Opinions: MSISE or MSISM now that SANS is accredited?

jplee3jplee3 Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hey all,

Just wanted to get some opinions regarding the SANS MSISE and MSISM graduate programs now that SANS is an accredited institution. I realize SANS still hasn't garnered as much attention especially in the eyes of HR folks when compared to CISSP.

In any case, do you guys think its now worth pursuing a degree now that they're accredited, compared to "cybersecurity" Masters programs elsewhere.

Anyway, just wanted to put it out there since I don't think I've seen much out there as of late.

Comments

  • LionelTeoLionelTeo Member Posts: 526 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Its all about ROI. How much money you put in, and how much money you got back, and the risk pertaining to it.

    You will definitely get a good return if you can complete their master program, especially the MSISM can be a deal breaker to break into higher tier of the management path. The problem regarding the program would be the high cost and GSE lab requirements, both are very difficult to meet, and may end up burning the unnecessary cash if you cannot complete the program.

    On the other hand, getting company to sponsor you and self studying for the exams are much cheaper, while risk is higher in terms of failure, certifications expiration, you trade off for lesser money required for the exam, and also self studying via books allow you to easily produce white papers that the course could not covers due to learning from experience industry standards not from sans itself; with addition to less worries about loans or timeline requirements set up the school.

    In the end, it points down to your own judgement of the ROI. You can hit almost the same set of qualification via self study route, spending as little as 1000USD on all the books if your company reimburse all your certificates, still obtained GSE and had a reasonable jump, or paying for teachers with 30-40k USD from SANS and study on the course material itself.

    On overview, one would be easier with official coursebook, more expensive, but would hit the GSE as a major roadblock to clear. The harder would be tougher without official coursebook, cheaper, and also still had a GSE roadblock to clear.

    The cheaper but tougher route would probably yield a more impressive ROI in short term, 1k for books for possible 30k salary jump in 2-3 years, with higher risk of failure and career stagnant growth if you can't obtain these certs. Master while on the other hand has lower risk of failure and career stagnant growth, and would probably pay off for a longer term, a master would not have to worried about certification expiry, and still be as impressive coming from higher management background with their masters.

    If money was a concern to your environment, then it would be better to focus on self study for the time being for the short term gain, the salary gain can then be decided for a master in the future. If money was like a flowing water to you, then do whatever you want with it. ;)
  • BalantineBalantine Member Posts: 77 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'd say you would be better off with a Master's from Georgia Tech for 7K and then self-study the SANS curriculum.

    That'd give you both the credential and the real knowledge.
    dulce bellum inexpertis
  • jplee3jplee3 Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks guys,

    At my current place of employment, tuition benefits are very good - they give us up to around $5k for undergrad *OR* cert courses as well as up to around $10k per year for undergrad. I think estimated costs for the SANS masters program comes to around $45k and must be completed in 5 years.

    The SANS program is enticing to me but seems extremely rigorous too. Not to downplay any other masters program of course. I'm just wondering if it's something I should consider pursuing even though I lean towards not wanting to... there's pressure from friends around me who have all gotten their masters and MBAs in hopes of getting higher positions etc (and many have). I don't want to create some bias or cloud my judgment but those things are a factor as superficial as they are LOL!

    My wife and I are considering starting a family too, and I'm just worried about how this will all play out if that does happen and I have school to worry about. My past experiences with college, high school, and general academics are not ones that I was very fond of (my mom was in k-12 ed for many years and still does stuff for the school district these days so hopefully she doesn't read this hahahaha!). I definitely am not one of those people who *loves* school and learning in that context, but if I'm pushed to do it or am at risk of losing anything then I might just do enough to squeeze by. My latest downfall though was underestimating the preparation needed for the GXPN exam and then falling flat on my face... one of the worst feelings ever and it has haunted me until this very day - it's things like that, that cause me to cringe at pursuing more certs and education. And I know the saying that we have to learn from our mistakes and keep going, but this was no "small mistake" and right now I'm still kind of picking myself up and dusting off.

