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  1. Member
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    #1

    Default Get more certifications, MBA or nothing at all?

    I have been working in IT since I graduated in 2004 with a BS in network and communications management. I have my A+ (2001), Security+ (2013), SSCP (2016), CSSA (2017), CSSP (2017), MCP & MCSA (2014). Let me state that I don't like school, studying for or taking certifications (I have failed multiple times). That being said I think they have served me well.

    I have lived mostly in the Dell/Windows/VMware/SonicWall most of my career which is fine but do enjoy security. I have wanted my CISSP for a long time, I even studied for it but never took it. Also seems I can upgrade my MCSA 2012 to MCSE 2016 with a single exam however I have found MS tests to be the most difficult by far. I have also looked into maybe getting my MBA from WGU. The last caveat is that I would like my company to pay for whatever I do, doubt they will do MBA.

    So any suggestions, I don't really need to get anything else but I suppose it would be good.
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    #2
    If you dislike studying, you joined the wrong career field. No one says you have to keep working on certifications but studying is part of staying in place with systems administration, networking and security. As the saying goes "if you aren't moving forward, you're moving backward".

    Figure out what you want and why and figure out what your company would want and why and see if there's any overlap.
    2017: CCNP (done), FITSI-M (done) CCIE Written
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  4. Senior Member stryder144's Avatar
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by EANx View Post
    If you dislike studying, you joined the wrong career field. No one says you have to keep working on certifications but studying is part of staying in place with systems administration, networking and security. As the saying goes "if you aren't moving forward, you're moving backward".

    Figure out what you want and why and figure out what your company would want and why and see if there's any overlap.
    That is solid advice!
    The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia

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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    You may have a bachelor’s degree, but you stopped at an associates level in certifications.

    If you really like Security, you should start by getting your CISSP while making sure you are in an InfoSec role or applying for one. Just a caveat...if you don’t like studying, you are really going to hate Security when you get into it because things change a lot more than in infrastructure type IT roles (sys admin, net admin).

    An MBA would probably help you more getting into an IT management position...it honestly sounds like you are just unsure where you want to go.
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  6. Senior Member
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    #5
    Talk to your employer about attending 1-2 conferences a year. You'll learn more at one of those than you will studying for a particular cert.

    I'd also like to point out that certifications really aren't the primary solution to a successful career. I value what I learn more than the actual piece of paper. If a cert is just about getting the credential for you, then I think you found your reason why you hate the process of obtaining them so much. I've worked with people who have an alphabet soup after their name, but many times end up being LinkedIn jockey's who have no clue how to solve complex problems. Professionals are made in the workplace actually doing the work.

    Just my .02
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ITSec14 View Post
    Talk to your employer about attending 1-2 conferences a year. You'll learn more at one of those than you will studying for a particular cert.
    Not sure I agree with that. I've been to Black Hat, every local BSides, all the vendor conferences nearby. It's nice to get out and listen to talks and such but unless they are doing a really targeted training for something you actually do there isn't anywhere near the amount of takeaway knowledge that I get studying a book/labs/etc.
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  8. Member NuclearBeavis's Avatar
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    #7
    I wouldn't recommend spending money on an MBA unless the company will pay for it. Given your time in IT, I'd pick a mid-level or high-level cert that focuses on the direction you want to go. Study and achieve that. You'll get a lot more out of it.

    I don't think masters degrees of any kind are terribly useful in IT. Very low reward/investment ratio. A bachelors will get you past most HR filters.
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    #8
    I avoid all the vendor BS. Collaborating with people who are in the industry does a lot more for me than sitting and reading a book. Building your professional network will do wonders for your career. Joining local meetups, attending conferences and even twitter are great ways to expand knowledge. Don't get me wrong, studying a book is great too, but when you think of how much irrelevant content is in them they can be somewhat a waste of time. Labs I would consider hands on experience as well so that is also a great way to learn.
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    #9
    I have room in my schedule at work for the next couple of weeks. Guess I can start studying and maybe take it in January or February.
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  11. Senior Member
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    #10
    Well...

    I'm going to say MBA... just for a couple of really basic reasons. It doesn't expire, you learn more about the business/management side of things... and if you ever decide to change careers .. the MBA can be used anywhere. If your work covers some of the costs... go for it. I would agree with ITSec14 as networking will help your career.

    hope this helps.
    Hatch
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  12. This site changed my life mzx380's Avatar
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Hatch1921 View Post
    Well...

    I'm going to say MBA... just for a couple of really basic reasons. It doesn't expire, you learn more about the business/management side of things... and if you ever decide to change careers .. the MBA can be used anywhere. If your work covers some of the costs... go for it. I would agree with ITSec14 as networking will help your career.

    hope this helps.
    Hatch
    I second what Hatch says in terms of diversification. In today's job market, you need every last resource to set you apart from the pack. I think the best advice would be to decide on the career path first, do certifications in that respective area to align to your chosen specialty and once you're on solid ground in your job, dive head first into grad school at WGU
    Completed in 2017: MBA: Information Technology Management (WGU)
    Currently Working On: PMP
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  13. Senior Member yoba222's Avatar
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    #12
    Wait -- what's your goal? Why are you considering an advanced degree or other certs?
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  14. Member
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by yoba222 View Post
    Wait -- what's your goal? Why are you considering an advanced degree or other certs?
    Good question, I don't know really. At the moment I am content with where I am at not really because of the job itself but because of what the job affords me. It pays me well, is physically close to important things in my life and allows me a flexible schedule. I'm not saying that wouldn't exist somewhere else that might pay more or that I would enjoy more but I'm not sure I want to make that move at the moment.

    If I were to change I would like to move into either an information security role or IT management role, or a combination of both as a infosec management role. I'd like to start working with people more and doing more on the security side of things rather than generalized system administration.
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  15. Senior Member
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by TechGuru80 View Post
    ...it honestly sounds like you are just unsure where you want to go.
    As I said...
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  16. Senior Member
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Hatch1921 View Post
    Well...

    I'm going to say MBA... just for a couple of really basic reasons. It doesn't expire, you learn more about the business/management side of things... and if you ever decide to change careers .. the MBA can be used anywhere. If your work covers some of the costs... go for it. I would agree with ITSec14 as networking will help your career.

    hope this helps.
    Hatch
    I was told by a recruiter this past year that my MBA is "out of date" and would not make me competitive.
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by TechGuru80 View Post
    As I said...
    True, I would like to be a professional billionaire but I don't think that is going to happen...
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  18. Senior Member cyberguypr's Avatar
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by NavyMooseCCNA View Post
    I was told by a recruiter ...
    That my friend is how every facepalm conversation starts.
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  19. Senior Member
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by NavyMooseCCNA View Post
    I was told by a recruiter this past year that my MBA is "out of date" and would not make me competitive.
    But that taking a 10k cut in your salary requirements would make up for the degree no longer being competitive?
    2017: CCNP (done), FITSI-M (done) CCIE Written
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  20. Senior Member
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by cyberguypr View Post
    That my friend is how every facepalm conversation starts.
    +1

    Facepalm!

    Hatch
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  21. Senior Member
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    #20
    Recruiters have less character than turds that don't flush the first time. I admit my MBA is old and it has been wallpaper since I got it, but I still earned the bloody thing.
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  22. Member NuclearBeavis's Avatar
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by NavyMooseCCNA View Post
    Recruiters have less character than turds that don't flush the first time. I admit my MBA is old and it has been wallpaper since I got it, but I still earned the bloody thing.
    I'm not a fan of them either. In my experience, they don't even look at your qualifications or see if you're a match for something. They just mass spam irrelevant job postings to lots of people, hoping one will bite.
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