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Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

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jdchilders

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Post Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:16 am

Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

I'm looking at starting my masters career this fall in information security. I have the Security+ CE, and am sitting for CISSP July 16th. Just as an FYI, here's a couple of schools I'm looking at:

WGU
Bellevue University (in NE)
University of Nebraska - Omaha (Where i got my BS in MIS)

What are your opinions on the above? I'm very attracted to WGU because of the online classes, and the curriculum to aqcuire 6 industry certifications (that i wanted to get anyway, best of both worlds). However as most know, its only regionally accredited, and not nationally. The other two are nationally accredited.

Bellevue University offers a masters in cybersecurity and is nationally accredited (could transfer to any school anywhere) but is not an NSA Center for Academic Excellence (CAE). However it is completely online, and due to my schedule online classes provide the best possible means for me to finish the fastest. I would like to work for STRATCOM (DoD) here in nebraska, and bellevue university is in (obviously) Bellevue, and is the same location of STRATCOM, so I would assume they have ties.

University of Nebraska - Omaha is starting their new Masters of InfoSec and Assurance this fall (they already have an IA/IS bachelors) and they are an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in IA school. However almost all are sit-in physically there classes, and as stated before, due to my obscene schedule, would provide the hardest to schedule/longest to complete solution.

And so i'm curious, how in depth, or how much do employers look at the colleges, and how often does it carry weight? With WGU being only regionally accredited but with 6 certifications, would it cause me to miss opportunity that I would otherwise have with a nationally accredited school, but with out certifications?

I know I probably rambled through most of this so please allow me to clarify if anything does not make sense.
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tturner

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Post Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:23 am

Re: Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

Regionally accredited > Nationally accredited

It's counterintuitive I know, but that alone would make my choice for me. Don't waste time with a nationally accredited (NA) school, but if your undergrad was at a NA school you may have some difficulties with RA schools accepting your undergrad work. Some employers may also frown on a NA degree but in my experience most don't really care.

Evey major university is RA
The for profit charlatan schools and tech colleges are typically NA

*Edit* all 3 of those schools are regionally accredited. Need to find different criteria :)

http://www.bellevue.edu/about/accreditation.aspx

http://www.unomaha.edu/graduate/accreditation.php?t=h

http://www.wgu.edu/about_WGU/accreditation

I have no personal experience with any of these schools, just wanted to touch base on the accreditation issues.
Last edited by tturner on Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jdchilders

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Post Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:36 am

Re: Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

From what I understand, WGU is only regionally accredited by 5 accrediation criteria....IE i would most likely NOT be able to transfer credits from WGU to any other school.

Where as the other two would accept transfer to pretty much all 50 states, WGU would only be accepted in 19.

WGU just isn't a 'traditional' school, and probably not as nearly well known.

Or is a 'Masters Degree' simply a 'Masters Degree', to employers, end of story?
Last edited by jdchilders on Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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ziggy_567

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Post Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

You're coming at from the wrong angle...don't look at it as which school can I get the degree from the fastest and with the fewest headaches. Instead, find the school that matches up with what you want to accomplish.

There are tons of schools out there offering IA degrees. There are even a few now that are Regionally Accredited and are NSA  Centers of Excellence that offer online options. However, as with pretty much any educational endeavor...you get out of it what you put into it. You will be more motivated to participate and really learn, if you're excited about the program of study.

Beyond that, the logistics of it all can be worked out with creativity and patience.

Good luck!
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doodleface

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Post Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:20 am

Re: Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

I agree with Ziggy, you need to go to the school which is aligned with what you are trying to accomplish in the long term.

In regards to the schools themselves, I am currently attending UNO in the IA program and I would say it is so so. The education is actually quite good, but given my already vast experience, I have not learned a ton from the curriculum yet, but I have learned a ton from the experience of a few of the professors which in my opinion has paid for itself.

UNO's IA program is very much focused on the theoretical when it comes to technology, which is fine if you want to have a general understanding of how things work and have that understanding transcend any technology.

UNO will take you longer to complete, since it is a traditional school.

Bellevue University will take less time to complete the programs. I have a colleague who is attending the Infosec program there and he will complete the program in a little over a year taking three classes a semester. The Accreditation is less at Bellevue, but aside from credit transfer, unless you plan on trying to get a PhD at a Carnegie Melon type of school, Bellevue Universities Accreditation is fine.

Bellevue University focuses primarily on practical knowledge, so you will have more hands on knowledge to help you do your job when you are done.

As far as the content of the classes in the infosec program at Bellevue, based on the experience of two of my friends, you will learn a lot. If you have a solid understanding of networking and have been to, for instance the SANS GSEC course, you will be ahead of most of your classmates and the classes you are taking. Just keep that in mind.

