Should I go back to school?

ihaveaquestionihaveaquestion Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello everyone,

First, thank you to whoever reads this.  I am A 44 year old American and I am considering going back to school for a masters in IT security.  I am worried it will be a waste of money because I live in a foreign country and I am pretty sure no American or English speaking company will hire me and let me work from home with no previous work experience.  My question is 1) should I get the degree 2) what are the chances of getting a job in this field in a general?

Thank you for anyone who takes the time to respond to this.

Comments

  • itdeptitdept A+, S+, L+, LPIC1, CCNA, CCP, ITIL Registered Users Posts: 199 ■■■■□□□□□□
    What is your background and experience? Can you give an idea on where you currently live?
    Do you have anyone in your circle of friends or business network that can get you onboard in an IT position?

    I think you will be wasting your time and money on a "masters in IT security". This is a site about security and certifications but when these conversations come up I see people talking about experience and real world knowledge as what counts and not the piece of paper. Don't let that discourage you but you will probably need to get the proverbial foot in the door and start at the bottom. With right decisions and experience you can leverage to get more involved in security.
    Just my 2c
  • ihaveaquestionihaveaquestion Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    edited October 18
    Hello itdept,

    Thank you for telling me, I appreciate any info from anybody in this field.  I live in Japan and my background is technical but not in IT.  I have been looking at internships but I am not in school so unless I can arrange a way to work free for a short time to get some basic experience I am not sure how to start to make contacts or get my foot in the door. I have always been good with computers and IT seems like a solid field to get involved in.  I think IT security will be a good field with a lot of opportunities but I am not sure how to go about even starting in this area.  Any advice on specific certifications would be great and thank you very much for responding to the original post. . 
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 51 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I had this question too when I was considering enrolling for my masters too. At the end of the day, I don't think having a Masters is going o advance my career in any way, it's something I decided to do for myself rather than any benefit I might get from it. I think in the field of cyber security you are much better off looking at more practical/technical certifications and vocational courses than an academic one. This coupled with whatever experience you may already have will likely put you in a better position as far as job hunting is concerned.
  • ihaveaquestionihaveaquestion Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hello srothman,

    This is great advice and thank you for taking the time to respond and let me know.  If you wouldn't mind telling me, can you recommend some basic certifications for entry level jobs in the cybersecurity field?  Based on the research I have done I should start with the CompTIA Security+ certification but if you have any other recommendations I am happy to hear them.  Thank you for any other advice you are willing to give me.
  • srothmansrothman Member Posts: 51 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think the Security+ is a great foundation, covering a broad spectrum of fundamental concepts. What discipline within cyber security are you most interested in? This will likely determine the best course of action. Most of the resources I mentor and guide are keen on starting and growing in the cloud security space, and as such I always recommend they follow the relevant tracks associated with the cloud provide, for example, for Microsoft I suggest the following path - Security+ > AZ-900 (Azure Fundamentals) > AZ-104 (Azure Admin) > AZ-500/MS-500 (Azure Security/M365 Security, depending on the track they are most keen on). From here, I encourage them to look at more generic security qualifications like that of CSA, ISC, eLearnsecurity (which I am busy with myself), or then consider furthering their academic career.
  • ihaveaquestionihaveaquestion Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I am thinking either ethical hacker or cloud security.  Do you know if industry experience is a prerequisite to take the Comptia security+ test?
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,945 Admin
    Have you tried looking at job postings from the places where you want to work? What hiring managers are looking for in job candidates is what you should be looking at to determine your chances of getting any job. You should also look at the page for the Security+ certification to learn details such as the prerequisites for the taking the exam.
  • ihaveaquestionihaveaquestion Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi JD Murray,

    Thank you for your answer, I will definitely find out.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Teradata Assc 16, CSM, MS Access 2016, 2019 Member Posts: 2,587 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I always look at the end game on where you want to end up and then reverse engineer.  Aimlessly getting degrees and certs is a horrible strategy for most.   Like JD mentioned look at what jobs you want and build a plan off of that.  Well.... technically look for multiple position and see the commonalty between them.

    Network Engineer - CCNA is high probability
    IT Manager - IT Management or Business Admin degrees.  
    Etc. etc. etc.  

