Masters Degree now or hold off?

AnthonyGAnthonyG Member Posts: 44 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hello,

I have just finished my bachelors out of University of South Carolina's Integrated Information Technology division. I'm looking to go into Infosec / IA and I have been looking into getting my Masters degree within this field.

However, I am wondering if it would be wiser for me to hold off on my masters and attempt to get some more directly related working experience?

Also was thinking about possibly working on the masters degree part time through Capitol, Nova Southeastern, or Eastern Carolina and working full time..

Any thoughts or suggestions? Has anybody successfully completed a masters degree at any of these universities? Any information on them would be highly appreciated.

Comments

  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    At this point I would say it is a coin toss.

    A year ago I would have suggested just moving on with school as jobs were scarce. More people are hiring, so maybe you can easily find a job now.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • tpatt100tpatt100 Member Posts: 2,991 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Get a job and start on the experience asap if you can and get a masters degree later or part time at night school/online.

    It's pretty rare to jump straight into security.
  • petedudepetedude Member Posts: 1,510
    AnthonyG wrote: »
    . . .
    However, I am wondering if it would be wiser for me to hold off on my masters and attempt to get some more directly related working experience?
    . . .

    What are your goals? If any, what are your constraints or decision drivers?

    That is, why are you considering the master's degree? You've stated the desire to move into InfoSec, but haven't said whether you're looking for career advancement/career change/salary advancement. (Some will say those are implied, but I can point out how that might not be the case.)

    What are your constraints-- e.g. considerations that would affect where/when/how you pursue your degree. For example, some folks attending WGU would tell you their careers will stall unless they finish a degree yesterday. Is your budget a concern? That will affect such a decision (frankly, some master's programs are so expensive they're not worth pursuing unless you're already well off or extremely young!).

    Decision drivers-- family, desired place to live/work, etc.

    Knowing these things will help TE folks provide you with better input.
    Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
    --Will Rogers
  • billscott92787billscott92787 Member Posts: 933
    My opinion is to hold off on the Masters. Get some work related experience. Masters isn't going to pull "a ton" of weight in this area without having a combo of experience. Finish the bachelors and go after a few certifications like: CEH or CISSP. Then get your foot into the door at a company with security auditing or penetration testing, something along those lines, a company that has tuition reimbursement and then go to college for the masters on their dime! icon_thumright.gif


    I highly doubt without some experience your going to land a job that gives you the work you want to do and pay wise, with a masters and no experience or certifications in that area. You would end up paying twice as much schooling, and make the same salary as a beginner with only a bachelors more than likely.


    Hiring Manager check list:


    1. Degree? Check!!

    2. Experience? None.... hmmm

    3. Certifications? none... Resume goes in File #13.


    That's my out take on how it would go down.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,735 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Hey, another South Carolinian! :D

    I have looked into East Carolina and like what I have heard from the Information Security department. They also offer the program completely online, but recommend getting your CCNA before pursuing it.

    http://www.tecs.ecu.edu/departments/technology_systems/graduate_programs/MS_technology_systems/information_security.html

    I would recommend getting an IT job before pursuing it though. Unlike other careers ours puts more emphasis on experience than degrees.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • earweedearweed Member Posts: 5,192 ■■■■■■■■■□
    These days it seems that experience in the IT field far outweighs advanced degrees. If I were you I would set some career goals now and work on a plan to achieve them. The Masters degree will help you only when you're further down the road in your career but will probably not help you much until you've already got a LOT of experience to back it up.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    AnthonyG wrote: »
    Hello,

    I have just finished my bachelors out of University of South Carolina's Integrated Information Technology division. I'm looking to go into Infosec / IA and I have been looking into getting my Masters degree within this field.

    However, I am wondering if it would be wiser for me to hold off on my masters and attempt to get some more directly related working experience?

    Also was thinking about possibly working on the masters degree part time through Capitol, Nova Southeastern, or Eastern Carolina and working full time..

    Any thoughts or suggestions? Has anybody successfully completed a masters degree at any of these universities? Any information on them would be highly appreciated.


    Hold off.

    Try to get in with a company who will pay for it.

    Keep in mind that the loans you aquire for grad school are at a higher interest rate and must be paid over 10 years not 30 like a bachelor.

