I am deciding between pursuing a B.S. in Computer Information Systems (CIS) degree and an MCSE. Which way should I go?

A. The ideal thing is to have both the degree and certification. Not having a degree will affect you both in landing a job now and in future advancement possibilities.

Getting a Job

Many companies use a college degree as an initial qualifier for consideration of your resume. Some employers consider a college education a must-have. This means that even an experienced certified individual could have his resume end up in the trash can before an employer even considers it.

Employers generally look at education, experience, and certifications as a threefold package. Without at least two of these qualifications, you won't likely get to the interview stage.


You will someday hit a glass ceiling in pay or promotion if you don't have a degree. If you're young, you're working for yourself, or you're working for someone who doesn't care about degrees and you're making good money, then you might feel as if you don't need that degree right now. As your skills, salary, and employment security needs grow, you'll discover that experience and certifications alone will not cut it with many employers. Often HR will associate set salary ranges with particular job positions and will enforce salary caps near the low end of the scale on the degree-free individual. The tremendous growth in college degree completion programs is an indicator of this reality. Thousands of people have hit the limits and are going back to wrap up their 4-year degrees that were not finished in their first try at college.

There are many colleges and universities that package degree completion programs with MCSE subject matter. Do some checking around and see whether you can combine your quest for both a college degree and the MCSE.

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