Is WGU a good choice?

JSNJSN Member Posts: 56 ■■■□□□□□□□
So I had a recent exchange with someone who said ROI regarding degrees is based on initial investment comparing WGU to Harvard. So with this being said, am I wasting my time going to WGU? If I'm going to be working hard to earn a degree. I expect some sort of return, not just a piece of paper. My goal is to work for a highly regarded company or Fortune 500. For what I've heard opinions wise, you get out of your education what you put into it. But I am concerned, is my hard work going to result in a rewarding career or not?

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  • scascscasc Member Posts: 333 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Let's put this into perspective. I am from the UK, so only really know about the IVY league universities in the US, though have heard a lot of talented and interesting folks who contribute to this site who attend/have attended WGU, Capitol, Norwich etc. I am of the opinion that it depends what you do and where you are headed. For example, I don't believe there is a dedicated degree/masters in some (not all) of the top uni's in the US (within Cyber). If you work/want to learn Cyber uni's like WGU would be excellent to build that foundation.

    Now, if you did a traditional subject such as Economics/Accounting etc. I still do believe WGU would be a good bet, however what really establishes the Ivy League is their alumni, links to industry etc where you can network and call someone who is the head of an IB/Hedge Fund etc. This will help possibly fast track your application/career. Education is pretty awesome too. 

    In a nutshell don't stress about this. You are at a good place and you can leverage this with the skills you build and develop in the future which can hopefully take your career high. Best of luck 
    MSc, BSc (Hons), AWS CSA, C-CISO, CISSP, CCSP, CCSK, CISM, CISA, CRISC, GSTRT, GSNA, GDSA, GCSA, GCCC, CEH, ECSA, CHFI, TOGAF, CISMP
  • E Double UE Double U Member Posts: 1,767 ■■■■■■■■■□
    JSN said:
     is my hard work going to result in a rewarding career or not?
    I believe the answer to this is yes regardless of which university you choose, but you must also believe that in order for it to manifest. 
    Alphabet soup: CISSP, CCSP, CISM, CISA, GDSA, GPEN, GCIA, GCIH, GCCC, CEH, Azure Fundamentals, Azure Security Engineer Associate, ITIL 4 Foundation, and more.

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  • KyloQuadrenKyloQuadren Sec+, CEH, CHFI Member Posts: 8 ■■■□□□□□□□
    edited March 27
    JSN said:
    So I had a recent exchange with someone who said ROI regarding degrees is based on initial investment comparing WGU to Harvard. So with this being said, am I wasting my time going to WGU? If I'm going to be working hard to earn a degree. I expect some sort of return, not just a piece of paper. My goal is to work for a highly regarded company or Fortune 500. For what I've heard opinions wise, you get out of your education what you put into it. But I am concerned, is my hard work going to result in a rewarding career or not?
    I mean no offense however comparing WGU to Harvard is ridiculous. What I will say is by having a BS in Comp Sci with a decent GPA from a good college (not great...just good) is a good foundation to work off of towards a rewarding career. The better the reputation, the more the degree will carry itself. Another element that needs to be mentioned is how much you actually learn vs the reputation of the piece of paper itself. Although you mentioned Fortune 500--you need to an extent to know what you want to get after in one of those companies. Do you want to be a SOC analyst, a SOC manager, front-end developer, back-end developer, Pen-tester, SysAdmin? Once you have that question answered you know what you need to get good at and what certs you need to reflect your skills in addition to that foundational BS Comp Sci degree.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,901 Admin
    What degree program will you be in? It's often more useful to compare degree programs rather than the schools themselves.
  • stryder144stryder144 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,675 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Honestly, if you are talking about the undergrad level, I would say that getting a degree is more a checkbox ticker than a career booster.  Where you get your graduate degree, at least for some companies, can be a big deal.  Given the cost of getting a degree from WGU, I would say that since it is a private, nonprofit, regionally accredited school, you will have checked most of the boxes that employers are looking for.  Sure, name recognition can do wonders for a career, but considering the cost of an Ivy League education relative to the ROI, it might not really be worth it.  Especially so if you are interested in a career in IT. 

