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  1. Junior Member Registered Member
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    Default Associates Degree question

    So I've been in college for about four years on and off since high school to get my bachelors in communication technology. I've worked in a retail store for the last fours years in order to pay for college and have successfully gone without getting any student loans. Although I should have graduated on the "four year" plan last week, I still have roughly two years left in order to get a bachelors and everything up until now has been nearly perfect.

    I work in the retail industry and commission is my bread and butter (base pay is minimum wage). Unfortunately the store I have worked for since 2006 has changed owners and as of July 30th, I will be receiving only $10/hr and zero sales incentives. Now I know some people will say that should be legit but with rent, insurance, tuition (part-time tuition of course), etc., $10/hr would kill my social life and I would without a doubt have to sub-let my apartment and live in a box because working any more than what I work now (45 hr/wk.) would interfere with school more than it already does.

    I've been thinking (for the past two months) about changing majors to Network Administration. The local community college I live by offers an associates degree and along with my current credits, I could have a degree in about 9 months (I have already taken all the math, English, and other basic general credits). Since considering this switch, I've talked to my adviser at Ohio State along with the adviser at the local comm. college and neither one have a singles clue what they're actually talking about other than what classes to take (bear in mind that the Juco one is an I.T. Only adviser which is ridiculous).

    If I chose to get a bachelors in Network admin. It would take me at least three years at OSU simply because I would have sooo many wasted credits and would have to take physics, more math, and more statistics which isn't all that bad but is something I'm not exactly interested in taking (plus three years of more tuition is not really a feasible option without loans or simply killing myself after being in school for the better half of a decade).

    Now I know that I might be lucky if I can get even one reply from my rambling, but I would like to know if anyone has an associates degree (preferably in networking admin. or any type of I.T. related career) and if it was worth it. I've read this Mike Meyers book and watched the Prof. Messer videos over the past month and have literally become obsessed with computers since then because it really interests me. I truly do believe that I can make this work but I would really appreciate some input from members who have experience or advice!
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  3. Cisco Moderator mikej412's Avatar
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    #2
    Quote Originally Posted by RomeSDS84 View Post
    the store I have worked for since 2006 has changed owners and as of July 30th, I will be receiving only $10/hr and zero sales incentives.
    Sounds like an incentive to look for a new job -- maybe something IT related with room for growth and advancement while still allowing you work on your education.
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  4. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by RomeSDS84 View Post
    So I've been in college for about four years on and off since high school to get my bachelors in communication technology. I've worked in a retail store for the last fours years in order to pay for college and have successfully gone without getting any student loans. Although I should have graduated on the "four year" plan last week, I still have roughly two years left in order to get a bachelors and everything up until now has been nearly perfect.
    Sounds like my college experience. Working 40-60 hours a week in retail to avoid taking out loans.



    I would like to know if anyone has an associates degree (preferably in networking admin. or any type of I.T. related career) and if it was worth it. I've read this Mike Meyers book and watched the Prof. Messer videos over the past month and have literally become obsessed with computers since then because it really interests me. I truly do believe that I can make this work but I would really appreciate some input from members who have experience or advice!
    I have an AAS in Computer Forensics. Alone, I don't know that this would get me anywhere in IT. Add to it the certifications I picked up, and I found myself a good service desk job to work at. The money pays the bills and the experience is setting me up for growth in the future.
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  5. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #4
    Thanks for the input guys! Well I've just scheduled my A+ exam for the third monday in July. I've done a lot of practice exams and feel that I'm ready to take the exam...

    I've also just scheduled classes for this summer and will be taking 5 classes, totaling 18 credit hours (First quarter of Network Admin.) during which I'll be looking for a new job and working at columbus crew stadium in the mean time.

