Computer Science or MS Cert?

I've been a lurker on these sites for a while, and I was looking some advice, even if this is a little meta than the course. I'm 18, and about to graduate High School. I've been working IT (Mostly administration and maintence, with a dish of development every now and then) for a small business for a couple of years, and for now, I've got my heart set on that type of career. I've done commissions for other business, some websites, computer installation, and repair to earn money on the side.

Now here's my question. I'm not so hot on another couple years of math, science, and english classes that I don't have any interest in. I get that Computer Science degrees are super broad, and open more doors than a MCSE. Should I try for MCSEs in Server and Desktop, and maintain those, rather than go to a SUNY school and get a comp sci degree? Is there another option that I should look at? Is there anybody that did this that'd like to share? 

1 Comment   [ + ] Show comment
  • Get the Computer Science degree. Certs are nice but sometimes don't open all the doors or get you past the HR person reviewing your resume. - nshah 10 years ago

Answers (3)

Answer Summary:
Posted by: SMal.tmcc 10 years ago
Red Belt

If you want to stay a tech for your career get certs, if you want to move up the ladder to manage get a degree.  A mix of both is best, it shows you have general knowledge with a focus in a certain area.

  • +1 to what SMal said.

    Re: certs, if you plan to stay techie, get youe certs - ASAP! The quicker you get them, the faster you will progress up the ranks in the technical field later in your career. If you can juggle a Degree whilst getting a MCSE, that would be great (your social life will suck a lot tho) - rileyz 10 years ago
Posted by: jegolf 10 years ago
Red Belt

Get the college degree - no matter what it is most employers want to see a degree. That will get your foot in the door. From there time will build your experience and you can get your certs along the way...


Posted by: Asevera 10 years ago
Blue Belt


I've always joked that seeing a 2/4 year degree on a resume is an indicator of how much suffering and bull someone is willing to put up with before they escape to the real world. College for me was a droning, seemingly endless parade of bureaucratic screw ups and useless classes. I know I learned far more working part time as a tech than I did from schooling. Never once in an interview have I ever been asked about my degree or any college courses I’ve had, but I can’t dismiss the importance of a degree in the modern workforce.

Even if you truly don’t learn anything from college courses, the sad reality is most employers and HR departments are looking for easily quantifiable ways to judge applicants for jobs. Often a slip of paper from an institute of higher learning is just that: easy elimination criteria when you’re staring at 100 nearly identical resumes (I myself am guilty of this to some degree).  Sometimes later in your career people hiring for management positions are not really familiar with what that job entails, so they run through “standard industry checklist #5” which someone, somewhere has decided needs to include a college degree.

That being said, some of the best tech's I've ever worked with came out of technical schools. By and large their education is hands on and they often come to you with a bit of starter experience (and, if the technical school is reputable, a nice paper trail for HR). I feel like that might be a good middle ground. Maybe find one that has BS programs available and look into it. If I had to do it over again I think I would have gone that route, along with the certifications I’ve acquired.

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