Randall Frietzsche: "Invest in Yourself and Your Career"

Guest Blogger: Randall Frietzsche, B.S. Information Technology and M.S. Information Security and Assurance

Randall Frietzsche is an alumni of WGU having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in IT and an M.S. in Information Security and Assurance. He has worked in information security for about fifteen years and is currently the Information Security Officer for a health insurance company. Randall is also an adjunct professor for a state college in Indiana.

After graduating from High School in the ‘80s, I briefly attended a university full time. But with a new wife and son on the way, I was unable to continue my education so I went to work. Over many years I tried to go back to school but I couldn’t afford it and I couldn’t commit to the hours of in-class work. Online classes didn’t exist at the time.  And although I had several years of experience in my given profession and had amassed a ton of technical certifications, I found that the management and executive ranks were closed off to me because of my lack of higher education.

Thankfully, one of my mentors was attending WGU and recommended it to me – relatively inexpensive, all online and you can move as quick as you’re able through its competency-based model. I looked into it, pondering if I could commit to the 15-20 hours per week required and finally took the plunge.

My faculty mentor was Mary Gordon. Mary was like a lighthouse constantly guiding the way as I made it through the BSIT program in three terms. When I enrolled for my MSISA, I again asked for Mary to be my faculty mentor. With her help, I was able to accelerate and finish the master’s degree in one term.

WGU was a blessing for me. For starters, I was able to afford it! The coursework was tough and I spent many nights writing papers; my final capstone was 99 pages alone. But I recalled so many years wishing I could finally get my degree and I was determined to take advantage of this awesome opportunity through WGU. I had the self-motivation, drive and I was not going to miss this chance. I certainly had some obstacles and roadblocks along the way, but because I was determined to finish, I either found ways around or plowed through.

If you are considering enrolling or are a current student, I recommend that you apply. The programs are rigorous with assignments applicable to your profession. You must be willing to sacrifice your personal time and some of the things you enjoy doing with your nights and weekends to achieve your educational goal, but the self-motivation and drive, along with the time-management skills that you’ll employ to successfully get through your courses, is something any employer will want. That determination, the ability to focus, to understand the instructions and deliver on the assignment is exactly what you will be doing in the real world. So cultivate that – learn how to best manage your time, get in there and get started. Give it all you have because this is an amazing opportunity to further your education and get into or advance your career.

Just this month, I was awarded Distinguished Fellow with the Information Systems Security Association. The organization provides educational and networking opportunities for folks in the industry. As a Distinguished Fellow, it is my mission to mentor and inspire our future leaders. And for those I work with, I always recommend WGU as a fantastic opportunity. So turn off that TV, put aside anything that isn’t critical and dive in. Do your reading and get those tasks submitted. You are investing in yourself and your career. Take it one step at a time, take it seriously and get it done. You will never regret it and when you have that degree hanging on your wall, you will be so proud. Believe in yourself and know that you are capable of more than you ever thought. The programs at WGU will test you, but you will come out of it with something that no one can ever take away from you – a degree and self-confidence!

Good luck to you!

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