Computer Security Certification and/or Degree

Career Development
Just wondering whether certification and/or an advanced degree in computer security would be most beneficial for career enhancement. Any opinions?

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Dear dbgomi:

This is a question I field all the time. The real answer to the question is that employers like job or promotion candidates to have both degrees (including advanced degrees) AND certifications, rather than having to favor one over the other. That said, for many certifications, a degree (especially MA or PhD) probably has more value simply because it takes longer and costs more to obtain and is thus an indicator of an ability to do more and deliver more over a longer period of time. This doesn’t apply to real nonpareils certs such as CCIE, SAP/R3, high-level DBMS credentials, protocol analysis credentials or other highly technical certs that also happen to be in pretty high demand.

Thus, the real anwer to your question starts with the two word phrase that so often applies to real-world questions and situation–namely: “That depends…” In this case, it very much depends on the job to which certs and/or degrees might apply, and the kind of criteria that the hiring company uses to select suitable job candidates. (For example, I worked for Schlumberger Research in the 1980s; they required that all job candidates have a Master’s or better, but didn’t care that mine was in Anthropology though I was hired for a programming job…go figure!).



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  • TeeKay44
    I have found that individuals knowledgeable in computer security are highly desirable. There are companies beign created solely to provide this service and colleges are offering programs targeted on this subject alone. With web traffic, vpn connections, wireless transactions, etc. growing at a rapid pace security has become number one for many companies and there don't appear to be enough highly qualified individuals available to provide this service.
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  • Dbgomi
    Thanks for your input. My B.S. is in Math, and I just spent five years, one class at a time, taking all of the deficiencies and prerequisites to start an M.S. in Computer Science. I've got too much invested to give up now, so I'm glad to hear it will still be worth it when I'm done.
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