Degree vs. Certification: Which Is More Beneficial to a Career in IT?

  • July 21, 2015

Degree vs. Certification: Which Is More Beneficial to a Career in IT?


While some hiring managers still place college degrees high on their list of requirements for potential employees, most in the IT industry admit that it isn’t a determining factor when looking for new hires.

With university tuitions at their highest and more online IT certification programs popping up every day, it seems obvious that technology professionals would gravitate toward the cheaper and more accessible option.

Certifications give IT professionals the credibility they need when applying for new jobs or looking to improve their current position. They show employers that an applicant has adequate knowledge of a subject and the skills to go forward.

"The fact is,” said Ryan Carson, co-founder and CEO of the online coding school,Treehouse, “these skills can easily be required through affordable and accessible online learning programs." 

By skills, he’s referring to technical proficiencies in subjects like systems security, networking, and server solutions. These types of certifications are some of the most popular among hiring managers and can be beneficial for those just starting out in the field.

In an interview with CMS Wire, Carson reveals that he’s witnessed novice techies land entry-level IT jobs within half a year, after spending only 5 to 10 hours a week taking part in online courses, adding that a stronger commitment of 21 to 28 hours could shorten that time.

But, while online training programs and certifications seem to be the most convenient path for IT hopefuls, are they enough to get hired?

Robert Armstrong is the co-founder and CEO of Appstem, a mobile design and development firm in San Francisco. He tells that he actually seeks IT professionals who have opted for technology experience and certifications in lieu of computer science degrees. "It shows that they have initiative, they're smart, and can pick things up on their own. They can work through problems and teach themselves," he says. "Being a boutique development company, we need smart people who are flexible, versatile, and are successful with minimal supervision. And most importantly they love what they're doing. I'd take these qualities over a CS degree any day."

Want to get started or move ahead on your own IT Professional path? Below is a list of some of the most in demand IT certifications.

Project Management Professional (PMP)

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

QuickStart Can Help
QuickStart believes that becoming certified is the result of competency. Whether or not certification is your ultimate goal, our guaranteed to run schedule of top quality IT training courses, will prepare you to take certification exams or take the next step in your career as an IT professional. 

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