    From there your level of confidence grows.  I would also add if position X has 5 main commonalities between them you have the flexibility to choose which one you want to go for.  Maybe those roles ask for 2 specific certifications a degree, and 5 years of experience.  This gives you the knowledge to make informed decisions.  You might not want to get the degree, so you do a cert and find a position that will fulfill those 5 years.  

    Regardless, review the roles and game plan that way.  
  • ihaveaquestionihaveaquestion Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi databasehead,

    Thank you your input, all the comments I am getting have been great and very helpful.  Starting from the end goal has been consistent advice across all of my research.  There are many positions but tracing the necessary certifications has been a little challenging because there are so many out there so using commonalities between jobs I am looking for to narrow it down is incredibly useful advice. 
  • itdeptitdept A+, S+, L+, LPIC1, CCNA, CCP, ITIL Registered Users Posts: 199 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Probably just one more comment from me. You need to understand what you are trying to protect. Networking would be knowledge of... networking so a CCNA cert would help. Protect the cloud, get some experience with Azure and AWS. Server and workstation knowledge is required and having some Linux skills will benefit immensely. 
     Sec+ is the entry level Security cert so that is a good start as well.
    Good luck
  • iBrokeITiBrokeIT GICSP, GCIP, GXPN, GPEN, GWAPT, GCFE, GCIA, GCIH, GSEC, CySA+, Sec+, eJPT Member Posts: 1,303 ■■■■■■■■■□
    JDMurray said:
    Have you tried looking at job postings from the places where you want to work? What hiring managers are looking for in job candidates is what you should be looking at to determine your chances of getting any job. You should also look at the page for the Security+ certification to learn details such as the prerequisites for the taking the exam.

    Bingo.  Your end goal is a job/career (not a degree) so start with a dozen job descriptions with roles you want and work your way backwards from there.  How exactly do you plan to acquire the skills and experience necessary to meet a majority of the requirements?  A degree by itself is often not good enough, especially for a majority of security related positions.
    2019: GPEN | GCFE | GXPN | GICSP | CySA+ 
    2020: GCIP | GCIA | eCPPT | eWPT | eCTHP

    WGU BS IT-NA | SANS Grad Cert: PT&EH | SANS Grad Cert: ICS Security
  • yoba222yoba222 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,206 ■■■■■■■■□□
    In my opinion, getting a masters has low bang for the buck in IT, and even lower for information security.
    A+, Network+, CCNA, LFCS,
    Security+, eJPT, CySA+, PenTest+,
    Cisco CyberOps, GCIH, VHL,
    In progress: OSCP
  • ihaveaquestionihaveaquestion Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi IBrokeIT,

    Thank you very much for you response.  Right now my plan is to get Comptia Security+ and Network+ and hopefully find an internship somewhere or offer to work for free for a limited amount of time for a company to get some experience.
  • ihaveaquestionihaveaquestion Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi Yoba222,

    That has been the majority of opinions that I have heard here and other places.  Thanks for saving me time and money!
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Teradata Assc 16, CSM, MS Access 2016, 2019 Member Posts: 2,587 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Hi Yoba222,

    That has been the majority of opinions that I have heard here and other places.  Thanks for saving me time and money!

    Sounds like you already have a bachelors, check...   May I ask what's it in?

    What tech experience do you have?  Previously

    What type of work can you do for free?  I think you mentioned being able to do that for a while?

    These would help a lot.  As far as the Japanese market goes I would assume you could pick up a job there if you have good English.  With the follow the sun model you might be able to provide 3rd shift support for the US for a Japanese company.  
  • ihaveaquestionihaveaquestion Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□

    I have two bachelors degrees but neither one is in a related field to IT.  I have a Bachelors of Science in Computer animation so I can do some basic coding.

    I don' t have any professional experience but I have always been good with technology and I don't know if this is relevant or not but I have built many computers over the years and have a basic understanding of how operating systems and networks work.

    Once I have my Comptia security and network certifications I will look at what jobs might be relevant to and get in touch with those companies.  I am not sure what kind of work I can do for free with those certifications but I will look at companies that might be able to use people with those certifications and see if I can work something out.

    As far as language.  I am a native English speaker (from Seattle) and I can have basic conversations in Japanese.
  • KasorKasor Member Posts: 919 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Formal education provide you the theories and the mechanism of how IT management and the concepts.  It is always good to have the background as your career start to pick up. As for technical side of the house, it is a non-stop learning.  As other stated before, all depending on the location and supply/demand.
    Kill All Suffer T "o" ReBorn
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