Bachelors in Management/Computer Information Systems.  Should I put ahold on the degree and focus on Certs?  Just trying to be in the best position when I retire in 8yrs.  I also have a TS Clearance which I am told would help me when I retire from the military.  Any advice? Suggestions?

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Looks like you've chosen a networking path. As a programmer for the last 16 years I have found it more useful to get the degree first, then pursue certifications based on your experience and interests. Employers I have worked with (all two of them, but had lotsa interviews) seem more interested in experience and a track record of critical thinking and accomplishments. IMHO, certs are icing on the cake.
Good Luck (and thanks for serving)!

cheers

"Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without."

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

The TS clearance will help alot if you choose to pursue employment with the Federal government or government contractors. Make sure to put it on your resume.

Having done a lot of hiring, if I have two resumes with roughly the same experience, a college degree will count for more in my eyes than any cert. There are far too many people out there with certs that don't know their stuff for most hiring managers to give them a lot of credence. While there are people with degrees that don't know their stuff either, at least the degree shows a level of ability to persist to accomplish something that a cert does not. In order these are the things that are important to me
1. Pertinent experience
2. demonstrated ability to accomplish something (I want someone who can point to specific projects that have been implementd not someone who says responsible for maintaining the system in a resume)
3. demonstrated ability to learn new languages/technologies, etc.
4.formal education (BS or MS first, AA or AS or technical school or PhD second, some schooling but no degree third)
5. certs

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

There's nothing wrong with certifications, but with 8 years until you get out of the military, you need to make sure that your certs aren't dated.

Make sure you use your GI benefits. You're probably aware of how the military will help you go to school while you're serving. Take advantage of this!  I got my associates while I was in.  Not bad, but I wish I would have gotten many more credits finished. It has taken me almost 10 years to finish up my bachelors degree. The major obstacles were money, time, and just life.

If a degree is something that you are planning on doing, start now. Putting it off just makes it more difficult. On a related note, a bachelor's degree looks good on promotion boards.

Also, certifications are good for specialties. Degrees may (depending on the degree) be better for a broader range of careers.

Good luck!

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

I'll agree with everyone else, with 8 years to go till you'll be looking many of your certs will be completely out of date by the time you hit the job market. Use the time to get a BA/BS or even an MS if you can do it. Once you hit the open market then look at what certs will best help you get the job you want and go for them then (Maybe start looking a year before you actually leave so you know which to get).

The company I work for has a very large IS department (3000+) and we go through a lot of people, many come through that have all kinds of certs but lack in real knowledge. At the very least a degree will show that you are dedicated and can acomplish a difficult and time consuming project that last for several years with a lot of ups and downs. I agree with spamly it will only get harder the longer you wait. I'm 31 now and in my Junior year, I'm only able to attend part time because of work/life obligations and it is pretty frustrating knowing that it will probably be another 3 - 5 years before I get my BS, and maybe 7 before i get my masters. (I really hope to do it faster!!)

Good luck, and thank you for serving! If you're ever in the Pacific northwest I'd happily buy you a round cheers

--Dan
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

(OP)
Thanks everyone for the replies.  I forgot to add that the military is paying for most if not all of my certs.  Would it still be a waste of time and money since I won't be retiring for another 8 yrs or so?  As far as school goes im about 6 classes away from my Bachelors, that will defentiely be done in the next year.  

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Education is never a waste of time and the CERTS won't hurt even if the expire, it shows you can do it.




This is a Signature and not part of the answer, it appears on every reply.

This is an Analogy so don't take it personally as some have.

Why change the engine if all you need is to change the spark plugs.

 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Thanks for the clarification.

If the military is paying for the certs now, go ahead and get them. I'd recommend keeping them up to date, if possible.

Leaving the military with experience, a degree, and industry recognized certifications...  Not bad at all.

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

I would prioritize the degree and even consider concentrating on a further/higher degree in the 8 years you have left in the service.

