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I Need Advice In Reference To Getting A Degree Or Self Studying


Cayvman
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Hey all,

More or less what i want to know is from all of you in the security world, is it really worth it going to school and getting that piece of paper saying i did it? or does it really not matter when it comes to companies hiring for jobs like this? Im currently enrolled and completing a BS in what they call "cyber security" but its just a network/info sec BS degree.

I want to know more or less if its worth it or not. do you think i can study and get the same info and take the cert test and do just as well as someone with a degree? any info would be awesome.

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I think it is all dependant on your personality and what type of a job you want. If you a natural hacker, someone who regardless of their job or training will be constantly tinkering with things and experimenting, then I think you'd be better off doing a straight computer science degree. In that you will learn the fundamentals of computing and lots of background that you won't get in a security course. Your curiosity will add on top the security related stuff that you need. In job interviews you can then show that you've got a relivant degree but show your personal blog/podcast/tools to show that security is a passion rather than just a job.

If you are not a natural and just want to get into it as a career then do the degree, it will give you a good firm base to go in as a junior and slowly work your way up.

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Sadly ive heard alot of talk of people who are "natural "hackers"" being the ones who will get the security jobs over people with degrees. So is it even worth it for me...someone who is so committed and really loves this industry and wants to better myself but isnt a natural hacker and is trying to learn and be just as good or better then these people..do i really stand a chance?

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If you love it and really want to be in it then you are a natural hacker. You might not be very good but it sounds like you are a natural. It isn't about ability it is about passion.

When I'm interviewing I ask about interests and passions, I can train people up if they don't have skills but if someone is just looking for a 9-5 then doesn't matter how good they are then I'm not that bothered.

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So how do i know ill be able to learn enough to fight against people that have been doing this since they were like..12 lol. Im REALLY interested in Penn testing and things of that nature but other then school i dont know where to start. ive checked out the getting started post here and im going through the pod casts on there but other then that, what else can i do...i dont know the first thing about writing code or reading it or anything of that nature...i feel like...im someone that wants to fly a boeing airplane and all ive done is thrown a paper air plane lol HELP!

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In infosec a lot of times your work will speak louder than any degree, in this respect it's pretty different than other traditional fields. Things like papers, past projects, tools you've written, etc. Some security positions at big corporations will require degrees, but many pentesting firms will have a test that applicants need to pass, and if you pass that test you're in, degree or not.

IMO self learning, inside or outside a classroom, is the only way. Infosec pros need to be critical thinkers, something that can't be taught in a classroom.

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You won't just be competing against the guy who has been doing it since age 12 you'll also be up against the people who are coming out of uni with security degrees.

The first guy will get his pick of the jobs, then it is down to you and the rest of the students. If you show passion and the CS degree which will teach you all the basic skills then I would rather have you than someone who has the security degree but no passion.

You've got to start somewhere. Realise you'll never be the best but by showing interest then you'll gain respect and move up the lists. I know people in the industry whose skills are pretty mediocre but who have some very good jobs because they put the effort in, know what they know and don't and aren't afraid to learn, say they don't know or to delegate.

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In my opinion, the degree is worth it if for no other reason, it helps get you in the door for an interview. Hiring managers/recruiters may get a few hundred resumes for a job. That means they have to skim through them and pull out 'qualified candidates'. If you look at most job postings in the IT field, they will require some sort of degree. If the person in charge of hiring is trying to find the top 10 candidates, they may exclude you simply for not having a degree. So it won't matter how good you are or how much you enjoy it. You won't even get the interview.

I agree that from a skills point of view, you will learn more on your own than you could ever learn in a classroom. The unfortunate reality though is that without that piece of paper that says "I know what i'm doing" most people will pass you over.

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