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Pursue a Bachelors Degree or go after further Cisco certifications?

I have more defined parameters regarding the question of "certification or degree?" I am 46, owned and operated a used auto parts business for 20 years, and changed careers about four years ago. I now have a MCSE w/NT 4.0 (which nobody cares about much,) a CCNA, and I am four credits short of an Associates degree in Networking. It's a given to complete the Associates. So now the question is: Is it best to pursue a Bachelors Degree or go after further Cisco certs? I have no other degree at this point.

I don't feel any further Microsoft certs make sense, due to constant platform changes. I am soured on Microsoft certs, but feel Cisco certs build on each other. Also with the Cisco Academy, I received some college credits, so I can kill two birds with one stone.

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Dear Joe:
Especially given your (fairly typical) outlook on Microsoft certs, you are heading in the right track with more emphasis on Cisco. That said, I urge you to visit some job sites online, and check classified ads in trade mags and national newspapers. I don't necessarily mean you should look for a job right now, but you should try to identify 10-20 positions that "might" interest you. Compile some stats on their requirements. If more than half require a BA, it's probably a good next step; if less than half require a degree, you can follow your inclinations in the direction that suits you best.

That said, remember that a degree is for life and Cisco certs have to be renewed every 2 or 3 years, depending on which ones you've got.

This was first published in February 2003

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