Transitioning Military Officer: MSCS UW-Madison or MS IT Management/MBA UW-Milwaukee?

usnapacker10usnapacker10 Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
I am a junior military officer with 5 years of leadership experience currently making the transition from the military to the civilian IT worlds, and I was hoping for some advice from those in the industry.

I have a BS CS/IT (dual major) from a US Service Academy, but I have had very limited technical experience over the past 5 years, as my roles have all been supervisory. I will be completing a 12-week Cyber Security internship at a F500 company this summer to gain some civilian IT infosec experience before starting school.

I have been accepted to Wisconsin-Madison's Computer Science Professional Master's Program (https://www.cs.wisc.edu/pmp[1] ) and Wisconsin-Milwaukee's MS-IT Management / MBA program (Master of Science in Management | MS.MBA | Lubar School of Business[2] ). Both would be free tuition provided by the Wisconsin GI Bill. Each program would allow me to work at least part-time, helping to offset the opportunity cost of attending school.

I've seen a lot of negativity towards MSCS degrees online, but I think an MSCS would help me gain advanced technical knowledge and refresh on my undergraduate education compared to staying completely managerial and completing the MS IT / MBA. I have no technology certs as of now, but am actively preparing to take the CISSP exam.

Would the MSCS from a top 15 school or would the MS IT Management / MBA from an unranked school make me most competitive for civilian IT jobs?



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    Robertf969Robertf969 Member Posts: 190

    Have you thought about going the GS route? I take it you are an S6? What branch of Military are you? A good portion of people on this forum are working students.
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    usnapacker10usnapacker10 Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I am pretty set on staying home in Wisconsin. Besides occasional jobs posted with the Wisconsin Air National Guard or Wisconsin Army National Guard, there aren't too many 2210 GS jobs here.

    Navy Information Professional Officer. N-6 type role. Two years of experience as COMSEC Alternate / Traditional Security, but no practical communications planning, network management, or information assurance experience outside of my Information Dominance Warfare Officer training. Completed 2.5 years as a Surface Warfare Officer before transitioning to the Navy's Fleet Cyber Command.

    Looking to get into INFOSEC immediately with a career progression towards CISO / CIO positions. I am thinking the MSCS is a much better option for the immediate future, as it will get me back on the technical route that I have been lacking the past 5 years.
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    CyberscumCyberscum Member Posts: 795 ■■■■■□□□□□
    If you don't mind me asking, why are you getting out?

    Well, here is my take. Being an officer in any branch and having any attachment to information technology is a huge win. If I was you I would try and snag a GS role in the fed. They look very positively at former officers (even under qualified). I would say you could look at a 12-13 level coming in.

    If I was you I would get the CISSP before the masters. I feel there is a greater return from the CISSP then there is for the masters.
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    beadsbeads Member Posts: 1,531 ■■■■■■■■■□
    As a once and former military officer I am surprised you didn't complete your Masters while active in the first place. Out in the civilian world with your background employers are going to expect you have completed your Master's as well, due to your background.

    The CISSP will make more sense when you have documentable civilian security experience as military experience is always a harder sell than the reality implies. You've probably already had experience with the "but I was told my leadership experience is the equivalent of a MBA..." Nonsense. To the average civilian you "slung the gun" and dragged your knuckles while doing it.

    Good news is the ISC2 will accept nearly anything as proof of your security background now so the intrinsic value is lessening all the time. And you thought a MSCS was taking flack? Give the CISSP a couple more years and it will be the next CNE (Certified Novell Engineer).

    Get the Masters done and see what's hot in the field as you go. I expect a groundswell of change again.

    - b/eads
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    XavorXavor Member Posts: 161
    I vote brick and mortar schools when possible, but in the end it's about getting past the HR gatekeepers. I'm attending ASU this Fall through their online program, but at least it's a well known school which doesn't put *-online on their diploma.

    Leverage your contacts with the civilian side where you work and see what opportunities exist for employment there. You should be able to get a job full time and go to night school for your Masters.

    Also, have a look at Epic which is based in Madison. I have a relation who's worked there for many years and they treated him well.
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