University of Derby MSc - Cybersecurity

srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
edited November 2019 in Colleges & Schools
Good day members,

Has anyone enrolled with the University of Derby online programs towards the MSc in Cybersecurity? (I'd post a link if I could)

The three different exit paths appeal to me (PG Certificate/Diploma/Masters), and the costs seem very reasonable compared to some of the other programs I've seen.

Thoughts?

Comments

  • chickenlicken09chickenlicken09 Senior Member Member Posts: 537 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Sorry I have not but looks interesting. Are you going to enroll?
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm keen. The tuition fees are very good, and the program itself seems to be comparable to others in the same league.
  • chickenlicken09chickenlicken09 Senior Member Member Posts: 537 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Would you be doing it online from the US or already in the UK ? 
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'll be accessing it out of South Africa, actually, so much of a muchness, especially when converting to my local currency. Local universities here don't really compare all that well, especially in the field of graduate Cybersecurity education.
  • chickenlicken09chickenlicken09 Senior Member Member Posts: 537 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Let me know if you enroll, would be interested to chat more.
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Quick update for those interested, I received my invitation to apply for studies in this qualification from next year, so looks like I'll be going back to school (albeit part time all online) :)

    The application to apply was really quick, with everything happening online and sorted out within a week.

    The communication (at least up to now) from the university has been amazing, and if this is anything to go by, I'm looking forward to the future engagements with them.

    In any case, I'll update as my application and studies progress.


    Cheers
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    So my studies officially kicked off on Monday (27 Jan 2020), and over the course of the last few days there has been a heck of a lot of communication from the school, as well as some introductory activities to get to know some of the other students. It's quite interesting that most of the other students are also more mature (age wise), which makes it quite relatable. I think I'm the only one there who've changed lanes from a business/IT background to cyber security, and I think I'll be learning a lot from the others over the coming weeks.

    The first module we're covering this trimester is a general Master's module on research methodologies and general guidelines of studying at Master's level. The conclusion of this being a research proposal that I'll be covering in the final year in the form of a research project or dissertation.

    The second module I'll be kicking off later this year is more relatable to Information Security and covers Advanced Security Protocols. I've started going through the reading lists and collecting the reading material to get a head start. These are the only two modules I have for the rest of this academic year, with the new one kicking off in September(ish).

    Having done a fair amount of research before, I consider this trimester to a very soft landing back into academic studies after 10 year hiatus from formal studies.
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Quick update as I head into the new term, having (miraculously) passed my first term back "at school".

    I thought I would have had a harder time fitting it in between work and family, but the course work and assignments are quite flexible, an you have your schedules and deadlines well in advance to get the planning done. The module itself was a run-of-the-mill "Studying at Master Level", consisting of some short assignments based on the text books and then a formal research proposal and application for ethical approval form. I would say I spent between 25-30 hours per week, with most of the time being chewed up by the writing and re-writing of the research proposal based on feedback from the tutors.

    On the one hand I feel I probably underestimated the amount of effort involved, but on the other hand I think having some years experience before attempting my MSc helps a LOT. Things click, and I find it easier to identify the relevance, drawing from experience and real-world scenarios I've been involved with.

    I would have initially started the module on encryption and advanced security protocols, but ended up with the module on "The Human and Legal Aspects of Cybersecurity". there weren't enough students enrolled in the initial module, and it stands over to a next term. Not a big deal, as everything needs to be done in any case, and might as well get the non-technical material out of the way.

    I haven't had any issues with the university itself. The communication from them is regular but not bothering at all, and the one or two queries I had was addressed and resolved in a few days each. The tutor and student advisors are friendly and knowledgeable and wasn't "passed on" to someone else once. My issue was resolved by the person who got it, and I had a single point of contact throughout.

