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online degreee (AAS BSC) or professionnal certification  

New Member

hello to all

i work in the security engineering field (70 % computing )
private and public sector ,aged 37
high school diploma ,OPSA certification
18 years of experience

i plan to go back to "school" this year ( for professionnal improvement )but choosing between Online studies( like A.A.S or BSC) or professionnal certifications is hard ,especially for working adultes.

I google and found that USA and England offer some interesting educational courses but as the educational system is different between europe and USA , it 's impossible to choose national accredited school.( transfert creditor ,equivalent ) , if i have USA AAS degree ,will i have a equivalence in Europe? will this diploma allow me to reach the next steps (Bsc,..) ect..

The price at least 1500$ a semestre ( USA and England = the same fees)

Professionnal certifications for 2500 $ (you will have GIAC certification but need to renew every 4 years and you have only 4 month to do it)"easy" when you are at school but not if you are working (time requirement)

If you want to climb up the professional ladder, you must have a CISSP (good if you have it,but … [no polemic])

My dilema

If i choose AAS ,it will show my education background but not my professionnal "skills"
If i choose certifications it will show my professionnal "skills" but not education background
if i want to be hired in the private sector (only ) ,high school diploma is not enough and/or need CISSP
Is it possible to reach a education level (AAS) with certification equivalence
( GIAC master is too expensive)

despite the financial aspect ,the most important for me is the time requirement and the level reach (AAS or Bsc)

so what will be your advices.

thanks in advance

Posted : 28/12/2006 5:08 pm
Active Member

This is a difficult question for many of us since we don't understand the job market in France as well as you do. An AAS in the US has some, but limited marketability. I can't speak to your job market. In the US, a certification will usually give someone an advantage over someone without one just as a Bsc will give an advantage over somone without one. The problem is when you have a person with Bsc competing with a certification, who will win? That will depend on the hiring company.

If one has limited money, I would tend for the certification as education (in the US) is more expensive. While something like the CISSP, CISA, or CISM will require continuing education and yearly maintenance fees, it is much less expensive for the value than education.

I hope others will offer their insights.

Posted : 29/12/2006 2:38 am
New Member

hello Denhis,

i give you a bref survey of the french market

the french market is 90 % law enforcement and 10 % big company ( hsc ,accenture,… )if you know peoples inside the law enforcement ,you will have a chance to get a "foot on a case"

Computing Security
pression by big company increase each year ( high profil Phd + experience tend to low salary) and small company do not have knowlegde so they paid the highest price for the minimum services

CISSP is needed /highly recommended

There is no equivalence in term of diploma ,education and international certification is mostly unknown excepted CISSP,CISA,…

French recruitement is based upon your diploma first then experience

Posted : 29/12/2006 3:13 am
Active Member

I'll throw in my .02 on this subject. I'm currently SANS certified, my choice. This was a value choice by me and the people I knew working in this field (Government CERT community), I was in Government IT Security.

The employment community is really confused. Government contractors generally hire by college degree or documented experience. Private companies use both academic and professional certifications to identify competence. I've seen private companies advertise for degrees but accept professional certifications with experience.

Currently, I'm in pursuit of a professional certification from a 4yr college with an end goal of BS for my CV.

I know this sounds like double talk. I would try to get some type of professional certification under my belt first. If at all possible then follow up with an AAS or College based Professional Certification in CF(may get you in the door with employer's requiring a 4yr degree).

Regardless, of your choice, you must be able to sell yourself as knowing your stuff technically to include (interviewing, briefing and technical discussions with IT and managerial staff). I often feel the latter is more important than all the paper in the world.

One general observation People that chose the technical path are often hiding or avoiding some shortcommings (actual or percieved). I have seen more technically certified people fail than people with a BS or MS. I believe this can be attributed directly to communication skills shortcommings (oral and written).

Posted : 01/01/2007 11:56 am
Active Member


I can second what az_gcfa has to say, it's all sound. Yes, I've seen sillyness like employers asking for CISSP for an admin position, it certainly happens in the US also.

