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So specifically does anyone , think that entering with a certification is more valuable than a degree itself? Also what kind of limitations does having or not having a degree give you rather having or not having certifications. How many people have you seen at the top without a degree, but only having a certification. What are the best approaches towards gaining a entry level job , and also what are some ways to build communication skills to prepare for interviews. #entrylevel #networkengineer #job-application

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Bill’s Answer

Be honest with who you are and look for positions that first off you have an interest in the work they are doing. No reason applying for something and getting it then not liking the work as that will make getting up to go to work painful.

Before you attend the interview, research the company. Know who they are, what they do, who they serve and think about what you can do for them, even as an entry level person, to meet those things. Prepare some meaningful questions around your research. Remember, you are selling yourself to them so you are going to want to show how you can help them meet their goals to their customers.

While in the interview, be confident...NOT cocky, there's a difference. Be early, always best to wait on them as you don't want them waiting on you. Listen to what they say, and think about your responses. It's ok to even ask to hear the question again to compose your thoughts and then respond. Before leaving, get their contact address, you'll need this for the next step.

After the interview, send a thank you note to the person or persons you interviewed with. If multiple people, make them personable, not the same as they will share them with each other and a form thank you note isn't genuine.

As far as certifications over degrees go, that's going to be an industry specific item that without knowing more specifics it's hard to answer. I'd say if you're going into a field that has a college program associated with it that's probably going to be the best route. Keep in mind that designations, degrees, etc. those are ways for employers to weed someone out. Not that you may not be the best candidate without the degree or ever use the degree, it's a way to reduce the numbers.

As far as building communication skills go, while there are courses devoted to this, in my opinion, the best way to do it is to practice it. When I started out in insurance, part of our training program was to attend company social events and mingle with the agents that represented us and strike up conversations with them. I'm not an extrovert by any means, or at least I wasn't and doing this was hard. However, being forced to figure out ways into and out of a conversation were very valuable and today over 25 years later you'd think I'm an extrovert, again which I'm not. I don't get the energy back from people conversing with them like a true extrovert does, this tires me out, but I've found my way and it's easy and comfortable.

I hope this helps at least somewhat, if you have more questions, feel free to reach out.

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Elena’s Answer

I have hired many fresh graduates without any previous job experience. For me, the deciding factors often were their cover letter and the interview itself. If the cover letter looks like it was mass mailed to every company out there, and is not specific enough for the job, it is always a red flag. But if you have done your homework, researched the company you are applying to, and explained why do you want the job, you would at least get a phone screen. I would never expect fresh graduate to have technical skills needed for the job, but I would happily invest my time into development of someone who is passionate, intellectually curious and is eager to learn. It is always a joy to see them growing professionally!

One of my best senior scientists had a certification from a European technical school and not a graduate degree. She was amazing in every sense, and has achieved a successful and fulfilling career. Hard work and right attitude always win in a long term, no matter what the starting point was.

As for acing the interviews, I would suggest working with a coach, or with someone who has done a lot of hiring in a similar field. Unless you want to learn from your own experience which is OK too, but it may take a bit longer!

Feel free to reach out to me if you have more questions. Good luck!

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Reemon’s Answer

There is no easy or simple answer here because every person's situation is uniquely different, so it depends on your situation and what you're trying to accomplish and your time frame to doing so. Certifications and Degrees are not more or less valuable than the other, they do complement each other and enforces each other and can help you differently in different situations. I don't see limitations here but I see a good tool for the right job kind of situation. Both are designed to serve slightly different purpose, certification are more specific and targeted towards a technology or tasks with deeper depth and narrower scope and often are role-centered while Degrees are broader in scope, not as deep because they covers larger knowledge base or surface and includes numerous and diverse subjects . Certifications are faster to obtain and much cheaper than Degrees. Generally speaking certifications serve you better at the beginning if you don't have experience and seeking an entry-level position and believe you should have some experience by the time you graduate of get your degree. On top of being able to get them in short period of time and being less expensive they can show you can do the job which is the employer's main reason behind hiring you, they have a specific role or position and they want to make sure you can do the job effectively. Degrees doe that too but differently, they serve you better at the more senior level in your career, meaning you'll eventually have get one. However, if you're just starting out it will wise to focus on certification and experience short term and the keep working on the Degree for long term and when you're ready for senior or leadership positions.

Based on my personal experience, geographic locations tend to have slightly different requirements, needs, and priorities . For example, by working overseas i have met couple IT professionals with a high school diploma and some certifications, so degree wasn't a big factor for them perhaps because positions overseas require traveling, different weather and culture, and often handling difficult environment which is not meant for everyone. But many got their jobs through referrals and connections, which clearly can give you an edge and speed the process. And many government IT positions require some level of security clearance and specific certifications like the CompTIA Security+ no matter what role or level you have. So in this case having the mandatory certification and a government issued security clearance gets you to the top perhaps over someone with a degree.

The wise thing to do is first and best approach here would be first to know exactly what role or area in the IT industry you like and want to pursue a position in and then reach out to people or professionals who have those jobs or occupy those chosen roles so you can gain an insight of what they do on daily bases, get information, guide, and best things to do to make it clearer and easier for yourself. our action plan should align all the factors, classes, and resources to efficiently and effectively succeed in achieving the ultimate goal behind all this which is becoming valuable to the marketplace in the chosen role and industry. The reason for doing all that is because IT industry evolved over time and it includes more specialized areas now than ever before, so specialization and role-centered knowledge and expertise has a it's own value in the market place.

A good way to gain new and develop your existing communication skills would be to read two books as a starter, Wired For a Story by Lisa Cron and Stories That Stick by Kindra Hall. I found both books very helpful for both communicating and preparing for the interviews too and hope you would too.

Reemon recommends the following next steps:

Conduct a research on the the different roles and areas in the IT industry and reach out to proffessionals in IT or people who occupy these desired roles to gain more insight, informations, and advise so you can be more equiped to make an informative decision on which role or area is more suited for you.
Now, you have a specifice role or area in IT and that makes it easier to pick the right degree , classes., and certifications So, armed with that knwoledge create an action plan that incoperates having the most suited degree program, right people (People with the results you want and desire) in your social network, and ways to get experience like volunteering for example , joining a free project, or hands-on lab. But don't waste time waiting for someone to give you the experience.
Increase and expand your social network but with the aim of adding a quality and strategic connections that are meanningful for your career and for your personal development. Having the right people or connections in your circles or sphere matters and can make a huge difference in your career. This is where you start positioning yourself in the marketplac for the right opportunity.
Get out of your comfort zone and get things done to maximize your potential. It is easier said than done but remember success is a result of the accumlated small actions and decisions over period of time. It would help to have a weekly and monthly schedule and anuual goals and use tools like alarms and reminders to be effective in excution.
Lastly, remember that everyone has the same 24 hours everyday, and what you do with it is what makes the difference and that is up to you ultimately. And that also is what puts you in the driver seat and makes your the architect of your future.

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suraj’s Answer

he current gap between graduates’ abilities and employer expectations can’t be stressed enough. A recent survey found that across the spectrum, the majority of employers don’t feel that new graduates have the skills required by the marketplace.

While commentators may endlessly debate the root cause — some say colleges aren’t performing their function, while others argue employers’ expectations are too high — the results speak for themselves: your degree, while certainly necessary, is not the shining accomplishment it once was.

For that reason, a resume that devotes the majority of space to academic accomplishments simply isn’t effective anymore.

In your job hunt, keep your academic accomplishments short, sweet and to the point: where you went, how you did and what you learned.