    On to the next one :)
     
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Year 1 Trimester 3 Update;

    For those who've been following, a quick update on the studies with Derby,

    So far, so good. I've received my grade for the last trimester and passed the module. As mentioned, this was related to the "Human and Legal Aspects of Cyber Security". It was fine, and for the most part a valuable module. Again, not as technical as I would have liked, but that's the nature of this level of study after all. I did find some of the references challenging, and one thing I would caution about studying with an overseas/non-local university. Many of the UK legislation and regulation discussed has no bearing on me as a South African, and as such I had to do an extra bit to familiarize myself with these as well while working through the course work and putting my reports together. This being said, it was a valuable module, and one that prompted thought on how we do things locally as well.

    Next module up and one I'm particularly looking for ward to is "Attacks and Countermeasures". It seems to be a lot more topical than the other two, and having skimmed the course work and reading material, one I think I will enjoy, given the particular interest in this.

    As for the Uni itself, so far I can't complain. the service has again been great, and the registration process for the new module was very fluid. At the end of this module, and provided I pass, I would have reached the first milestone and exit path, awarding me a PG Certificate in Cyber Security. I will (likely) continue though. I've (after 8 months) finally hit my stride with having to balance work, home, private, and study commitments, so no point in stopping now, right?  :)

    Until next time
  • yoba222yoba222 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,237 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Ahh so it's a research degree. I've found the classes taken to obtain those kinds of degrees aren't well optimized to learn technical things, which is basically most of IT and cybersecurity. The worst are online group projects . . . to produce a research paper -- ugh!

    Not sure about the job market in SA, but a university certification in the US isn't all that useful as it's barely better than nothing in getting by human resource screening. If I were you I'd keep at it to get the bachelor's at least, but I wouldn't do any extra courses as you'll only become an expert in writing research papers. I can remember in the last 2 or 3 courses of my degree, writing a 25 paper research paper on something to do with cryptocurrency. I got a perfect score on the paper, and 2 days later couldn't even remember what I wrote, let alone be able to explain how blockchain works. The nature of the beast I suppose.

    A+, Network+, CCNA, LFCS,
    Security+, eJPT, CySA+, PenTest+,
    Cisco CyberOps, GCIH, VHL,
    In progress: OSCP
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    100% spot on. As with most certifications, accreditations, or degrees, unless coupled with experience and technical certifications, it doesn't count for too much. Having completed my degrees in business and commerce, with a string of certifications and years of experience, I'm looking at this as more of a personal goal than any sort of career advancement.
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Quick update,

    After having passed my last module, I'm now officially starting my second year with the University of Derby.

    All in all, I've been very happy with the service I received from the school. Queries are handled timeously, and I've managed to get a sufficient answer to any of the questions I've had.
    The end of the first year awards me the interim qualification of PG Certificate in Cyber Security, which is a nice little pitstop.

    To recap, the modules I've completed up to now have been:
    - Studying at Masters Level
    - The Human Element of Cyber Security
    - Cyber Security: attacks and countermeasures

    Next up is enterprise Security Management, which is heavily focus on the role of CISO, the strategy around Cyber Security and Assurance, and the typical "business meets technology" themes.

    I've also submitted applications for recognition of prior learning for two of the upcoming modules, Advanced Security Protocols, and Network Security. If these are approved I'll be moving to the 1-year research project, the final module.

    In any event, back to the books!

    Cheers!
  • justaquestionjustaquestion Member Posts: 9 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Out of curiosity do you have cissp or cism ?
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    No. Sadly. This would have given me a huge advantage specifically towards RPL for the Enterprise Security Management module I'm about to kick off. I know of at least 3 students who were given credit for it because they hold the CISSP.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Member Posts: 2,745 ■■■■■■■■■■
    edited January 2021
    yoba222 said:
    Ahh so it's a research degree. I've found the classes taken to obtain those kinds of degrees aren't well optimized to learn technical things, which is basically most of IT and cybersecurity. The worst are online group projects . . . to produce a research paper -- ugh!

