It's official...I now have a graduate degree

2013. That was an interesting year for me. I started a new position in IT supervision/management. I started getting serious about my health and fitness. I decided to go back to school to earn a graduate degree. Wait. What? Why would a then 42-year-old man invest time and money to go back to school to obtain a piece of paper to just continue doing what I’ve already have been successful at doing for well over 17 years? Especially when I already had two degrees under my belt: an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Networking Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Management (not to mention a number of professional certifications as well).  Why, why, why?

The answer goes back to the early 2000’s. When I started in the IT field, it was extremely frustrating looking for a position without a degree. Could I do the work? Of course I could, but not having a degree usually meant my resume was passed over by many HR departments. So I eventually went back to school to earn both an Associates degree and a Bachelors degree. Having these degrees soon opened the door to positions that would otherwise have been unavailable to me.  As my interested in cybersecurity grew, I knew that I would need to increase my knowledge in that area to be effective. This is what influenced my decision to further my education with a graduate degree. So after a few months of researching different graduate cybersecurity programs, I choose Excelsior College.
Cybersecurity is an interesting area. You have to be passionate enough about the field to be aware of quickly changing technologies. Unlike other areas of IT, cybersecurity is not a mere 9AM to 5PM job that you can forget when you go home. Continual learning and stay abreast of constantly changing landscape of cybersecurity is key. While the debate over the value of college degrees in cybersecurity (as well as IT) will continue, I am a firm believer that a formal education is helpful in enhancing the capabilities of already talented IT professionals. Education not only boosts one’s job opportunities but also boost their experience…if done properly.

At the end of the day, I am going to make my newly earned degree that I worked hard for work for me as I continue my journey into the world of cybersecurity.