Masters or Certs?

Im very fortunate to have landed a job that will pay for all expenses if you want to go to school to get your masters. Right now Im just starting Information Assurance / Testing and I'm getting ready to start doing paperwork for my TS Clearance which they do for you. I only have A+/Net+/Linux+ with a B.S. degree. Would a masters degree in this field be useful eventually or would getting security+, cisco, etc be more beneficial. They will pay for approved exams. They will also pay for CISSP after of course you have the right amount of experience.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin

"The internet is a great way to get on the net." --Bob Dole

Comments

  • sthomassthomas Member Posts: 1,240 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Why not both
    Working on: MCSA 2012 R2
  • mog27mog27 Member Posts: 302
    sthomas wrote:
    Why not both

    Lots of work. :)
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin

    "The internet is a great way to get on the net." --Bob Dole
  • bighornsheepbighornsheep Member Posts: 1,506
    but it's worth it! (I hope)
    Jack of all trades, master of none
  • bikeandskibikeandski Member Posts: 69 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Personally I would get the masters degree. You can always add certs later.

    Congrats on the job... sounds like a good one.
  • mog27mog27 Member Posts: 302
    bikeandski wrote:
    Personally I would get the masters degree. You can always add certs later.

    Congrats on the job... sounds like a good one.

    Yeah. I am going to get a top secret clearance, continuing education, and even hotel and food paid for in a training class Im doing in a month. Im in a relaxed atmosphere with very nice people doing X.400/X.500/SMTP testing and analysis with a communications program developed for the NSA. The NSA is right near us, just a few minutes away, and after I get the clearance I will have the possible opportunity to do some work over there.

    I am very lucky I think to land this after working the lame help desk side of things for over 3 years.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin

    "The internet is a great way to get on the net." --Bob Dole
  • garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    mog27 wrote:
    Im very fortunate to have landed a job that will pay for all expenses if you want to go to school to get your masters. Right now Im just starting Information Assurance / Testing and I'm getting ready to start doing paperwork for my TS Clearance which they do for you. I only have A+/Net+/Linux+ with a B.S. degree. Would a masters degree in this field be useful eventually or would getting security+, cisco, etc be more beneficial. They will pay for approved exams. They will also pay for CISSP after of course you have the right amount of experience.

    Get your masters degree and then work on certs later.
  • mog27mog27 Member Posts: 302
    garv221 wrote:
    mog27 wrote:
    Im very fortunate to have landed a job that will pay for all expenses if you want to go to school to get your masters. Right now Im just starting Information Assurance / Testing and I'm getting ready to start doing paperwork for my TS Clearance which they do for you. I only have A+/Net+/Linux+ with a B.S. degree. Would a masters degree in this field be useful eventually or would getting security+, cisco, etc be more beneficial. They will pay for approved exams. They will also pay for CISSP after of course you have the right amount of experience.

    Get your masters degree and then work on certs later.

    I've always kinda heard and agreed upon that in IT the Bachelors + Experience + Certs is all that really matters. A masters degree is not really worth it in IT. Is it different in the security field?
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin

    "The internet is a great way to get on the net." --Bob Dole
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Look at some of the job ads in your area for security positions. In my area, a masters is asked for or listed as a plus a lot.
    Andy

    2017 Goals: 1 of 5 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,671 Admin
    Speaking as someone who just finished a Masters in Information Security program--and paid for every nickel of it out of my own pocket--I'd say go for the Masters because it is far more costly than a bunch of certs, and a college degree doesn't expire if you don't keep up with the continuing education.
    mog27 wrote:
    sthomas wrote:
    Why not both

    Lots of work. :)
    And you believe that a career in information security isn't a lot of work? Getting the Masters and the CISSP is just the beginning of your education in InfoSec.
  • mog27mog27 Member Posts: 302
    JDMurray wrote:
    Speaking as someone who just finished a Masters in Information Security program--and paid for every nickel of it out of my own pocket--I'd say go for the Masters because it is far more costly than a bunch of certs, and a college degree doesn't expire if you don't keep up with the continuing education.
    mog27 wrote:
    sthomas wrote:
    Why not both

    Lots of work. :)
    And you believe that a career in information security isn't a lot of work? Getting the Masters and the CISSP is just the beginning of your education in InfoSec.

