Quickest path from AS to BS with lots of experience?
August 19, 2011 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I've got an Associates and 14 years experience. Do I need a BS?

My Associates is in computer programming but I'm a network engineer and have been for 14 years (satellite communications/military for 10 before that). Outsourcing recently put me on the job market and I landed a new position right away. Unfortunately the new place is much smaller and just isn't keeping me busy enough. I feel like I'm losing skills so I'd like to make another move which finally brings me to my question.

A couple of online applications have resulted in immediate "you didn't meet the requirements" emails. The requirements say "BS or equivalent experience" but I suspect the computer is kicking me to the end of the line for not checking the BS box.

Should I upgrade to a BS? If I do what's the quickest path? My two year degree took four years and right now I just want to check off the "BS" box.

I have a CCNA and once had a CCNP and CCDP and would really like to find a place that will give me some credit for the certs.

Alternately, should I just get the CCNP/DP again and ignore the BS?
I am well aware of the CCIE but only slightly tempted as I don't think it's a good fit for me.

Whatever I do would probably be online, suggestions are welcome. Any opinions on DeVry? I haven't been very impressed with their graduates but I'm just looking to check the box and then point at the experience. I'm guessing that employers who actually see the resume will look at the experience and given the amount of it won't care about the school.
posted by Awfki to Work & Money (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm guessing that employers who actually see the resume will look at the experience and given the amount of it won't care about the school.

as always, the best way to get a job is through networking; if you have good contacts, your resume should arrive to a manager or hr department with a good word about you attached, and the best of them won't care that you don't have a bs. there are lots of college graduates out there without jobs, not many with both your skills and experience.
posted by lia at 1:37 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


You should avoid DeVry if you are unimpressed with their graduates!

Talk to these guys and see what they recommend at other institutions.
posted by jgirl at 1:39 PM on August 19, 2011


I've got an Associates and 14 years experience. Do I need a BS?

The requirements say "BS or equivalent experience"


You have way more than "equivalent experience". You probably don't want to work for a company that will kick 14 years experience to the side anyhow. I'm seconding lia in that you need to network.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:40 PM on August 19, 2011


If they're asking for a BS or experience, but an automated system is pre-empting that requirement and booting your application, tick the box for BS instead of AS in your fourth year of education. They were clear on their requirements, and if they are interested in speaking with you, you'll have plenty of early opportunity to clarify.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:52 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem with relying on "equivalent experience" is that while the technical interview person would agree, they never will see your resume in the first place, as HR will have weeded it out automatically due to the lack of correct keyword. There are just too many people looking for work that can meet all the keyword requirements.

In my current tenure at my current employer, I've been involved with hiring several people, and only one candidate got an interview via 'traditional networking'. The rest were people that applied to HR postings on one of the tech job sites, met the keyword requirements enough that HR would call up and do a basic phone screen using questions/answers supplied by the tech people. It's only after they've jumped through all those hoops that anyone actually associated with the position gets involved.

We did have a candidate that put down "spent 4 years working towards a B.S.", but noticeable to me was the lack of an actual statement of graduation. He had enough relevant industry experience that it wasn't an issue. We ended up going with someone who was better qualified, but his 'deception' if you could call it that, did get his foot in the door.
posted by nomisxid at 1:58 PM on August 19, 2011


certs + experience > degree for network engineering stuff, unless you want to get into management.
posted by empath at 3:00 PM on August 19, 2011


Regarding social networking:
Unfortunately, I'm fairly introverted, the stereotypical quiet guy who you probably don't remember, and wasn't very aware of social networking. The outsourcing experience and Linked In have improved that but it's a work in process. I actually learned about my current position from a former coworker.

I can relate to nomisxid's statements as when we hired at my former employer they frequently got in door through recruiters. I completely agree that if I can get the interview the lack of a degree will be a non-issue but getting past HR is my challenge. I kind of like DarlingBri's idea of just ticking the box. If they ask I'd just point out the "or equivalent experience" explain the situation if needed. At least I'd get to talk to someone.

At this point I'm leaning toward certs and maybe checking the box based on experience.

Thanks for your input.
posted by Awfki at 3:25 PM on August 19, 2011


I'd check the "BS or equivalent experience" box, definitely. That will at least get you past the HR screen and get your resume in front of those who can better judge if your AA + certs + extensive work experience fulfill the needs of the position they have.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:48 PM on August 19, 2011


If you do decide to pursue a BS degree, I would avoid the for-profit schools. Go to a state university, if you have one in your area. It will likely be cheaper than a for-profit like DeVry. And most state universities have evening and on-line undergraduate programs for working adults.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 7:00 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, I'm fairly introverted, the stereotypical quiet guy who you probably don't remember, and wasn't very aware of social networking. The outsourcing experience and Linked In have improved that but it's a work in process.

are there any tech-related meetups near you that you can start attending? if there are, go! if there aren't, start one—no better way to force yourself to meet people and putting your name out there.
posted by lia at 5:42 PM on August 20, 2011


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