    Anyway, Georgia Tech's program sounds interesting... I just wonder at the requirement of some of these schools though because they usually require a undegrad degree in computer science, etc, which I'm far from (BA in Intl Studies lol).
  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Simply put, I just don't think the education is worth the ROI in comparison to any other program. Depending on the degree you go with, it's nearly double the cost a comparable degree at some highly ranked universities.
  • GarudaMinGarudaMin Member Posts: 204
    If you don't consider ROI or money is not an issue to you, I think it's the best out there for InfoSec professionals (especially tech side).
  • DoyenDoyen Member Posts: 397
    As for you opinion on the Master of Science in Information Security Engineering or Master of Science in Information Security Management, I would go for the MSISE program mainly because they allow you more variety of electives and GIAC certification possibilities. You could make the MSISE program less expensive if you get the required GIAC certifications ahead of time and just pay the $1500 or so to have that cert "test out" of the course. That should reduce the time, course, and cost towards the degree.
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  • jplee3jplee3 Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Doyen wrote: »
    As for you opinion on the Master of Science in Information Security Engineering or Master of Science in Information Security Management, I would go for the MSISE program mainly because they allow you more variety of electives and GIAC certification possibilities. You could make the MSISE program less expensive if you get the required GIAC certifications ahead of time and just pay the $1500 or so to have that cert "test out" of the course. That should reduce the time, course, and cost towards the degree.

    I think the issue is that they may limit the number of certs you can apply towards your credits in the program. And I think they may be locking down on this even more so come September of this year.

    As far as money being a concern, it's not a huge concern since my company will sponsor up to $10k per year. So I could theoretically finish the program in the 4-5 year timespan they allow for. I'm just not sure of the 'excess' costs/fees that aren't covered within the stipulations of the $10k tuition coverage... these are probably minimal compared to the overall tuition cost of course but that's me being extremely cheap.

    I just don't want to have to go through an episode(s) of potentially not passing or getting held up at any given point and then it becoming expensive on my end because now I have to pay for whatever unit(s) I didn't pass on... that's what my biggest fear is. Haha maybe it's not a good thing I even attempt this, seeing how little confidence I have
  • jplee3jplee3 Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
    BTW: with the Georgia Tech degree, are they pretty strict on the "undergraduate degree in computer science or equivalent" or will they consider work-experience in favor of this? I have a BA in Intl Studies [go figure LOL] so I'm pretty sure that's far off-track as far as they're concerned. However, I finished college a little over 10 years ago so it's been a while.

    A new friend I met yesterday told me he just started his Masters in CS at GT this week. I didn't get the chance to delve too much into that topic though.
  • stryder144stryder144 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,675 ■■■■■■■■□□
    @jplee3...there are a couple of routes one could take in order to bolster your academic portfolio prior to applying for the Georgia Tech degree.

    First route, find out which programming languages are focused on in Georgia Tech's undergrad CS degree program. Then, if possible, find a local college or a low cost online school that offers those languages, take several courses, and pass them at the B or better level.

    Second route, find a school that offers an undergraduate certificate in computer science and complete it at the B or better level. Boston University has a five course series that they say helps to qualify a student to enter their MSCS program. Yes, this greatly increases the costs, but does put you in a great position to enter the Georgia Tech program.

    Third route, Georgia Tech Professional Education offers certificates in computer science that utilize the OCS MS courses. Take one or two of those.

    Fourth route, develop several projects and use them as a portfolio when applying to Georgia Tech.

    At any rate, great thread. I love it. It has already given me several ideas for future study.

    Cheers
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  • jplee3jplee3 Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
    stryder144 wrote: »
    @jplee3...there are a couple of routes one could take in order to bolster your academic portfolio prior to applying for the Georgia Tech degree.

    First route, find out which programming languages are focused on in Georgia Tech's undergrad CS degree program. Then, if possible, find a local college or a low cost online school that offers those languages, take several courses, and pass them at the B or better level.

    Second route, find a school that offers an undergraduate certificate in computer science and complete it at the B or better level. Boston University has a five course series that they say helps to qualify a student to enter their MSCS program. Yes, this greatly increases the costs, but does put you in a great position to enter the Georgia Tech program.

    Third route, Georgia Tech Professional Education offers certificates in computer science that utilize the OCS MS courses. Take one or two of those.

    Fourth route, develop several projects and use them as a portfolio when applying to Georgia Tech.

    At any rate, great thread. I love it. It has already given me several ideas for future study.

    Cheers


    Great advice and tips! As I read through it I felt 95% overwhelmed LOL! This is perfect though for anyone intent on doing a Masters in CS/IS with a lot of big-time schools, I'm sure. I was a horrible student in college, and if what they say is true about history repeating itself, I don't think my future academic career would be an exception hahaha. Some will probably say I'm being too hard on myself, but I'm telling you - some of us just aren't cut out for it. Anyway, guess it'll be back to the grinder and the occasional cert for me. Maybe I'll convince myself otherwise within the next 10 years.

    TL;DR I'm super-lazy and am currently failing to see the ROI, other than doing a Masters for the fun of it if I were super smart and easily bored.
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