WGU:MSISA questions answered.

-Foxer--Foxer- Posts: 151Member
I just finished the MS:ISA degree at WGU. I know there have been several people asking questions about it, and I'd be happy to answer any you have in this thread.

Comments

  • aethereosaethereos Posts: 55Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    -Foxer- wrote: »
    I just finished the MS:ISA degree at WGU. I know there have been several people asking questions about it, and I'd be happy to answer any you have in this thread.

    Hey Foxer, congrats! That's a proud achievement. Now since you offered, here are some questions:

    1) Is the program NSA-CAE certified yet? If so, since when? If not, why not? ( I know this question is probably better answered by the WGU admin folks, but they've not said anything about it for a while).

    2) How did you structure your program? Any advice on the classes? What were the Performance Assessments like?

    3) Did the program meet your career and/or academic expectations? Where to next?

    Thanks!
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Audentis Fortuna Iuvat Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    Congratulations! icon_cheers.gif

    Thanks for being opening your thread to questions. I'll put a link to this thread in the WGU Questions and Answer's thread.

    Do you feel that MS program deepened your knowledge of INFOSEC? Also, out of curiosity, what was the subject of your capstone paper?
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • -Foxer--Foxer- Posts: 151Member
    aethereos wrote: »
    1) Is the program NSA-CAE certified yet? If so, since when? If not, why not? ( I know this question is probably better answered by the WGU admin folks, but they've not said anything about it for a while).

    2) How did you structure your program? Any advice on the classes? What were the Performance Assessments like?

    3) Did the program meet your career and/or academic expectations? Where to next?

    Thanks!

    1) It still isn't NSA-CAE certified, and I don't really know why. I know that they have submitted the program for certification, but like you said, this is better answered by WGU.

    2) I basically followed the recommended order of classes, although I did do the CEH class right at the beginning. If you want advice on specific classes let me know, but in general, I think taking the classes in roughly the order the list is a good idea, just because they build on each other.

    If you're familiar with the WGU bachelor degree's, the performance assessment are pretty similar those. The technical classes all just require the successful passing of the corresponding certification. Each certification also has a writting class that goes along with it where you have to write 3-4 papers on subjects covered in the certification.

    For example, you take the Ethical Hacking class that ends with the completion of the CEH exam. The next class, Hacking Countermeasures and Techniques, has 3 tasks that you must complete for a given scenario. They are:
    1. Create a diagram of how a DDoS attack happened.
    Write an executive summary with recommended countermeasures to the DoS attack.
    2. Create a presentation that analyzes how using industry best practices can protect the network from a DDoS attack.
    Develop a best practices guide.
    3. Assume that you have been selected as the security consultant to perform a comprehensive security review for an organization of your choosing. Create a presentation detailing the results of the review and prescribe countermeasures.

    3) I don't have anything else to really compare WGU to, but I learned a lot, and overall I think it was a really good program. I'd say it met my expectations. Like may others I chose WGU because it was affordable, and provided me with not only a degree, but also certifications.

    Hopefully this will allow me to move into infosec, and although I do some security stuff at my current position, I will start looking for something more dedicated to infosec.
  • -Foxer--Foxer- Posts: 151Member
    Congratulations! icon_cheers.gif

    Thanks for being opening your thread to questions. I'll put a link to this thread in the WGU Questions and Answer's thread.

    Do you feel that MS program deepened your knowledge of INFOSEC? Also, out of curiosity, what was the subject of your capstone paper?

    Thanks!

    I didn't have a lot of experience/knowledge of infosec before I stared, but it was always something that interested me, and something that I wanted to move into in the future. For me the MS program taught me quite a bit, and will hopefully help me move into an infosec position.

    My capstone was on creating an information security management system (ISMS) for my organization using the ISO 27000 standard.
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Posts: 1,209Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    -Foxer- wrote: »
    I just finished the MS:ISA degree at WGU. I know there have been several people asking questions about it, and I'd be happy to answer any you have in this thread.

