Q

Should I specialize in Network Security or get my PhD in business?

I earned an A.A in Computer Networks and Systems Tech. I also did my BS in Information Systems Technology and completed my MBA in Business and Information Systems technology. I also spent the last four years working for a company as a "computer technician" in a Microsoft Network environment. Now I am planning to pursue a PhD program in business management, but I am not sure if I should go ahead or specialize in Network Security. What...

do you think would be a wiser pursuit? I am in the process of separating with my employer in search of greener pastures. What would you recommend for me? This April I will be moving to Washington DC Metro.

In the Washington Metro area, in this era of "homeland security" and knowing that jobs in Infosecurity are hot right now, I'd have to guess that opportunities should be pretty good there--except for your apparent lack of OTJ (on-the-job) information security experience (at least, you don't say anything about that in your e-mail). But with your background and interests, it might make sense to stay in network admin/management while grooming your self for security work. On the other hand, if you do have prior OTJ experience, I'd urge you to look around in that sector as well.

Good luck in your pursuit of the right move. While you're also in school chasing a PhD, there may even be some virtue in sticking to what you already know best (assuming you must work and study at the same time) simply because it will leave you more bandwidth and energy to concentrate on school in your "spare time."

This was first published in May 2004

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