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Is a masters degree worth it for information assurance?


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#1 DrShade

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Posted 14 September 2015 - 10:32 AM

I am currently a sophomore studying Information Assurance, and have been thinking about a masters in it for a while. I want to go into cyber security (mainly dealing with malware and the like) and was wondering if a masters in information assurance would help or not. Most of the job descriptions I've looked at just say a bachelors and proficiency in python, c/c++, and assembly, with no mention of a masters. It seems like skills are valued over a degree, do you think this will change in the future? thanks.



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#2 Didier Stevens

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Posted 14 September 2015 - 03:58 PM

Are you living in the US?


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#3 Riemann

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Posted 15 September 2015 - 01:42 PM

[Disclaimer: I have an MSIA]

 

I think the answer to this question depends on a lot of things. There are tons of pros and cons. I don't regret my MSIA for a second and it definitely helped me land my first job. In InfoSec though, the biggest considerations depend on who's doing the hiring. For malware analysis specifically, I don't think an MSIA will get you from A-Z. You definitely won't develop the technical skills needed to do the job through the curriculum alone, but you might fill some information gaps. I think the biggest benefit would be if you landed somewhere where you have some freedom to do research and work with a professor with a strong background in malware analysis/reversal. You'd probably get a lot more time to develop skills an focus on this independently than you would with a full-time position.

 

If you aren't already, I'd suggest finding and getting involved with a local security meet-up. There are several national organizations that might meet near you like 2600, OWASP, ISSA, and other local groups. Network as much as you can at the meetups and at regional cons (like a local BSides, or DerbyCon, ThotCon, etc). A lot of cons offer student discounts and you can probably couch surf if you're resourceful and broke (like I was in college). Find people working in the field, ask them the same question. Since they'll likely be in your region, they should have a good feel for how a degree like this is valued near you. You'll also develop a good set of people to call/contact when you're ready to find a job and that's just as important as skill or experience.

 

Sorry for not giving a more definite yes/no answer, but I hope this helps.



#4 DrShade

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Posted 15 September 2015 - 07:36 PM

Are you living in the US?

Yes.



#5 Didier Stevens

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Posted 16 September 2015 - 12:47 PM

 

Are you living in the US?

Yes.

 

 

Sorry, can't help you then, have no experience with IT security job market in US.


Didier Stevens
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#6 DeimosChaos

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Posted 16 September 2015 - 01:11 PM

I have a BS in Computer Security, and from looking around at jobs and such in the US, you would want a Masters if you were to want to land 'C' level jobs. Other than that a bachelors and some certs will take you pretty far.


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