Information Security Career tracks - Academically vs. IT certifications?
I will try to be as straightforward as possible here. I am currently working as a security integrator at an integration company. I work with products of vendors like Check Point, Cisco, Juniper, HP, Symantec, Websense etc. All ranging from switches and routers, to firewalls, URL Filtering and Email solutions, Dlp products and SIM/SOC systems. This is definitely the right field for me and I wish to pursue a career in it. There is not a single moment on my job which I find boring and each day I learn a huge amount of information and my knowledge grows with each day. I am pursuing certifications of various vendors which we all know like CCSA/E, CCNA, and the rest of the bunch (I also know the great feud between those who say certs are worthless and those who say that they hold value). I have no academical degree. To be honest, the academia something which I am not very fond of and I am not too drawn to the concept, nor do I believe I will have success in this kind of learning environment. I also believe (with my minimal experience in the field) that one can make good progress and build a solid career without pursuing a degree. The alternatives are "higher" certifications like CISSP, CISM, CISO etc. I really look for the opinions of people who have no self interests in mind, and can really advise on this matter. Is it "possible" to flourish career-wise without going for a degree? (I have a strong belief that everything in life is possible, and have experienced it along the way in my life. Nothing someone says is indefinitely true). You might say one would need at least a first degree in business management, while others would say that CISSP and the sorts teach exactly that, and as an integrator you have a lot of experience in the field, coming from the inside - Where the actual hands-on are. All in all - Is it a likely scenario? I would appreciate your answers on this matter.