    Would you guys recommend that I stick to the net+ exam or opt for the CCENT (is the CCENT that much more intensive?)
    Last edited by RomeSDS84; 06-24-2010 at 03:06 PM.
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  6. Senior Member
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    #5
    I have an Associate's degree in Network Administration and I have to say it took me about a year to land my first IT gig.Alot of companies seemed to be worried about hiring a guy fresh out of school with no real world exp at least back when I first started out.I enjoy the microsoft side of things more than the cisco side.If you enough working with switches and routers more than configuring servers I would say follow a CCNA cert path but if you enjoy microsoft more than go for the MCITP.You can always do both since some smaller companies need someone who can do both but from my exp I have seen more companies have IT separation with a team that works Cisco, a team that works servers, and a team that does Tech support.
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  7. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by RomeSDS84 View Post
    I've also just scheduled classes for this summer and will be taking 5 classes, totaling 18 credit hours (First quarter of Network Admin.) during which I'll be looking for a new job and working at columbus crew stadium in the mean time.
    I just graduated and decided to take the summer off before starting on the BS. My girlfriend is doing summer classes and I think in the next two weeks she will be done with all but 1 of them. Kind of odd that you just registered and she is almost done.
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  8. Member kiki1579's Avatar
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    #7
    I got my AAS degree in Info Sys Mgmt a few years ago, and I was at that point when working in retail and consider my options for school. I started out doing my certs a about a 1/2 yr into my degree. Took about 5 years PT to complete my AAS BTW while working FT. I would do your schooling, and put some certs on your resume to help boost your way out of "retail land". See what your options are about doing online classes instead of just going to class. Another thing to KIM is that if you get your Associates now, you may not have to waste credits or take extra classes when transfering to a 4 yr school.

    Keep in mind that your "social life" has a limited shelf life in your 20's anyways, so if advancing in your career is more important that your social life...you might want to choose your sides now. Think about it, in a few years time, your friends could still be out doing the same old thing, while YOU are makin the money.
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  9. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Devilsbane View Post
    My girlfriend is doing summer classes and I think in the next two weeks she will be done with all but 1 of them. Kind of odd that you just registered and she is almost done.
    I'll be at Columbus State Community College and they're still using the quarter system which starts june 28th and doesn't end september 11th (fall quarter like OSU doesn't even start till the end of september)
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  10. Senior Member
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    #9
    Finish your AS degree and start looking for an IT job. A lot of the people started working in a retail environment whether after high school, during college, and/or after college. I am one of the people that started in a retail environment during college and after my AAS degree. Heck, I was still in the retail environment nearly after two years of my graduation! Majority of it was my fault because I was not knocking down the certifications and I was being picky on what IT jobs that I would apply for. In the end, that retail job that I took seven months after my graduation was the key to where I am now. I am still in the same company but held three positions, two of which are IT, and currently on my fourth position. I'll probably stay for couple more years just because it is such a big company with a big network and being able to say we're in the top 50 of Fortune 500 list is pretty dope, in my opinion.
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  11. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #10
    Considering the fact that I have zero experience in the workplace with computers, what should I be expecting as far as salary or compensation when I receive my degree?

    By the time I graduate, I will have completed the A+ and N+ exams (I realize certs mean almost nothing without real world experience). I figure with no experience that I will be looking at 28-32k if I am lucky and something around $15/hr if I can't receive a salary?
    Last edited by RomeSDS84; 06-25-2010 at 03:23 AM.
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  12. Brick and Mortar Warsh1p's Avatar
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    #11
    If I was you...

    I would work 20 hours a week and pull out loans for Tuition and Books. This will probably end up being $2000-$2500 a semester at a community college or University. Two years left would be $10,000 roughly of student loans. In that two years you have just your part time job meaning free time to study for school and study for certifications.

    $10,000 in student loans is extremely easy to handle. And if you can't I suppose you should take some finance courses.
    (Guesstimating) You'll pay maybe $50 a month and right now it is so easy to extend 10-year student loans. Remember just because it is 10, 20 or 30 years DOESN'T mean you will have the loan for that long. If you pay $100/mo instead of $50 you will significantly reduce the time you have on your loan.

    Don't be afraid of loans if it is causing you to not graduate, get poor grades and not enough study time for certifications. You want deans list, high GPA, etc for your resume.

    Education is important and to have it suffer because of fear of loans is just hurting yourself. You wouldn't refrain from purchasing a house because you need a mortgage? Or a car because you need a loan?

