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WGU MSCSIA Questions
#1
I am considering the WGU MS Cybersecurity and Information Assurance program.  The program admission requirements say that you must presently meet one of three combinations of degree and experience.

If you do not already have a Bachelor in IT that covers two CISSP domains, then you must have three years of verifiable cybersecurity experience.  One of the options is to possess ANY R.A. Bachelor and three verifiable years. Seeing as I presently only possess a B.A.L.S. from TESU(or will in two weeks), I would need to document three verifiable years of IT security experience.  No problem there. 

My question is....has anyone here completed this program, and do you have any feedback or suggestions?  I am still "guarded" about WGU and how they are perceived in the job market, but they are exceedingly tempting, at this point.  I work full time, and have kids.  The competency model is a big plus for me.

Would love to hear input from anyone that has experience with this program and WGU overall.  

Thanks,
Western Governor's University
MSCSIA - Starting 12/19
Thomas Edison State University
B.A.L.S 2019 
ASNSM - Computer Science - 2018 
Pierpont College
Board of Governor's AAS, AOE Information Systems - 2017
40 Credits from Stark State College(B&M), 100 ACE credits (mix of Straighterline, Study.Com, TECEP, etc.), TESU LIB-495 Capstone.
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#2
I am going to be of zero help, HOWEVER, I would recommend you look into Georgia Tech. Although not competency based, they are a highly reputable university and they offer an online Masters of Science in Computer Science as well as an online Masters of Science in Cybersecurity. There is actually a DegreeForum member who is in the MS in Cybersecurity program and he has a thread in here that is a good read.

As far as WGU, I am indifferent on them. Sorry I am not of much help!
_____________________________________________________
Master of Science (MS) - Finance
University of Missouri
AACSB-Accredited
Beginning Spring 2020

Master of Business Administration (MBA) - Management
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
AACSB-Accredited
Conferred 2019

Bachelor of Science (BS) - Biology
East Central University
Conferred 2015
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#3
I'd look at both programs. If you can afford the increased tuition with GA Tech, and you can stomach traditional paced courses, then you can always apply to both and see what happens.

WGU can be strict about entry requirements, so if you don't already have a degree in Cybersecurity or experience that can be easily verified, you may have a hard time getting into their program. The GA Tech OMS programs seem to be more flexible on admissions, using the difficulty level of their courses to weed out people who aren't prepared. That is, if you cannot maintain at least a B average they drop you.

I don't see any reason to be guarded about WGU. It is a perfectly fine school. The big difference to me is that WGU is a self-paced competency-based program while the GA Tech programs are all traditional 16-week courses with a maximum load of two courses per semester. The WGU program will be faster and less expensive to complete than the GA Tech program but it isn't well known outside certain circles. The GA Tech program will definitely look better on a resume.
In Progress: Considering next steps
Up Next: Perhaps an MSCS or a DBA/DM/Ph.D.

Complete:
MBA in IT Management, 2019, Western Governors University
BSBA in Computer Information Systems, 2019, Thomas Edison State University
ASNSM in Computer Science, 2019, Thomas Edison State University

B&M CC: 8.68cr, TESU: 3cr, CLEP/DSST: 15cr, Study.com: 57cr, Straighterline: 19cr, ALEKS: 9cr, TEEX: 6cr, The Institutes: 2cr, Sophia: 2cr
(121.68 credits total. 95 credits earned in 10 months, with 45 of those earned in ~3 months)
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#4
(05-23-2019, 04:38 PM)Merlin Wrote: I'd look at both programs. If you can afford the increased tuition with GA Tech, and you can stomach traditional paced courses, then you can always apply to both and see what happens.

WGU can be strict about entry requirements, so if you don't already have a degree in Cybersecurity or experience that can be easily verified, you may have a hard time getting into their program. The GA Tech OMS programs seem to be more flexible on admissions, using the difficulty level of their courses to weed out people who aren't prepared. That is, if you cannot maintain at least a B average they drop you.

