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WGU -- MS: ISA vs MS: NM

srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■■□□
Just wanted to get some opinions on this matter. I should be completing the BS: ND&M degree in my 2nd term, looking to graduate in early 2014. Hopefully by March or April. I'm wanting to immediately begin one of the MS programs upon completing the BS degree. I've been going back and forth between the MS: ISA and the MS: NM trying to decide which would be a better fit for me. My tuition is being completely paid for, so I would be stupid not to pursue an MS under these circumstances.

The problem is, I'm not really interested in information security or network management. I chose the BS: Network Design & Management program because it seemed to be the most Microsoft-centric option, and I am currently a Systems Administrator working in a VMware environment with Microsoft OS running on our guest VMs. I'm wanting to continue pursing Microsoft certifications (working on MCITP: Enterprise Administrator & MCSA: 2008 right now) and VMware certs. Would like to eventually learn Linux as well.

So what I'm basically wanting is to obtain a Masters of Science in Information Technology to add to my resume. Someone on the forums suggested that I go the MS: ISA route because it is more technical, whereas the MS: NM is more procedural. Going the technical route makes more sense to me, however I'm wondering how difficult a masters program in Infosec would be for me if I don't have a background in Infosec, or frankly, don't have very much interest in Infosec. Not worried about not being able to complete either program. Either way I'll get it done. Just don't want to struggle or be bored to tears in the process. :p

I wish WGU had more options for masters programs.

Thoughts?
WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)

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    Tom ServoTom Servo Member Posts: 104 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Are you restricted to WGU? If your tuition is paid for and WGU doesn't have something up your alley, do any local schools have an evening or weekend program? Alternatively there is also Graduate Office - Graduate programs at Dakota State University and other online programs out there. It is hard to turn down paid tuition, but you will hate life for a while if you are doing a program that does not really interest you.
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    da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    I would have to agree with Tom Servo, you will regret doing a degree that doesn't really interest you. I would look at another school if I were in your shoes. I have heard great things about DSU and it sounds like their Masters of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) program would suite better than WGU's masters programs.
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    srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Brick and mortar isn't an option for me. I work full-time and have a new baby at home. I can study and get school work done while at work, which is why WGU was such a perfect fit for me. The self-paced, self-learning, online model literally allowed me to obtain a degree at this stage in life. That, and the cost of tuition. The low cost of tuition is what enabled me to get it 100% paid for. Anything more expensive than that and I would have issues getting assistance with the cost.

    I will look into DSU. Haven't heard of it until now. I'm so happy as a WGU student that I feel inclined to stick with that university. I'm just really impressed with their model.

    How in-depth does the MS:ISA go technically into the world of infosec, and how difficult is the material to someone without a background in infosec (technically speaking)? Is it going to be like someone new to networking trying to immediately obtain a CCNP, or someone new to Microsoft server OS trying to immediately obtain an MCSE? (for lack of a better comparison) Like I mentioned before, my strength and experience lies in hardware, storage, desktop OS, server OS, and virtualization technologies. I'm weak in networking and security.
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
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    ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Honestly, if you want to stay doing technical systems work other than security, I don't think a graduate degree makes any sense for you. Focus on your tech skills and certifications. I'm not sure what you're expecting to get out of a master's program, but at this level you're not going to get more technical knowledge than you would taking other directions.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
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    Tom ServoTom Servo Member Posts: 104 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Last time I looked at DSU, it was reasonably priced, although still more expensive than WGU (not sure there is anything cheaper than WGU for the quality). Certs would probably be more beneficial in the short term, but if a place is willing to pay for a Master's program, I understand the desire to do it. Ultimately, there are three major areas of your resume/professional development: Experience, Certs, Education. Have good stuff in all three and you're set.
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    ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    To be honest, I skipped right past the "paid for" part. Free tuition means you should get something, for sure. If there's no spending limit, Carnegie Mellon has some great online MS programs in IT-related fields.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
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    srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Yep, it's paid for, and right now I have the patience, drive, and desire to accomplish it. The caveat is that I need to keep the tuition low. Like WGU low. Based on the fact that I completed 47 CU's my first term, I'm thinking/hoping to complete the MS program in a couple of terms, three at the most. So I'm looking at $6000 ~ $9000 max for the masters program. Anything more expensive than that from start to finish and I don't think I'm going to be able to get my tuition covered. My BS will cost me $6000 total from start to finish with my transfer credits. That's another thing I love about WGU. The more knowledge you have going into the program and the more you bust your ass to get it done, the cheaper the final cost of the degree.
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
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    srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Leaning towards MS:ISA from WGU at this point, but would like to hear more opinions on this matter. Luckily I have a few more months before I have to make my final decision, so I have time to consider alternatives.

    Would also like to hear from MS: ISA students or graduates. How technical are these courses, and would someone without a background in information security have a difficult time completing this program?
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
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    da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    How did you like Security+? from your certs that is the closest you have taken that relates to the MSISA. If that was boring I don't think you will like this degree. Something to take into consideration is that pretty much all masters degrees are based towards management, which is thought of as natural career progression.

    So far the papers I have written have been high level scenario based ("you are the CISO of (x) corp and this situation has happened, how do you approach within certain legal guidelines"). The technical stuff is entry level (CEH, CFHI, CCENT) so I don't believe the fact of you being rather inexperienced in security would be that big of an issue.