Degrees indicate a level of thinking and portray more than being able to sit a bunch of exams and get a paper. A good degree course will help shape how you analyze issues and resolve those.

I was once told, after getting my B. Eng, that I learned nothing that would be of any value to a prospective employer... nothing except for how to solve any problem from A to Z logically. And what more can an employer look for in an employee?

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree


Quote:

I would prioritize the degree and even consider concentrating on a further/higher degree in the 8 years you have left in the service.
I agree with beltmanjr. With 8 years left, Bachelor's degree just a few months away, and while the military is paying, I would go for Master's (possibly MBA, since you are majoring in Management/Computer Information Systems). Then, a little closer to the retirement, would start to do the certs. It may help to ensure that the certs are more up to date, and you get the most value from the education money you are getting from the military.

It would also help if you get some professional experience while serving. After 20 years in military, (hopefully) an advanced degree and some certs, you wouldn't want to go for an entry level position. But if you can show some experience and skills in addition to all of the above, you might be a good candidate for a managerial position somewhere.
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Quote (Stella740pl):

It would also help if you get some professional experience while serving.
Stella740pl is right. No experience means you are of lesser interest to companies.

Perhaps you can move into a relevant section within the services to gain more experience?

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

beltmanjr, I think there is a disconnect in what a degree is. Let me explain. You made the statement

Quote:


Degrees indicate a level of thinking and portray more than being able to sit a bunch of exams and get a paper. A good degree course will help shape how you analyze issues and resolve those.

I tend to agree to a point. But isn't a degree nothing more than sitting a bunch of exams to get a paper? Don't you have to analyze issues and resolve those issues in certifications that require a lab test (such as CCIE)?

As a military man myself with 10.5 years in (yes, I kick myself for getting out), I found that the experience of what I did in itself is what found me jobs, not any particular certification, or degree. Having a TS didn't hurt either.

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree


Quote:

But isn't a degree nothing more than sitting a bunch of exams to get a paper?
For some people, it definitely is.
So is certification - depends on who gets it.
I've seen people for whom work experience is nothing more than sitting on the job some hours for some years.

The difference between a degree and certification (supposed to be, in a general case) is that the degree gives you a well-rounded, rarely-expiring knowledge of concepts, ideas, and theory of how and why everything works the way it does. It gives you an instrument to apply to things that you didn't know how to do - but you got an instrument to approach it.

The certs are usually (in a general case, of course) a proof of a narrow, specialized, dated knowledge in a particular area or a product. Not bad to have, too, but a completely different animal.

But the topic of degree vs. certs is beaten to death here.

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

(OP)
Currently I work as a CSA Client Support Administrator so basically do installs etc..for my immediate office customers.  Hoping to transfer to the cyber command in the next year or so.  

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

In 1998, I took early retirement at 16 years in a similar situation.  I had MCP and immediately began working on MCSE.  I took a position with an IT contractor that basicly hired me for the clearance.  10 years and 4 companies later, I'm an industry leader in my field.

experience, certification, experience that exploits the certification has been the repeating cycle throughout my career.



RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree


The security clearance will help you a lot. Plus, ex-military people hire ex-military people.

Having not served in the military, I try hard to avoid such companies.

Certifications are mostly a waste. Get all the IT experience while in the military.
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

I agree, the security clearance will probably help a lot.  My consulting company only has a handful of people with a clearance, but they're never short of work since we do a fair amount of business with the government.

Other than that, it's about experience.  Certifications are nice to have, but you really need the experience to back them up or they're meaningless.  A lot of people think certs are the way to get in the door.  They think that having certs will allow them to get the job to get the experience that they really need.  The reality is that certifications should be a demonstration of the knowledge and experience that you already have.

