Norwich University - BS in Cyber Security --> MS ISA Comparison

LSageeLSagee Member Posts: 48 ■■■□□□□□□□
I am opening this thread to give a comparison of the two programs and a running update of the MSISA as I am about to start the MSISA program in December. I suspect there will be some overlap between the two programs, with the MSISA diving much deeper into the subject areas.

Background: I currently work in the cybersecurity field and completed the BS CS program about a year ago, concentration was in Computer Forensics and Vulnerability Management. I started in 2016 and throughout that time, I was able to get all the certs you see in my profile on my first attempt as well as the Virtual Hacking Lab certificate of completion. Norwich does not provide certs but I found the instruction to be overall, excellent. This allowed me to the opportunity to invest very little additional time in preparing for my certification exams. I did not put any serious study time in for CySA+ and CISSP, except to thumb through a few books for a few hours each. CASP and Sec+ were a bit different though as those were my first certs. Although prior technical experience came into play, I feel the BSCS program played a large role in my success as I was intimately familiar with most of the topics through classwork.

The BS CS program has a good mix of technical classes but the overall slant is more on the managerial/policy side than the technical side from where I started. I transferred in a lot of credits from my CC so I did not have to take programming courses at Norwich to include the ASM course. On the technical side, the Malware Forensics course was very challenging and the instructor was one of the best I ever had. The pentest classes use material that is a bit outdated regarding the MSF and other tools, but was still very relevant for beginners. Those classes stressed being able to properly author vulnerability assessment reports to various target audiences as you progress. The digital forensics courses are much the same, you will get a solid beginning foundation and be able to effectively convey your findings to target audiences.

At $250-$375 cr hr. for the BS CS, Norwich is very competitive in terms of pricing. You will not be able to breeze through the program in a year like WGU and come out with a bunch of certifications, but you will come out with a solid understanding of "cybersecurity" and how to implement it in an organization. You will also have a solid foundation of high and low-level topic understanding for any security-related certifications you pursue.  The staff and instructors are extremely responsive and knowledgable in the material. I also had a chance to go to the graduation in VT and it instilled a lot of pride in becoming an alumnus. I can't say enough about how getting my undergrad degree from Norwich catapulted my career forward into the career field I wanted to get into.

Concerning the MSISA, I originally was about to apply for the GA Tech MS in Cyber Security because it is cheap at a bit over $10k. However, I recently attended a webinar and although it is a good program with a solid brand-name reputation, the class load was not for me. GA Tech expects 15-25 hrs a week of study a week. The class load is 10 classes with 3 semesters a year, 16wk,16wk,11wk and is group project heavy. That means it would take at least 3 years for me to complete. Also, my job has me traveling a lot and I may not have the time to deal with constant group work.

The Norwich MSISA is a bit more pricy at $32k'ish but alumnus are currently offered a $1500 per class scholarship (total $9k). This being combined with educational assistance from my job dropped the price to an affordable level for me. The MSISA is 4 semesters a year, 11 wks each. This means it will take 1.5 years to complete. The MSISA also have a very good reputation in the career field. The main educational difference between GA Tech and Norwich is that the Norwich MSISA is policy/ managerial heavy and is geared for high-level positions such as CIO / CISOs. The GA Tech masters degree seems to be a lot more technical, even in choosing the policy track. I also considered many other schools to include WGU, but they were not for me for one reason or another.

The admissions process so far is very smooth. It is just as easy as when I applied for the BS program but even easier since they already have all my info on file and I did not need to send them any transcripts. Also, it seems that a few classes will be using the same books as the undergrad classes so I might be saving a ton of money there.
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