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[Question] University for IT Major or Certifications (Québec, Canada)


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#1 Aura

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 03:01 AM

Hello Bleepers (I have NO idea of if this is how you're being called, but I'll take a chance :P )

So I'm currently awaiting my final semester in Cégep in an IT program. To sum it up, Cégep is a school institution unique to Québec and you have to go through it before reaching University. For more information, you can read the Wikipedia's article here. Basically, I've always told myself that I want to go to University once I'll be done Cégep, however, after looking up many Universities, I noticed one thing : in Québec, there's no real University Major in IT that is oriented towards "IT Security", like there is in the United States. IT Security is what I want to do later on in life, I want it to be my job and my life. However, it doesn't seems like it's possible to get a major in it in a Québec's University. So I thought that instead, maybe I should aim for certifications instead that would give me the same kind of experience or look good on my CV to get jobs related in the field.

My question here is basically between the options I have, which one is the most viable : major in IT in University, even if it's not oriented towards IT Security or work towards certifications (generals and security ones) instead? Also, which certifications should I be looking at? From what a lot of people told me, I would be ready to take the CompTIA A+ one without studying, but you know people ... I doubt I can actually take it without studying first as despite the "immense" knowledge I have (according to some people), some things are just not that easy in life.

I'm just a bit lost in here and would like some advice, or if some people that are actually working in the field could share their experience with me to help me decide.

Thank you :)

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#2 Kilroy

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 06:12 AM

I don't know what employers are looking for in Canada.  Here in the US a lot of the job request/require a degree.  If you want to start higher up you're going to want to have both a degree and certifications.  If you are willing to start at the bottom you can do it with certifications.  You're not going to jump into a security role with just certifications, and possibly not with a degree and certifications.

 

I highly recommend studying for any certification as you will have pay again if you fail to pass.  Even though I had been working for over five years in PC repair I didn't work on laser printers and that was part of the A+ certification.  While I may have passed without knowing anything about laser printers having that knowledge ensured that I passed.

 

As far as what certifications:

 

CompTIA A+

CompTIA Network+

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Server+

CompTIA Linux+

CompTIA Mobility+

 

You can specialize in a specific security or be more general.  If you want to work with Microsoft you'll want to certify on at least Workstation and Server.  As you can see there is a lot to learn.



#3 Aura

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 05:38 PM

Thank you for the advice Kilroy :) You listed CompTIA certifications, a few of which I'm interested in taking. I just have to search more on how their classes work and if I can fit them with my work schedule, as I want to start working on them as soon as possible. At least, the A+ and Network+ ones.

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#4 DeimosChaos

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 02:00 PM

Hey Aura,

 

I actually just graduated with a bachelors in Computer Security from Drexel University (located in Philadelphia PA, US). The Certs that Kilroy listed are great ones, I'm acutally going to be doing some of these in the near future myself. One Cert that is also very good to have (though you have to have 5 years experience in a IT related field to qualify for the full Cert) is the CISSP. Getting my CISSP is my eventual goal in the next couple years.

 

A suggestion about getting a degree. It is definitely important to get a degree, as Kilroy stated most jobs are looking for that bachelors degree anymore. Since there are not any Universities there that have a security degree maybe you can take online courses from a university that is located here in the US? I am not sure how that works if you are out of the country, or if it works at all. Would be a worth taking a look and contacting some to see if they take out of country students for online courses.

 

Good luck!


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#5 Aura

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 10:08 AM

Hey Aura,
 
I actually just graduated with a bachelors in Computer Security from Drexel University (located in Philadelphia PA, US). The Certs that Kilroy listed are great ones, I'm acutally going to be doing some of these in the near future myself. One Cert that is also very good to have (though you have to have 5 years experience in a IT related field to qualify for the full Cert) is the CISSP. Getting my CISSP is my eventual goal in the next couple years.
 
A suggestion about getting a degree. It is definitely important to get a degree, as Kilroy stated most jobs are looking for that bachelors degree anymore. Since there are not any Universities there that have a security degree maybe you can take online courses from a university that is located here in the US? I am not sure how that works if you are out of the country, or if it works at all. Would be a worth taking a look and contacting some to see if they take out of country students for online courses.
 
Good luck!


Sorry for the late answer Deimos. I would have to look into that (taking online University courses), as I don't know if it's possible to take US courses when you are in Québec (well, when you are in another country). I'm really split into the degree and the certifications, since I know that if I go to University and the program isn't Security-oriented I'll be less tempted to complete it. If there's one thing Québec isn't innovative on is really IT Security, I wish at least one popular University would offer a degree in it.

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