I don't see any reason to be guarded about WGU. It is a perfectly fine school. The big difference to me is that WGU is a self-paced competency-based program while the GA Tech programs are all traditional 16-week courses with a maximum load of two courses per semester. The WGU program will be faster and less expensive to complete than the GA Tech program but it isn't well known outside certain circles. The GA Tech program will definitely look better on a resume.
I am not too worried about the WGU requirements.  Nearly 30 years in I.T.  The last 8 or so doing SAS70\SOC2, Safe Harbor, and FedRamp compliance audits. Headed up the Security Committee for a software developer that writes software for FEMA and Homeland. Presently doing IT Security work in the State Judiciary.  References are all pretty solid and easily verifiable.  

I definitely love the competency based model.  It suits me more.  From my own research, I know that WGU is a fine school.  However, I have been talking about it the past few weeks, and I see some people cringe and gasp.  Even heard a comparison to UofP.  

Georgia Tech is definitely renowned and they pretty much speak for themselves, but the method of course delivery is a bit of a challenge for me, at the moment.

I have been reading the REDDIT threads on the WGU program and think it might be the way to go, and worth the risk.  Can't beat the price and speed to completion.
Western Governor's University
MSCSIA - Starting 12/19
Thomas Edison State University
B.A.L.S 2019 
ASNSM - Computer Science - 2018 
Pierpont College
Board of Governor's AAS, AOE Information Systems - 2017
40 Credits from Stark State College(B&M), 100 ACE credits (mix of Straighterline, Study.Com, TECEP, etc.), TESU LIB-495 Capstone.
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#5
(05-23-2019, 09:53 PM)ChilliDawg Wrote: I definitely love the competency based model.  It suits me more.  From my own research, I know that WGU is a fine school.  However, I have been talking about it the past few weeks, and I see some people cringe and gasp.  Even heard a comparison to UofP.

That is interesting. Where are you getting that feedback from? Most people I've spoken to have never heard of WGU. Those who have heard of WGU are typically in IT or software development, where WGU grads typically have pretty favorable reputations.

University of Phoenix's poor rep is largely because they are known to employ predatory recruiting and retention behaviors that are designed to lure students into the school and then keep them in their degree programs forever to milk them for their financial aid. Capella does the same thing. UoP is also a private for-profit online school, and one of the most expensive too. I don't know how they stack up academically since I've never heard of anyone talking about that aspect.

I don't see how someone could lump WGU in with UoP. Yes, they are both private online colleges, but that seems to be where the similarities end since WGU is non-profit, one of the least expensive schools, and actually encourages their students to graduate on time (or early). IMO anyway.

I'm curious whether the people who made that comparison had that impression from personal experience or are just anti-online college and think that any online-only college is like UoP?

(05-23-2019, 09:53 PM)ChilliDawg Wrote: Georgia Tech is definitely renowned and they pretty much speak for themselves, but the method of course delivery is a bit of a challenge for me, at the moment.

That is my problem as well. I'm confident that I can get into the GA Tech OMSCS program, but I'm not really a fan of the traditional college education mechanism. I was only able to finish my degrees because I could complete courses on my terms and at my own pace. Returning to a semester-based system with a 16-week course schedule would ruin the experience for me. I also don't like the idea of having to split my attention between two courses at once, which I'd have to do with the GA Tech option to make the program length bearable.

I'm still considering the OMSCS after I finish my MBA. Though, if I'm going to be forced back into a more traditional college approach anyway, I may just aim for a doctorate of some kind and planning to dedicate 3-5 years. I'd also need to find a full-ride program or a teaching fellowship to make it worthwhile. That or find a new employer who is willing to subsidize my education. Wink

(05-23-2019, 09:53 PM)ChilliDawg Wrote: I have been reading the REDDIT threads on the WGU program and think it might be the way to go, and worth the risk.  Can't beat the price and speed to completion.

