Degree or Certs/Experience?

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    • #1492
      p0et
      Participant

      This may have already been asked, but I don’t see it on the forum…  I have an opportunity to move to Finland and make use of their FREE TUITION.  If I go, it would take me another 2 – 4yrs and then graduate with an actual 4yr BSc Degree in Computer Science.  Currently, I have a 2yr College Diploma in Networking, about 5yrs of IT Support experience with my certs I have listed in my sig.

      My ultimate plan is to obtain a career in InfoSec/Pen-Testing. Do you think it’s worth my time to go to Finland and upgrade to a BSc degree or should I hang tight and keep applying for networking jobs to get more hands on experience and go that route?

      Thanks!

    • #13334
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Why not go? I assume the school you would go to has a good reputation. Most companies that are hiring pentesters are asking for at least a BS which of course is BS but what the heck.  Places like Finland have a mystique  in the hacker community because of people like Linus Torvald.  On the other hand, if you have a good friend that can give you into a well known company and you have some good certs, that can be enough. From there you can work hard to get a good rep and then hopefully down the road if you are lucky you might be able to write your own ticket.  If you dont have that connection, then get that BS. Who knows, you might fall in love with Finland and never come back, lol!

    • #13335
      monkeymind
      Participant

      If you haven’t already, you should look into whether or not your current degree and work experience would provide you with credits toward the BS.

      Free tuition? If it were me, I’d probably go for it – still building InfoSec skills while earning the CompSci degree.  Can you also work there while earning your degree? 

    • #13336
      p0et
      Participant

      Wow! Those are some very good points.  Thanks for writing!

      I don’t really know anyone who can get me into the InfoSec industry with a good company, so that option may be out.  I am currently working with a well known company but in a limited tech support role with no future really. 

      I’m not sure how to tell if the University has a good rep or not.  I’ll email them though and find out if any of my College Diploma can count towards the degree.

      I’m liking the idea of the free tuition but heard that it’s extremely hard to get any job at all in Finland if you’re not fluent in Finnish and have at least a Masters Degree. Those are the 2 min requirements for even scrubbing toilets!  If I can’t work there, I’ll probably run out of money just on rent and food while at the University.

    • #13337
      oleDB
      Participant

      Man, with your certs/experience I would think that you could at least get a contract gig in the security field. Is the job market pretty tough in Edmonton?

      BTW, if it were me, I would only go to Finland for school unless I really wanted to travel and loved Finland. Otherwise, if the only reason is the education, it might be better to get a job with a company that has tuition reimbursement.

    • #13338
      oyle
      Participant

      I don’t know, I got my BS in MIS from an online college in California. I found round-trip airfare to California, and they reimbursed me for my airfare if I would come out there and visit with them. Good thing I did, too, I found out I was signed up for the wrong major, I was signed up for Computer Science, which translates into programming. I am the world’s worst programmer.

      It wasn’t free tuition, but they counted what I already had towards the deg. Cost me about 2 grand, I went and did it in a Sallie Mae loan I’m still paying off. BUT I only had to do 5 online classes (and only 5 tests), AND a 75 pg minimum Final Report. I did my report on the possibility of terrorists using steganographic techniques in a post and pre-9/11 environment.

      They made me the offer to come back for a Master’s degree for $1500 (approx) and a 125 pg. min. Thesis. They also offer Doctorates for a 250 pg. min  report. (forget what they called it).

      Anyway, it only took me 8 months to do all of it. I had to pay $250.00 for the actual degree, it’s case, etc., which I didn’t like,  >:( But overall, I’m pretty happy with it. Not that’s it’s done anything for me, of course. I have a friend that has a PhD in Astrophysics, and all he can do is get a job teaching part-time at Kent State Univ. My friend says, “The ONLY degree that matters is 98.6”.  >:(

      Go for it, if you want, but if you’re lazy like me, Grin and opt for the conveinence  factor, look again at online colleges. Maybe your employer would help you with it, as long as you would be staying in the area, and not hopping off to Finland.

