I have a master’s in computer science and work in data communications and networking. Would an MSCE add value to my résumé?

Certifications never hurt. Very few employers require them, but most look at them as nice to have. If anything, they show your prospective employer that you are very interested in the topic and put in the effort to pursue an industry-recognized level of expertise. The MSCE, of course, is Microsoft-centric, which will mean more to some IT shops than to others. However, in the end, it’s usually your practical work experience in a certain technology (not classes or certifications) that means more to an employer than anything else.

My bachelor’s degree is in communications. But for the past three years, I have been an IT administrator for a civil engineering firm with about 20 employees. I install and maintain software and hardware, work on problems with computer equipment, and update the company’s Web site. I have also become pretty familiar with networking equipment like switches and firewalls and am somewhat familiar with Windows Server 2003. I would like to continue working in the IT field, since that is what I love to do, and I’m leaning toward a job in networking, systems administration or IT security. Would pursuing a degree be better at this point, or should I just get certifications?

Many companies require a bachelor’s degree for professional career-level IT positions, and they don’t usually specify that it must be in an IT-related field. With three years of practical work experience under your belt already, certifications are probably the fastest way to earn the credentials that prove you really know the technology. Also, coming from a jack-of-all-trades position at a small company, you may find it difficult to get into a more specialized role at a larger company without the additional credentials.

I have a bachelor’s in IT, which includes some CS courses. Since I am interested in a leadership role someday, should I be pursuing an MBA, a master’s in the management of technology or a computer science/software engineering degree?

The answer depends upon what you mean by leadership role. Having both a technical bachelor’s degree and an MBA would certainly be an advantage when pursuing a CIO role, for instance. We’ve been hearing about issues with IT-business alignment for years, and having an MBA will give you the perspective and vocabulary to relate effectively with your business-leader peers. A master’s in the management of technology would probably be useful for a midlevel management or project management role in IT. And a computer science/software engineering degree would probably be most useful if you are pursuing a much more technical (and less business-oriented) leadership role, like enterprise application architect.

Some #@&% Academics Will Study Any *$%# Thing

Network configuration taking longer than you imagined?Go ahead, turn the air blue. That’s the advice of Yehuda Baruch, a professor at England’s University of East Anglia, who led a study on the use of profanity in the workplace. Swearing can ease stress and boost team spirit, according to Baruch’s study. He said the researchers found that “swearing was used as a social phenomenon to reflect solidarity and enhance group cohesiveness, or as a psychological phenomenon to release stress.” Baruch does emphasize, however, that workers should not swear in a “negative, abusive manner,” and it’s best to clean up your language around customers and managers.

Finally some points to ponder…

Les Misérables
The “three signs of a miserable job,” according to author Patrick Lencioni in his book of that name:

Anonymity: The feeling that your manager has little interest in you as a human being and knows little about your life, aspirations and interests.

Irrelevance: The feeling that your job doesn’t make a difference in the lives of others.

Immeasurement: The feeling that you cannot assess for yourself your contributions or success and that your manager is of little help.

Gimme a Break

24 per cent
Percentage of workers who said they play video games during the workday.

61 per cent
Percentage of those who said they play games during their lunch or other breaks.

14 per cent
Percentage of those who admitted to playing games who said they play during business meetings or conference calls.

Source: Information Systems Group survey of 2,842 office workers, August 2007

Page compiled by Jamie Eckle

Share on LinkedIn Share with Google+