    Congrats on completing! icon_cheers.gif Just curious. When did you start and how long did it takes you? If you don't want to share with us then that's okay. I totally understand. The most important thing is that you finish it icon_thumright.gif
  • -Foxer--Foxer- Posts: 151Member
    Congrats on completing! icon_cheers.gif Just curious. When did you start and how long did it takes you? If you don't want to share with us then that's okay. I totally understand. The most important thing is that you finish it icon_thumright.gif

    My first term officially started last october, but because I had finished my Bachelor degree at WGU I still had access to books24x7 and I started reading books for the MS program around mid-august.

    I also worked on school all the time. I was able to work on school during downtime at work, which helped as well. In total though, I guess it took me about 10 months.
  • jmasterj206jmasterj206 Posts: 471Member
    Foxer,
    Would you say the papers were about the same difficulty as with your bachelor's? Say along the lines of LET1.
    WGU grad
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Audentis Fortuna Iuvat Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    Foxer,
    Would you say the papers were about the same difficulty as with your bachelor's? Say along the lines of LET1.

    Someone is having as little fun as I am with LET1...
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • -Foxer--Foxer- Posts: 151Member
    Foxer,
    Would you say the papers were about the same difficulty as with your bachelor's? Say along the lines of LET1.

    I don't know if harder is the right word, but they were definitely different. They were much more technical, so in a sense they were harder, and they were also more in depth.

    I didn't actually take LET1, so I can't compare directly to that class, sorry.
  • aethereosaethereos Posts: 55Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Foxer, do you still have the learning resources? I'd be happy to purchase the books from you. Please PM me. Thanks.
  • aethereosaethereos Posts: 55Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    How was the oral part of the Capstone course? What's it like?
  • jch0411jch0411 Posts: 27Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Foxer, I hope you are still answering about your experiences. Your contribution to this forum is invaluable to potential WGU students.

    How are you doing in the job market? Did the WGU IA Degree play an important role? How did employers greet the WGU degree?

    (I start the IA program soon, so I am keenly interested in your successes and bumps along the road.)
  • VerrucktVerruckt Posts: 36Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    jch0411 wrote: »
    Foxer, I hope you are still answering about your experiences. Your contribution to this forum is invaluable to potential WGU students.

    How are you doing in the job market? Did the WGU IA Degree play an important role? How did employers greet the WGU degree?

    (I start the IA program soon, so I am keenly interested in your successes and bumps along the road.)

    This is what I want to know - how has your job search been with the Masters so far?

    Any additional interest from employers?
  • nhprnhpr Posts: 165Member
    How much time did the masters program take versus your undergrad program? When comparing please mention how much transfer credit you had for each (since that's kind of important as well).

    Also, you haven't explicitly mentioned whether or not you'd recommend the program to others. Did you think that the overall experience was a good one?
  • instant000instant000 Posts: 1,745Member
    Today was my very first day of the Master's course, and I think one positive I can immediately see is that you can view the courses even before you start them, so you can have an idea of what's in those courses, which can help you decide which ones you want to do, in what order. (I think I'll do the recommended order, though.)

    The only thing I'm slightly at odds about is writing the papers, as I haven't written a paper since October 2010, and I'm right now trying to think about what my Capstone would be about, so that I can have that mostly ready by the time it rolls around to start submitting it at the end. No worries about any oral defense portions, as I know what I'm talking about, LOL, just don't want to do a poor job on the paper, especially since it's the key to completing the degree AND future students will see what you did on it.
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewislampkin (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
  • colemiccolemic Posts: 1,566Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    instant000 wrote: »
    Today was my very first day of the Master's course, and I think one positive I can immediately see is that you can view the courses even before you start them, so you can have an idea of what's in those courses, which can help you decide which ones you want to do, in what order. (I think I'll do the recommended order, though.)

    The only thing I'm slightly at odds about is writing the papers, as I haven't written a paper since October 2010, and I'm right now trying to think about what my Capstone would be about, so that I can have that mostly ready by the time it rolls around to start submitting it at the end. No worries about any oral defense portions, as I know what I'm talking about, LOL, just don't want to do a poor job on the paper, especially since it's the key to completing the degree AND future students will see what you did on it.