The only exception to that I think would be new technology.  For example, Windows 2008 was just released in February, so nobody has much experience working with it.  At this point in the game someone with a Windows 2008 certification looks like they're interested in new technology and is working hard to keep up with what's new.  Especially if they have certs on previous technology.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCTS:Active Directory
MCTS:Network Infrastructure
MCTS:Applications Infrastructure  

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

By far the degree will server you the best once you finish your military service (thank you for that, BTW). We are no longer in the "good old days" of the IT bubble. That bubble exploded several years ago and companies are looking for more qualified candidates with good experience and a degree. Certifications never hurt (just make sure they're in the realm of what you want to do - ie don't get an MCSE if you want to be a network engineer), but they are now looked at as gravy instead of the entree. If the military is paying for everything, then don't let anyone stop you from getting them. Just be sure you get your degree and maintain a high GPA. Also, a masters would be an incredible card to have in your pocket when the time comes. And with 8 years before getting out, you should have plenty of time to do both.

Good luck and God bless our soldiers.

------------------------------------------------
"640K ought to be enough for anybody."
- Bill Gates, 1981

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

I'm not sure what market you're in, but in the midwestern United States there is a serious dearth of people with solid technical skills, especially at the network/systems engineering level.  I personally interview 5-6 people a month (and some of our other consultants do as well) and we're lucky if one or two of them is good enough to hire.  Many of our customers have dozens of open reqs for technical  resources, many of them listed as contract to hire.  Pay scales have been increasing steadily, and if the pattern holds they're not going away any time soon.  At this point (as has been the case for years) what you know is far more important than whether you have a degree or not, unless you're looking for a management job.

And by the way, Bill Gates never said that.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

I agree that the Midwest has a lack of good, quality candidates. I actually just left the Midwest for Colorado and a great opportunity that I couldn't find back home (Indianapolis). This is why I feel a degree is more important now than ever. A degree shows you can be taught, work in groups and are responsible. Certifications anymore just tell people you can memorize a book (or a Test King test) and pass a test.

There is certainly a difference between being experienced and having experience. But everything I see these days requires a degree of some type. Since the IT bubble burst several years ago, hiring just anyone with a certification is no more. It's just my opinion and the experience I see in my travels / job changes as a technical engineer/administrator.

I won't agree the quote. For every website that says he said it, there's one that says he didn't. Not worth the headache.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
Albert Einstein

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Quote:

Certifications anymore just tell people you can memorize a book (or a Test King test) and pass a test
I don't know about other certifications, but that has not been true of MS certifications for a long time. The questions are situational and are pulled from a humungous deck of questions, and are therefore, really not memorizable. The days of a "paper MCSE" are over.

What a degree says about you varies quite a bit from school to school.

Lilliabeth
-Why use a big word when a diminutive one will do?-

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Quote:

Certifications are mostly a waste.
We must live on different planets. It's the norm where I live for the HR Dept of a large organization to automatically refuse anyone without a relevant certification.

Lilliabeth
-Why use a big word when a diminutive one will do?-

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Interesting Lilliabeth, we never care about certifications nor have we at any other job because we have found most of the candidates with certifications don't really have the technical skills unless they have other relevant experience which will qualify them for the interview without the certification. I would never consider turning down a person with relevant experience and no cert over someone with a cert and no relevant experience. Someone with a cert and relevant experience would not be higher than someone with similar relevant experience and no cert because the certs are mostly meaningless in terms of actually performing the work. You lose most of the better candidates with a silly policy like that.

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree


Where I work, what is mostly looked at is a relevant education and/or relevant experience, or a combination of both, depending on the position/level. Certification is a nice addition to the other qualifications - sometimes; but isn't really a deal maker or deal breaker in most cases.

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

I agree with you SQLSister. I get an MCSA back in '04 with no experience at all in managing Microsoft from a practical perspective. But I thought I needed it to get a job. I actually got a job because of my degree and not my certs. I have a couple others now, but my experience far outways my certifications in terms of meaningfulness. I would not say certs are meaningless, but I would definitely say a degree and experience are far more important in industry.

