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When it comes to building a successful career in the field of information technology (IT), two paths are commonly considered: earning a degree or obtaining certifications. Both options can lead to job opportunities in IT, but they have distinct differences that aspiring professionals should be aware of. In this article, we will explore the key factors to consider when deciding between a degree and certifications for your IT career.

Time Invested

College or Degree Program

Pursuing a degree typically takes around four years of full-time study. This duration is divided into eight terms, with an average of four courses per term. This structure allows students to delve deep into each subject, giving them a comprehensive understanding of the material. 

In some cases, motivated students may complete their degree in three years by taking additional courses or attending summer sessions. On average, students spend about 12 hours per week in class, with additional time dedicated to homework, assignments, and exam preparation.

Online IT Courses

On the other hand, Online IT courses, such as those offered by IT Career Swap, are intensive and accelerated. For example, our IT Technician course covers CompTIA IT Fundamentals, CompTIA A+Core 1, Core 2, CompTIA Network+, CCNA, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Cloud+, AWS Essentials & Solutions Architect Associate, Microsoft Azure Security Engineer Associate, and will gain a CompTIA A+ certification. Our courses are able to be completed from anywhere with an internet connection and you can fit the studying around any current commitments, as they are fully online.

Students have a year’s access to the courses, although it is not uncommon for them to complete in less time, as little as 4 months in some cases. You will gain access to over 600 IT related courses with 1,900+ modules. 100’s of hands-on live lab environments to get real world experience problem solving. Custom certificate practice exams and more! We even have a Job Offer Guarantee, which is something degrees do not offer.

Cost of Training

College or Degree Program 

The cost of tuition for the majority of students in the UK is around £9,250 a year. Most courses tend to last for three years. So let’s say that tuition fees alone will cost most students about £27,750 over the course of their degree.

Online IT courses

At IT Career Swap, our IT certification courses typically cost between £895 and £2,400, covering everything from globally recognised qualifications to real time experience, and a Job Offer Guarantee. We believe that top IT training should be accessible to everyone and we are passionate about helping you learn, master and then securing a job within IT. You will be given one to one mentoring, interview practice so you can ace your job interviews and a certain foot in the door within the IT industry.

Focus of Training

College or Degree Program

Degree programs often require students to complete general education requirements and elective courses, which can extend the time needed to focus on specific technology skills. It may take one to two years before students can fully concentrate on their major and gain relevant technical expertise.

Certification Prep Courses

Certifications, on the other hand, provide focused training in specific areas of high demand in the IT job market. These programs eliminate the need for unrelated coursework and enable students to dive directly into technology courses. Each course aligns with a specific certification, offering third-party verification of skills. For individuals looking to enter the IT workforce quickly, certifications provide a more direct path to employment due to their targeted focus.

Style of Training

College or Degree Program

In college courses, the teaching style varies depending on the instructor and the availability of lab facilities. While some courses may emphasise hands-on training, others may focus more on theoretical concepts and historical perspectives. Textbooks written years ago may still be in use until new editions are released.

Certification Prep Courses

At IT Career Swap, our certification prep courses strike a balance between online training and hands-on live labs. Each course includes practical exercises tailored to the subject matter. For example our CCNA and Security+ courses focus on software configuration and system security. 

We prioritise hands-on experience with real computer systems and programs to ensure that students not only pass their certification exams but also develop practical skills for the workplace.

Getting Hired after Training

College or Degree Program

Completing a degree demonstrates dedication and determination, signifying a significant milestone in one’s career. Degrees are widely recognised as a symbol of accomplishment and knowledge. However, they do not provide the same level of skills verification as certifications. Graduates with the same degree may possess different skill sets, making it essential for employers to assess candidates’ abilities beyond their educational background.

Certification Prep Courses

IT certifications carry weight in the job market, providing a clear indication of expertise in specific technology areas. For example, employers seeking Network Engineers may prioritise candidates with Network+ and CCNA certifications over those with a general computer science degree. In fact, a survey conducted by CompTIA revealed that 93% of hiring managers consider IT certifications valuable in validating expertise. Additionally, 80% of employers reward their certified staff with salary increases, public recognition, bonuses, or promotions.

In addition our Job Offer Guarantee offers help unlike many IT training avenues out there. We have already helped thousands of students gain expertise within the IT industry and secure them a role through our plethora of IT partners. 

Certifications vs. Degrees: Choosing the Right Path

In determining the superior option between certifications and degrees, it is important to recognise that each path has its own merits. If you value a comprehensive education and a broad range of knowledge, a degree may be the best choice. On the other hand, if you seek a faster, cheaper and more efficient way into IT employment and want to focus on specific skills, certification training can be an excellent option.


When deciding between a degree and certifications for your IT career, it’s important to consider factors such as time invested, cost, focus of training, style of instruction, and job prospects. While degrees offer a comprehensive education and signify dedication, certifications provide targeted training and skills verification. Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal goals and circumstances.At IT Career Swap, we are committed to providing comprehensive training and support to help our students succeed in their IT careers. Our programs are designed to equip you with the skills and certifications that employers value. With our expert instructors, dedicated career services, and strong industry partnerships, we are here to guide you every step of the way. Join IT Career Swap and take the first step towards a rewarding IT career.