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April 2014 update: This is now listed on the what can I ask here? page's list of off-topic subjects.

The consensus here seems to be that this site should be limited to technical discussion. However, this question seemed to be liked well-enough. The topic is education (to BS or not to BS?), not certification, but I find it relevant.

It seems to be soliciting a number of opinions, and while there are some good resources there I for one don't think it belongs here.

Where do we want to draw the line on certification/education questions?

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We should NOT allow education questions of any kind, be they certification questions or degree questions.

I really do enjoy questions like this, but I think they belong in chat instead of on the main site.

The answers to these questions are likely to change quickly. Desired degrees and certifications could change based on the job market and a person's location. It's also likely to solicit debate and opinion. Most of all, I think it's going to lead us down a slippery slope, especially if we decide to let these questions skate by as a community wiki. Take a look at this post about the future of community wiki.

I've seen a lot of users on SU's meta whining that their question was closed when [insert a borderline question that skated] isn't closed/deleted or was wiki'd. I think letting this become a community wiki would invite this sort of debate later on.

Let's keep it clean from the start.

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  • The original question has now been closed as off-topic. I think your answer wins out. I've up voted it, and suggest you accept so other see it. – Craig Constantine May 13 '13 at 20:00
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update: I've upvoted r.tanner.f's 'NO' answer just above. My answer here is just historical. No edu/cert questions.


This is the sort of Q&A that NE will be faced with. If we shoo it away, it will return.

We should let it stand (the particular Q is specific, and specifically answerable.) Down the road, this is a prime topic for moving into a wiki. At that point we can summarily close questions and refer people to the wiki. But for now, we've not enough people to flesh out the wiki . . .

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    Won't people point at this question to justify their certification question? I also don't see how it's specifically answerable; there is going to be difference in opinion... One might even say "certification is equally important" and now we've opened up a can of worms. Any Q&A site on SE will be faced with a barrage of OT questions that return on a daily, even hourly, basis. Vigilance will is required to maintain scope. – rtf May 9 '13 at 15:16
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    I see your point. On SE sites, I've always felt they should initially allow the gray-area stuff, then the community can move the stuff to the wikis and disallow the questions later. (But I understand the counter-opinion that letting the gray stuff in at the start sets up a wave of mess.) – Craig Constantine May 9 '13 at 15:21
  • @r.tanner.f why not post an answer taking the opposite opinion to mine, and lets see where the meta voting goes. – Craig Constantine May 9 '13 at 15:21
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    Feels like a poll-type question to me. I'd prefer to keep it technical. – Scott Boultinghouse May 9 '13 at 19:33
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I would side with Craig here (allow for now, move to wiki, disallow later) but I want to discuss a little more about problems that this sort of thing produces.

The question boils down to two loosely interrelated questions. The first is "what kind of education will help me become an excellent network engineer" (the answers here will involve comp sci and/or electrical engineering) and the second is "what kind of education will help me get a job as a network engineer" (the current answer here can be found by doing a search on job boards and seeing what degrees are requested). One real problem with these sorts of questions is that the questions are only loosely coupled and so the answers might be quite different depending on locale and changing conditions.

However a wiki allows for such disclaimers more generally and a note that the information is limited to what network engineers think is helpful, not what HR folks and hiring managers may demand. My recommendation would be to start moving these to community wiki as soon as we have sufficient people with sufficient reputation, and then have a policy of otherwise disallowing them at that point.

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