    Not sure about the job market in SA, but a university certification in the US isn't all that useful as it's barely better than nothing in getting by human resource screening. If I were you I'd keep at it to get the bachelor's at least, but I wouldn't do any extra courses as you'll only become an expert in writing research papers. I can remember in the last 2 or 3 courses of my degree, writing a 25 paper research paper on something to do with cryptocurrency. I got a perfect score on the paper, and 2 days later couldn't even remember what I wrote, let alone be able to explain how blockchain works. The nature of the beast I suppose.

    Those are sobering words.  I did my MBA at WGU and had a few online group research papers.  At times it was nothing short of a nightmare.  

    I also agree with your statement about University Certifications.  Nothing worth it from my perspective.  I ALMOST pulled the trigger on one from Cornell even had the discount and then had an AWAKENING.  
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Late to the party this trimester, but finally started my new module, Advanced Security Protocols. This is my second to last module before the research project, leaving me with just the Securing Networks module after this. This module is very geared towards authentication, encryption, and all-round secure communications, and although the actual coursework is extremely superficial, the assignments and required feedback is considerably more in-depth.

    One thing I have to say, and this after the last module, is that I'm not sure how exactly they grade, and if they actually validated the grades after the last module. the Enterprise Security Management module was hands-down my most comfortable on in terms of both understanding and having provided an (I believe) exceptional assignment afterwards, yet, for some reason my grade didn't reflect this at all. More so, I have a few of my fellow students who expressed the same observation. Ultimately, we all passed, but still, it was amusing that we all felt like this after the module.

    In any event, onward and upward, hoping to knock this one out early in the term so I can get back to work work.

    Take care
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    It seems as though I make it to these regular updates later and later, but between studying, starting a new job, and just all-round life, I haven't been on here for a while.
    I started my final coursework module, Securing Networks, in September, and things are going well. Of all the modules, this one is one of the more relevant ones to what I actually do, and while not too much new in terms of learning, it provides a great platform to flex on my experience in the subject, which is really what a Masters is about, right?

    At the end of this module I would have earned my PG Diploma in Cyber Security, provided I decide to exit the course at this point. I will of course continue with my third and final year, which is a 1-year/3-term research project and dissertation on a subject of my choosing. I've started working on some ideas already, and hoping to submit my proposal as soon as possible for approval.

    As always, no issues with the school itself. I mean, I'm never really blown away with the service, but I've never had to beg for help or escalate any matters.

    Anyways, figured I will stick with the tradition of updating things here in case anyone was following or were considering enrolling with Derby.

    Until next time!
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    An update has been long overdue, and although I'm pretty much done, I figured I'd keep the trend going and share my experience over the last few months.

    Having passed all the taught modules over the last 2 years, I've now been awarded my Post-graduate Diploma. This was in January already, and I've spent the last few weeks and months drafting and submitting my research proposal to the university for approval. Once done will I complete my thesis and get it submitted asap. the due date is in November, and despite having started work on it already, I have a busy few weeks ahead, moving country and starting a new job, so hoping to get this, or at least most of it, out of the way before then.

    This is the final push, and I'm looking forward to getting done. the university has been good. Not great by any stretch of the imagination, and at times we felt somewhat forgotten, but I suppose this is the curse of a fully remote part-time qualification.

    Next (and hopefully final) update in a few months :)
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Final Update!

    Having submitted my final paper and receiving the preliminary grades, it seem,s as though I've passed the semester and will be awarded my MSc in Cyber Security from the University of Derby at the end of January once the final marks have been ratified.

    Was it worth it?

    For me, absolutely. Now, keep in mind, I started my journey to my MSc 20+ years into my professional career. I can say for sure that if you want to do this purely as a personal goal, it is a very rewarding (albeit sometimes frustrating) experience. Despite it having helped a great deal in motivating for a new job in a new country, I can't say that it greatly benefited me in my day-to-day career, and I don't expect it to either now that I'm finished.

