I’ve finally completed the MSISE program at the SANS Technology Institute. This really was an incredible journey. I wouldn’t have guessed myself to be a person who would pursue graduate school, but when the topic is something you truly enjoy learning about, the effort is much easier.
I really liked how applicable the coursework was for my day job. There was very little abstract theory – every day I was working on something I was learning something I could bring back to work. These books live on a bookshelf right next to my desk, and are opened often – luckily I have good indexes created (thanks largely to this blog post).
I can’t say enough good things about this program. If you’re looking for a hands-on MS for cybersecurity, I don’t think you’ll find much better than this, though I am biased.
There are many paths you can take through the program. Here is my course list, in order:
- SEC401: Security Essentials: Network, Endpoint, and Cloud (GSEC)
- SEC504: Hacker Tools, Techniques, and Incident Handling (GCIH)
- MGT433: Managing Human Risk: Mature Security Awareness Programs
- MGT514: Security Strategic Planning, Policy, and Leadership
- SEC503: Intrusion Detection In-Depth (GCIA)
- Research Paper #1
- SEC505: Securing Windows and PowerShell Automation (GCWN)
- SEC566: Implementing and Auditing CIS Critical Controls (GCCC)
- NetWars Continuous
- SEC506 (retired): Securing Linux/Unix (GCUX)
- ISE5701: Group Presentation – Situational Response Report
- MGT525: Managing Cybersecurity Initiatives and Effective Communication (GCPM)
- Research Paper #2
- SEC599: Defeating Advanced Adversaries – Purple Team Tactics & Kill Chain Defenses (GDAT)
- ISE6101: Group Report
- ISE6200: Core Comprehensive Exam
- GSE Entrance Exam
I have not obtained the GSE yet as the labs have not been offered since the start of COVID. This is something I will be watching closely and plan to sign up for the next offering.