      Also: the laws in Finland are quite different from here in the States, I imagine. Would a degree from a Finnish University have the same ooommmph as a degree from a University here in the states? Something to think about.  ???

    • #13339
      BillV
      Participant

      Oyle, according to p0ets profile, he’s in Canada 😛

      I would hang tight where you are, unless you line up a job over there before you go that would make it worth it. Otherwise, just hang out where you’re at and keep looking. For what you want to do, I don’t think the degree is going to make a huge impact currently.

      I don’t know about Canada, but I just came across a very unique school in the US today. It actually has me thinking about going back to school. Maybe you should move into the states? 🙂

      The school is called Western Governors University (wgu.edu). Unlike most (all) schools, it is not credit based, it is competency based (and all online). What this basically means, is that you do not take a class on the basis of “credit hours.” Your overall objective is to become competent with the material. The tuition is very low, as it’s a non-profit University, at $5,600 per 6-month term. Within this 6-month term, you can either do the minimum required, or if you know your stuff, you can do as much as you want and significantly decrease the time taken to achieve your degree. Rather than taking boring classes, you can take the assessment tests (for the IT route, usually a certification exam, which they cover in the tuition cost) and prove that you know the material by passing the test. You then receive the certification, as well as pass the objective for that portion of the degree. Pretty cool huh?

    • #13340
      slimjim100
      Participant

      Nice post!  I also see they are able to take VA & GI Bill.

      Here is the info from there site:

      Regionally and Nationally Accredited
      Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, one of the major accrediting commissions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The Northwest Commission is also responsible for the accreditation of other major institutions such as the University of Washington, University of Oregon, Gonzaga University, University of Utah, University of Idaho, and BYU, to name just a few. Although regional accreditation is considered the highest form of accreditation, WGU is also nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).

      I will seriously look into this! Thanks venom77 for posting it.

      Brian

    • #13341
      BillV
      Participant

      Yeah man, no problem. This is definitely the coolest thing I’ve come across for school.

      What was ironic, is that an enrollment counselor at another college had told me to check out a third party website for scholarship info. That’s where I saw the ad for WGU.

    • #13342
      p0et
      Participant

      Thanks venom77 for the great post!  I’ll have a look at WGU and see what they have. Hopefully I can even put some of my certs towards a degree with them. My work does help with tuition at i think $3000 per year but I’d need to stay with them for another year and not sure if I want to do that.

      All I could get after graduating a few years ago was PC Repairs jobs and telephone/email tech support jobs with HP and Dell. Because of this, I need some good hands-on experience with routers, servers and administration, probably before jumping into a security job unfortunately.

      Just curious, Oyle, but what was the name of your online school in Cali?

    • #13343
      p0et
      Participant

      I just checked out WGU and unfortunately you need to be a US citizen. So that’s out for now…  :'(

    • #13344
      cleanwithit0607
      Participant

      Sorry to bring back an old thread. But, I just heard from someone that’s attending there on Techexams.net, that they’re about to be accredited by the NSA sometime. Not sure when, though.

      I’m seriously thinking about attending there. Anybody have any comments regarding this school?

    • #13345
      BillV
      Participant

      I don’t know anyone that’s attended any courses through them. I am just now trying to get enrolled in the local community college here to try and get an associates out of the way and then I’ll more than likely head over to WGU. I have not heard anything about it being accredited by NSA (assuming you mean the excellence in IA thing).

    • #13346
      cleanwithit0607
      Participant

      @BillV wrote:

      I don’t know anyone that’s attended any courses through them. I am just now trying to get enrolled in the local community college here to try and get an associates out of the way and then I’ll more than likely head over to WGU. I have not heard anything about it being accredited by NSA (assuming you mean the excellence in IA thing).