    Honestly, as someone who has made and influenced hiring decisions, I would be less likely to think that a Harvard grad would want to accept the amount of money that my budget sets aside for that position.  Granted, I don't work for a Fortune 500 company, so there is that.  If you want an Ivy League education, I would recommend going to a local, state school for the undergrad degree and get fantastic grades (3.75+ GPA).  Then apply for entry to an Ivy League graduate program.  Or, instead of Ivy League, consider getting your WGU undergraduate degree, then apply to Georgia Tech's Online Masters program through edx.org (assuming you are interested in their Cybersecurity program).  That would be the best balance of cost ($10k) and name recognition (as Georgia Tech is well respected).
    The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia

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  • JSNJSN Member Posts: 56 ■■■□□□□□□□
    To give some updates: I am taking the BS in Cyber Security and Information Assurance. Spoke to a few graduate programs from UC Berkley, Johns Hopkins and Columbia University. All said they would consider me as a candidate with an undergraduate from WGU. Thanks for all the feedback, I just wanted to hear I was making the right choice in choosing where I did. WGU has a great program, it's affordable and for what I've heard high quality. Pretty sure someone who works at Cisco from here got their BS and MS from WGU. So I suppose I should be in good shape.
  • stryder144stryder144 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,675 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Not only does @Iristheangel work for Cisco and has two degrees from WGU, she is also a soon to be published author!
    The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia

    Connect With Me || My Blog Site || Follow Me
  • shochanshochan Member Posts: 936 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Duder/Dudette...Having an Associate's degree & a lot of certs can get you anywhere you want...Thing is, backing up what you know how to do.  Having hands on experience with many projects can command the big dollars, but then again who frickin knows??  I won't ever say I know it all, as that is egotestical.
    2021 Goal ~ OSCP

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  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    Not only does @Iristheangel work for Cisco and has two degrees from WGU, she is also a soon to be published author!
    That I do. Don't regret it at all. I might get bored at some point though and go for my doctoral from DSU. 
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • PCTechLincPCTechLinc Senior Member King City, CAMember Posts: 646 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I have been extremely happy with the results of getting my degrees from WGU.
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
    Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance - Western Governors University
    Bachelor of Science in Network Administration - Western Governors University
    Associate of Applied Science x4 - Heald College
  • jibtechjibtech Member Posts: 404 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Iristheangel said:

    That I do. Don't regret it at all. I might get bored at some point though and go for my doctoral from DSU. 
    Give me a minute to knock out this Masters, and I might join you.  B)
  • DiffieHellman173DiffieHellman173 Network+ Security+ CASP+ ITIL-Foundation ItalyRegistered Users Posts: 17 ■■■□□□□□□□
    edited April 29
    I completed my BS - Computer Networking and Cyber through UMUC. The coursework was challenging as the university would utilize 3rd party for labs i.e Testout, Cisco, and EC-Council. I absolutely loved that part as I would have hated to just read and write papers for 4 years.  I would say save the money on an Ivy league school and go with a school that has a good program. In the end, its the well rounded individual that will get the job. At the end of the day you want to have good experience, certs and a degree for the icing on the cake. Just my two cents and I hope it helps.
  • JSNJSN Member Posts: 56 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Is WGU more so meant for those with 10+ years experience? My concern is it's meant for people with a lot of experience to breeze through, considering they already have a solid understanding of the topics.
  • jibtechjibtech Member Posts: 404 ■■■■□□□□□□
    WGU is definitely meant for folks with some level of existing experience. In fact, you need to demonstrate that in the admissions process. That said, it doesn't need to be 10+ years.

    I think there is a real risk of confirmation bias when it comes to WGU and these forums, in particular. The population here is not a representative example of the tech industry as a whole. The audience here values certs and education. They value certs and education highly enough to go out of the way to research, understand, certify, etc. The mindset here is not the dominant mindset in the "real world".

    Given who the audience is here, it shouldn't be a surprise that they are cruising through courses. Or that they excel at self-paced, self-study concepts. Or that they want to take advantage of pre-existing knowledge. But, that is a here thing, and not a WGU thing. If you log into the internal forums used by WGU students, you will be amazed at the cross section of people and experience.
  • JSNJSN Member Posts: 56 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I was also told the quote below, and I'm a bit concerned. I also like the program I'll be taking, but I feel like some fundamental knowledge of infosec isn't there, like linux, python etc.

