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Do I Need a College Degree?

In its March 20th article, “Is College Still Worth It,” Forbes poses this question while leading with the names of some of the world’s most successful college dropouts – including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. What may be most remarkable is that a college degree may be less influential in their industry than it was when they first tasted success.

ROI, or Return on Investment, has to be considered.

The average cost of attending a premier 4-year university, for example, is around $60,000 per year. An in-state resident will pay around $25,000 a year to attend many public universities (double that for out-of-state). There is no disputing that for most professions, the resume of an applicant with a college degree will have more cache than the one without. When considering higher education, don’t just take the tuition into account – consider the amount of debt incurred, how long it will take to pay back, and realistic expectations of what you can expect to make with your degree.

What does the training include?

Forbes includes a staggering statistic – “less than 40% of hiring managers felt that recent graduates were ready for jobs in their field of study, citing a lack of key skills. While university administrators largely felt they were sending skilled graduates out into the workforce, employers disagreed”. This mirrors the recent CompTIA study that showed 65% of tech employers now think IT certifications are more important than a college degree in the hiring process – a number that was 30% just four years ago.

Conclusion: Do what’s right for you.

If Information Technology piques your interest, certification training should be considered. Certifications from leading vendors are highly sought after by tech companies as they prove skills knowledge before the candidate even walks in the door. A popular entry level certification is CompTIA’s A+, and many find that doors open once this exam is passed. Moving into the next decade, Cloud/Virtualization, Information Security, and Project Management are expected to experience much faster than average growth. VMware has made waves in virtualization, which has made the VCP (VMware Certified Professional) certification grow in popularity. In Information Technology, certifications including CompTIA’s Security+, Cisco’s CCNA, and CISM are worth looking into. For project and IT management, PMP (Project Management Professional) and ITIL v3 Foundation are solid choices.

Many schools offer technology degrees, such as Computer Science, that don’t include certifications. The IT field is one of the few industries that does not require a college degree to have earning potential in the six figures. Although a college degree can be very valuable, make sure you’re considering all options as the IT hiring tide rapidly changes.

Carolina Career College of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill offers IT certification training from vendors including Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA.  Schedule a tour today!

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