Certification or Masters Degree?

ComputerbeginnerComputerbeginner Posts: 2Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello Everyone!
I am completely lost and need some advice. Currently 23 years old with a bachelors degree in something that is NON IT related. I am looking to switch into the IT field. Currently taking graduate classes in forensic science-high tech crime. (Basically cyber security)... My question is, is a masters degree in that worth it? Or should I just get certifications since I already have a bachelors degree. The masters degreee is 10 classes however when I finish I won’t have any certs. I will have to go to my local community college to get certified in whatever I choose to pursue. I’m Scheduled to graduate with my masters in May of 2019. But by that time I could be doing certs now and possibly be employeed by then.
Any advice is greatly appreciated it!


  • SuperLT09SuperLT09 Posts: 31Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    If I was in your shoes, I would definitely study for the CompTIA A+, Net+, and Sec+ (in that order) while I'm still in school. This can only be a successful process if you stay consistent with your study plan. Your school might even have a program that allows you to receive testing vouchers for free or a discounted price. Second, are there any mandatory hands-on labs that are required for your Masters Degree? This would be a great time to coordinate with your fellow classmates, and build a lab that allows you to get the entry level practice that's needed. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!! In March I completed my second Masters in Cyber Security Technology from the University of Maryland University College. I'm currently an Active Duty Captain in the US Army who works crazy hours, my wife is four months pregnant on bed rest, and I have a spoiled Boxer puppy who think she runs my household. Just remember, everything takes time but you have to be persistent.
    2018 Goals: CISSP (JUNE), MSCA Server 2016 (SEPTEMBER), CISM (DECEMBER), Need to learn Linux and Python

    2019 Goals: OSCP, Transferring to the Army Cyber Branch
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Posts: 2,209Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    An MS with no IT experience is not a good idea, I wish people would stop suggesting this. I imagine you're paying out of pocket for this too?

    What is your current BS in? Can you link the MS program that you're doing?
  • shochanshochan Senior Member ARPosts: 786Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    You might look up WGU.edu and pursue your Masters in IT - Probably a lot of your credits will transfer & they basically use certifications as course materials.
    2019 goals -> CEH (Feb), RHCSA (Dec)

    "It's not good when it's done, it's done when it's good" ~ Danny Carey
  • yoba222yoba222 Posts: 892Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    All by itself, the only thing a master's degree in criminal justice is going to get you is student loan debt.

    Look at some online job postings and aim to get what they're asking for.
    Obtained: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | CySA+ | PenTest+ | CAPM | eJPT | CCNA R&S | CCNA CyberOps | GCIH | LFCS
    2018: Virtual Hacking Labs
    2019: eCPPT &/or OSCP | CISSP
  • EANxEANx Posts: 959Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Generally, people with a Master's Degree but no certs or experience fall into two categories, helpdesk tech or cybersecurity compliance analyst (cyber sec paperwork monkey). If you want to get into hands-on IT, get some certs.
    2018: CCIE Written (R/S) (done - Jan), CCIE R/S
    After that: MBA, OSCP
  • mzx380mzx380 This site changed my life New YorkPosts: 449Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Have to agree with all the posters above
    If you have a non-IT degree and no experience, a masters will not help you get your foot in the door. Do some certifications to aid in your job search and then pursue grad school once you've planted your roots.
    Certifications: ITIL, ACA, CCNA, Linux+, VCP-DCV, PMP, PMI-ACP
    Currently Working On: Microsoft 70-761 (SQL Server)
  • gerardbgerardb Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    You do need some certs like Security+ and Network+. You should finish your Master though if you are this close. Degrees do not expire. The most important key to your success may be the people you know, so NETWORK!
  • PCTechLincPCTechLinc Senior Member King City, CAPosts: 587Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    A Master's Degree in any kind of IT program is more than likely going to assume that you have Bachelor's level knowledge of IT fundamentals. That being said, I would first go for the entry-level stuff that was mentioned before (A+, Net+, Security+, etc...). Once you have those under your belt, you will be ready to tackle the Master's level. I would still study as much as you can whenever you can so you don't find yourself struggling.
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
    Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance - Western Governors University
    Bachelor of Science in Network Administration - Western Governors University
    Associate of Applied Science x4 - Heald College
  • Icecube0045Icecube0045 Posts: 12Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    PCTechLinc;1143288 is absolutely correct. You will need to have the fundamentals down and a lot more experience under your belt before your masters degree will do any good. If anything, it may make you over qualified for many entry level positions.

    I have an associate and bachelors in IT. Im also working on a Digital Forensics Masters at the university of Central Florida with about a year left. I have 8 years of IT experience and am currently a sys admin at a local university. However, I have no REAL experience in IT security.Before I begin actively looking for a security role, I will still need to get the security+ in order to improve my chances.
  • thedudeabidesthedudeabides Posts: 88Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Why is there a duplicate of this thread in the General Certification forum?

    Anyways, get some certs. A lot of jobs require a bachelors degree to get past HR. Very few require a masters. Certs are going to be much more useful as you get your career going.
    2019 Goals: CCNP R&S
  • ITSec14ITSec14 Posts: 399Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Certs in the beginning to get you in the door quicker and gain experience. Seek a masters later once you reach a more senior/management level...and when a company is willing to pay for it.
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