    You won't learn anything doing your masters. I don't see it as a credential that's going to teach you anything you likely don't already know, rather if you're going to push for it, see it as a way for you to a) validate your understanding of a subject, and b) your way to give back to and contribute to the body of knowledge in a field through your thesis. One thing that does come up in conversation with peers and colleagues is the fact that doing a post-graduate course demonstrates commitment to the field, and that counts for a lot, at least in the circles I'm part of.

    Is it magically going to give you a high-paying job? No. What it will likely do is give you a one-up on the next guy applying for a job that only has professional certifications and/or experience. Doing the MSc is no magic bullet, and should be seen as part of a balanced approach that include experience, professional/vocational training, and academic discipline.

    If you have the resources (time, money, and patience) and there's a chance having a masters could benefit you, I wouldn't think twice about enrolling.

    With that, I am done!!
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,503 Mod
    edited January 3
    Congrats @srothman , finishing a masters degree is a big milestone.

    I find it surprising that you said that you didn't learn anything from the degree yet you found it worth it. Specially in this day and age, there are many options online where you can learn a lot whether it's through online Msc world wide or through practical hands-on training,

    so my question is, why do a degree where you won't learn anything vs doing practical training or even an advanced degree where you will learn a ton?  You also said it doesn't even help you in your job, so where's the return on investment? 

    I know it doesn't matter to you now because you finished it, but I personally wouldn't do a degree unless I learn worthwhile skills or it leads to a better/different job.

    If learning for the sake or learning or personal development is the goal then you can do that for free or through various courses.


    Just my 2 cents, I don't mean to be negative and I'm not undermining your accomplishment, I just want to discuss this further because It's a topic that I think about a lot.
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

    Check out my YouTube Channel!

  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    edited January 3
    Hey, not at all, and you make very valuable points. Apologies for the long-winded response  :D

    TL:DR - I agree with you 100% on everything you said, I think doing a masters depends on your personal ambition, where you are in your career, and available/disposable resources.
    Your time, like money has value, invest it where it gives you the best return.

    Off the bat, and as I mentioned a few times in the thread, I did a masters because I wanted a masters. As someone who dropped out of high-school I'm almost 100% sure my motivation for wanting to get a masters is different to most, but that's a story for a different day. At no point was there much of an expectation that it would significantly improve my career/income/etc. It turns out though that it did, as mentioned, have a positive impact on me getting my current job, but that isn't and never was the motivation for doing this.

    Perhaps saying I learned nothing is somewhat of an exaggeration. I did, however, expect to learn more. When compared with my bachelors studies, there was a lot more new information that I got from the coursework and guidance from the academic team. It was much more along the lines of "Let's discuss this topic, now go and do your own research and do an assignment that relates to demonstrate your understanding". At masters level obviously much of the fundamental knowledge is assumed, but I would have expected the university to impart much more knowledge than they did.

    To your point, I would have learned a lot more practical and focused skills if I had gone the online short-course training route (which I do in any case, life-long learning being the curse we all in the tech world suffer under).

    I say it again, and 100% in support of the points you make... if you're starting out and have less than (arbitrarily) 5 years experience in the field, you're way better off working on the alphabet soup of credentials to add to your CV along with practical work experience and hands-on know-how. Turns out if you have 20+ years experience it might not add more than an extra tick-box on a bucket list, and in my case it was never more than that to begin with.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,503 Mod
    Thanks for explaining @srothman , I think I understand what you mean,

    I think we grew up in a time where university education was glamourised and seeing that you said you dropped out of high school, I think there is a psychological element there. We all have our own psychological motivations and human nature is too complex to understand.


    I think the education/university system is in dire need of a review. So much time and money is spent on it, and it's just - in my very humble opinion - an outdated system, but that's a big topic and I'm not an expert on it.


    Either way, time for your celebrate and enjoy the fruit of your labour!
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

    Check out my YouTube Channel!

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