    Where will future students see your capstone? I have seen a couple in the student portal, but I thought they were just examples (and I am pretty sure they gave explicit permission for it to be posted there.)
    Working on: CCSP, definitely, maybe. On the twitters: @mcole1008
  • jdchildersjdchilders Posts: 50Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    colemic wrote: »
    Where will future students see your capstone? I have seen a couple in the student portal, but I thought they were just examples (and I am pretty sure they gave explicit permission for it to be posted there.)

    If you go to the community pages then IT, you'll see all the scheduled Capstone Projects listed and scheduled there....where seemingly anyone can connect and listen to.
  • -Foxer--Foxer- Posts: 151Member
    Sorry, I haven't checked up on this thread in a while. I'll try and answer some more of the questions.
    aethereos wrote: »
    How was the oral part of the Capstone course? What's it like?

    The oral part actually wasn't as bad as I thought. I was really nervous for it, but it went pretty smoothly overall. It was basically just an overview of what my final project what, and how I integrated different things I studied into it.

    My presentation was about 20 minutes long, and I had already typed out everything that I wanted to say, so I really just had to read it.

    At the end, they asked me a few questions about the project, and that was it basically. I'd say that once you get to the oral presentation, you have already done the hard part. For me the actual project and written report was the hardest part, then you just have to talk about it.
    jch0411 wrote: »
    Foxer, I hope you are still answering about your experiences. Your contribution to this forum is invaluable to potential WGU students.

    How are you doing in the job market? Did the WGU IA Degree play an important role? How did employers greet the WGU degree?

    (I start the IA program soon, so I am keenly interested in your successes and bumps along the road.)

    As far as my job hunting is going, it's kind of tough. I am hoping to move into a security role from my current system admin position, but just like most other jobs available, companies want experience. There really isn't a lot of opportunity for me to advance in my current job, so I've been looking around.

    I've only had one interview since I graduated, but they did seem impressed that I had a master's degree. Although I originally applied for an IT security position, I interviewed for an infrastructure spot (it would have some security aspects though). It seems like they promote from within for the security positions, so I may have to just work my way up. It's still a pretty tough job market out there.

    As far as how the employers greet the degree, as far as I can tell they see it like any other degree. My current employer is impressed with it (but I work for local government so I don't get any pay increase), and the interviews that I've had since getting my bachelor's and now master's just seem to accept it, and don't really ask about it other than just noting that I have them.
    nhpr wrote: »
    How much time did the masters program take versus your undergrad program? When comparing please mention how much transfer credit you had for each (since that's kind of important as well).

    Also, you haven't explicitly mentioned whether or not you'd recommend the program to others. Did you think that the overall experience was a good one?

    Overall, I would definitely recommend the program, if only because it's so inexpensive. I was able finish in two terms, which only cost $6000. I think by any standard that is a good deal for a master's degree.

    As I said, it only took me two terms, but I officially started in Oct last year, and finished in July. I started reading some of the books a month or two before I officially started, so I guess it took 1 months or so. The only thing that I had transfer in was my Network+, but they've since changed that requirement to CCNA. (Unfortunately I was unable to get my CCNA through the program; I think that would have helped quite a bit in my job search and I may just do that on my own.)

    My under-grad degree took me about the same amount of time ( 1 year), but I had a lot of previous college transfer, and mostly had the technical classes to complete, with a few other writing classes thrown in. I'd say I completed the master's classes about as quickly as I could the classes in the bachelor's program, but as I said in an earlier comment, they are definitely different.
  • XeeNXeeN Posts: 40Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Was there a specific reason you went for the MS:ISA over the MBA? The certs gained are a huge positive, but do you think the letters "MBA" as opposed to "MS" ring a better bell for higher level / C-level management?
  • Mike-MikeMike-Mike Posts: 1,860Member
    any updates on the job search with a Masters?
    Currently Working On

    CWTS, then WireShark
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Posts: 4,128Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    So if I have the CCENT and CCNA they will let me transfer them in? I have the CEH already, but wouldn't mind taking the new exam as I have kept up with the continuing education credits.
    WIP:
    Python
    Java
  • instant000instant000 Posts: 1,745Member
    Can you transfer in certs?

