Tim Moore had been working successfully in IT for about 15 years when he decided that he needed to move his career forward. He had the experience, the drive and the dedication. The only thing that was holding him back was a degree in information technology.
“I reached the point where I was qualified for a lot of jobs experience-wise, but to get the salary above what I was earning required a college degree,” Tim said. “I wouldn’t hear back from employers because basically, as far as they were concerned, I was missing their primary qualification.”
Tim’s experience isn’t unusual. Workers who graduated with a bachelor’s degree earn 63% more than those with a high school diploma alone, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In 2010, Tim decided to go back to school and get his degree in information technology. He also took advantage of the opportunity to dive into a specialization that had always interested him: computer forensics. “I wanted to learn more and get into the legal aspects of computers. This was a real opportunity for me—something that I was really interested in, like ethical hacking, doing penetration tests and stuff like that,” he said. “Only two or three of the online schools offered a forensics degree, and AIU Online’s program looked to offer the most comprehensive program.”
It didn’t take long for Tim to put his online degree to work after graduating. “I woke up the next day, and I started updating my resume,” he explained. “I graduated in November 2012. I started a new job in December 2012.”
Today, Tim is a Georgia-certified private detective and is currently enjoying his new role as a technical project consultant for a major eye care corporation. “My degree has really opened doors for me,” Tim says, “I like what I do now; it’s a lot more challenging.”
Earning the online degree in IT that helped him get there required plenty of dedication and hard work. Once Tim got into his online degree, he quickly realized that going to college was more than just checking the box. “Even though I did have a great deal of experience in the IT field, my knowledge in computer security and the laws relating to it were not where they should have been. I gained a great deal of knowledge regarding the ramifications of security infractions, especially when the infractions cross national or international borders. I also gained knowledge of the tools used to investigate security breaches and to gather evidence in a legal investigation,” he said.
In addition to a challenging course load, Tim had a full-time job as well as a full-time life to manage. He recalled, “We were in the middle of remodeling our house, and I was working full-time and helping to take care of my mother-in-law who lives with us. We were expanding the house to make room for her, and we were doing the work ourselves.”
Tim had to apply some creative scheduling to get it all done. “I would go online whenever I had extra time, in the evening or even at 1 a.m. if I was up. I would look at my classes, work on homework or do research for a paper.”
Of his AIU experience, Tim says, “It was a great deal of hard work and sacrifice, but I finished on schedule and with honors. Since graduation, I found that opportunities seem to be falling at my feet.”
Career success will depend largely on the effort put into studies, job search efforts, experience and attitude. The experience of this alumnus is not representative of all students.