I think both schools are good if you know what you want to accomplish, I wanted to have international connections while attending school, and keep my doors open for a PhD at a state university down the road. I also wanted to tap into some of these professors vast experience. I also wanted the in class experience as much as possible. That is why I chose UNO.

Find what suits you and go for it. I hope this helps.
Last edited by doodleface on Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
CISSP, OSCP, C|EH, E|CSA, C|HFI, GXPN, GWAPT, GCIH, GISP, GSEC, MCITP:EA, CCNA, FCT, FCNSP, JNCIA, JNCIA-FWV, MCSE Security, A+, Net+, Server+, Security+
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jdchilders

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Post Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:34 am

Re: Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

doodleface wrote:I agree with Ziggy, you need to go to the school which is aligned with what you are trying to accomplish in the long term.

In regards to the schools themselves, I am currently attending UNO in the IA program and I would say it is so so. The education is actually quite good, but given my already vast experience, I have not learned a ton from the curriculum yet, but I have learned a ton from the experience of a few of the professors which in my opinion has paid for itself.

UNO's IA program is very much focused on the theoretical when it comes to technology, which is fine if you want to have a general understanding of how things work and have that understanding transcend any technology.

UNO will take you longer to complete, since it is a traditional school.

Bellevue University will take less time to complete the programs. I have a colleague who is attending the Infosec program there and he will complete the program in a little over a year taking three classes a semester. The Accreditation is less at Bellevue, but aside from credit transfer, unless you plan on trying to get a PhD at a Carnegie Melon type of school, Bellevue Universities Accreditation is fine.

Bellevue University focuses primarily on practical knowledge, so you will have more hands on knowledge to help you do your job when you are done.

As far as the content of the classes in the infosec program at Bellevue, based on the experience of two of my friends, you will learn a lot. If you have a solid understanding of networking and have been to, for instance the SANS GSEC course, you will be ahead of most of your classmates and the classes you are taking. Just keep that in mind.

I think both schools are good if you know what you want to accomplish, I wanted to have international connections while attending school, and keep my doors open for a PhD at a state university down the road. I also wanted to tap into some of these professors vast experience. I also wanted the in class experience as much as possible. That is why I chose UNO.

Find what suits you and go for it. I hope this helps.



Are we talking about University of Nebraska - Omaha?  I take it your int he bachelors program, since the master's isnt live yet...its set for an optimistic release of this fall, but will probably end up being next year....?
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ronw123

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Post Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:04 pm

Re: Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

It's important that you find the right fit for your education. You need a program that will help you down your career path and that shows a positive ROI.

Bellevue University provides a Cybersecurity program developed and taught by security professionals for security professionals.  It balances the theorectical with the practical.  Much of the work is based on actual case studies.  We really embrace "Real Learning for Real Life."

Now for my disclosure: I'm the program director for CyberSecurity at Bellevue University. Only recently have I entered academia, so I take my experiences from many organizations and use it in the classroom.

I understand you're concerned about the NSA CAE accreditation.  We are working at achieving that as soon as possible. They are changing their certification procedures. As soon as they're ready, we'll be moving forward in achieving the NSA CAE standard.

Feel free to contact me at ronw2007@gmail.com with any questions about the program.  I enjoy interacting with students and prospective students on it or other security matters.
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doodleface

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Post Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:54 pm

Re: Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

I am talking about University Nebraska Omaha. I am in the NUCIA program which is the Information Assurance program. The program which is to go live at UNO hopefully this fall is the Infosec program.
CISSP, OSCP, C|EH, E|CSA, C|HFI, GXPN, GWAPT, GCIH, GISP, GSEC, MCITP:EA, CCNA, FCT, FCNSP, JNCIA, JNCIA-FWV, MCSE Security, A+, Net+, Server+, Security+
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jdchilders

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Post Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:30 pm

Re: Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

Ah, so you must actually be CS or MIS with a concentration then.  How you liking it so far?
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jdchilders

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Post Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:23 am

Re: Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

In regard to the NSA CAE certification:

From what I understand NSA certification is a two part process
part 1 is getting the CNSS to certify curriculum
part 2 is mapping coursework to an NSA list to get the complete CAE

WGU has part one of this complete, and from what i understand, working on part 2. For me at least this is a big plus.

Thoughts?
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doodleface

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Post Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:04 pm

Re: Advice on Masters Program, and Employment

Apologies for the delay in response. Yes I am in the MIS with a concentration. I am enjoying it, mostly through the learning from the experience of fellow peers and professors.

Most of the classes I have taken have stretched my knowledge, some have not which is OK, but the classes overall are good thus far. Only one class requires some updating from my perspective, but it was still an informative class.
CISSP, OSCP, C|EH, E|CSA, C|HFI, GXPN, GWAPT, GCIH, GISP, GSEC, MCITP:EA, CCNA, FCT, FCNSP, JNCIA, JNCIA-FWV, MCSE Security, A+, Net+, Server+, Security+

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