If French recruitement is based upon your diploma first then that seems to answer the question for you. If CF is 90% law enforcement, prehaps a position as an officer in a department that offers educational benefits might be the ideal job. Don't know how likely that is however, but if possible then you'd also be getting good experience also.

Just a thought.

Posted : 02/01/2007 12:47 am
New Member

hello all ,

i will probably choose AAS degree online or by distance learning in USA .

So what' s the minimum criterias should i check for " a good school" regarding the accreditations.if some of you have recommandations based on true experience [ not commercial] regarding college or university they like to share.

thanks for your answer ;

Posted : 03/01/2007 10:41 pm
Active Member


As a college professor, a military contractor, and someone responsible for hiring tech people, here is my 0.02…

Get a 4-year college degree from an recognized college/university. The closer your major is to your desired profession, the better, but now, on the applications forms, the whole "4 year college degree" has just been reduced to a check box - either you have on or you don't. And many (virtually all) of the companies I work with REQUIRE that box to be checked.

I have plenty of certs, but most certs are quick, short term, multiple choice tests, and brain dumps are available online for them. While it is now possible to get a 4 year colleg degree in less than 4 years, the idea is that you just can't "brain dump" you way through it… there are just too many hurdles at an accredited school to allow that to happen (but it can happen).

When we get a position open, we get hundreds of resumes, and in the pruning process, we immediatly toss the ones without a 4 year degree. While it is possible to get exceptions to policies, it is difficult, and often not worth the effort. I can promise you that in that pile there will be someone you have almost the exact same skill set/experience/certs as you + a 4 year degree - and our bosses would inist we hire them over you.

Now you can argue this if you want, but I have seen this in many places. In fact, one of my students, an SQL admin was in my Intro to DB course - and he knew much more about DB and SQL than I did - just lost out on a job offer with a 20K/year raise. He was the favored candidate, and was the preferred one as well, but the other guy had the qualifications, and the 4 year degree, which my student didn't have. Now here is the interesting bit my student is 43 years old - he did 20 years in the military (which offeres FREE college), but he avoided college - his belief was that "my experience we get me by" - and it did - for a while. He got a governement job when he retired, based on his contacts, skills and experience. And he has been doing well. But he has noticed others getting better jobs and promotions - those with 4 year degrees. So last year, he decided to get a degree, and he has been busting his a*s to get one as quick as possible, because he now realizes how much he has been losing out on…

But certs are important too… as az_gcfa kind of alludes to, the Department of Defense requirement DoD 8570.1 will now require all techies to have certifications - at a minimum, Network+ and then possibly Security+ and CISSP, while managers will have to have Security+ and possibly CISSP as well.

See http// for more information on it…

My personal bottom line - in the hiring everybody understands and can quickly evaulate a 4 year college degree. Not everybody understands certs, and experience, and one of the big problems with experience is that people "bend" the truth a lot.

But hey… I could be wrong…

Posted : 04/01/2007 6:07 am
New Member

Hello, my name is Mike. I'm an I.T. Manager / Consultant in Northern California. I am currently an MCSE and also have my CISSP. One question I have a Dishonorable discharge from the Marine Corps. This is not a felony or misdemeanor or anything like that. My job was I.T. / cabling in the military. In some states(Illinois, Texas), military law is not recognized. Can I still do computer forensics? Any info would be very helpful.

Posted : 09/04/2007 10:52 pm
New Member

Mike, there is no simple answer to this question although I suspect that it will be an issue for most employers, especially if any of your work in your new profession has even the slightest chance of being submitted to or contested in court.

This may seem unfair, but in truth it is common for the opposing attorney to attack the individual - especially when the evidence is sound.

In the UK, those submitting evidence (irrespective of expert status) are open to critical examination not only of skills, trainining, experience, methodology and knowledge but their social character. A good attorney will have a pen picture of every witness presented either for or against his client(s).

Whilst your goal would be to present the facts and perhaps provide an opinion, the goal of the attorney is to relieve their client of culpability. To do so, acting within the law and at the discretion of the judge(s), they can deploy tactics designed to discredit the individual and confuse the jury/court.


Posted : 11/04/2007 8:17 pm