    You can transfer in the CCNA/CCENT (or any other program required certs) IF they're earned within the past five years. ICND1/ICND2 OR CCNA cover two courses in the MS:ISA program. See the program here: http://www.wgu.edu/wgu/prog_guide/MS_ISA.pdf

    According to the mentor, the students usually have most difficulty with passing the CCNA assessment (not surprising), so if you show up with that, you've already passed the hardest assessment in the program.

    How hard is it?

    It's not that difficult, but it's not a piece of cake, either. I didn't take the bachelor's from WGU, so that might make me a little slower to get started.

    I received notification two days ago that I've completed my first class, so that's a pleasant surprise for me.

    How is it?

    The main thing you have to do at this level is research, and write. If you're good at research and writing, you'll do well. The certification assessments won't be much of an issue for anyone who frequents this forum, so don't even worry about those. My reasoning is that the average techexams.net member already knows how to study for and pass certification assessments, and/or knows how to use this website for assistance in that regards. Maybe skills for researching and writing papers aren't as strong ... dunno we don't discuss that much on this forum though, that's for sure.

    How much time does it take?

    I do know that the classes keep me more than busy enough. I was planning to have a couple of the CCNP-Security exams knocked out by now, but my school work takes up a lot of my spare time. (I even post on techexams less!)

    The program expects a twenty hour per week commitment. I'm not sure that I spend twenty hours per week on school, but with the volume of reading and researching required, it is possible to easily spend at least ten hours per week on this stuff.

    What can you say about writing the papers?

    My biggest problem is writing the papers, after making the outline, and even after scribbling it out on scratch paper for a rough draft. You might call it writer's block. It doesn't affect me on these forums (given the number of posts I've made here since joining spring of 2011, 700+, as of 10/5/2011)

    My JFT2 Organizational Management class, I had to write three papers for it, but I had to submit the first paper three times before it was accepted, and it had numerous omisions I needed to correct. (As an aside, get used to seeing things like JFT2, LHT2, FNV2, etc. Even the mentors refer to courses by their codes.) My second paper, was accepted as is, as I had learned lessons from my first paper. The third paper, I had to submit twice, as I didn't develop a couple ideas well enough.

    If you get comments that you didn't develop a thought well enough, it usually means you said only one line about something (at least, that's how it was for me, I'm very to the point when writing papers, probably not so much on these forums) ... the rubric likes to use the term "with sufficient detail" which means saying only one sentence about something is probably not providing "sufficient detail" or "sufficient support" or whatever.

    When you write your papers, make sure you reference the rubric while you're writing them. You are graded against the rubric, regardless of whatever else you're reading throughout the course.

    Whatever reading is required, I recommend that you read it, while having the rubrics for your papers in front of you, so you can take the corresponding notes that you'll need, when its time to write the papers.

    References: Be careful on the references, as the graders will mark you off if you don't cite correctly.

    Any tips for writing the papers?

    Yes.

    1. At the very beginning of the class, get what all of the rubrics are, for the various assessments.

    2. Make a different page for each bullet point on the rubric. (A word processor, or scratch paper are great for this.)

    3. Fill in the pages using reference materials from the assigned reading.

    4. Create an outline for writing the paper, in accordance with the rubric and reference materials that you have.

    5. Write your rough draft, review the rubric as you go. (I do mine by hand, but you can easily do this on your computer.)

    6. Make sure that your references are cited correctly.

    7. Revise the paper, keeing an eye on the rubric to look for areas you didn't say enough. By detail, they want two or three lines of additional information on a topic, other than saying "X is related to Y". Show how X is related to Y, by giving several examples.

    8. Print it out, and look it over for final revisions (maybe not necessary for you, but it helps me to revise)

    9. Submit the paper in Taskstream

    10. Do not stop and wait for the paper to be graded. Go on to work on the next assignment.

    How are the Mentors?

    WGU has something called mentors. When you're first getting enrolled, you'll get a mentor who is designed to get you going into the school system, and answer all of your basic questions with that. This is just one type of mentor. I'll call them "enrollment mentor", or "enrollment counselor." Mine was named Robert.

