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#1 wastedtalent  Icon User is offline

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I need help choosing a major

Posted 27 December 2013 - 12:29 PM

Hello everyone, I need help choosing a major. I want to eventually work in the field of cyber security but I don't know what major to choose. My college offers computer programming, computer science and compute information systems. Which one of those would give me more understanding on the subject and which one of those would further my chances in becoming what I want to be? A little bit about me is that as of now I'm pretty much a noobie when it comes to computers (other than the usual facebook, YouTube etc.) any answers and advice will be greatly appreciated

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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: I need help choosing a major

Posted 27 December 2013 - 12:32 PM

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Which one of those would give me more understanding on the subject and which one of those would further my chances in becoming what I want to be?

Read the course requirements.. definitely - and I cannot stress this enough - *TALK* to your college counselor.. tell them what you want to do and they will know which is best. Honestly, of those three, I would guess none of them will adequately prepare you for information security/information assurance.

Example from my old local school: http://www.cs.unomah...ad/conc_ia.html
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#3 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: I need help choosing a major

Posted 27 December 2013 - 01:14 PM

I know with my major, info systems, I can minor in security. Where Comp Sci is an automatic business minor.

As Modi said, your advisor will know what you need to do.
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#4 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: I need help choosing a major

Posted 27 December 2013 - 05:15 PM

"Cyber security" is a pretty broad area. Do you want to work on the mathematics/computer science of things? That is, developing new ciphers, analyzing encryption and so forth? Probably CS is the right direction to look at, but you'd have to do a lot of math that might or might not be on the track already. If you want to be in the practical side of things, probably CIS, but that's usually a track towards help-desk work, or managing help-desk people. You'd like to avoid that.

I'm not sure a major in programming would make sense, but it's possible, depending on what your school does for a programming degree.
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#5 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: I need help choosing a major

Posted 27 December 2013 - 07:57 PM

Join the Army for one of the numerous jobs in that area. As you learn more and hone your desires to a more targeted choice you can then cross-train and change MOS (job) while retaining your seniority: As opposed to the civilian world where every job change puts you back at square one.
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#6 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: I need help choosing a major

Posted 27 December 2013 - 08:22 PM

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Join the Army for one of the numerous jobs in that area. As you learn more and hone your desires to a more targeted choice you can then cross-train and change MOS (job) while retaining your seniority


That just reminds me of Bobcat Goldthwaite's old routine - he has a guy watching "Top Gun" and joining the Navy so he can fly the fighter pilots. Six months later, the guy's hanging off the side of a ship, scraping barnacles off, asking "so, uh, when I finish this side, then I get to fly the planes, right?"

I'm going to go out on a limb and say I think it's unlikely that the Army is going to train cyber-security experts out of the random recruit pool - considering it's a line of work that takes a few years just to start being useful at, that would seem a little weird. I mean, I know for a fact that the members of the service bands don't get issued a trumpet and start learning to play it when they join up. They have to be playing at a pretty high level to even get considered for that gig. I would hope that the (rather more important) area of cyber-security is treated at least as seriously as the guys who play the snare drum when they walk around in circles.
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#7 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: I need help choosing a major

Posted 28 December 2013 - 07:55 AM

Both yes and no. After all, I would hope the rather important task of producing the mandated government insurance website and securing the private information of the US citizens was assigned to professionals that understand these security concerns. But no, it seems it was given to a bunch of interns with PageMaster.

You're right that the OP wouldn't be trained from scratch to be heading up cyber-security. Like any career he would have to start smaller, just like he is doing now. Take a job in military intelligence, anything he can qualify for in the arena of cyber-security, even if it is as an operator for related equipment. Then cross-train, and use all that free education that's available on every base (at least every base I was at had a TLC [Troop Learning Center] ). If they will train him for some of it, and he applies his own free time to learn more then its all good. If he can't be bothered with learning some on his free time, then he probably wouldn't have done it in civilian life any more than in military life. Either way, the post makes it sound like he wants to be told what to do, where to go and what course to take. So I kinda think the Army might help grow him up a bit, give him 4 years of maturing and exposure to the world that will do him a lot more good than 4 years flipping burgers while going to college where they will take 4 years to teach the same material as any "Learn xyz in 30 days" book.

This post has been edited by tlhIn`toq: 28 December 2013 - 08:01 AM

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#8 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: I need help choosing a major

Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:33 PM

Leaving aside the Obamacare trolling :) I guess it's a question of where the OP wants to go. If they want to do the high-level stuff, then probably going into a serious CS program is probably the way to go. If they want to do more of the implementation, then the Army is probably a reasonable choice.

Four years of a CS degree will certainly expose them to a lot more than some "Learn to program in 30 days" book, but an IT degree typically focuses on more "practical" stuff, which they may well get from the Army - assuming they don't end up spending their time scraping barnacles off tanks.
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