I am very surprised that a company (large or otherwise) would disqualify candidates because of a lack of certs. That's probably the craziest thing I've heard yet. As for "paper MCSE" (or any other cert for that matter), I can point you to the actual exams to memorize if you want. I know they're there because I know people who have used them and recently. I don't like it, but that's reality. I've worked with many engineers who had "paper credentials" who had no clue how to do things their certs said they could. Is that "the norm?" I don't think so. But there are enough of those types of people out there that any responsible company would take experience into consideration before certs.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
Albert Einstein

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

I believe it is a combination of your skills and assets that make you the right candidate for a job. If part of your assets are a certification that is nice but usually not enough. If you however have the skill, but nothing to proof this you wont get there either.

Thus experience + cert + degree all account for the total you bring to a company and is what in one way or another you will be judged on.

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree


Quote (beltmanjr):

experience + cert + degree
I don't think this formula describes your value to a company correctly. big smile
I think it should be

CODE

a*relevant_experience + b*relevant_degree + c*relevant_cert + d*miscellanious_factors
but I won't say anything on the value of a,b,c and d, since the issue is somewhat debatable. Let's say that they are variables depending on many different things.

Got to add, though, that some companies use different formulas - or wrong values of a,b,c and d - when hiring people; and this process is not always based on the true value of candidates.
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Quote (Stella740pl):


a*relevant_experience + b*relevant_degree + c*relevant_cert + d*miscellanious_factors

You nailed it! :)
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

I have to disagree about memorizing tests, it is absolutely possible with MCSE exams and I know people who have done it (getting perfect scores on 5 of 7 exams, no less!).  There are even boot camps where they give you the actual pool of exam questions to study rather than teaching you the material.  And that's before you even get around to the hired guns who you could pay to take the exams for you in your place!  I assure you, the age of the paper cert (including the MCSE) is alive and well.

My rating scale when I interview candidates goes like this:

Cert only - worthless
Relevant experience only - good
Relevant expereience + relevant cert - better

Not that the cert makes you any better at your job, but if you have the experience and take the time to get the certification, it does say something about your character and work ethic.  Plus, I think that the certs and experience help validate each other.

Regarding companies not hiring due to a lack of certification, I do believe that happens.  In those cases you'll usually have a job description posted by HR or a PHB who can only quantify the skills needed in terms of certifications, so they list it as a job requirement.  Then in the first wave of screening they discard any resumes that don't have the certs listed.  If you don't have the listed certs then you don't get an interview.  If they find the candidate that they want during that first round, you never had a chance at getting the job.  If they don't find the right fit, then they often times go back through the discard pile to find people with closely matching experience.  Then if you do get the job offer, you have to negotiate for more salary while the HR person considers you a B-list candidate, which could have an effect as well.

Just keep in mind that I'm talking about larger organizations here where HR handles most of the pre-screening.  At smaller companies where you actually deal with managers directly for most of the hiring process, I doubt that a manager with technical knowledge would pass you over for lack of certification.  But it does happen.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree


Quote:

Many of our customers have dozens of open reqs for technical  resources, many of them listed as contract to hire.

You might get more people if you made them real full-time jobs, instead of this contract-to-hire garbage. When one employer treats people like dirt and another employer treats people like humans, the employer who treats people like humans will always win out.


 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

You might get more people if you made them real full-time jobs, instead of this contract-to-hire garbage. When one employer treats people like dirt and another employer treats people like humans, the employer who treats people like humans will always win out.

You very clearly did not understand the post.  Firstly, these are not my positions to offer.  They are my customers' positions, and they're free to offer them however they like.

Secondly, contract-to-hire isn't garbage, nor is it treating people like dirt.  It's a customer (many of which are Fortune 500 companies) who needs skilled IT resources.  Rather than spend a great deal of time weeding through candidates to find a few decent ones, then hire them and hope it works out, they prefer to go through contracting, staffing, or consulting firms.  They get a 6 month no-risk trial of a pre-screened potential employee, the employee gets a no-risk trial of the company, and the employee can either choose to go to work for our customer or stay with us when the contract is up.  It's usually a win-win-win.  How is that treating people like dirt?

