Before stepping into the world of Information technology, one must research it thoroughly. It involves your career and the future depends on this choice. There is no doubt that information technology is a highly rewarding field. However, you still need to consider different aspects and pursue an IT career path that is the most suitable for you.
Degree vs certificate: what to choose?
The basic question here is what should you do to start your career in IT? There are two options; you can either apply for a degree or do courses and earn certificates. Still, what should you select? It can be quite confusing for the newbies who want the best for their careers. Don’t worry, I am going to explain it to you. Let’s jump on the bandwagon and explore your options.
Many variables affect whether you should opt for a degree or a certificate.
Time duration of the program:
Time is very important. Some people don’t have much time because they need to pay the bills or support their families. Therefore, they might want a quicker solution to their problems. Others are privileged people; they might have the luxury of time.
An IT degree can take 4 years maximum and two years minimum. It depends if you are doing a bachelor’s, it will take 2 years after that, masters will take 2 more years. A BS degree consists of 8 semesters and it will take 4 years. These time durations are accurate in case you do not flunk in any of the semesters.
On the other hand, IT courses have different time duration and it is up to you to choose. You can choose a 6-month course or a one-year course, all according to your feasibility.
Center of studies for each program:
Both degrees and certificates have a different focus of studies.
A degree prepares you for more than one thing. There are subjects you will find unrelated to your major but they are not useless. For example, you have to give presentations, do practicals or finish assignments. You may find all of it useless but presentations can help you build public speaking confidence. Similarly, practicals and assignments can also build your IT skills. A degree overall builds your personality and not just teaches you academically.
Meanwhile, IT certifications have a direct approach and focus on the target subject. It doesn’t teach you about different topics and it doesn’t teach about work ethics or personality building. For example, if you have chosen a programming course, it will cover all about programming only.
Cost of the program:
You must consider the cost of each program. Not many people can afford to go to college and pay tuition fees.
The cost of an IT degree varies in different countries, cities, and universities. If I have to give a rough estimate, a degree will cost you around $12,000. Many students work hard and earn scholarships which further reduces this fee. Some students have to take loans or do part-time jobs to pay for their fees.
IT certificate programs do not cost as much as the degree. There are many free IT training sites. These sites provide free courses. Some websites provide paid courses but the fee doesn’t usually exceed $500. Many people can afford this.
Demand for the programs:
Now, which one of these is more in demand?
Completing your IT degree is a big deal. Degrees are respected everywhere and it is a sign of dedication and hard work. Many jobs specifically want a degree either a bachelor’s or masters.
IT courses are also in demand. You can get a job faster through courses and then, you can build your place further through your skills.
What should you choose?
After comparing the main things, there are pros and cons to both. Here is what I suggest,
- If you are not financially strong, you should invest in an IT certificate, get a job and make your way through hard work.
- If you can afford the degree’s tuition fee, you can invest in a degree and you will easily get a job.
- You can also take courses, build yourself financially and then go for earning a degree.
In my opinion, IT degree jobs are more appreciated, so you should apply for this program. However, a degree doesn’t determine your skills. You should work hard to polish those skills and build your IT career.