Did I mention I got the job I interviewed for? I’m a few months in now, but more importantly I’m a few months into my education at WGU. After describing my interview, I feel like it’s a good time to talk about that.
Online vs. Brick-and-Mortar
Going with an online college felt weird. No brick and mortar locations means a reduced level of credibility, but after researching the IT field I learned that school credibility isn’t nearly as important as experience or problem solving skills- if it comes down to two similar candidates and one has a degree, the degree wins out, but that’s about all it matters. However, being a late entry to the field means that a degree matters for me, so I’ve got to get one. At the very least, it’ll help me get interviews, and I feel like if I can just get my foot in the door I’ll be fine.
So Why WGU? Well, it has all the things that a normal college has: Advisers to point me in the right direction, a library of e-books that’s supplemented by other online courses I can take on top of my regular load to really cement my learning, and various opportunities to talk with classmates and professors about things that I’m struggling with to get help. For my Network+, for example, I not only took the regular book work filled with an abundance of IT ProTV videos, I also supplemented with Mike Meyer’s course that was available through the Lynda.com library. It worked out well for me, and I passed on my first run. So the resources are really great…
But that’s not what sold me. With WGU, they have you pay a set price for a set amount of time- 6 month semesters. During these semesters, you work at your own pace… meaning I can tear through courses I already understand and earn my undergraduate degree before I go insane from being in school again- and before the love of my life goes insane from taking care of my little boy (who’s entirely his father’s son) all by herself on nights when I’m studying a rough course or taking an exam. She’s an amazing mother, but I don’t want her to feel like she’s raising the kid alone; so I have to get done with school as quickly as possible… certainly before he starts running around and driving us nuts from whatever surface he can climb onto.
I do have one complaint about the school, though… UCertify. I have a background in pedagogy from years of teaching (as well as from my first degree), so when I see sub-par teaching practices and material, it’s frustrating for me. UCertify is certainly full of that. For the most part, the material appears to be copy-and-pasted from self-help books and thrown up on the web, typos and formatting errors and all. None of it’s been particularly out-of-date, and none of it’s been so impossible to read that I haven’t been able to learn, but it’s still been painful to see.
If you’re thinking about applying, are already a student, or even an alumni, I wouldn’t mind chatting about more about our experiences. Hit me up, let’s chat.