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Old 05-29-2012, 07:55 PM
 
126 posts, read 273,752 times
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It seems like everyone in this area has a Master's degree or even higher education.

Do you "need" one to move up the corporate ladder/advance your career?
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,018,995 times
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it depends what you're doing. I'm in IT and it doesn't seem to matter much. A Bachelors seems sufficient although.I know some folks who lead groups of several hundred and just have a H.S. diploma.. Certifications and security clearances count for quite a bit.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,555,817 times
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The advice I was always given by my former company/coworkers was to use an advanced degree as an excuse to shift your direction. If you like what you're doing and want to continue along that path, an MBA wasn't as necessary as if you wanted to change into a different field.

Look at the people holding the positions you want. Do they have advanced degrees? I was always surprised how many of the execs on my account didn't have grad degrees. The company truly promoted from the ground up, and valued experience over degrees.
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:04 AM
 
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It seems to me that intelligence, performance, and respect among your peers are what lead most quickly to advancement. Degrees do make your resumé look good however and certainly help to get the attention of people who don't know you and your work yet. I would say go ahead and get the degrees if you would actually be interested in and could make use of the work involved in pursuing them. Otherwise, focus on finding ways to make yourself more valuable to those who work around you whether they are up, down, or lateral from you on the org chart.
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Brambleton, VA
2,136 posts, read 4,635,209 times
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I have a Master's in Library and Information Science, which is required for professional librarian positions, but I never actually worked as one (poor job market in my specialization when I graduated; even poorer now). When I worked in the private sector for a major internet company, I had coworkers with only high school or GEDs, and people like me with totally random undergrad degrees (Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, major in Humanities in International Affairs, concentration in African Studies...that's me!) but with technical skills we'd acquired on our own, outside of formal education.

The only career benefit I've seen from my MLIS is that when I was hired at a Federal agency for an IT Specialist position, I started as a GS-12 instead of GS-11. Unfortunately I'm still paying Sallie Mae for it, and will be for years to come. You really need to consider the cost, and return - especially in this economy.
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:41 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,738 posts, read 8,941,773 times
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It really depends on the field. Outside of the hard sciences or for teaching positions, I don't think advanced degrees are necessarily that useful. Some federal departments now (I'm told) require a master's to even be hired as a GS-9, but others require just a BA for that level.

IT is a field I know little about--and it's subdivided into different specialties. My sense from what I've read on this board is that IT is more about certifications and experience than degrees.

I can tell you that advanced degrees in themselves don't impress me. I've interacted with a lot of people with MBAs and Ph.D.s who can barely put a sentence together and/or who have collossally stupid ideas. In fact, I think MBAs are basically just BS degrees--a lot of buzzwords, management theory, and schmoozing. The truly smart business types, instead of sinking $100K into an MBA, use that money to start a business.

OTOH, if you have any degree in math, chemistry, or physics, you will be presumed smart until proven stupid--and even then, any stupidity will likely masquerade as eccentricity. If you have an MA in Literature or History, I will surmise that you're book-smart but possibly lacking in common sense--or that someone else paid for your degree. That is, unless you're teaching one of those subjects. If you have an advanced degree in Art History, you're probably devoid of practicality but are a die-hard romantic with an unquenchable love of the subject and will be happy being underpaid to "curate" or do preservation work. I admire such people.

Your best bet is to find someone who has the job you want and ask for their advice.
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Bettendorf, IA
446 posts, read 1,222,913 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdmurphy View Post
I have a Master's in Library and Information Science, which is required for professional librarian positions, but I never actually worked as one (poor job market in my specialization when I graduated; even poorer now). When I worked in the private sector for a major internet company, I had coworkers with only high school or GEDs, and people like me with totally random undergrad degrees (Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, major in Humanities in International Affairs, concentration in African Studies...that's me!) but with technical skills we'd acquired on our own, outside of formal education.

The only career benefit I've seen from my MLIS is that when I was hired at a Federal agency for an IT Specialist position, I started as a GS-12 instead of GS-11. Unfortunately I'm still paying Sallie Mae for it, and will be for years to come. You really need to consider the cost, and return - especially in this economy.
I too have an MLS. It seems the only places that care about that degree are traditional brick and mortar institutions like public and academic libraries. I work in the private sector doing research and knowledge management projects for a contractor. They care more about experience and job skills. My MBA has helped me more in this space than the MLS.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:31 AM
 
1,345 posts, read 3,888,049 times
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A degree might get you hired, but your work ethic, intelligence, and accomplishments will get you advancements.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:40 PM
 
2,185 posts, read 2,645,146 times
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In this economy you really have to weigh the cost of the degree vs the benefit you believe you will gain from it. It's just not worth it sometimes.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,555,817 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
The truly smart business types, instead of sinking $100K into an MBA, use that money to start a business.
Many people get their company to pay for the MBA, so in that case I'd have a hard time turning it down.
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