    "Yeah. You'll be done with your first term of courses in a week. I would rate the academics as less rigorous than my high school honors classes."
  • jibtechjibtech Member Posts: 404 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I was one of the people who finished the BS in a single term. I knocked out the first 4 classes in the first 24 hours. But, let's be real about what those classes were:
    Orientation (ORA1)
    Introduction to IT (C182)
    Critical Thinking and Logic ( C168 )
    Spreadsheets ( C268 )

    For anyone who has worked in IT for any measurable length of time, those are pretty easy. But, even among those, there are absolute pitfalls. As an example, Spreadsheets is a ***** of a class. You will do stuff with a spreadsheet in that class, that I guarantee you will never, ever, ever use again in your life.

    By comparison, my last three classes were for the CCNA:R&S and the CCNA:Security. If either of those is easier than a high school honors class, I want to see that high school.

    It is a good program. If you have a solid knowledge of IT, it greatly helps avoid sitting through intro classes on material you have known for 20 years. But, if you don't know the material, there is still plenty to learn. All of that said, there is still some caveat to WGU: you will get out what you put in. If you approach WGU from a min/max perspective, attempting to do the absolute bare minimum to get by, you can. But if you want to learn and get a solid understanding, that is available too. But it isnt fair to compare doing the bare minimum at WGU with Honors classes to begin with. It isnt like Honors/AP is a bare minimum approach to anything.
  • JSNJSN Member Posts: 56 ■■■□□□□□□□
    jibtech said:
    I was one of the people who finished the BS in a single term. I knocked out the first 4 classes in the first 24 hours. But, let's be real about what those classes were:
    Orientation (ORA1)
    Introduction to IT (C182)
    Critical Thinking and Logic ( C168 )
    Spreadsheets ( C268 )

    For anyone who has worked in IT for any measurable length of time, those are pretty easy. But, even among those, there are absolute pitfalls. As an example, Spreadsheets is a ***** of a class. You will do stuff with a spreadsheet in that class, that I guarantee you will never, ever, ever use again in your life.

    By comparison, my last three classes were for the CCNA:R&S and the CCNA:Security. If either of those is easier than a high school honors class, I want to see that high school.

    It is a good program. If you have a solid knowledge of IT, it greatly helps avoid sitting through intro classes on material you have known for 20 years. But, if you don't know the material, there is still plenty to learn. All of that said, there is still some caveat to WGU: you will get out what you put in. If you approach WGU from a min/max perspective, attempting to do the absolute bare minimum to get by, you can. But if you want to learn and get a solid understanding, that is available too. But it isnt fair to compare doing the bare minimum at WGU with Honors classes to begin with. It isnt like Honors/AP is a bare minimum approach to anything.
    To be fair, I don't have much IT experience, only about a year or two.
  • jibtechjibtech Member Posts: 404 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you were to ask me for advice on how to get more knowledge in IT, with 1-2 years experience, I would probably suggest pursuing the CompTIA triad (A+/Net+/Sec+). I dont think there is a much better foundation that that set. Incidentally, those are also components of most, if not all, of the WGU IT degrees.

    Beyond that, it would depend on where you wanted to go in IT. For my BS, I also knocked out Linux+ and Project+, on top of the CompTIA triad and the CCNA, CCNA:Security. With 1-2 years of experience, you arent knocking those out as quickly as you have been led to believe. That is a serious course load. And if you dont have 5+ years working in a good sized company? Org Behavior and Principles of Management aren't going to be a walk in the park, either.
  • JSNJSN Member Posts: 56 ■■■□□□□□□□
    edited April 29
    jibtech said:
    If you were to ask me for advice on how to get more knowledge in IT, with 1-2 years experience, I would probably suggest pursuing the CompTIA triad (A+/Net+/Sec+). I dont think there is a much better foundation that that set. Incidentally, those are also components of most, if not all, of the WGU IT degrees.

    Beyond that, it would depend on where you wanted to go in IT. For my BS, I also knocked out Linux+ and Project+, on top of the CompTIA triad and the CCNA, CCNA:Security. With 1-2 years of experience, you arent knocking those out as quickly as you have been led to believe. That is a serious course load. And if you dont have 5+ years working in a good sized company? Org Behavior and Principles of Management aren't going to be a walk in the park, either.
    To be fair, I have been studying on and off for Net+ and Sec+. So I have some confidence I'll pass. But I also have a lot of time as well, and the average pass time apparently for CompTIA certs is 2-4 weeks per cert. So I'm hoping to really dedicate myself. I just want to know the course work isn't going to be easy. To be fair as well, I was planning to accelerate based on the amount of time I have rather than the experience.

