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Do I need a certification if I already have a Masters degree and internship?

I'm currently pursuing my Masters of IT in Information Security. I have also completed an internship as a Win2000/NT technical support representative for a large organization. My question is: Do I need to pursue certifications as well, or will a Masters degree along with an internship grant me enough opportunities in the IT marketplace?

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Given your degree and your background, you may be able to dispense with certification. But since you're in a graduate IT program, and the school presumably has a job placement office or center, you'd be well-advised to talk to them about what kinds of opportunities might lie in your future, how best to prepare for them, and any other information about your prospects they might be able to share with you. Because they track a population of degree candidates and job seekers that's presumably at least something like you in terms of age, educational background, interests, and so forth, you'll find them to be a valuable source of information.

And while you're at it, ask them about the certification question, too. For my money, a masters's in infosec is about the same as most mid-level certifications. But I'm not hiring such professionals, nor can I offer you such a job either--so ask somebody who has reason to know what sells (and what doesn't) in your area, for people with your kind of background and credentials.

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This was first published in November 2004

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