Are you interested in a technical degree to help you become a network engineer or systems engineer?
There are many options available to you so let me ask: How do you know if this is the right decision for you?
When you choose what is best, everything from reputation to distance could be in play.
What should you look for when choosing a school?
I don’t know if you want to live close to home. I can help you make the right decision…
Related: How to become an engineer network in less than one year
If I was going back to college to get a technical degree, these are the questions I would ask:
What classes will I need to take in order to earn my degree? What experience and who are the professors? After graduation, will I be job-ready? These might seem simple. They will, even in the case of prestigious schools, tell you all you need to know to make a decision.
Because I believe in cutting to the chase and no fluff, and I don’t want you to leave this article with only an opinion, I did some research to provide key information about technical degrees offered at industry-recognized colleges. What I found was fascinating!
First, let me tell you what I did:
I spoke with admissions representatives from Devry University and WGU, as well as a few deans from Georgia Tech. I asked the above questions. I also looked at the technical degree curriculums, reviewed professor profiles, and calculated ROI for each program.
Here we go…
Program: Network and Communications Management
Cost: $65,000 USD
Durable: 4 years
Curriculum: The first two year are filled with non-technical classes such as nutrition and health, sociology and public speaking, economics, and sociology.
Here’s a screen capture:
The second year includes business classes, several introductory tech classes, and a few basic labs. The 4-year curriculum has only one class that includes the word “advanced”, as you can see below.
Professors: Would it be better to learn from someone who has been a systems/solutions engineer in a top technology company than from someone who doesn’t know what it is like to reach the top?
I spoke with two Devry admissions representatives as well as a dean of students. However, I was unable to get a clear answer about which professors teach technical classes.
They did give me the name of the program’s head, Paul Giomi, and the name of Abdelaziz Kaina, the admissions counselor. I was assured by the admission representatives that they had real-world experience…
Check out their LinkedIn profiles (these are the links). You’ll understand the point because I know you are smart.
ROI: Devry states that those who have earned the Network and Communications Management degree can land a variety of technical jobs.
However, they do mention in the fine print that after listing all the jobs that a graduate could get, “employment in certain occupations may require years’ of relevant experience.” This means that not everyone will be able land the most desirable jobs on the list.
A student is likely to find a specialist or helpdesk job six months after completing this life-changing degree. These entry-level jobs can pay anywhere from $35,000 to $50,000 depending on where you live.
This means that the ROI of Devry’s degree is low if a student is able find a job. To recover the cost of this degree program, one must work for about a year and half (without taking into consideration taxes and expenses).
Note: Devry University had a to reach a $100 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Education. This was because they deceived prospective students into believing that 90% of Devry’s graduates landed jobs in their respective fields of study.
As you can see in this screenshot, they were forced to add the note to their homepage.
Here’s their homepage, with the note at bottom:
Western Governors University (WGU).
Program: Information Technology-Network Administration
Cost: $3,035 USD per month (according the curriculum, this program has 9 terms). Total cost = $27,315 USD
WGU allows you to take as many classes as you like per term, so you can finish the program in a shorter time and pay less.
Curriculum (page 7): Unfortunately, WGU is an accredited university and requires that students take general education classes, including algebra, geography, writing, natural science, and the humanities.
The technical portion of the curriculum will include introductory classes in communications, IT applications, and IT. You’ll be able to pass assessment tests once you have reached the upper-level classes. This could lead you to industry-recognized certifications.
Mentors instead of professors: WGU has mentors. Students can go through the content by themselves and have the opportunity to meet mentors for clarification. This is how WGU keeps their prices low.
I spoke with an enrollment counselor and was told that they could not provide any information about the mentors if my school wasn’t yet enrolled. They did however tell me that all mentors have a Ph.D. (who cares?). ).
ROI: To be admitted to the program, WGU requires that you have certain credentials and/or work experience. This allows them to advertise that students can find work immediately after they have completed their programs.
A survey published in WGU’