 

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

kmcferrin: I must agree with you on this.




This is a Signature and not part of the answer, it appears on every reply.

This is an Analogy so don't take it personally as some have.

Why change the engine if all you need is to change the spark plugs.

 
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Whenever I mention that certifications have value, I always make the assumption that everyone knows that certifications complement experience and do not replace it. That's because (and I know you disagree, kcmcferrin) I feel it is extremely unusual for someone to be able to attain a high-level cert without experience. Anyone who has no experience and gets a perfect score on 5 exams is obviously, without a doubt, no question about it, inarguably, cheating and I feel that is also pretty rare (at least in the US) as testing centers do try to maintain security.

The bootcamps that have attained a pool of answers... why haven't you turned them into Microsoft?

Lilliabeth
-Why use a big word when a diminutive one will do?-

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

[quote]It's a customer (many of which are Fortune 500 companies) who needs skilled IT resources. Rather than spend a great deal of time weeding through candidates to find a few decent ones, then hire them and hope it works out, they prefer to go through contracting, staffing, or consulting firms. They get a 6 month no-risk trial of a pre-screened potential employee, the employee gets a no-risk trial of the company, and the employee can either choose to go to work for our customer or stay with us when the contract is up.  It's usually a win-win-win. How is that treating people like dirt?[quote]

As a technical professional, I can tell you that most technical talent does not consider this situation a win-win. My guess is that you probably also don't care what they really do think. Most technical professionals I know equate this type of arrangement with prostitution. Not surprisingly, the most talented people have no interest in doing this and often don't have to do it. When talented people go to "contracting", "staffing", and "consulting" firms, it is a last resort.

What I have also noticed is that companies that truly are good places to work don't do this. I know that the corporate office of Whole Foods does not operate this way. And, even though the pay is generally consider "low," most people I know love working there. It's also interesting when you have an attitude toward commitment you actually get commitment. As a result, turnover at places like Whole Foods is quite low.

Every employer, company, and manager has the turnover that they deserve.


 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Lilliabeth, I've found that the bootcamps that do pass out the pool of answers are sometimes an "accredited" Microsoft trainer. They could very well be turned in, but the red tape to get something done is usually pretty long. Also, I highly doubt anyone who "passes" these courses is going to say anything.

I am also going to agree with you big time. I'm a pretty good advocate of certifications. I don't have a degree, but I have a few certifications. One of the certifications I am scheduled to take later this year is the CISSP. One of the requirements is 4 years experience to attain the cert, and continuing education is a must to maintain the cert. How about CCIE? Toughest certification out there. OSCP? Another 24 hour certification that is very challenging. Anything from SANS. Like to see a "paper" cert on these.

I have met quite a few graduates, that couldn't use a copy machine. How does that make them better than someone with certs? OK, someone goes to college, another jumps right into the work force. Who is more motivated to succeed? The person at college, who is looking for at least 4 years of college life, or the person who hits the bricks right away?

I have made this statement earlier in this thread, and I still firmly believe it.

Quote:


But isn't a degree nothing more than sitting a bunch of exams to get a paper?
And those exams to get a paper degree sometimes include "basketweaving 101". How is that going to help the person succeed in IT? Oh, never mind. They can make baskets made from mouse wires and sell them.

I'm am not bashing anyone with a degree, because I have met some very well rounded graduates, that impressed me with their knowledge. As in life, you meet some dumb "smart" people, and smart "dumb" people.
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

That's because (and I know you disagree, kcmcferrin) I feel it is extremely unusual for someone to be able to attain a high-level cert without experience.

We don't disagree there at all.  I'm not encouraging paper MCSEs, I'm just pointing out that they're still alive and well, and probably always will be.