    Stick with Ohio State and get your BA. That is my advice.
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    #12
    i would do the assoicate degree as long as a bachelor is the end goal.
    CCENT over Network+ definatly, the extra 2 to 3 weeks to study for it, is definatlt worth, and will save you time in the long run if you deceide to go the ccna way
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  14. Not a Senior Member
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    #13
    salary wise i would say $15 to $20 an hour with a couple certs
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  15. Senior Member phantasm's Avatar
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by asurania View Post
    salary wise i would say $15 to $20 an hour with a couple certs
    With zero experience? I'm thinking close to $10 to $15.
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  16. Senior Member
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by RomeSDS84 View Post
    Considering the fact that I have zero experience in the workplace with computers, what should I be expecting as far as salary or compensation when I receive my degree?

    By the time I graduate, I will have completed the A+ and N+ exams (I realize certs mean almost nothing without real world experience). I figure with no experience that I will be looking at 28-32k if I am lucky and something around $15/hr if I can't receive a salary?
    I would say with no experience that you would start out no more than 15/hr.
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  17. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by phantasm View Post
    With zero experience? I'm thinking close to $10 to $15.
    This seems like a more appropriate range, for my area at least. But if you are living somewhere with a high cost of living, they also tend to pay higher.
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  18. Audentis Fortuna Iuvat veritas_libertas's Avatar
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by texasit View Post
    I would say with no experience that you would start out no more than 15/hr.
    I started out at $14 an hour so that is about right.
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  19. Just Married!
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    #18
    Your story reminds me of my time at Best Buy in 2001. Started out at $8.50/hour, after 60 days I got install bonus - which brought my pay to around $12/hour avg. On top of that I was getting around 55-60 hours/week. Fast forward about 6 months, they decided to cancel the bonus program and pay me straight $10.50/hour. I grumbled at it but figured I still got my OT. Well 2 weeks later they cut me to 32 hours/week MAX because I didn't want to work on Sundays. Now I was upset, cut my pay almost in half. They through a huge fit when I brought it up and said they don't understand why I'm upset. Cutting someones pay in half isn't suppose to get them upset? I got fired a month and later and vowed never to shop there again.
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  20. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #19
    So I'm really just bumping this but... I am just about done with my first quarter of school towards my Associates in Network Administration. With all of my General Credits completed from my previous major, I'm on track to be done in exactly one year. From there, a local college offers a program that would grant me a bachelors degree in one extra year of schooling (night classes, online classes, etc.).

    My two questions are:
    1.) Is the college you receive your Bachelors from as important as lets say law school or med school, or is it really for the most part, a bachelors carries the same clout as it would from another school (I realize that getting a degree from a top 25 computing school is on another level; I'm just talking general here).2
    and...
    2.) Considering the fact that I have zero work experience and that only done in labs (after this quarter, this entire school year will be focused almost exclusively on network classes with extensive labs), what kind of job will I be looking at? (I am speaking hypothetical here so the inclusion of the Bachelors is not included in my second question).

    Will I have to get certified in various things such as CCNA for ex. and work two or three years of meaningless jobs (making $9-$15/hr.) before I can even consider landing an actual "Network Administration" position earning a salary?

    Thanks for the help!
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  21. Senior Member MentholMoose's Avatar
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by RomeSDS84 View Post
    2.) Considering the fact that I have zero work experience and that only done in labs (after this quarter, this entire school year will be focused almost exclusively on network classes with extensive labs), what kind of job will I be looking at? (I am speaking hypothetical here so the inclusion of the Bachelors is not included in my second question).
    You should do everything in your power to get some experience in real environments. Talk to your professors and advisor about any volunteer opportunities, and make every effort to get internships. Also look into IT-related job opportunities on campus. Even a student job replacing dead switches/UPSs and patching network jacks on campus is going to look better than any lab environment experience (and I've seen some of those guys get hired as network admins right after graduation).

    When I was doing an AS in CIS, a core component of the program was doing volunteer work for local organizations. A lot of my classmates scored jobs either directly with those orgs, or through contacts gained during the course. Many people did that 1 unit course 3 or more times since it was so beneficial. I didn't get a job from doing that course, but I did get a six month internship, which (along with 1 year of work in a computer lab on campus) landed me a real IT job before I was even done with the AS degree.
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  22. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #21
    Thanks for the input Moose! It makes sense to try and find any type of odd jobs I can find to get any experience.

