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Is a masters degree worth it for information assurance?


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I am currently a sophomore studying Information Assurance, and have been thinking about a masters in it for a while. I want to go into cyber security (mainly dealing with malware and the like) and was wondering if a masters in information assurance would help or not. Most of the job descriptions I've looked at just say a bachelors and proficiency in python, c/c++, and assembly, with no mention of a masters. It seems like skills are valued over a degree, do you think this will change in the future? thanks.

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Depends on what you mean by "would help or not". Will a Master's help you get a better paying job that will keep paying better the rest of your career? Almost certainly, yes!


Will a Masters make you happier and provide better "job satisfaction"? Who knows?

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You can end up with huge student loans.  You can find that your school is not as widely accepted as you thought it would be.  You can find hiring managers who are prejudiced against the school, the degree they offer or the degree in general.  You can graduate right in the middle of a huge recession when jobs are fewer and salaries are less.  As you can tell, I am highlighting all of the negatives.  In my mind, school is there so you learn how to learn.  Once you do that, the degree shows staying power and little more.  Many will argue with me and that's fine.  Had I continued to get the higher degree, I would have walked right into a recession.  As it was, I had 1.5 years of experience by the time the recession cost me my first job, and I was still out of work for 2 months (which seemed like forever then).  I am currently in my 6th or 7th different career, all thanks to on-the-job training, determination, ability, drive and flat out luck.  There's nothing like experience once you have the foundation in place.  And you will never know that the degree hanging on someone's wall means that they ranked 2435th of 2440 in their graduating class!

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I meant would it really help me that much?

And again, it depends on what you mean by "would help or not". In other words, my answer does not change.

It seems like everyone is telling me that experience through out of class projects, internships, and research would help me more than a master's degree.

My guess is, none of them have their Master's. Talk to those with advanced degrees and get their opinions. As for internships and research - I've not heard of being able to do those unless you are in a degree program.

I think when speaking in generalities, gonzo brings up so very valid points. Certainly the degree program matters. A masters in basket weaving is not going help when seeking a cyber-security job.

And yes, there are some managers who are biased towards one school or another. But if the manager does not hire you because you went to a different school, you probably don't want to work for that company anyway.

The school does matter - it should be nationally accredited.

Once you get your degree, it is yours forever and it counts forever and they sit at the top of your resume forever. Yes, if you graduate near the bottom of your class, that will not be widely known. But if you graduate with honors, you can put that and your 3.x GPA on your resume too. Managers like staying power. It shows you can stick with a project to the end. That is important in IT work as much is contracting/consulting projects that last 1, 2 or 3 years then you move [hopefully] to a new contract (with a bunch more experience too). Manager's don't like people who quit half-way through projects.

NO DOUBT job experience is important. And certs are great too. But they expire. For example, I am fully certified for Novell 3.x. Big deal!  :( That was in 1991 and Novell 6.5 was superseded by Open Enterprise Server in 2005.

My own experience is I waited until I was in my late 30s to get my BS in Electronics Management. Upon graduation, I went from a supervisor in a electronics repair facility to a manager with a big bump in pay! The more schooling I got, the better jobs and more pay (and benefits too) I got.

Degree programs teach you task and time management. Those are important skills to have when managing projects andthe activities of subordinates.

It is not likely you will move into executive management in IT with advanced degrees UNLESS you invent something that makes you rich and you can form your own company.

Also, with a Masters, you can easily teach in your golden years. For you and this being a science degree, you could teach math, basic microelectronics, and management skills.

You can almost always fall back on a degree (if in an applicable career).


Much also depends on your current financial status. But IMO, if you can afford to complete your master's degree now, it will never be cheaper. And I know from experience, it is harder to go back to school than it is to complete school.


Ask yourself where do you want to be in your career and financially in 5, 10 years, or 15 years.

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