As a technical professional, I can tell you that most technical talent does not consider this situation a win-win. My guess is that you probably also don't care what they really do think. Most technical professionals I know equate this type of arrangement with prostitution. Not surprisingly, the most talented people have no interest in doing this and often don't have to do it. When talented people go to "contracting", "staffing", and "consulting" firms, it is a last resort.

I like how you can tell me what I think, or what's on the mind of most technical professionals.  That's a neat skill to have.

Seriously, what's wrong with consulting firms?  I can tell you as a technical professional that it's not for everybody, but it's by no means treating people like dirt either.  In many cases the most talented people ARE consultants.  Why?  Because consulting pays better than being a full-time regular employee, and if you have the technical chops to command the higher salary then why wouldn't you?  I've been working for consulting firms off and on since 1999, and worked for literally dozens of customers.  At every one of them I've picked up some new piece of knowledge or skill set that has increased my value.  It is definitely a winning situation for the technical professional.

It's true that some people end up leaving to go full-time as an employee, but that's just part of the business.  Usually it's people who either don't want to deal with meeting new people and adjusting to new environments on a regular basis, or it's people who are risk-averse and think that somehow working for a consulting company is "less secure" than working for our customers.  That's fine, consulting isn't for everyone, and if they're willing to take the pay cut then more power to them.  In those cases they're benefitting from the no-strings attached trial that I mentioned earlier.

The consulting company that I work for is regularly listed in the top 10 places to work in our geographic area.  Not the top 10 consulting companies or the top 10 IT firms, but the top 10 companies.  That pretty much says everything that you need to know.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Quote:

I've been working for consulting firms off and on since 1999

The key phrase here is "off and on." If these consulting firms are such fine employers, then what is the reason for ever going off? I would think that if it is so great, one would go on and stay on. It seems that you have also worked for many different ones as well.

I know IT people who have been with the same employer for ten years or more. They are happy with their lives and actually like their jobs and the people they work with.

I work for a company that is probably the smartest group of people I've worked with. It is easy to have an intelligent conversation with these people on almost any topic.

How did they get such good people? They hired them. There is no "try-before-you-buy" garbage. Both employer and employee are committed to building a successful win-win situation from day one. It's amazing how easy it is and how well it works.

Employers really do reap what they sew.
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree


Quote:

The key phrase here is "off and on." If these consulting firms are such fine employers, then what is the reason for ever going off? I would think that if it is so great, one would go on and stay on.
Have you ever done any consulting?  "Off and on" - that's because consulting firms send you to their clients on assignments. If there jobs that require your particular set of skills and you are interested in those jobs, you are "on", is there are none at the moment, you are "off", and might go to another consulting firm that has an assignment for you.

Some of the assignment are short (a few months) - that's why they don't need a permanent person. Some are longer, and for those some consulting companies sometimes would employ you full time with benefits if you wish - but those jobs also end. Because if the client needed a permanent person, they would ask for a permanent person, not a consultant. If the job is for a few months only, do they really need to commit to a permanent employee? For that kind of job they can always find a skilled person who is also not eager to commit, but would like to get (and can command) a good pay for their work.

The clients get the job done, consultants get some short-term good money and new skills. Also a win-win situation - just for different needs on both sides.

I've done some consulting earlier in my career. They gave me  some new skills, very good names (client companies) on my resume, and some pay jump which helped me to get better salary on my permanent job. Say, one job lasted 2 years, during which I've been a consulting company's full time employee with salary and benefits; another one was paid hourly (very well paid) and lasted 6 months, then a few days several months later.  

Why did I stop consulting? Because I have a family with kids, I need stability, predictability, medical insurance, sick days and long paid vacations more than higher hourly rates. Because my husband doesn't have medical insurance. My requirements changed with time, so is the type of my job.



