What should I be studying?

How significant is A+ in the IT industry in regards to employment opportunities? Or should I carry on with my information systems studies?

Dear Adviser,

I'm in my second year of study of information systems. With the exposure of certifications such as A+, net+, etc, I have decided I may take these courses within the year. How significant is A+ in the IT industry in regards to employment opportunities? Or should I carry on with my studies?

Sophomore

Protocol Personnel replies: If humanly (and or financially) possible, do both. Completing your degree in information systems is important for several reasons. First, because it shows that you finish what you start. Second, a degree is designed to help teach you how to think through problems to find solutions. A lot of what we learn in a degree is never used in the real world, but the ability to analyse information and make good decisions is one of the key benefits of a tertiary education.

Yes, the A+, Net+ etc are good industry qualifications and are recognised around the world. Because they are industry-specific and not vendor-specific they are more general in their training. Many jobs will require you to become more technically involved with one particular type of product, for example Microsoft. In this case a lot of people will seek (or if they are extremely lucky, their employer will help them seek) qualifications like Microsoft certification. These vendor-specific qualifications will aid them in performing better in their role and identify to future employers their skills with these products.

If you can do both I would recommend it, it may be that edge that helps you get the job instead of the other information systems graduates.

Readers with career questions can have them answered in this column by IT recruitment specialists. Send questions via Computerworld journalist, Darren Greenwood, with "Dear Adviser" in the subject line.

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