    Edit: Also I don't believe principles of engagement or org behavior are in my course load. I'm taking the B.S of Cyber Security and Information Assurance.
  • JSNJSN Member Posts: 56 ■■■□□□□□□□
    edited April 29
    Honestly, if you are talking about the undergrad level, I would say that getting a degree is more a checkbox ticker than a career booster.  Where you get your graduate degree, at least for some companies, can be a big deal.  Given the cost of getting a degree from WGU, I would say that since it is a private, nonprofit, regionally accredited school, you will have checked most of the boxes that employers are looking for.  Sure, name recognition can do wonders for a career, but considering the cost of an Ivy League education relative to the ROI, it might not really be worth it.  Especially so if you are interested in a career in IT. 

    Honestly, as someone who has made and influenced hiring decisions, I would be less likely to think that a Harvard grad would want to accept the amount of money that my budget sets aside for that position.  Granted, I don't work for a Fortune 500 company, so there is that.  If you want an Ivy League education, I would recommend going to a local, state school for the undergrad degree and get fantastic grades (3.75+ GPA).  Then apply for entry to an Ivy League graduate program.  Or, instead of Ivy League, consider getting your WGU undergraduate degree, then apply to Georgia Tech's Online Masters program through edx.org (assuming you are interested in their Cybersecurity program).  That would be the best balance of cost ($10k) and name recognition (as Georgia Tech is well respected).
    I did do some ahead of time calling, apparently Columbia and UC Berkley would accept me with a WGU degree. So that worry has subsided.  Also the cost of WGU is frankly what I'm willing to spend at the moment. I'd like to take some credits for cheaper, then transfer possibly to Utica College. Just very frustrating, feels like you need both the certs and degree to get a good job. 
  • JSNJSN Member Posts: 56 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I also want to thank everyone in this thread for their thorough feedback, it is truly truly helpful.
  • jibtechjibtech Member Posts: 404 ■■■■□□□□□□
    That is the basis of the competency model. If you know it, it will be easy. You can knock it out and move on. If you don't know it, it wont be easy. It will be like any other process of learning. The big difference is you will have to engage whatever methods work best for you to learn. There wont be weekly term papers due. There wont be nightly homework assignments. If you can read something and just know it, it will be easier. If you need to make flashcards and review them nightly for 6 weeks, then you know that level of effort.

    You also have to adjust for the numbers of hours you spend studying. I knocked out 62ish credits in one 6 month term. I also was working on school for 14+ hours/day. I believe the guidance is that school should be 2 hours outside of class, for every hour in class. So a college class for 1 hour, every Mon-Wed-Fri should take about 9 hours per week. 4 of those classes would be a full load at 12 credit hours. That's 36 hours per week, over a 12ish week semester? 432 hours. At 14 hours/day, that is about 31 days. A full semester in a month. If you can maintain that for 8 months, that is the same level of effort for a 4 year degree. When you remove a lot of the busy work, and the class participation, and the need to move at the speed of the slowest person, you can get much faster. 

    The amount of knowledge you gain hasn't changed. What has changed is how concentrated your effort is. Plus, you get to bypass the stuff you already know.
  • JSNJSN Member Posts: 56 ■■■□□□□□□□
    True, considering the fact at traditional universities you're pretty much forced to sit through every course whether you know it or not. I just hope my degree will benefit me, I just don't want something that comes easy, if that makes any sense. I just want to know as well that my degree will benefit me. Reason I chose WGU is because the cost is amazing compared to other schools I looked into. They offered a great education, but were more than the state universities I looked at. I also enjoy the fact that the vouchers are included in my tuition. I'm hoping to save my money and ability to take loans for graduate school, I'm interested in a few programs highlighted above. I figure if I'm going to spend the most money, it'll be on graduate school.
  • jibtechjibtech Member Posts: 404 ■■■■□□□□□□
    That is a completely justifiable reason for WGU.  B)
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