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RE: Re: University Degree or CISSP
From: "Michael J. Benedetto" <mbenedetto () amnh org>
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006 15:45:07 -0500

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I left college in my sophomore year (1991) to pursue a career in IT. There
were frankly just too many opportunities (and too much money) to pass up. I
had a good amount of knowledge in IT already, but I got a CNE (Novell)
certification to open a few more doors. I started at the bottom, learned
everything I could, added more certifications (including a CISSP), worked my
way up the ranks, and have enjoyed an active career in IT.

Since I don't have a college degree there are and will most likely remain
some potential doors closed for me, but most places prefer the fact that I
have 15 years of experience and some key certifications. For me, a degree
just doesn't matter all that much.

That being said, I have returned to college and have begun grinding away at
a degree one class at a time. It will not hurt me to have a degree and I may
even learn something useful along the way. I am also pursuing other
certifications to further enhance my knowledge.

So, where do I stand on the degree vs. certification debate? It depends on
where you want to go in your career. Some jobs require degrees, some require
certifications, and some require both. Look at the various lists of job
postings and the requirements for the jobs. If you spot your dream job and
it requires a degree, get thee to college. If it requires certifications,
get them. Get both, and never look back if you are so inclined.

On a side note, after returning to college after 15 years in IT, you will
sometimes get to enjoy a sort of "rock star" status in some classes because
you are really "out there in the industry". This is especially true when you
are a CISSP forced to take a "Fundamentals of Information Security" class
taught by a professor that failed the CISSP exam.   :)

Michael J. Benedetto, CISSP
Associate Director of Information Technology
Network Systems and Information Security
American Museum of Natural History

- -----Original Message-----
From: Elizabeth Lewis [mailto:e.lewis () infosecurityconsult com] 
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 4:19 PM
To: 'Huang, John, GCM'; security-basics () securityfocus com
Subject: RE: Re: University Degree or CISSP

I have a degree in comp. sci. from Purdue University. *Go Boilermakers!* and
it is extremely valuable to ME, but in the REAL WORLD that I live in, when
employers ask about my education they ask about certs first. They seem to
care little about my bachelor's degree. They tell me "that's great" then in
the same breath they ask about certs and experience. It took me 4 years to
get the Purdue degree. And it is taking me another 4 to prep and get my
CISSP, due to the 4 years of experience requirement. So in short, it is NOT
a crazy discussion. You CAN compare the two, they both take 4 years, and
they both take a lot of dedication to achieve. I know A LOT of people who
have the degree, but would NEVER make it though a CISSP cert. maybe you are
one of them.  A CISSP is nothing to laugh off. . My advise to John Huang.
GET THEM BOTH. You won't regret it.


- -----Original Message-----
From: Ken Kousky [mailto:kkousky () ip3inc com] 
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 12:38 PM
To: 'Huang, John, GCM'; security-basics () securityfocus com
Subject: RE: Re: University Degree or CISSP

This is the craziest conversation I ever heard of - there is NO comparison
between a REAL degree and CISSP. CISSP is great, valuable and vital but it
isn't in any way comparable. 

Simply put, if you don't have a degree - get one and get the best one you

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