    A lot of work but I'm sure very rewarding. :)
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin

    "The internet is a great way to get on the net." --Bob Dole
  • keatronkeatron Member Posts: 1,208 ■■■■■■□□□□
    mog27 wrote:
    bikeandski wrote:
    Personally I would get the masters degree. You can always add certs later.

    Congrats on the job... sounds like a good one.

    Yeah. I am going to get a top secret clearance, continuing education, and even hotel and food paid for in a training class Im doing in a month. Im in a relaxed atmosphere with very nice people doing X.400/X.500/SMTP testing and analysis with a communications program developed for the NSA. The NSA is right near us, just a few minutes away, and after I get the clearance I will have the possible opportunity to do some work over there.

    I am very lucky I think to land this after working the lame help desk side of things for over 3 years.

    Be very careful. Making these statements on a public forum just might keep you from getting your clearance when the time comes. Saying things like "I'm going to get clearance" and "I'll probably be working for the NSA" are definitely not smiled upon in those circles.

    Keatron. icon_wink.gif
  • lopezcolopezco Member Posts: 38 ■■□□□□□□□□
    JDMurray wrote:
    Speaking as someone who just finished a Masters in Information Security program--and paid for every nickel of it out of my own pocket

    My congratulations on finishing your Master in Infosec!
    I hope one day can do it too :)
    DAL
    "If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees." — Kahlil Gibran
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Get your masters first. If you do certs first, they'll just be expired by the time you finish your masters ;)
  • spree610spree610 Member Posts: 57 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Get a Masters, you dont necessarily have to get one in IT, you could get an MBA or MPA and be more marketable and moveable for management type positions.
    "The secrecy of my job prevents me from knowing just what it is that I do."

    Next stop 70-291, 70-648, 70-646
  • TechnowizTechnowiz Member Posts: 211
    I think it really depends on the kind of work you are planning to do. Without knowing that you really can't say which would be more beneficial. If you are going to be on the technical end of things go with the certifications. I work with a woman that has a masters in information systems. Guess what she is doing right now? Working as a helpdesk/pc technician and working on her A+. For that kind of work or even a lot of higher level technical jobs the masters degree simply doesn't come into play. A CISSP or CCIE is going to be as good if not better at what those certifications cover as someone with a masters degree. And that holds even more true the longer it has been since the degree was earned. Certifications by their nature have to stay current with changing technology. If you are looking for technical work and only have a ten year old degree in computer science that is going to be less relevant to showing an employer you can do the work than certifications based on today's technology.

    Where the degree is really going to help you is if you plan to get into management and particularly with a masters degree, upper level management. Also as has already been pointed out, certifications expire but you will have your degree for life. That is both a positive and a negative depending on how you look at it.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,671 Admin
    Technowiz wrote:
    I work with a woman that has a masters in information systems. Guess what she is doing right now? Working as a helpdesk/pc technician and working on her A+. For that kind of work or even a lot of higher level technical jobs the masters degree simply doesn't come into play.
    This is because she isn't choosing to find a career that considers her Masters to be necessary or beneficial. Lots of people have careers that don't have anything to do with their academic degrees, and that is their choice.
    Technowiz wrote:
    Where the degree is really going to help you is if you plan to get into management and particularly with a masters degree, upper level management.
    Definitely for management, and also for teaching, authoring, and all jobs that require (any) Masters-level education.
    Technowiz wrote:
    Also as has already been pointed out, certifications expire but you will have your degree for life. That is both a positive and a negative depending on how you look at it.
    Certifications make up for that fact that academic degrees do age and do not require periodic refresher courses to maintain. Cert exams can also be updated more readily than the syllabus for college courses. However, certs will never have the respect that a degree commands, especially from a good school with a high GPA. In these ways, cert and degree are complimentary.
  • TechnowizTechnowiz Member Posts: 211
    JDMurray wrote:
    Certifications make up for that fact that academic degrees do age and do not require periodic refresher courses to maintain. Cert exams can also be updated more readily than the syllabus for college courses. However, certs will never have the respect that a degree commands, especially from a good school with a high GPA. In these ways, cert and degree are complimentary.

