Which is Right for You: A College Degree or Technical Training?
Technical School vs College
It’s a common misconception that the only way to enter the workforce is to have a college degree. Most high school students are told that without a degree, a high-paying job or successful career isn’t possible. However, not everyone thrives in a traditional college setting, and the cost of a college degree often outweighs the return-on-investment.
Luckily, the need for college experience is fading, especially in tech. While computer science or programming degrees were often the go-to path for those wanting to break into tech, the IT industry has continued to evolve—especially to combat the nation-wide shortage of tech talent.
How Do I Get Started?
Rather than going to college, many people are considering boot camps. While many boot camps are focused on coding or programming, there are others—like Tek Ladder’s Online IT Career Training Program —that focus on the other side of IT: networking. These boot camps are designed specifically for those with little to no IT experience. With condensed classes that focus on hands-on learning, students are taught the skills they need to start a job in tech without wasting 4 years in college classes (and racking up the student loans to pay for it).
Small Class Sizes
One of the major differences between boot camps and colleges/universities are the small class sizes. Colleges often have large lecture halls where students get lost in the crowd. At Tek Ladder, classes (called cohorts) are limited to ensure students are getting a personalized experience. Instructors and technical coaches interact with students closely, so having smaller class sizes allow more one-on-one time.
Curriculum Based on What Employers Want
Since boot camps aren’t a college or university, the curriculum isn’t tied to specific standards set by a higher education board. At Tek Ladder, we have the unique ability to change our curriculum to meet the ever-changing needs of the technology industry. We have close relationships with hiring companies who tell us exactly what skills they’re looking for in ideal candidates, and we have made sure that our curriculum reflects those skills. We then use 30+ years of experience to design curriculum specifically for people with little or no IT experience.
Job Role Training
In a similar fashion to curriculum development, boot camps provide hands-on, job-role training. General education classes (like history, biology, or even art) are expensive, time consuming, and don’t apply to your career after graduating. Unlike traditional colleges, boot camps cut out all the noise and focus on the skills you need for a career in IT… and only those skills. Tek Ladder (and our parent company, Centriq) has over three decades of experience partnering with IT companies, Managed Service Providers (MSP’s), hiring employers, and technical recruiters. We work with those companies to learn exactly what skills are needed to be successful in the roles they’re hiring for. Then, Tek Ladder prepares you with those technical skills, and helps you apply them through labs and real-world hands-on examples. You’ll be able to speak from experience in interviews and have the confidence to tackle your first job after graduation.
Soft Skills and Professional Development
Unlike colleges, boot camps train on skills far beyond technical know-how. To be successful, boot camps know that there’s an importance in soft-skill training. Tek Ladder’s curriculum has soft skill and professional development training built into the curriculum— we work on the personality traits that help you be successful in the workplace, and help you discover skills you gained from other positions and how you can apply them to IT. Tek Ladder instructors partner with the Career Services Team to help take skills like communication, time management and problem-solving, and show you how you can apply them to the IT field. Your soft skills can set you apart from the competition on a job application and recognizing these skills can be the difference between an offer letter and a rejection letter.
Student Services Support
At a large university, the sheer number of attendees is enough to make many incoming students feel invisible and undervalued. Guidance counselors meet with hundreds of students at a time – making it nearly impossible to help each student to the best of their ability. But boot camps are different – at Tek Ladder, you have support from many different angles, including our instructors and technical coaches. Outside the classroom, you can seek help and advice from our student services team. If you are struggling with the curriculum, are looking for other resources to help prepare you for your job search, or just need someone to talk to, our student services team is there with an open door to offer you advice or a listening ear.
Career Coaches and Support
A huge downside to attending a large university is the lack of support you receive after graduation. You just spent four years studying in hopes of using your degree to get a job – but where do you start? A major upside to boot camps is the attention students receive to help them find their dream career. Tek Ladder’s program is designed to help you find a job that matches your career goals. Our career team is here to help you navigate the process and make sure you are prepared for every step of the way. No matter if you are creating your first resume, aren’t sure what to wear for an interview, or even if you don’t know what position titles you should be applying for, our trained team can help break down the job market for you and help you find the best path for your career success.
Relatable Instructor Team
Professors at colleges and universities can feel unapproachable – in many lecture classes, students never speak with their professor one-on-one. With hundreds of students in one class, it’s rare that professors will even know their students’ names. But the instructors at boot camps don’t feel out-of-touch – they’re just like you. Tek Ladder’s instructors know you don’t need a college degree to be successful—many of them are a product of an IT Support Bootcamp themselves! Both our instructors and technical coaches come from diverse backgrounds in law enforcement, military, retail, finance, and more. They understand that changing careers can be a daunting experience, but they also know that the payoff in the end makes it all worth it. They can be an extra layer of assistance for you as you navigate the job market and can help you apply your own personal experiences to your first IT job.
Abundant Supply of Resources
At a boot camp, your support network doesn’t stop after you log off each day, or even after you graduate the program. At a college/university, once you step out of a classroom, you are out-of-sight, out-of-mind. There are simply too many students to make sure each one feels taken care of. Tek Ladder weaves a web of staff and resource support that allows you to understand the material at your own pace in and out of the classroom. We use Slack for easy communication access to our instructors and technical coaches, have regular check-ins from our student services and career coaching teams, and help you use networking tools to meet other IT professionals to help you navigate the job field. Not only do we supply you with a great network of support, but your own classmates turn into your support system as you advance through the program and beyond graduation. Your cohort is going through all the same experiences as you are and are there to help you make it to the finish line.
With our constant program evaluation and ever-abundant supply of resources, we pride ourselves on providing students like you the best program experience. Colleges and universities are focused on giving students an education on a wide number of topics, while boot camps know that many students seek a more focused learning track with the prospect of a real career upon completing the program. Tek Ladder doesn’t stop after your two months in the classroom, it prepares you for an entire future of success. Are you ready to start your climb? Book an appointment today and get ready to start a new career in IT in only two months.
Ready to apply?
WANT TO GET IN TOUCH WITH TEK LADDER?
Give us a call at (877) 253-3331 or fill out the form. An Enrollment Advisor will be in touch as soon as possible!