Thinking about getting a master's degree

draughtdraught Member Posts: 229 ■■■■□□□□□□
edited October 2019 in IT Jobs / Degrees
The degree would be in cyber security online I'm doing the basic research now. Some big name schools like USC offer online masters degrees in IT and cyber security which is great for me.

I've heard it said often that there is no value past a bachelor's in the IT field unless you're going for management but in my case I'm lacking direction. I have my Tier 3 helpdesk job but nothing is pushing me one way or the other. I need to do something to move my career forward. Only thing stopping me from enrolling is the cost. I have to put more thought into it before I spend 30 - 60K.

As for regular certs there so many these days. I just feel like I need to take bigger step. The lack of direction right now is my problem.

Has anyone else got a masters in any area of IT? How did that work out for you and your current career?

Comments

  • Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,271 ■■■■■■■■□□
    edited October 2019
    draught said:

    I've heard it said often that there is no value past a bachelor's in the IT field unless you're going for management but in my case I'm lacking direction. I have my Tier 3 helpdesk job but nothing is pushing me one way or the other. I need to do something to move my career forward. Only thing stopping me from enrolling is the cost. I have to put more thought into it before I spend 30 - 60K.

    As for regular certs there so many these days. I just feel like I need to take bigger step. The lack of direction right now is my problem.

    This logic isn't great. The idea that you just need some direction so you will spend 30-60K to hope it gives you that is not a great plan. What are you actually interested in beyond helpdesk? Cloud? Security? Databases? Programming? etc. 

    Figure out what you want your end goal to be, an MS isn't for helping you decide on a career. You could spend 30-60K on another degree only to find out security isn't your passion, and now you have a bunch of extra instruction that you wasted years getting, only to find out it doesn't really benefit you all that much. 

    You don't need to take a giant, expensive step just to realize what you might enjoy. I think you should do more research, do some self study and see what really gets you, pickup a cert or two in that area and try to move your career forward. I do some hiring for my dept (security), an MS without any prior security work, side projects, passion, etc, shows me almost nothing other than you took a few extra classes. Especially if you look at a general IT MS degree, that isn't going to push you in any specific direction, you'd be in the same place you are now, just with a lot more debt. 

    Edit, - the word filter here is serious, ha
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,289 ■■■■■■■■■□
    edited October 2019
    I feel like getting an MS has be almost a personal goal and not just something you think that will help your career.  Cause there is no guarantee it will give you a boost in your career. 

    If you've been in IT for a few years, your tier 3 work (that could mean almost anything) might be enough to qualify for the CISSP.    Otherwise, maybe find a certification that specializes in an area of security that you would want to work in.    If I were you, I'd look up job ads for positions you want to move into and start focusing on the what skills/credentials they are asking for.  
  • Johnhe0414Johnhe0414 A+, Network+, Security+, Project+ USA, CARegistered Users Posts: 156 ■■■■□□□□□□
    edited October 2019
    I know people with a bachelors degree doing exactly what they want to be doing in IT. I also have friends with no degree and just certification(s) doing exactly what they want to be doing in IT, they even have their own business. I would focus on what your goal is and work towards achieving that goal. I would never discourage getting an education, but i would not rely on that to get me a higher paying job. If you want that move up the ladder, then consider what skills you need, is it networking? security? infrastructure? Go and find a book, take a class at community college, or an extension class at a university. Understand and know the material - do some lab work, simulations, etc. I believe if you're passionate enough, driven and work towards what you want - you will find it.
    Current:  A+ | Network+ | Project+ |Security+
    Working on: Cysa+
  • yoba222yoba222 Member Posts: 1,078 ■■■■■■■■□□
    My masters was about 30% helpful overall in me making better decisions at work. I would say it made no difference in getting hired compared to having just a bachelors. Also zero difference in salary negotiation. While I appreciate that extra 30%, someone else paid for most of the degree. If I could go back, I'd do it again, but not if I had to pay for full tuition myself.

    I think a better choice would be to find a helpdesk position elsewhere that has a tuition reimbursement program.
    2017: GCIH | LFCS
    2018: CySA+ | PenTest+ |CCNA CyberOps
    2019: VHL 20 boxes
    2020: OSCP eCPPT OSCP eCPPT (a bit undecided)
  • draughtdraught Member Posts: 229 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I think everyone is right. I just wanted a simple path to move up in my career. It is more complicated though.

    What I’m considering is CCNA cybersecurity as a basic cert to get me started. 
  • LonerVampLonerVamp OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, CCNA Cyber Ops, Sec+, Linux+, AWS CCP, CCSK Member Posts: 436 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Just to echo a few things, I think making a big commitment both in time and financial situation without real direction or goals is a risky proposition. I think at this point you may need to sit back and do some real searching on what you want to do with your career. It'll probably be an easier ask to study for a cert or two and earn those. Maybe you'll find your direction, or maybe you'll at least eliminate some directions...but at least the cost will be lower (in numerous ways), your return quicker, and those certs may improve your standing, too.

    Certs can be had for the sake of certs, but I think the best direction is actually having a purpose to getting one. It could be personal, it could be job-specific, it could be one of the necessary steps on the road to a goal, it could even just be to get a higher salary somewhere. Just analyze that reason, and definitely do some soul searching on your career direction(s) available. You can go lots of places from a tier 3 position!

    (Just to throw in, I don't think a cybersecurity master's helps that much for most people unless you're going into research or going to eventually teach. If you want management tracks, someone can learn the technical security stuff as they go and instead switch to an MBA and talk the language of business and people management. It's not useless, but dubious on how much it really adds value beyond someone's common sense or ability to learn as they go.)

    Security Engineer/Analyst/Geek, Red & Blue Teams
    OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, CCNA Cyber Ops, Sec+, Linux+, AWS SA-A, CCSK
    2020 goals: AWS Security Specialty, AWAE or SLAE, CISSP-ISSAP?
  • balancebalance MBA,CISM,CISSP,CASP,CEH,CSM,ITIL V3 Found,Net+,Sec+ Dallas, Fort Worth Texas Member Posts: 39 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Clarity and Focus would be useful. 

    Really spend a week or two determining why you want it and how you will benefit from it. 

    Don't get it just to get it .  Good Luck
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