Certainly. Though the risk, if any, really depends on what you're looking to get out of the degree.
  • If you need it to get jobs and you're worried that the WGU name will turn people off, I don't think that is the case. Though Georgia Tech will open more doors.
  • If you're doing it to get a promotion at work. Most places just care that it's regionally accredited and not where it comes from, but YMMV.
  • If you're doing it to enhance your skills, then you're probably doing it for the wrong reason since you can learn a lot more doing what you do now.
  • If you're doing it because you want the academic credential to move on to a doctorate or get into teaching, then it probably isn't the best first choice, unless you want to teach at the CC level or limit yourself to no-name schools.
Personally, I'd have never considered going for my master's degree if it wasn't for competency-based education options from places like WGU. Plus, like you said, you can't beat the price or speed to completion if you're dedicated to getting stuff done.
In Progress: Considering next steps
Up Next: Perhaps an MSCS or a DBA/DM/Ph.D.

Complete:
MBA in IT Management, 2019, Western Governors University
BSBA in Computer Information Systems, 2019, Thomas Edison State University
ASNSM in Computer Science, 2019, Thomas Edison State University

B&M CC: 8.68cr, TESU: 3cr, CLEP/DSST: 15cr, Study.com: 57cr, Straighterline: 19cr, ALEKS: 9cr, TEEX: 6cr, The Institutes: 2cr, Sophia: 2cr
(121.68 credits total. 95 credits earned in 10 months, with 45 of those earned in ~3 months)
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#6
Merlin,

You are correct that most people do not know who WGU is, therefore they have little reaction either way. However, in one discussion at work with one of our managers, I was recommending that he look into WGU because he needs his Masters for his job. Mostly for future promotion to "C" level position. The minute the name came out of my mouth, he cringed. He admitted that he knew little about them, but assumed they were a UofP style setup. A friend of mine, who has ZERO college experience and works in I.T., actually laughed. However, I take him with a grain of salt. I detect a bit of jealousy because he will never have the motivation to make the first move to get any level of degree. He and I had a rather heated argument over online course delivery and told me that it will NEVER be the same as in-person schooling. This was after I proudly announced that I completed my B.A.L.S from TESU. One other person also did a slight research on it, and came up with the Federal Audit debate about WGU a few years back. That is the only thing negative he could come up with.

Again, I am not personally against WGU myself. Actually, I am excited about WGU. I really am ready to start. I just have some slight reservation, and I think I am getting over it. Time to make a big boy decision for myself, and quit worrying what one or two people may think.

You hit the nail on thead. I may never make the move on a Master's if I don't take advantage of a competency model. Not to mention, my job just offered to pay for all of WGU, at their reasonable rate.
Western Governor's University
MSCSIA - Starting 12/19
Thomas Edison State University
B.A.L.S 2019 
ASNSM - Computer Science - 2018 
Pierpont College
Board of Governor's AAS, AOE Information Systems - 2017
40 Credits from Stark State College(B&M), 100 ACE credits (mix of Straighterline, Study.Com, TECEP, etc.), TESU LIB-495 Capstone.
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#7
(05-24-2019, 05:05 AM)ChilliDawg Wrote: Merlin,

You are correct that most people do not know who WGU is, therefore they have little reaction either way.  However, in one discussion at work with one of our managers, I was recommending that he look into WGU because he needs his Masters for his job.  Mostly for future promotion to "C" level position.  The minute the name came out of my mouth, he cringed.  He admitted that he knew little about them, but assumed they were a UofP style setup.  A friend of mine, who has ZERO college experience and works in I.T., actually laughed.  However, I take him with a grain of salt.  I detect a bit of jealousy because he will never have the motivation to make the first move to get any level of degree.  He and I had a rather heated argument over online course delivery and told me that it will NEVER be the same as in-person schooling.  This was after I proudly announced that I completed my B.A.L.S from TESU.  One other person also did a slight research on it, and came up with the Federal Audit debate about WGU a few years back.  That is the only thing negative he could come up with.

Again, I am not personally against WGU myself.  Actually, I am excited about WGU.  I really am ready to start.  I just have some slight reservation, and I think I am getting over it. Time to make a big boy decision for myself, and quit worrying what one or two people may think.

You hit the nail on thead.  I may never make the move on a Master's if I don't take advantage of a competency model.  Not to mention, my job just offered to pay for all of WGU, at their reasonable rate.

whenever somebody knocks WGU on reddit I post this 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nson4jF20p4&t=1s
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