So I completed the first class in University of Maryland University Center’s Cybersecurity program. The class was CSEC610 “Cyberspace and Cybersecurity”. I was extremely disappointed with the class. Full disclosure, I got an A in it. If you’ve followed my academic career, you’ll know I’m used to that grade.

The class felt more like a community college weeder class, if community colleges had those. The content covered in the class was the same I did in a Computer Information Systems program in the late 90s, at a community college before Infosec was a thing.

If you have experience in Infosec, this class will most likely be a waste of time, since it’s an overview class.

No seriously. Password cracking, vulnerability scan, and stenography. These were using pre-canned tools on Virtual Machines, because it was “too dangerous” to install them on our personal boxes. Cain and Able, Microsoft’s Vuln scanner for windows, and no idea what the stego program was if I had taken an md5 and tossed against VirusTotal I probably could had found out.

There was some higher level stuff in there. We had to do 200 level secure system and network design. Try to predict where the major problem in security is, and make recommendations to fix it, and even 1 400 (at the Uni I went to, but 200 at CC) introduction to forensics via FTK Imager, and looking for a Jpeg’s magic number (but wasn’t described that way).

The bigger problem, there are no requirements beyond having a 4 year degree to get in to the program. I’m not saying a test score is needed, but a base understanding is. Going back and reading the write up for the BS at UMUC for Cybersecurity makes me think they’re making Help Desk people. The master’s strikes me as Help Desk Manager so far.

In my class were people with no IT experience beyond being the “go to guy” at work. One person had a degree in a Language Study. I didn’t even know you could get a Bachelor’s in that. I know my group project, 1/2 the group dropped out, because they lost interest, or it wasn’t or them. Did I mention it felt like a weeder class? I thought about dropping for different reasons.

I’m still on the fence about going back, or trying to find something else. The NSA backing is good, I heard good things about it, but I’m wasting my money if all I’m doing is paying for overviews of material I covered in my Community College days.

UMUC in my opinion needs to have a base level standard to get in to the program. Either a Bachelor in a related field that has over lap, I came from another NSA backed class, or a placement test for the program itself.

Another option, would be to open the articulation agreement up. They currently have one, that if you get your undergrad there, you can get the masters by taking 3 more classes. That option should be there for students that come from other NSA CAE schools.

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