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Re: Certification or College degrees?

  • From: cw
  • Date: Wed May 22 22:13:10 2002

On Wed, 22 May 2002 16:40:27 -0400, Kristian P. Jackson wrote:
>New England) focus their BCS studies on programing. Completely
>unrelated to the area of anything network related. This may not be
>the case everywhere.
>Maybe the industry leaders should assist the education scene in
>developing a degree program for future network engineers that beter
>prepares them for this field. It doesn't help the industry if a
>bunch of programers are running around acting like network
>engineers, just as a bunch of network engineers are no more
>qualified to program. Perhaps a bachelors in network engineering is
>in order?

I am currently studying a BSc degree in merry old England. I have
just finished my second year (well I'm part way through the exams).
When I applied to do my degree I found two universities whose course
were anything related to Networking. Mine is called Computing
(Networks and Communications).

I think we've pretty much been the guinea pigs for the course and
guess what, they didn't get it right first time.
Our first year entailed the following modules:
Business & Professional Skills
The Business & Professional Environment
Mathematics for Computing
Systems Analysis & Design
Principals of Computing Technologies

Not a single one of these modules made any effort to be network
related. The first two were similar and involved basic GCSE level
literature stuff along with spending a whole semester pretending to
run a company that made paint stripper out of pigeon excrement.
Programming was a very basic grounding in C++
Maths was again GCSE level with a bit of Matrices thrown in for the
Visualisation students. Systems Analysis and Design involved
theorising about making computerised versions of a couple of forms
for an obscure activities holiday company whilst Principals of
Computing Technologies tought us how to write assembler for the 8085

In year two we have done the following:
Networking Technologies
Unix Networking and Administration
Unix, Linux and X
Web Based Systems
Software Development: Concepts and Methods

Here we are getting there, but it isn't exactly serious stuff and is
the kind of thing you learn by spending your spare time fiddling
about with stuff. Networking tech involved mostly installing Windows
95 systems to do peer2peer stuff and client server stuff. One
experiment involved a basic Novell server install and another
involved a basic Cisco router configuration. Unix Net & Admin is how
to add/remove accounts, file permissions and giving an adapter an ip
address. Unix Linux and X is literally bash shell scripting on a
server with a weird configuration.
Web Based Systems, ahh yes. First semester was html and javascript.
They got as far as form tags and input checking. Second semester
involved being given some perl code for connecting to a database and
integrating it (putting a website in front of it).
SDCM is all about how Billy Bojo and Frank Redneck came up with X
theory about Y. I think about 80% of our course a) didn't see the
point in the subject b) didn't understand any of the teachers (it was
a rarety that they could speak English anywhere near properly) and c)
have failed this subject.
Databases was mysql. That was fairly useful in that it went into a
fair bit of depth about the commands.

Third year (next year) we are all on placements yet the uni still
charges £1000 for tuition fees.

I don't know what we're supposed to be doing in the fourth year
because all trace of our course description has been eradicated from
the website. It would appear, however that the people who started
their course this year have it better than us in that they are doing
all the networking stuff we did this year in the first year.

A list of next years networking degree is here:

I would provide a link to the actual course but I can't be bothered
looking at their javascript. If its anything like the uni network,
it'll be hours of fun (took them and Novell two months to realise
that all the serious login problems were due to all the computers
trying to use a server that had been removed).

Oh well, I hope noone from the CIS or CMS departments read this list
or I might end up not coming back next year. That is just an example
of how little a degree in networks might actually mean. I worked 7
months nightshift at an ISP and learned far more relevant stuff than
the two years on a networking degree have taught me. Several times I
have considered giving it up and looking around for industry
certifications but I keep hoping that the next year will be
better...though that depends on whether I can find a placement that
doesn't just involve writing websites.
If anyone around here knows of a decent networking related company
that might offer an at least half decent placement then do let me
know. It seems this kind of placement is rather sparse this year.

O- cw, on 23/05/2002
"Part man, part monkey. Baby that's me"