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Masters vs Certificates


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#1 egjk

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 01:34 PM

I'm looking to get a job in info/netsec. While I have (fairly) good programming skills (Python, Bash, Javascript) my undergraduate degree was in Korean.

 

I live in the UK and there are quite a few Masters degrees here that are recognised by GCHQ as good preparation for infosec careers. I know another girl who is almost exactly the same as me (language grad), only with less programming skills, who intends to take one of these Masters. However I also have a friend who has told me he got his entry level job without even having a single certificate and just knowing his stuff / doing well in interview.

 

I'm not an expert but I see the master as a kind thing you might complete and then be able to get some kind of theoretical position. The certificate (or just 'knowing your stuff') route is probably more about more practical skills. (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!)

 

I'm just curious to know what a lot of you think? I've done a bit of research in this topic and found that people generally are distrusting of recent graduates without a lot of practical knowledge (which makes perfect sense to me). Although I would love to do a practical kind of job, where I can also use my programming skills, I'm worried that it won't be as easy for me to go the same route as my male friend because I am a woman (and while I appreciate that you may not be sexist please don't try and tell me that sexism is dead because I experience it at work almost every day)

 

 I of course realise that even if I don't do a masters now it's still an option for me later in my career.

 

anyway, I'm posting here because I'd like to hear everyone else's opinions on these different paths or if anyone has some insight :)



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#2 egjk

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 02:52 PM

I found a really useful blog article on this exact topic, completely by accident:
https://tisiphone.net/2017/05/15/college-and-infosec-to-degree-or-not-to-degree/amp/
I hope it will be useful to anyone who stumbles upon this thread!

#3 GoofProg

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 03:24 PM

Get them both.  A certification will help protect you if you are challenged on credentials.  You know even the PC upgrade / install guy that gets $8.00 per hour has certifications.  So the master's degree will help you out because it proves you are more than a "PC gear head"



#4 Kilroy

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 03:45 PM

To get into IT you need, Degree, Certification, Experience.  The more of those three you have the easier it is to get a better paying job.  Once you start getting experience the certifications becomes less important, unless you work for a shop that requires X percentage of their people to be certified in Y.  You'll see that once you start gaining experience the more different the real world is from the certification world.

 

The degree and certifications will get you an interview.  Just having a degree may not.  Neither a degree nor certification are indicators of ability to apply knowledge in a real world environment.  However, they may get you an interview where you can showcase your talents.



#5 egjk

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 04:42 PM

Get them both.  A certification will help protect you if you are challenged on credentials.  You know even the PC upgrade / install guy that gets $8.00 per hour has certifications.  So the master's degree will help you out because it proves you are more than a "PC gear head"

good point, thanks! after reading the blog post I'm definitely setting my sights on doing a masters...



#6 egjk

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 04:45 PM

To get into IT you need, Degree, Certification, Experience.  The more of those three you have the easier it is to get a better paying job.  Once you start getting experience the certifications becomes less important, unless you work for a shop that requires X percentage of their people to be certified in Y.  You'll see that once you start gaining experience the more different the real world is from the certification world.

 

The degree and certifications will get you an interview.  Just having a degree may not.  Neither a degree nor certification are indicators of ability to apply knowledge in a real world environment.  However, they may get you an interview where you can showcase your talents.

Right, I am planning on applying for the Masters now, and in the mean time doing some certificate preparation, hopefully I'll have a bit of experience by the time I'm applying for jobs  :cherry:  at least enough to come across confidently in interviews!



#7 DelPomerinke

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 11:48 AM

Certificates are more useful to help land a IT Job and keep moving up, climbing the ladder.

Degrees often open doors to better paying Jobs.






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