    If I were you cert up a little, but get your interview skills on and land a gig who will pay for it. Much better ROI in that method.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    N2IT wrote: »
    hold off.

    Try to get in with a company who will pay for it.

    Keep in mind that the loans you aquire for grad school are at a higher interest rate and must be paid over 10 years not 30 like a bachelor.

    If i were you cert up a little, but get your interview skills on and land a gig who will pay for it. Much better roi in that method.

    this. +1
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the points that have been made, but keep in mind that formal education is often more difficult to acquire later in life.

    Having a spouse, house/mortgage, children, more responsibilities at work, etc. are all going to take time, money, and energy. You may find yourself in a position where it's not feasible to go back to school, or doing so will cause you to neglect your life and/or those around you.

    One of my biggest regrets has been simply not buckling down and getting school out of the way when I was younger. I've made things much more difficult and stressful on myself, and I didn't do nearly as well as I could have under better circumstances.

    Also, a masters in info sec might better prepare you for positions that are more on the business-side of things, such as risk management. However, it would probably not be the best use of your resources if you want to be a firewall engineer. You can take your continuing education a step further with a PhD and teach, do research, etc.

    As you mentioned, you could alternatively start a program part-time and search for work. Even stating that you've started such a program will look good on a resume, and you can start getting work experience while still chipping away at the degree. That might be a good compromise if you really are that torn.
  • AnthonyGAnthonyG Member Posts: 44 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the suggestions guys, and I completely understand the experience vs degrees in our field.

    I think I'm going to hold off on the degree for now and see if I can get a job after my internship ends in august.

    I am currently about to apply for a job as an IA Analyst position that is posted as entry level.

    Also taking my network+ at the end of july and the security+ by the end of august.

    Lets go cocks!
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    AnthonyG wrote: »
    Thanks for the suggestions guys, and I completely understand the experience vs degrees in our field.

    I think I'm going to hold off on the degree for now and see if I can get a job after my internship ends in august.

    I am currently about to apply for a job as an IA Analyst position that is posted as entry level.

    Also taking my network+ at the end of july and the security+ by the end of august.

    Lets go cocks!

    Sounds like a super plan. Good luck man
  • pinkydapimppinkydapimp Member Posts: 732 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I would hold off. First of all, many masters programs take into account your work experience. you can even get credit for work experience. Also, many employers will pay for you to go back to school. A masters really wont hep you with entry level positions. it really would be more beneficial to get soem experience under your belt and then go for your masters.
  • Warsh1pWarsh1p Member Posts: 66 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Honestly I believe it all depends on what you want to do in this field. A Masters degree will help you get into some management or developing positions quicker then some experience will.
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  • AnthonyGAnthonyG Member Posts: 44 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I eventually want to be in management but I also want to have the experience necessary to be a good manager or director.

    Considering I'm only 22 and have some leads on some entry level positions that will push me forward in the IA/IS area... I'm targeting those before I even think about my Masters. The company leads I have, all have tuition assistance/reimbursement programs that would be great to use.

    Certifications are already in my sights, Network+ and Security+ will be done by October. Then I will decide where I go from there but probably get my CEH, GCIA, or something of that sort unless the company I work for needs something else.
  • pinkydapimppinkydapimp Member Posts: 732 ■■■■■□□□□□
    AnthonyG wrote: »
    I eventually want to be in management but I also want to have the experience necessary to be a good manager or director.

    Considering I'm only 22 and have some leads on some entry level positions that will push me forward in the IA/IS area... I'm targeting those before I even think about my Masters. The company leads I have, all have tuition assistance/reimbursement programs that would be great to use.

    Certifications are already in my sights, Network+ and Security+ will be done by October. Then I will decide where I go from there but probably get my CEH, GCIA, or something of that sort unless the company I work for needs something else.
    good luck. i am going to start my masters program in the fall. i got lucky and my employer will pay for 75% of the tuition which is key because its EXPENSIVE! 900-1k a credit!
  • NathanielTurnerNathanielTurner Member Posts: 29 ■■■□□□□□□□
    What ever you decide to do make sure you have a passion for what you are doing. Often times people look at salary as the determinig factor. Know and understand the higher up the IT food chain the more time management is a factor. You have to think about the QUALITY of life . I know guys at the upper levels that wished they had more time for their familes etc etc.

    Just my $.02
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