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Which is better: Master / PhD or Industrial Certificate  

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chienchat
(@chienchat)
New Member

Hello everyone,

I am a junior professional in digital forensics industry, and I am eager to learn more to boost my career. Since there is no much support from my employer, I am looking for trainings and education by myself.

currently, I am facing two options go for industrial certificates, e.g. GIAC, EC-Council; or go for a MSc program, or even a PhD program. In terms of my situation, I have a MSc degree in CS, GCFA and CFE certificate.

Personally, I prefer to go for a PhD, as I do want to go deep, but I cannot find a good PhD program along work in Europe.

Then, I thought the MSc program at UCD might be a good choice, as it is based on distance learning. I also noticed that many digital forensic professional from Law enforcement are alumnis of this program.

The other choice is to invest on industrial certificate. The biggest problem is the expense. The trainings are expensive and most of them covers only a small part of the whole picture.

I hope someone who has went through this struggling can give me some advice.

Thanks a lot!

Quote
Posted : 02/07/2018 2:09 pm
bloodstripe75
(@bloodstripe75)
New Member

If I am reading correctly you already have a Masters? If that is the case I would save the money that a PhD would cost you and put that towards certificates. While they are expensive, it has been my experience that higher level degrees are really only good for starting out with a higher position, ie Government pay scales, or more money in general. I personally used my military benefits to get my education and found out after the fact that they cover certificates. Had I known that, I most likely would have forgone the MS in Digital Forensic Science for certificates.

If you really want a Masters look at Champlain College in Burlington Vermont as they have an awesome online program. I did both a BS and a MS and they took a lot of my classes from previous schools as transfers. The program is theoretical in nature and the thesis at the end is manageable. The program is also accelerated which allows for one class every 8 weeks. The are on a semester system so three sessions a year with an A part and B part which will get 2 classes done every 16 weeks semester.

Hope that helps…

Mike

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Posted : 02/07/2018 3:33 pm
AmNe5iA
(@amne5ia)
Active Member

I believe the UCD MSc is ONLY available to law enforcement. If you are Law Enforcement, you may be entitled to a bursary to cover some/all the cost of the degree if it is relevant to your area of work.

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Posted : 02/07/2018 3:53 pm
keydet89
(@keydet89)
Community Legend

I am a junior professional in digital forensics industry, and I am eager to learn more to boost my career. Since there is no much support from my employer, I am looking for trainings and education by myself.

currently, I am facing two options go for industrial certificates, e.g. GIAC, EC-Council; or go for a MSc program, or even a PhD program. In terms of my situation, I have a MSc degree in CS, GCFA and CFE certificate.

Why limit yourself to just those two options?

I think education is great, and powerful, but if you really want to learn about the DFIR industry, dive in. Do the work. Engage with others in the community.

Pick an aspect…malware RE, DF analysis of Mac systems, whatever…and do a deep dive. Strive to learn more and more about that topic. Engage with those you see as experts in those topics. Ask questions, learn. Then share what you learn, through a blog, presentations, a podcast, etc.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 03/07/2018 1:52 am
chienchat
(@chienchat)
New Member

If I am reading correctly you already have a Masters? If that is the case I would save the money that a PhD would cost you and put that towards certificates. While they are expensive, it has been my experience that higher level degrees are really only good for starting out with a higher position, ie Government pay scales, or more money in general. I personally used my military benefits to get my education and found out after the fact that they cover certificates. Had I known that, I most likely would have forgone the MS in Digital Forensic Science for certificates.

If you really want a Masters look at Champlain College in Burlington Vermont as they have an awesome online program. I did both a BS and a MS and they took a lot of my classes from previous schools as transfers. The program is theoretical in nature and the thesis at the end is manageable. The program is also accelerated which allows for one class every 8 weeks. The are on a semester system so three sessions a year with an A part and B part which will get 2 classes done every 16 weeks semester.

Hope that helps…

Mike

Thanks a lot Mike, I will have a look at the Champlain College programs.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 03/07/2018 9:45 am
chienchat
(@chienchat)
New Member

I believe the UCD MSc is ONLY available to law enforcement. If you are Law Enforcement, you may be entitled to a bursary to cover some/all the cost of the degree if it is relevant to your area of work.