    Absolutely. If someone can get both that is certainly preferable over just one or the other. But the original question was masters or certs? Answering that depends on the kind of work you are going to do. In some cases the masters would be preferable and in others certifications will be more valuable.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,671 Admin
    Technowiz wrote:
    But the original question was masters or certs?
    Both. One is not a substitute for the other. Both are an investment of your time and money for creating future opportunities for yourself.
  • TechnowizTechnowiz Member Posts: 211
    Having both may be the best option for you or others. However it is not going to be the best option for anyone and everyone. Getting a masters degree requires a significant financial and time investment. Whether or not that investment will pay off depends to a great degree on the career path one intends to pursue. It isn't a given that can just be assumed. One answer does not fit all.
  • sir_creamy_sir_creamy_ Inactive Imported Users Posts: 298
    garv221 wrote:
    mog27 wrote:
    Im very fortunate to have landed a job that will pay for all expenses if you want to go to school to get your masters. Right now Im just starting Information Assurance / Testing and I'm getting ready to start doing paperwork for my TS Clearance which they do for you. I only have A+/Net+/Linux+ with a B.S. degree. Would a masters degree in this field be useful eventually or would getting security+, cisco, etc be more beneficial. They will pay for approved exams. They will also pay for CISSP after of course you have the right amount of experience.

    Get your masters degree and then work on certs later.

    Agreed. Security+ is best used as toilet paper.
    Bachelor of Computer Science

    [Forum moderators are my friends]
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,671 Admin
    Security+ is best used as toilet paper.
    I'm certain that Certified HIPAA Security Specialists (CHSS) would disagree with that.

    CompTia Security+ Offers a Fast Track for Becoming a Certified HIPAA Security Specialist(CHSS)
    How to Become a Certified HIPAA Security Specialist
  • sthomassthomas Member Posts: 1,240 ■■■□□□□□□□
    And so would the US Department of Defense.

    http://certification.comptia.org/security/career.aspx
    Working on: MCSA 2012 R2
  • sir_creamy_sir_creamy_ Inactive Imported Users Posts: 298
    JDMurray wrote:
    Security+ is best used as toilet paper.
    I'm certain that Certified HIPAA Security Specialists (CHSS) would disagree with that.

    CompTia Security+ Offers a Fast Track for Becoming a Certified HIPAA Security Specialist(CHSS)
    How to Become a Certified HIPAA Security Specialist

    Yes, it's a stepping stone. By itself it's worthless. I should have kept the $200+ it took to write it.
    Bachelor of Computer Science

    [Forum moderators are my friends]
  • sir_creamy_sir_creamy_ Inactive Imported Users Posts: 298
    sthomas wrote:
    And so would the US Department of Defense.

    http://certification.comptia.org/security/career.aspx


    ...and does this not scare anyone else? Not exactly stringent requirements wouldn't you say?
    Bachelor of Computer Science

    [Forum moderators are my friends]
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,671 Admin
    sthomas wrote:
    And so would the US Department of Defense.

    http://certification.comptia.org/security/career.aspx


    ...and does this not scare anyone else? Not exactly stringent requirements wouldn't you say?
    The typical cert combo in the DoD is Security+ and CISSP together.

    DoD Directive 8570.1 Changes Everything
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