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Computer Science or Information Assurace?

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rattis

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Post Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:49 pm

Computer Science or Information Assurace?

After a couple of conversations on education going around here ,I've been wondering.

Which would most people here either get, or have?

I'm thinking of going back to finish a Bachelor, but haven't been able to decide on Information Assurance, or Computer Science / Engineering. I currently have an Associate's degree in Computer Information Systems. I haven't taken a college class in 5 years either.

I've looked at Eastern Michigan's IA program, but really don't want to take Criminal Justice classes.

I've thought about trying to get back into UofM (left after failing a year, working 50 miles from the campus didn't help) and going back into the Comp Sci (engineering school's program). But I'm not sure that's the right path either.
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KrisTeason

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Post Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:57 pm

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

You seem to be caught between the same two choices as I did coming out of high school. I had always wanted to be a programmer since 14, but around 2007 is when I got a hold of BT & my interest in the infosec arena grew. Being 17 and graduating soon after that I knew I had to make a choice.

I checked out the took a look at the list of jobs expected to grow substantially by 2014 and it helped me make my decision. I think it's good you have the AA/AS in CIS - your almost at your bachelors, I say go for it.

What I ended up choosing was Computer Science / Programming as a major. I figured with that background it may be somewhat easy to migrate over into the information assurance / security field after wards if I wanted to head there. This is a pretty hard choice, was tough on me too. Since you have the degree, I say put in the extra couple years to get the bachelors degree. I'd keep the interest in Comp Sci / Engineering too, maybe on the side study doing programming, etc maybe get some certs in that area so if you wanted to, you could possibly be employable in both areas!

Don't know if this has helped, but what ever you could take from it -  :)

Cheers,

kris
Last edited by KrisTeason on Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rattis

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Post Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:55 pm

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

Kris,

Part of the problem is I'm a network guy, with a lot of Linux administration. given my choice I'd only do Linux administration, but they keep giving me network work to do too. I can't stand programming and have very little desire to do any of it (it paid the bills for a year though).

Part of the problem is my age. I don't have the option to move back home with my parents, and I have to try to find things that will work around my full time work schedule.

Edit:
I've looked at the list, but still just not sure what I want to do. And I think that's part of the problem.
Last edited by rattis on Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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j0rDy

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Post Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:03 am

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

this is quite a hard descision, but also very simple:

a better education will open more doors for you. and the way i see it is that the focus area isnt that important. you can always specialize afterwards. i'd go with the most broad (computer related) education, and specialize afterwards. this will give you a solid foundation to build on. also see if they have the possibility to do it parttime because of work. it will probably take you longer but hey, thats the price you probably have to pay.
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vekarman

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Post Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:43 am

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

Hi Chrisj,

I agree with Kris to some extent when He says
I figured with that background it may be somewhat easy to migrate over into the information assurance / security field after wards if I wanted to head there.
Generally, IA and Security etc are top ups to basic understanding of computing architecture and sciences.

However, my suggestion at macro level would be, do what you love to do so that you would love whatever you do.

all the best.

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rattis

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Post Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:41 am

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

vekarman wrote:
However, my suggestion at macro level would be, do what you love to do so that you would love whatever you do.



If that was the case, I'd go back to Anthropology (My focus was on Underwater Archaeology). :)  However the job market is harder, and you really need a PhD to play in it.

I've been doing IT / Networking for 14 years now, but find it hard to get past HR without a BS right now (love bad economies) :)
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n1p

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Post Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:32 pm

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

Certainly seem to be a common pattern and in UK/Europe it is now common place to have a Bsc and an Msc to get your foot in the door. I am certainly glad I had my comp science degree and infosec Msc.

Has gotten me in front of the right people and allowed me to demonstrate my skillset and attributes..
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sgt_mjc

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Post Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:55 pm

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

Let me throw my two cents in here.  I have a bachelors in Software Engineering.  There have been times in the past two years that I wished that it had more programming in it.  However, it did give me a greater view of how projects and software comes together.  I stayed in school when I finished that and earned my masters with a concentration in IS.  I now work in that field as an auditor and enjoy it.  This is why I wish I had more programming though.  There have been times when it would have been nice to write a quick script or other to aid in the testing process or writing exploits. I would suggest, that you look at IA since you already have a bit of a CIS background.  Good luck with whatever you choose.

Oh, I did both my bachelors and masters in online programs.  That worked out well for me since I had a family and a full time job that I could not just drop to go back to school.
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binaryman

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Post Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:25 pm

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

chrisj wrote:I can't stand programming and have very little desire to do any of it (it paid the bills for a year though).


If you can't stand programming DO NOT go for Computer Science degree, you will be miserable. I think you get more respect with a Computer Science degree in this field, but there is a reason for it, it is a hard degree to complete. I bet only 10% of people who start out in CS graduate in CS (I know that was the percentage during the dotcom era, not sure what it is now). I really like programming and I struggled through my CS classes.

The only downside of not having CS is you will not become really good at security/pentesting unless you understand programming (exploits, scripting, web app testing). You can always learn programming on your own, but it isn't easy and for me anyway being forced to learn it in college (because I didn't want to have to pay my company back for getting a bad grade) helped it finally sink in.

Good luck!
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rattis

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Post Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:10 pm

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

@binaryman:

I can program, I aced all my programming classes, even tutored someone in my C class. This was back when I was in the Community College. It's not that I can't, I just find it mind numbingly boring.

As for programming for security / pen-testing, I might actually enjoy that. I find when I write the code for things I need, I enjoy it more.
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Ketchup

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Post Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:10 pm

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

Chris, that's key.  I took just about every language offered when I was in college.  I learned absolutely nothing.  When I finally found a few projects I was interested in years later, I re-learned just about everything.  It is only an opinion, but I believe that programming skills aren't taught, they are acquired over time.  The trick is to find something to write that will motivate you.  I often forget to eat, sleep, bathe, etc when I write code.
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vekarman

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Post Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:48 am

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

I'd go back to Anthropology (My focus was on Underwater Archaeology).
!!!

That sounds great!!

But it is also noteworthy that you have spent 14 years in networking/IT. That is a lot of experience, man. Now, when you plan to do BS, things at college will look so smooth. Plus, it will also give you a different view of what you were doing since 14 years. In all, it is going to be a very good mix. To do a BS will not be difficult for you.

Before you join any college, just have a look at the curriculum, so that you do not face something which you do not like (like programming).

And, occasionally, go for scuba diving, for keeping in touch with your another interest area.

All the best.

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sgt_mjc

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Post Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:07 pm

Re: Computer Science or Information Assurace?

Ketchup wrote:Chris, that's key.  I took just about every language offered when I was in college.  I learned absolutely nothing.  When I finally found a few projects I was interested in years later, I re-learned just about everything.  It is only an opinion, but I believe that programming skills aren't taught, they are acquired over time.  The trick is to find something to write that will motivate you.  I often forget to eat, sleep, bathe, etc when I write code.


I had a problem this week with getting out of the office on time because I was writing a frickin batch script of all things.  When you enjoy what you do, time just flies.
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