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Certificate vs Degree in the IT Industry

Aug. 10, 2020

Certificate vs Degree in the IT Industry

What is more important in the IT industry a plethora of modern certifications or abroad and a generalized four-year degree? The only right answer to this question is that it truly depends on the scenario and an individual’s current situation. It is known that those who possess both a degree and certifications exceed and earn higher average salaries than those who do not.

To decide whether or a traditional degree or a certification is right for you depends on a multitude of factors such as how much experience you currently have, what area of IT you are interested in, and what career path you have in mind. There are pros and cons of degrees and certifications; however, many organizations prefer that candidates obtain both a degree and certification. Almost half of the new IT job openings for network engineers, project managers, and security engineers from August of 2017 to January of 2018 requested both certification and degree in information technology.


Time Commitment

A traditional bachelor's degree takes approximately four years to complete, and a master's degree takes an additional one to two years depending on the subject. Certifications take considerably less time and they allow for more variations and specificity while learning complex topics. A certificate can be earned typically within a few months with a diligent study strategy and even less if you choose to go with a boot camp. For example, SecureNinja has helped thousands of students get certified in less than a week.


The average yearly costs of a public 4-year institution according to is $21,950 in 2020, and it is $38,330 if that institution requires the student to travel from out of state. The average total price of a 4-year degree is approximately $122,000. The cost difference between a degree and certification vary greatly as the more expensive and prestigious credentials can sometimes cost upwards of $799 for the exam voucher. A boot camp that includes the exam voucher and courseware is greatly cheaper than taking a college program.

Earning the appropriate certification is also very important and choosing a credential that fits your job role and task can be hard to find. The overall purpose of a certification is to be a stamp of approval that is given to the candidate after they perform a technical task or pass a rigorous exam. It is important to make sure that the certification you choose to pursue is relevant and valued in the marketplace. A great tool to use is which allows you to see which certifications are currently most sought after by employers.

Advancing Your Career

The IT industry is changing rapidly and is always adapting to new technologies and procedures. In today's climate the IT industry had to adjust to an unprecedented work from the home rush to make sure all employees are comfortable and ready to work wherever they are. The industry relies on educated professionals who are ready to step up to challenges no one expected, and many positions require employees to be training on new technologies often. As professionals advance in their careers, certifications and degrees will help differentiate them from the competition and crowd.  

SecureNinja is an award-winning training and certification school, and SecureNinja has a proven track record of assisting Fortune 100, Government, and Military organizations. For more information on how SecureNinja can benefit you or your organization fill out the form to the right of this post or call 703-535-8600.