      Hey there, BillV. I’ll be done with my associates in June. I plan on starting there in September. I’m going to do the emphasis in IT-Security. I’m attracted to this school for several reasons; It’s regionally & nationally accredited, government recognized, and I receive credits for my certifications. They added Cisco to their curriculum, also.

      The main reason is, because, I screwed up and went to a private institution that’s costing me 23K just for an associates degree. Although, I did learn a lot, and the teachers were very good, but, it makes it very hard to transfer to a public university for a B.S, especially, if you don’t want to go for another four years. My school has an articulation plan with another private school with a degree in CS which would be another 30K, and it isn’t even Nationally accredited, Screw that. Living in Kentucky sucks. lol.

      Yes, you assumed correctly. I believe from what I read that this accreditation is a big deal. But, I’m awaiting response from a student attending, so I will give you more details as soon as I can!
      http://www.nsa.gov/ia/academic_outreach/nat_cae/index.shtml

      Sorry for the ramble. Just had Mountain Dew. haha

    • #13347
      rattis
      Participant

      BillV

      Did you run through the WGU at all? I’m looking at it and wondering if it’d be worth it. It’s hard to do undergrad while working full time. I’d love to go back and either finish my BS CompEng or do something else (Information Assurance?).

      Looked at WGU, and not sure if I want to play the get a degree based on the certs I have route.

    • #13348
      BillV
      Participant

      @chrisj wrote:

      BillV

      Did you run through the WGU at all? I’m looking at it and wondering if it’d be worth it. It’s hard to do undergrad while working full time. I’d love to go back and either finish my BS CompEng or do something else (Information Assurance?).

      Looked at WGU, and not sure if I want to play the get a degree based on the certs I have route.

      I’ve gone so far as talking with an admissions person there and came pretty close to enrolling but decided not to (financial reasons at the time).

      I’ve since decided that it’d be cheaper/easier to go to a community college and knock out the first 2 years and then transfer over to WGU. I liked what I heard from the counselor and the thing that gets my interest the most is that it’s competency-based instead of credit based. Something that allows me to work at my own pace and fly through as much as possible, as fast as possible, is definitely a plus in my book. The fact that certifications can earn you additional credit is a bonus.

      I would think it all depends on how you prefer to learn though. If you’re very independent and enjoy the self-study route then I’m sure it’d probably be a good match.

    • #13349
      sicks
      Participant

      I just wanted to say thanks for bringing WGU to my attention.  Finding that school may have changed my plan for school drastically.

      I was looking for something that would allow me to speed things up once I finish up these first 2 years at a community college, and this seems almost too good to be true.

    • #13350
      BillV
      Participant

      Awesome! If you go that route, let us know what you think of it.

    • #13351
      sicks
      Participant

      Definitely.  I’ve already reached out to them for some info, and once I receive that, I planned on talking to my school.  I think there are a few electives I can take to help with the transition into WGU.

      Prior to this, I was looking into the digital forensics program at URI.  I think this is a much better fit for me, however.  This also makes me feel a little better about putting off getting my CCNA, something I’d hoped to achieve last year, but couldn’t (family crisis derailed me.)

      And just a little background; I graduated in 2000 (well, Jan of 2001 actually.)  I went to a tech school called Full Sail (in Orlando, FL) in 2002 and got a “degree” in audio.  Obviously, that hasn’t done much for me, so a return to school has been looming for a while now.  I’m a network operator at present (going on 4 years now) and have also been in help desk, technical support and systems since coming back to NY from FL.

    • #13352
      BillV
      Participant

      That’s great 🙂 I found them pretty quick to respond and real helpful in my conversations with counselors at WGU – hopefully you have the same experience.

      Glad you found this site and some helpful information. Welcome to the community 😉

    • #13353
      kriscamaro68
      Participant

      Here is a link to another forum where quite a few members are attending WGU. Might find something useful in the posts.

      http://www.techexams.net/forums/jobs-degrees/51715-western-governors-university-questions-answers-threads-related-wgu.html

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