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      04-09-2007, 03:25 PM   #1
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Opinions on 'Online Courses'

Whether its a new thing or not, I stumbled upon O'reilly's online course website. Apparently they've teamed up with the univ. of illinois-champaigne to offer IT-related courses and some are in a series which lead to a certificate.

Check it out:

I'm currently finishing up my CS degree at the University of Missouri and have been noticing all of the job openings all over the place for unix/linux administrators. When looking through the computer science courses I have/will be taking, I noticed that only one of them will be Unix/Linux-related.

To me, completing the series of 4 unix/linux system admin courses seems like a pretty decent idea. It isn't "University of Phoenix Online" or whatever that crap is, but is from an accredited, established University. I'm not sure how employers will view this certification, but it has got to at least give me a slight push when the only things on my resume will be a CS degree and work experience.

Some interesting things: It's all online, you have an instructor who grades everything, unlimited time limits, you get your own virtual linux root machine to do your projects/work on. For $1400 total that doesn't sound too horrible. Each of the 4 courses is said to take about 40 hours to complete.

What's your take on this -- considering my situation? Just curious before I start tossing em my cash.
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      04-09-2007, 08:01 PM   #2
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The university is definitely well known, as is O'Reilly. I don't see anything wrong with getting such a certificate and it would probably look good on the resume but I'm assuming you actually want to get into unix administration if you want to do this and it's not just because your course work barely offers many classes on it.

Before you do it I suggest 3 things:
  1. Do you see yourself in this role, or are their other career paths (and applicable certificates) that you think you'd like to get involved in. Oracle DB stuff? Get an Oracle cert. Java developer? Get a Java cert., MS .NET stuff? So on and so forth.
  2. Experience > certificate. A certificate might boost your chances, but you need to know what you're talking about when quizzed in an interview, and that usually comes from experience or a very good hands-on program (or if you're studying on your own, lots of discipline and dedication).
  3. I highly suggest you get a realistic idea of what's out there for the jobs you want. Dedicate a few hours to perform a real job search and see what requirements are being asked for, note the certificates requested / recommended etc. That should help you decide whether this one would boost your chances or if there are better alternatives.
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