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Which is worth more -- an MBA in business or an MCDBA?

I am currently out of college for one year with my B.S. in computer science. I have a good job as a database coordinator and I'm trying to decide my next move. I would ideally like to move into more of a DBA admin role, but I don't want to lose sight of my love for business. My question is: Should I go for my MBA in business part-time, or should I go for my MCDBA? Which is worth more?

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It makes me feel like a former president of recent memory to say this, but my answer to your question "Which is worth more?" is something like: That depends on what you mean by "worth more," especially when it comes to near-term versus long-term worth. You can probably get your MCDBA faster than an MBA and boost your earning power more in the short term, whereas certifications go stale and must be renewed or replaced, degrees last forever. And the well-documented phenomenon of higher education leading to higher lifetime career success and total compensation doesn't always apply as directly to IT certification as it does to a bona fide degree. In terms of what employers want from their best employees, the answer is, "They want both IT certification and a degree!" So why not work on your MCDBA and go after the MBA (perhaps more slowly than your original part-time plans may have dictated)? Or perhaps get the MCDBA and then follow up with the MBA afterward?

It really isn't an "either-or" thing in today's workplace, so please consider that both degrees and certifications have value, and what kind of value they could bring to your career in the near-term as well as in the longer term.

Good luck!
--Ed--

This was first published in June 2003

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