    Masters degrees are really not meant to be too technical just more in depth so I suppose the real question is what kind of job do you see yourself in, around 10 years from now?
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    ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I would probably go with the ND&M, if I were you. Only five of the CUs are "networking" specific, and probably not that technical. The rest is more about IT management and will still align with your career goals, even though it's not very technical. Neither degree is really going to give you the technical depth in the areas that interest you, so IMO you might as well not go with the specialization you don't like (security).
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
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    kenopkenop Member Posts: 23 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm in a similar boat and enrolling at WGU BS IT as soon as I wrap up the certs.(I'm getting every cert they need to waive the entire IT part of the degree.)

    The way I see it, IT moves too fast for even online places like WGU to keep up, so after the BSIT is done I will gun for an MBA. That's the only shot at a degree being of any use to me.

    Awesome to see that you got so many Credits knocked out in a single term. I'm hoping that even with my full time work that I'm able to move at a similar pace, and get this degree knocked out in a year or so.
    BVC1 CTV1 CUV1 CWV1 DEV1 DHV1 DIV1 WFV1 TBP1 EAV1 EBV1 EUP1 EUC1 CRV1 BOV1 DJV1 EUC1 CVV1 CJV1 TPV1 TXC1 TXP1 TYC1 TYP1 CAPSTONE BNC1 AGC1 CDC1 CDP1 UBC1 UBT1 CLC1 GAC1 IWC1 IWT1 RIT1 CIC1 CJC1 TCP1 TJC1 TJP1
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    srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I have an appointment to speak with the head of continuing education on Thursday evening. They told me she would be the one to speak with about these concerns. I'll let you guys know what I find out.
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
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    srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Well, I basically have three options that I discussed with her:

    Option 1 - Finish the BS and then begin the MS: ISA degree.
    Option 2 - Finish the BS and then begin the MS: NM degree.
    Option 3 - Finish the BS and don't pursue a masters degree. Focus on MCSE certifications instead.

    We also briefly discussed an Option 4 - Pursue a masters degree sometime in the future. But I don't think that's really an option for me due to my current opportunities (paid tuition), time factors, and motivation factors. If I'm going to do it, I'd like to get it done right now.

    She sort of recommended against the MS: ISA in my case due to lack of experience in security, as well as lack of interest. I share the same sentiment.

    I'm considering the MS: NM at this point (option 2), but I'm also considering option 3. I have a whole list of Microsoft and VMware that I intend to work on throughout the next few years, and I also want to get into Linux administration, which I will be learning from scratch.

    She advised that I think about it for another few months, and then let them know in January what I decide to do.

    I'll probably end up going for the MS: NM degree.
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
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    da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    It sounds like option 2 is the best option for you especially since you have the drive and financial backing. Remember your degree will never expire where most if not all of your certs will. That is one major item that will be on your resume forever.
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    kenopkenop Member Posts: 23 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Learn linux while you VMware, they go hand in hand as the core hypervisor is a modified linux-like system.
    BVC1 CTV1 CUV1 CWV1 DEV1 DHV1 DIV1 WFV1 TBP1 EAV1 EBV1 EUP1 EUC1 CRV1 BOV1 DJV1 EUC1 CVV1 CJV1 TPV1 TXC1 TXP1 TYC1 TYP1 CAPSTONE BNC1 AGC1 CDC1 CDP1 UBC1 UBT1 CLC1 GAC1 IWC1 IWT1 RIT1 CIC1 CJC1 TCP1 TJC1 TJP1
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    CoolAsAFanCoolAsAFan Member Posts: 239
    If your not excited about pursuing a MS degree, or your not particularly fond of networking or security, then don't attempt any of them!

    Microsoft and VMWare seem to be where your interests are, so why not continue pursuing them? This is what I would do until I was 100% sure what type of MS degree I wanted. It is great that the funding is there for you, so you wouldn't really be wasting any of your money while trying to figure everything out, but I see no point in wasting any of your time.

    Whichever route you choose, good luck bro!
    IvyTech - AS CINS (Completed: May, 2013)
    WGU Indiana - BS IT Security
    (Started: August 1st, 2013)

    Transferred: AGC1 CDP1 BVC1 CLC1 CVV1 DHV1 DJV1 GAC1 CIC1 CDC1 UBT1 IWC1 IWT1 TCP1 TJP1 TJC1 EBV1 WFV1 EUP1 EUC1 CJC1 UBC1 TBP1
    Completed: CUV1 BOV1 DRV1 DSV1 CTV1 CJV1 COV1 CQV1 CNV1 TPV1 MGC1 TXC1 TXP1 BNC1 TYP1 TYC1
    Required:
    SBT1 RGT1 RIT1
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    ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    My background: MCSE NT 4.0 that upgraded to MCSE 2000 that upgraded to MCSE 2003 and is now working on 2008 material. There will always be an MS cert to work on, so if you have the funding and time along with some interest, get the degree now.
    Andy

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
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    srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Thanks guys. I'm almost 100% sure I will enroll in MS: Network Management. I'm not going to pass up the paid tuition opportunity.
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
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