 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Quote:

I need stability, predictability, medical insurance, sick days and long paid vacations

I already knew that consulting doesn't give you any of those things. That's reason enough to stay enough from it. Thank you for helping prove my point.
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree


You are welcome, but really, you didn't actually prove anything to anyone - except yourself. You believe that consulting is not for you - and you proved that successfully. I helped you to confirm that you should stay away from it. You didn't prove that consulting is evil and perm is superior to those people that prefer changes, meeting new people and learning new skills to predictability (yes, they do exist). Some people do equate that to monotony. And getting higher rates you can buy medical insurance and other benefits. Not stability and predictability, though.

Quote:

I already knew that consulting doesn't give you any of those things. (Underlining mine)
As matter of fact, I didn't actually say this. It may give you some of them - I did mention that I had a full-time position for one of my consulting jobs - it included not only health insurance, but also other benefits: vacation, sick days, etc. It lasted two years - longer then some seemingly permanent jobs do (you cannot be always 100% sure you can - or would want to - keep yours for life).
So, it may give you some of those things - not just all of them at once. But hey, not everyone  needs/wants them all at once. Say, if your spouse has a good health insurance, you don't need another one in the family, you may take a higher-paid job without one. And, as I already said, not all people like predictability. So, to everyone their own.
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

I already knew that consulting doesn't give you any of those things. That's reason enough to stay enough from it. Thank you for helping prove my point.

I have all of those things, plus 401k, free training, education reimbursement, etc, so you're obviously wrong there.

The key phrase here is "off and on." If these consulting firms are such fine employers, then what is the reason for ever going off? I would think that if it is so great, one would go on and stay on. It seems that you have also worked for many different ones as well.

Again, you are reading your own biases into what I'm saying.  I have worked for three consulting firms, two were so-so and I only took one contract from each of them.  The third firm is who I work for now, and I've got about 18 months with them now, in addition to almost 5 years with them on a previous "tour".

Regarding the "off and on," I only left consulting once since I started, and that was for a truly unique opportunity to build a new company from the ground up.  I worked for that company for three years until it was sold, and then I went back to consulting.  Up until the point where the company was sold it was a great job, and something that I would consider a once in a lifetime opportunity.  It's also an opportunity that I would not have gotten had I not been consulting, as they came to my consulting company looking for someone with my speciific skillset on a contract-to-hire basis.  Of course I wouldn't have even had those specific skills had I not picked them up through consulting to begin with.

So yeah, consulting is great.  I work for a great company with intelligent coworkers.  We are constantly engaged on projects that are challenging an interesting, with more opportunities for professional growth than you can shake a stick at.

Have you ever tried consulting?  If not, I'd suggest you do so (if you have the skills, of course).  Otherwise you would do well to keep your mouth shut about things with which you have no experience.

________________________________________
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RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

I love doing Contract work as I get bored doing the same old crap day in and day out. I usually get hired to fix all the things the perm employees messed up or didn't know how to do it. I have a 401K and Vac and I don't need the Ins so I get extra money. Don't knock it till you've tried it. The last full time Perm job I had there where 30 IT people and 25 of them where Temps and they had been there 5 or more years untill the company was sold and the new owners merged us in there company and layed everyone but 3 people off.




This is a Signature and not part of the answer, it appears on every reply.

This is an Analogy so don't take it personally as some have.

Why change the engine if all you need is to change the spark plugs.

 
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

Quote:

Don't knock it till you've tried it.

This is very presumptuous. I have done contract work. I generally did it for companies that weren't very organized or well run. Quite a few of the jobs were quite boring and certainly didn't help with career growth.

Now that I am back on a "normal" job, I have vowed: "Never again."
 

RE: Looking for Advice on Certifications and Degree

No more presumptuous then you. But hey good luck.

I have to agree with stella740pl, you havn't proven any point except you don't like Contracting. It may work for other's. I have been contracting on and off since 1986, whenever company's are laying off, contracting picks up.




This is a Signature and not part of the answer, it appears on every reply.

This is an Analogy so don't take it personally as some have.

Why change the engine if all you need is to change the spark plugs.

 
 

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