January 3, 2021

Further Education – MBA or JD?

Tldr; I’ve got a doctorate in cyber security and close to 40 certs (inclusive of OSCP and CISSP). All of my work has been technical for the past 15+yrs. I’m looking to elevate myself out of technical. Should I reach back for the MBA or jump out to a JD…or do you have a better idea? (I enjoy formal education/academia and I’m open minded.)

Full; I’ve been in cyber security for a little over 15 years officially and if you consider writing malware for cash back in the late 90s (yes, bad, don’t do this, kids), closer to 20 or 25 yrs of experience. I currently work as a penetration tester and adjuct professor as well as free lance consulting from time to time.

My technical certs and tech training ranges from boot camps at small training facilities to training and education at Carnegie Mellon and MIT for specific certificates. I’ve got nearly 40 certs at this point with Microsoft, CompTIA, LPI, ISC2, Offensive Security, EC-council (shameful, I know), SANS, Oracle, CISCO, CIW, ITIL, and a number of federal qualifications and certifications.

My education is an AA in gen ed, BS in IT, MS in Security, and a D.Sc. in Cybersecurity. This has been a long road over the past 20 or so years to get to my current degree status. All education was part time and I partied out of a lot of schools (up to close to 10 universities at this point, lol). I’d like to stick to part time education and really hammer in my business acumen with another degree or grad certificate.

My work history stretches across education, Federal/DoD, State Govt, Financial, and Healthcare. I’ve been technical holding titles such as instructor, professor (current), principal investigator, security architect, principal security analyst, and penetration tester (current).

Are there any law nerds, CISOs, or other higher level professionals that focus on security that could give me some advice? I feel like all of my technical background has pigeon-holed me into a tech role. I’d like to branch out and move into senior management or law. I’m not sure about the quals and history that might be necessary to move into either arena (other than the obvious JD + Bar for law).

Other confounding factor: my base salary is already well over 200k and total monetary comp for my day job is approaching 300k not counting consulting and adjunct work. I’m not in a prime location (RTP, NC). I’m not necessarily chasing the dollars (I’m not NOT chasing them either…), is there much room for improvement without moving to a mega city to boost my income with a JD or MBA?

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