    If you don't mind me asking, how long ago was it that you got your associates?
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  23. Senior Member Nobylspoon's Avatar
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    #22
    I just got my first IT job a few weeks ago. Granted, it is Software Testing and I am going to school for Network Admin it is atleast a step in the right direction while I finish on my Associates. They started me out at $16.50 with a lot of job perks.

    After I finish up my Associates I should have my MCITP complete and hopefully the work experience from this job added to the mix will look favorable enough for a junior admin position.
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  24. Senior Member
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    #23
    I am enrolled in an A.A.S program. While here I have earned A+, N+, CCNA and CCNA:S. Earning those certs (as well as other personal issues) set me back in terms of completion of the degree but by the time I graduate I should have more than 4 years of exp and a few more certs (LPIC-1, Sec+, maybe C|EH and SSCP).

    To me the best thing you can do is earn certs along the way and try to get some job experience, EVEN AT THE EXPENSE OF SETTING YOUR MATRICULATION DATE BACK. I cannot stress that enough. Why? Because a lot of people who started doing their A.A.S w/ me are not going to finish in 2 years. In fact, most of them are going to take even longer than I am (2 1/2 years or so) but most of them are playing catch up cert wise. I get questions about A+, N+, and CCNA all of the time. Especially in my particular program (Network Engineering, cisco) there are a lot of people asking about the CCNA. What I did was focus on getting job experience with real cisco equipment (which I was able to do) and get my CCNA. That pushed me back about a 3 quarters but its all good. Since I don't have to take the CCNA classes I get 28 credits off of my degree and I was able to get my previous and current jobs because of that cert and the experience I was able to obtain.

    My point is, don't be afraid to do some self studying BEFORE you take the classes. When I started N+ I barely knew what I router was. When I started the CCNA, I barely knew what a routing protocol was. I hadn't taken the classes yet so I invested in myself and it paid off. I was doing the math a few weeks ago and quite literally the A+, N+, CCNA and CCNA:S added 20k (and about 1 1/2 years exp) to my take home pay. I am not sure the A.A.S could have done the same...

    But just keep your head up. Bust your ass, and if you see a help desk job or something in your area, go after it with all your might. Treat certifications like an extra class. So if you are taking 12 credits, pretend you are taking 15 credits (the extra class is A+ or N+ or whatever). I think if you can try to pick up a cert a quarter you will be much further ahead of your classmates, even if they finish a quarter before you or so. If possible you should try to do certs that can cut down your program time as well. That would kill 3 birds with one stone (saving you money/time, getting you certs, improving you cv).

    Just my 0.02
    Last edited by Bl8ckr0uter; 07-15-2010 at 06:06 PM.
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  25. Senior Member Nobylspoon's Avatar
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by knwminus View Post
    Because a lot of people who started doing their A.A.S w/ me are not going to finish in 2 years. In fact, most of them are going to take even longer than I am (2 1/2 years or so)
    So very true. Because I work full time it hasn't been easy finding classes that fit into my schedule, especially the upper level ones. I have been taking classes since Jan 2009 and the earliest I expect to graduate is going to be Dec 2011, possibly not until May 2012.

    Quote Originally Posted by knwminus View Post
    Treat certifications like an extra class.
    This is exactly what I do. Since I can't take a full course load I use the extra time to put my nose in a certification book. I am only taking one class currently for the summer so I am also working on my MCITP.
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  26. Senior Member
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Nobylspoon View Post
    So very true. Because I work full time it hasn't been easy finding classes that fit into my schedule, especially the upper level ones. I have been taking classes since Jan 2009 and the earliest I expect to graduate is going to be Dec 2011, possibly not until May 2012.
    This is the exact problem I was having. I was working a job and they changed my schedule from 8 to 5 to like 11-8. It toomk my class load down from like 14 credits to like 6. Fortunately since I am no longer working 2nd shift, I can do some classes in the evenings and online. There are also Saturday classes and Sunday classes are in the works.
    Last edited by Bl8ckr0uter; 07-15-2010 at 06:30 PM.
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