I am working in law enforecement, and I also checked with UCD to make sure I am eligible for the program. The problem is that my employer will not sponsor my study so I want to ask someone who followed the program whether it is a good option to invest on.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 03/07/2018 9:48 am
chienchat
(@chienchat)
New Member

I am a junior professional in digital forensics industry, and I am eager to learn more to boost my career. Since there is no much support from my employer, I am looking for trainings and education by myself.

currently, I am facing two options go for industrial certificates, e.g. GIAC, EC-Council; or go for a MSc program, or even a PhD program. In terms of my situation, I have a MSc degree in CS, GCFA and CFE certificate.

Why limit yourself to just those two options?

I think education is great, and powerful, but if you really want to learn about the DFIR industry, dive in. Do the work. Engage with others in the community.

Pick an aspect…malware RE, DF analysis of Mac systems, whatever…and do a deep dive. Strive to learn more and more about that topic. Engage with those you see as experts in those topics. Ask questions, learn. Then share what you learn, through a blog, presentations, a podcast, etc.

I agree with you, there are lots of resources online. Actually I have followed some of these resources, and I found they are quite useful. I should have mentioned that my question is posed on top of following blogs, absorbing new skills and techniques. I will definitely continue doing so, and meanwhile, in the scope of my question, do you have any advice.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 03/07/2018 9:56 am
MDCR
 MDCR
(@mdcr)
Active Member

+1 on the "tinker at home" thing.

Also, create stuff scripts. full programs, procedures, research. Things you can show to an employer.

Your ability to produce something is more important to some employers. Certificates are mostly interesting for consultancy firms.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 03/07/2018 11:44 am
randomaccess
(@randomaccess)
Active Member

Save your money and set your own study schedule
Deep dive without the phd, since the phd is just a book that few people will read.

I'd say go the cert route, but even then those are limited.
Harlan's spot on, write things down and share your learning. Deep dive on multiple topics and you can really get the crux of the information for less money and a bit more effort by getting access to the tools you need, and documenting everything you can find.

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Posted : 03/07/2018 12:32 pm
keydet89
(@keydet89)
Community Legend

…in the scope of my question, do you have any advice.

Why, yes, I do…on my blog

http//windowsir.blogspot.com/2017/08/beyond-getting-started.html

That post includes links to others, that are equally valuable.

The issue that most folks have in the DFIR industry is that they're so overwhelmed at where to start, because there's so much _stuff_ out there. Network-based or host-based? MacOSX, Windows, Linux? Offense or defense? It's like trying to take a drink from a firehose.

You need to keep in mind that you're not going to boil the ocean all at once, so just start somewhere. The great thing is that you can figure out that you don't like it and move on, or dive deeper, and then expand outward.

However, all of the expertise you develop is completely worthless if you can't communicate, right? Start a blog. Document your experiences and what you learn. Learn to write. Share it with others, through your blog, through conference presentations, through a podcast, or whatever means works for you.

On the topic of blogging, do NOT get yourself into one of those "blog-a-day" challenges. Not everyone can do it successfully.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 03/07/2018 1:38 pm
bytethese
(@bytethese)
New Member

Personally, I wanted to get into forensics at at the time, I was finishing my undergrad via CUNY (City University of NY) and I continued and got my Masters in Forensic Computing from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. They renamed the program to Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity.

It was a great program, and you learn the "under the hood" of what happens when you use forensic tools. Really helps with knowing files signatures, carving, MFT, hash sets, timestamps, etc.

That said, I also have my EnCE (EnCase Certified Examiner), CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) and CFSR (Certified Forensic Security Responder) certifications. It does help to know and use the tools if you can do so, either via a masters program or via tool/course training. )

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Posted : 03/07/2018 2:16 pm
 Anonymous

I think Master/Ph.D. everything has their individual importance so it totally depends on you what you want to do or achieve that course you should do.so it totally depends on your requirements.

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Posted : 05/03/2019 5:11 am
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