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Should you certify before getting a Masters degree?

Should I get my CCNA before my Masters degree? Among the articles I have read on the Internet, some insist on academic qualifications whereas some support certifications. I know certification makes you smarter and a Masters degree makes you qualified. So is doing a few certifications (like CCNA, or RHCE) a better choice before pursuing a Masters degree? Are certifications plus a degree worth more than either just certifications or just a degree?

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Dear Pradeep:

Very few employers actually require a master's or other advanced degree as a hiring pre-requisite. This makes it possible to argue that the certifications are worth more in the short run because they will permit you to find a good job more quickly and easily. Just don't forget that long-term studies from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show unequivocally and inarguably that education (especially advanced degrees) has the highest correlation with lifetime earnings of anything you can do to advance your career options and job prospects.

That's why obtaining the master's and earning the certs is a better strategy than going only one way or the other around the horns of that dilemma.

HTH, and thanks for posting. Good luck with your career planning.

This was first published in September 2007

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