    WGU has another mentor, which I can best call "course mentors". These are mentors for a specific class, that are designed to help you get by the course. The mentors can provide clarity to the rubric topics and discussion questions, so that you will know what you do and don't need to be doing. For JFT2, the mentor is Scott.

    Yet another mentor is what I call your "program mentor". This is the person assigned to you (and probably about 30 or 40 other people). This person sticks with you throughout your degree plan with WGU. This person has a phone conversation with you once a week. This person is notified about your class completions. During your weekly conversations, its good to have a plan of what you're going to do next week, and take an account of what you did in the past week. The mentors will take notes, and ask you specifically about what you said you would achieve in the past call, and also on how you can approach the future. It's a "steps" approach, and not tackling everything at once. For MS:ISA, my program mentor is Yolanda.

    You're able to call the mentors at any time. If you have a course problem, then call that specific course's mentor. If you have a program problem, then your assigned student mentor, or "program mentor" as I term it, is there to help you complete your degree. They want you to succeed. Feel free to ask for help.

    How do I like it?

    I like it so far. It's not as easy as I imagined it, by far, but it's also not super difficult, by any means. Like I said, a big part of this program is performing the research, then writing the paper. It seems funny to say, hey, write up a new user policy, and password policy, and I'm like sure, do this, and this, and this (I've actually written these things before at a past job, so I know how to do this). But, the challenge is making sure that you are citing the appropriate references for the reasons you are rewriting the policy as you are. You probably have a ton of information in your head already, from your experience with information security, but you may not have an exact place you can use as an authoritative reference that actually states what you should be doing. If you perform the recommended readings, this helps a lot.
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewislampkin (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
  • DevilryDevilry Posts: 668Member
    How about the job search for you after the completion of WGU masters?
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Audentis Fortuna Iuvat Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    @Instant000: Thanks for a great review :)
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • citinerdcitinerd Posts: 266Member
    Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I found this thread while searching for Ideas for my Capstone project. I have a question for anyone who has completed the MSISA at WGU. What was the basis of your capstone. Trying to get in the right state of mind since I am so close.
  • DoyenDoyen Posts: 397Member
    citinerd wrote: »
    Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I found this thread while searching for Ideas for my Capstone project. I have a question for anyone who has completed the MSISA at WGU. What was the basis of your capstone. Trying to get in the right state of mind since I am so close.

    What did you decide upon on your capstone project?
    Goals for 2016: [] VCP 5.5: ICM (recertifying) , [ ] VMware VCA-NV, [ ] 640-911 DCICN, [ ] 640-916 DCICT, [ ] CCNA: Data Center, [ ] CISSP (Associate), [ ] 300-101 ROUTE, [ ] 300-115 SWITCH, [ ] 300-135 TSHOOT, [ ] CCNP: Route & Switch, [ ] CEHv8, [ ] LX0-103, [ ] LX0-104
    Future Goals: WGU MSISA or Capital Technology Univerisity MSCIS Degree Program
    Click here to connect with me on LinkedIn! Just mention your are from Techexams.net.
  • citinerdcitinerd Posts: 266Member
    I chose to go with a topic that was in the capstone archives. Implementing a secure wireless network infrastructure. The example did it on the cheap for a small business. I went for a large implementation and not so cheap. It was similar to a project I was involved with recently so I had quotes and everything to include in the report.

    I completed the oral defense presentation today so I am officially finished. Just have to complete the paperwork for graduation. The oral defense was much easier than I imagined. Only 2 people showed up for the presentation, my mentor and the grader. When I was finished the grader said that the presentation was very thorough and she did not have any questions. So I either got off easy or I did a great job.... either way I am finished and super happy.
  • colemiccolemic Posts: 1,566Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    I had the same experience - only 2 showed up, no questions. I was very underwhelmed by the experience - I would have thought it was more important than that. I did mine on a small framework/best practices that small businesses can use to protect their data for little/no cost.
    Working on: CCSP, definitely, maybe. On the twitters: @mcole1008
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