This is a question I've been asking myself for a long time. There's positives and negatives in both and I keep going back and forth with deciding what to do. The school I'm interested in going to is Western Governors University (WGU). It's a competency based school, meaning that if you can prove you know the material, you can get through it a lot faster than normal schools. I'd really like to go back to school, but there are some concerns I have.
Positives of attending WGU:
- I know people who go to that school and they love it.
- They actually will pay for you to get certain certifications (in fact getting the certs are required to pass some courses). This is pretty huge considering I've already failed the Network + twice (which I'll talk about in another post).
- I'd be able to add a Bachelors degree on top of my certifications to my resume.
- It's an online school, so I can study anytime I want without needing to actually go somewhere and sit in a class.
Negatives of attending WGU:
- I have great credit because I don't have any loans or debt. WGU although cheaper than most other schools (it's currently ~$3000 every 6 months) it is still expensive. Putting myself in financial dept is a huge concern to me (always has been). Even if I pass and get my Bachelors, there's no guarantee that I would be able to land a high paying job.
- Probably going to need to get a roommate if I pay for WGU completely out of pocket without financial aid.
- It's a big commitment. Although I know I'd focus and study hard, there's no telling what could happen in the future that could prevent me from finishing the classes and graduating.
- The way the IT industry is... I really don't have to school to get a good job as long as I continue to study hard and get certifications on my own.
Part of me feels like I would learn better if I go to school. The biggest problem I'm having now not being in school is that I feel like I'm missing out of a lot of actual hands on experience. I've created my own home lab (virtual and physical), but I'm still limited on what i can do alone.
I think for the moment, I'm going to keep self studying. WGU seems like a wonderful school, but it's just not the right time for me to go there.
The certifications that the Bachelors degree offers (as of making this post is):
I was thinking about maybe getting certifications that the class doesn't offer first (such as the ACSP and ITIL) and saving the certifications they do for when I actually attend the school, but because I don't know how long it will be until I actually go to that school, I really don't want to wait. It's better to just study and do what I can now then wait on the possiblility of me maybe going to school in the future.