The question: Will a degree boost my IT co-ordinator skills?
I am the IT co-ordinator at my current employer despite having no training. With only a year's experience, I feel I need training that would be beneficial to the role and to a career within IT. Should I enrol on a foundation degree in computing, or take Microsoft and Comptia courses?
The solution: Hands-on experience will be more valuable
It would be more valuable for your career if you continued to gain hands-on experience while building technical knowledge through courses. A foundation degree can take two years to complete, if done part-time, and it would eat up too much of your time in the office, when you could be making an impact on the efficiency of your employer's IT systems.
You have rightly been pointed in the direction of Microsoft and Comptia courses. A good career foundation would be Comptia's A+/Network+ combined certifications, which will provide you with the principles that all IT is based on. You can then polish your skills with Server+, which is a strong basis for most IT careers.
Microsoft courses are useful for all IT professionals. The MCSE qualification teaches the skills and knowledge to support all Windows-based networks and will give you a firm base from which to specialise.
The next step would be to use the skills learned on the courses to transform your job into a project manager role. Comptia Project+ would be a good start and would demonstrate your wider business knowledge.
Solution by Robert Chapman, chief executive and co-founder of The Training Camp
The panel: Computer People, Hudson, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp, Wreay Group
Need advice on your IT career? E-mail your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This was first published in January 2007