Is an IT Degree Worth It?
Published on June 12, 2013 by Scott Rudeen
Mr. Jon Allen, owner of Proponent IT, spoke to IT degree students about the role and importance of certifications in the IT industry. The students belong to the Broadview University-Layton Information Technology Student Association (ITSA) club, and Allen graciously accepted an invitation from the club officers to speak to the group.
Allen mentioned that his own company—experts in IT support, servers, networks, and Microsoft Certified Specialists—“relies greatly on industry certifications when it’s time to evaluate applicants when hiring for new positions in our rapidly growing company.”
When the students asked Allen about the importance of obtaining a university degree in information technology, he said he completely supports that the degree is the most important aspect, followed by obtaining certifications that validate specific competencies.
Allen also told the students, “The old A+ certification from the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), is now the absolute minimum a student should obtain. Ideally, students should also obtain CompTIA’s Network+ and Security+ certifications. Beyond these certifications, students could obtain specialty certifications in Microsoft applications and servers, Cisco networking products, and there are many others.”
Dr. Mark Smith, IT program chair at Broadview University-Layton, asked, “What about other, lesser known, certifications? For example, Testout now offers the PC Pro, Network Pro, and Security Pro certifications that are directly competing with the CompTIA exams and, in some instances, are more current and applied skills based than the CompTIA exams.”
Allen responded that he was not familiar with Testout’s exams but he welcomed the competition to CompTIA’s exams, which he said have become “static and stale.”
Sean Mendoza, Layton ITSA Club president, then challenged all members to “start studying for and take the A+ certificate practice tests that we have access to through the LabSims website, at the end of the two courses preparing students for A+, and then save or print the results. Then we will have an idea of how everyone is doing, as far as strong points and week points.”
Dr. Smith also pointed out that Broadview University has scholarships available that can be used to defray the cost of taking the certification exams. The ITSA Club plans to hold study sessions for members to prepare for the certifications exams.
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Written by Mark Smith, information technology program chair