The question of do employers look at degrees from online schools differently than campus-based schools has been debated for years now. It can be difficult to answer because the wisdom surrounding this topic has changed quickly. Gone are the days where online degrees were near-universally seen as less desirable. The picture is much more nuanced. Several factors can affect how an employer views an online degree as opposed to an in-person one besides whether the degree was obtained online or on campus.
Hesitations Employers May Have About Online Degrees
Overall, the views of employers regarding online degrees vary, sometimes widely. Although much of the stigma has gone away, some employers still prefer job seekers who got their degrees in-person. There are a few reasons for this, particularly the opportunities to develop desired soft skills that are more prevalent in campus-based programs. Employers may feel students who obtained an online degree have not had as much opportunity to develop important soft skills relevant to their profession while in training. For computer systems analysts, communication skills, in particular, are important because a key aspect of the job is coordinating between IT departments and others in the company, including employees, managers and executives. To do this well, they need to be able to explain complex technical subjects to both people who understand them and people who don’t while keeping both sides working effectively together.
Aspects Of Online Degrees Employers May Like
For the most part, however, U.S. News & World Report reports that most employers are accepting of online degrees. When asked why they chose to earn a degree online, a candidate has a good opportunity to explain his or her decision-making process. This tells an employer a lot about how they will be as an employee, especially a computer systems analyst who needs to make solid decisions about a company’s computer network system all the time. Employers may also see earning an online degree as a good indicator of a candidate’s time management skills and self-discipline. Online degree programs are flexible and allow students to complete work at their own pace. Earning one can signal to employers that a job seeker works well on their own to accomplish a goal, a desirable trait in any employee but especially for computer systems analysts.
The Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Question
Another factor that might matter to employers is whether a degree was obtained from a non-profit or for-profit school. There are for-profit in-person schools and non-profit online degree programs, but historically many online programs have been offered by for-profit institutions. In this case, employers do look at degrees from online schools differently than campus-based schools. For-profit schools generally have a lower reputation than non-profit schools due to the perception that they are driven by making money rather than providing students with a quality education. One advantage, however, is that they may be quicker to adopt new technologies, which can be beneficial for tech students. Candidates with an online degree from a for-profit school might face more difficulty finding a job than candidates with an online degree from a non-profit school. Doing some quick research online can tell a student if a school they are considering is for-profit or not.
Tech Degrees Might Have An Online Advantage
To become a computer systems analyst, students typically need to obtain a tech degree, such as in computer or information sciences, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employers are probably less likely to be biased against tech degrees obtained online than other degrees. Having an online degree can prove a candidate is tech-savvy, which they need to be to complete a college program online. Another reason employers may be less hesitant to hire a holder of an online tech degree is because companies with knowledge of the tech field know how online learning can be a quality alternative option to in-person learning as well as the advantages an online degree has for students.
Degrees From Known Universities With Good Reputations
The most important thing students need to remember when deciding on a degree program is whether the college has a good reputation. This isn’t always easy to determine, especially with tech vocational schools. Accreditation by a widely-recognized organization is perhaps the most telling indicator of whether a college offers quality education employers will want. CNN reports that a survey found 83 percent of executives viewed online degrees as credibly as traditional ones. But they also noted that the school’s accreditation and prestige of its name played an important role in how they viewed degrees earned online. Students should make sure that any school they are considering is accredited by a reputable outside organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Related Resource: What Can I Do With a Computer Science Degree?
Online Degrees Might Not Even Come Up
There is usually little reason for a job seeker to mention whether or not a degree was obtained online. It takes up needless space on a resume and there is no reason to disclose it. Employers often cannot tell if a degree was obtained online unless the school is known for being primarily digital or the candidate volunteers that information. It is critically important, however, to never lie if at any point during the hiring process a candidate is asked about their schooling. Lying about the fact that a degree was obtained online will almost certainly get that candidate dismissed from consideration and could cost them their job if it is found out later.
Employers are generally more accepting of degrees earned online than in the past, particularly in the tech field, which is at home online and working with technology. If a degree is obtained from a reputable school, graduates wanting to work as a computer systems analyst will likely not have a more difficult time finding employment, especially with the growth of this profession. Students need to know do employers look at degrees from online schools differently than campus-based schools to make the best choices about their education.