About Me MadiSay.com HDJames.com Nerddual.com

RIP Damein L James 1978 - 2022

Gone not forgotten

2023 Update

It's taking everything I've got for me to get over the 2022 passing of my Brother
but the universe doesn't close a door without opening a window...

In October 2023 I completed all of my academic requirements...


I have Graduated!


I am now a College graduate. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Cybersecurity and Information Assurrance.

I did it you guys!! After all the downs and ups. Many years of shame and self doubt can be cast aside.

2023 Updates

I started my studies at WGU in May of 2022. I took and passed 35 courses along the way. Some of them were easy, some of them very difficult. One thing I noticed though is that the easy classes were only easy because I had been using the technology they were teaching for over 20 years.

It took me 17 months to complete all the classes. Some people have said that it could not have been that hard if I was able to do it so fast. To those people I say, read the above. For almost a year and a half I've been at my desk studying. While my family was out having fun, I stayed home and studied. When everyone else in the house was asleep, I was writing a paper. I was taking test when everyone else was at the movies. I made sacrifices to complete my degree in the timeframe I did. I have a family that supported my efforts. It took that perfect storm of events for us to do it.

If I were trying to become an accountant or change my career to a new field I would still be studying. I think of it this way, if you ask a cab driver to get a degree in driving they will do it a lot faster than a pedestrian that doesn't have a driver's license yet. I didn't spend time in classes that I could pass right away.

I've had some of the CompTia certs for a long time. Getting them again was not as challenging for me as it would be for someone who is learning these concepts for the first time. My first operating system was DOS 6. I use Linux as a daily driver. I dabble in websites. I like to play with networks. I've been building computers for what seems like a lifetime.

My first set of COMPTia certs (A+, Network+, and Security+) are lifetime and don't expire. They also did not count for credit at WGU. When I had to take another A+ course I was a bit annoyed. Then I realized that passing this class would get me closer to the degree. It got much easier after that realization. I now have 2 sets of CompTia certs, but I only have to renew one. WGU is a great school for people who have expierience and need a degree. You set the schedule. Take classes when you have the time, live your life the rest of it.

If you are new to IT (i.e., you've been an accountant and want to transfer into IT) in general it can be done, but it's going to be a much heavier lift for you. I wouldn't count on finishing in 17 months, but it can be done.

If you need hand holding in order to learn, WGU is probably not for you. It is based on the compentency model where you show what you know. You only spend time learning things you can't test out of. Why spend time in a class that you can pass right away?

WGU BSCSIA Description

The following information is from the WGU BSCSIA program guide.

Bachelor of Science, Cybersecurity and Information Assurance

To meet an increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals, the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance (BSCSIA) degree program prepares IT professionals to apply knowledge and experience in vulnerability management, risk management, incident response, and cyber defense to safeguard data. Courses deliver proven methods for information security in the topics of penetration testing, network security, cloud security, scripting, intrusion detection, digital forensics, security operations, project management, cryptography, and Identity and Access Management (IAM) to prevent, detect, and mitigate cyberattacks. This program features nationally recognized, high demand certifications in the field of cybersecurity.

Understanding the Competency-Based Approach

Practically speaking, how do competency-based programs like those offered at Western Governors University (WGU) work? Unlike traditional universities, WGU does not award degrees based on completion of a certain number of credit hours or a certain set of required courses. Instead, you will earn your degree by demonstrating your skills, knowledge, and understanding of important concepts

Progress through a degree program is governed not by the amount of time you spend in class but by your ability to demonstrate mastery of competencies as you complete required courses.

The benefit of this competency-based system is that it enables students who are knowledgeable about a particular subject to make accelerated progress toward completing a degree, even if they lack college experience. You may have gained skills and knowledge of a subject while on the job, accumulated wisdom through years of life experience, or already taken a course on a particular subject. WGU will award your degree based on the skills and knowledge that you possess and can demonstrate—not the number of credits hours on your transcript. (WGU, 2023)