Career Advice Tuesday – “Confusion”

November 9, 2010

Here is a question that we received – we have kept it unedited – we thought it would be a good idea for everyone to understand the type of confusion that others are going through when making these types of decisions around their careers.

Dear Infosecleaders:

I am currently active duty military and I want to finish my degree. I was considering Information Systems Security from AMU. I was wondering what you thought about this school it is regional accredited the link http://www.amu.apus.edu/academic/programs/degree/1279/bachelor-of-science-in-information-systems-security
 shows you the course curriculum, What do you think? Because I am active duty I am limited in the schools i can attend. I was wondering  if you could also give me some advice from start to finish what I should do if  I got my b.s. here;  I could get my ms here http://www.scs.gatech.edu/future/msinfosecdistance .  Any advice on certificates? I have a secret clearance and i am hoping to get a top secret one  hoping this will help me with possible job opportunities when I get out.  I eventually want to be a CISO.
 
I was also thinking about Information systems management trying to get both degrees at the same time
 
Should i just stick to one and then try to get my masters or due both?
 
I’m so confused any help will be appreciated.

Sincerely,

All Over The Map

Dear “Career Explorer”:

I think that the best advice that we can provide to you would be to slow down and collect yourself.  Your questions had such broad range, that in the end, we feel that it would be better for us to answer them strategically, as opposed to tactically.   The journey that you took us on from the beginning of the paragraph, began with education, then advanced education, evaluation of schools, certification, clearance, and ended wiht the statement that ” I eventually want to be a CISO.”

You are in the process of making some very critical decisions here, that may or may not be as intertwined as you believe.   For example, I am not sure if you want to combine your undergraduate education with your pursuit of a masters degree.   Your desire for specific knowledge may change significantly during your undergraduate years, and locking yourself into a masters program at the onset, may turn out to be counterproductive. 

In addition, you speak about getting clearances, which would be great if you would like to pursue a career as a government CISO, but may not have much value if you decide to pursue a career in business.  

The best advice that we can give you is to begin slowly, focus on a targeted pursuit of one specific career goal, and maximize it.  Instead of pursuing additional education, it may be best to get some more relevant experience so that you can compliment your education with practical knowledge.   By being in the military, you should be able to easily pursue advanced clearances if you like, but you may want to focus more energy on industry certifications, that can brand you better toward the commercial world.

It is great that you have so much energy and desire to achieve (do not let us temper that enthusiasm) but you need to make sure that you are equally efficient in your pursuits.   I think that if you take a more targeted approach to your career development, you will be able to build the skill, experience, and educational foundation that will unlock career opportunities as you pursue your ultimate career goal.

We know that we did not answer your questions directly, but hopefully we provided you with a framework and a thought process for you to make your decisions.

Please follow up with us if we can provide more clarity.

Sincerely,

Lee and Mike

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Career Advice Tuesday 

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