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Degree vs Certificate

When comes to getting an education in the field of Cybersecurity, is it better to get a certificate in the field, such as the Comptia security+, or a bachelors degree in Cybersecurity. I want some thoughts on this question and want to know what do you have as your education when you start your Cybersecurity career.

#cybersecurity #career #college-major #higher-education

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Vikas’s Answer

Hello Somkid L,

Information Security/ Cybersecurity is a booming field of career, especially with the World is slowly becoming virtual.

To start a career in InfoSec/ CyberSec, first you need to obtain a bachelors' degree(usually 8-semester program) in Computer Sciences. When there's time to choose your electives in your bachelors' degree - pick the ones related to these. If you wish to further your studies with a Masters' degree, please try to enroll for colleges/ Universities which offers special track to obtain InfoSec/ CyberSec specialization, usually a 4-semesters program. Within CyberSec/ InfoSec - there are sub-domains you can pick - like data security and privacy, network security, etc.

Once you start working in a related job, you have more options even - you may go in for CISA (Certified Information Security Auditor), CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) offered by ISACA. These certifications are valued by the employers into this domain. CompTIA is great to add to your resume. Obtaining additional certificates, diplomas would never hurt you, rather it shows your commitment to stay updated in this field.

I hope this answers your question, and do not hesitate to contact us, if you need further guidance.

Thank you,

Vikas K

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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Somkid,

I think the security field is right for you if you're aware enough to not use your real name on websites. :)

To add to Vikas' answer, I would just like to say that getting a certificate will only help you if the hiring manager thinks highly of the certificates. The same can be said of degrees, of course, but college degrees are widely accepted as legitimate and are respected just about everywhere. I have gotten the CompTIA A+ certificate and had friends who had other CompTIA certificates (Network+, etc), and I can say that a CompTIA certificate would not give an edge to a candidate if I were a hiring manager—I'm just convinced that CompTIA knowledge doesn't help you much in real-life situations.

So, I would urge you go for a degree instead. And if you happen to have time left over, I would nudge you to look at the open source community and see if you can help out a project in terms of security features. Working with an open source project is real-life experience that hiring managers would take seriously.

I wish you the best of luck!

--
Dexter
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Amy’s Answer

Hi Somkid,
Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand! Since it is critical to our national security, there are more and more options for pursing the field. Below are two that can help your explore your VERY SMART question: degree vs. certificate:

To explore while still in high school: the US National Security Agency and US National Science Foundation offer FREE Cybersecurity Summer Camp for teens all over the US. If you are interested in the field, they want to help you explore the career and decide whether it is a good fit for you. They partner with local community colleges, so there are many locations. Application deadlines have passed this year, but consider it for next year. You can find the info and locations at https://www.gen-cyber.com/ .

To find degree and certificate programs: look at the community colleges in your area. Investigate the career paths of graduates. Many of the community college programs - especially the ones who offer the NSA-NSF camp - now offer 2-year AA/S degrees in Cybersecurity or Information security. Many 4-year colleges have BA/S degrees in the field. In some cases, you can find a 2-year AA/S program that transfers directly into a BA/S program; since community college tuition is cheaper (and many local students live at home), you can save A LOT of money!

I strongly encourage you to consider a college degree as it can open up so many opportunities in this field and life. If you are interested but concerned about finances or grades, or whatever, talk to your high school, college or community college advisors. There are so many programs and services to help! That said, college is not the best choice for every career or individual. But if you want to go, you CAN DO IT!

Good luck to you!
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Lauren’s Answer

There are many different paths to get into a Cybersecurity career. At Snyk, we’ve had people join us via paths such as working for their countries military and then people who have got a degree in a completely unrelated field and taken a course with a company such as ‘Makers Academy’. We also have senior team members who have no degree whatsoever and have worked their way up - such is the nature of Tech being a relatively new field compared to other career paths.

In terms of getting a degree - it is always advisable to continue your education to this level as you will give yourself a good baseline for moving into the workplace after graduation. Taking a degree in a specific field could potentially be a faster track post graduation as you would have got a good understanding of your field and potential employers may see that as valuable.
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Aloysius’s Answer

Heya Somkid, you've got some great inputs from Vikas' response. I really liked your question and to add to that- you could look at the trade off between a full fledged commitment a bachelor's or formal education demands v/s weighing out what a certificate program can bring. Cybersecurity is a vast area of practice within which finding the specific attractions/passion is where I'd suggest you go. A certificate course could also be an approach of "crawl", "walk" and "run" by which time you'd understand your passion, opportunities and perhaps go full throttle for a formal education. Thought this could also be a pragmatic way to look at approaching things. That said, if you headed to find the first job that comes your way in Cybersecurity, please ensure you select specific certificate courses that are advertised in job postings in locations you're interested in.

Good luck and keep us informed on what you decide.

Best wishes,
Al
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