3 possible career directions.

MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
Accidentally posted to wrong sub-forum. Sorry about that.

Life has recently thrown me a sufficiently large curveball. I'm working on recoiling from a pretty large life event and I really need to start anew. I've thrown out a resume recently and it's gotten a substantial amount of interest. Seeing as I have a few options, I really need some third party input.

Option 1:
I have the option to stay at my current employer and work my way into the penetration testing team. I've talked to the hiring manager of the team, and he expects to nearly double the team next year. I don't enjoy what I do currently, and this position would likely open up around early to mid Q1 of 2015. A caveat of this option is that internal transfers usually don't get much of a compensation increase. I'd be lucky to score anything above a 10% raise. The one bonus of this job is that it's remote, meaning I would likely be move to any one of a few places I've been looking at.

Company: Fortune 150, respected.
Compensation: ~10% increase
Added Benefits: 100% remote, company loyalty.
Negatives: No training compensation

Option 2:
I've looked into (started the application process) joining the armed forces, specifically for military intelligence (cyber). Having a 4 year degree, I'd be able to qualify (pending acceptance) for officer training school. If everything went according to plan, I'd be able to become a technical warrant officer dealing specifically with offensive security in the U.S. Army. This would include about ~10 months of intense physical, mental, and subject matter training. Monetary compensation would be similar to the above position, but could also include student loan payback, a recruitment bonus, and some decent retirement options. The training I'd receive would be unparalleled compared to the private sector. From what I've researched, I'd be committing 8 years to the force, with a minimum of 3 years active duty and 5 years as reserve. Depending on my options, I may have the ability to move back to the private sector after the 3 years active duty. Wanting to eventually get into the research and/or international business, there could be the possibility that a history of government work in this field could be seen as a negative thing, so I'd like to keep that in mind.

Company: Armed Forces/Army
Compensation: ~20% increase
Added Benefits: Service to my country, travel, top-notch training, possible recruitment bonus.
Negatives: Few

Option 3:
With a positive response to my resume posting, I've had a few opportunities to talk with security consultancy companies. I'm very interested in consulting, but I don't think I have quite enough knowledge yet to contribute to a team like that. That being said, I may have an opportunity in the next month to land an associate (training) position that would require relocation (not-covered). As far as compensation goes, I'd assume the base salary would also be similar to what I'm currently making (with a CoL increase), though I have a feeling that the travel benefits (50% travel), public transportation, and company retirement/bonus options would make this a decent package. The benefit of this job would obviously be the travel, ability to start my own security research, and the variety of work available. The team member I talked to spoke very highly of the company, team, and work. He said that one really has the ability to craft his own career. As far as balance is concerned, this position would give me the best of both worlds with training and career advancement. The one big downside to this job would be the unpaid relocation, which would include a current lease termination. I'd basically be forcing myself into 4-5 thousand dollars of debt to take a dream job.

Company: ~150 employee Security Consultancy
Compensation: ~15% increase due to CoL
Added benefits: Dream job.
Negatives: Unpaid relocation, jumping deeper into the debt hole.

Summary:
I'd really like to hear from someone who is currently employed in the armed forces for IT and someone who works for a security consultancy. Whatever option I choose is likely to change the rest of my career, and thus, my life. I've always been fond of the idea of serving in the armed forces, but I may be a little too much of a free thinker to adapt well, though sometimes I think I could use the discipline.

Thoughts and input are appreciated.

Comments

  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Not going to slam the military option, but if you are looking to go cyber then the Army is not the way to go. A few flaws in that plan that I can see:

    1. If you are going to OCS then you will never be a Warrant Officer. Warrant Officers are pulled from upper enlisted folks to further specialize in their field.
    2. If you enlist, the Army does not have an MOS that specializes in Cyber Security. You might eventually get there, but it will be through general IT experience
    3. Recruitment bonuses for entry level will be slim to none
    4. Officers are managers of personnel thus you'll have very little hands on work

    If you are going to join the military my suggestion would be to join the Navy Reserve as a CTN. That will get you a TS/SCI and some of the best security training available. In turn you will know off the bat that you will be doing cyber security and not fixing printers. I suggest the Reserves because you'll then be able to maintain your civilian job, but still get the perks (student loan repayment, GI Bill, extra cash) and then you can choose one of the other two options as well. My counterpart is in the Naval Reserve and loves it. He has traveled everywhere and he deals in cyber security. He has contacts all over and has worked with the Navy Blue Team testing ship network security.

    As for the two options I would say stick with your current company and take the position. Once you get it, join the Navy Reserve and after 10 months you'll be back. The Navy will pay for certs (one of the gigs my counterpart does is training sailors for the CISSP) so that makes up for what your company doesn't cover.

    Good luck!
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  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    the_Grinch wrote: »
    Not going to slam the military option, but if you are looking to go cyber then the Army is not the way to go. A few flaws in that plan that I can see:

    1. If you are going to OCS then you will never be a Warrant Officer. Warrant Officers are pulled from upper enlisted folks to further specialize in their field.
    2. If you enlist, the Army does not have an MOS that specializes in Cyber Security. You might eventually get there, but it will be through general IT experience
    3. Recruitment bonuses for entry level will be slim to none
    4. Officers are managers of personnel thus you'll have very little hands on work

    Are you sure about that? Still waiting on talking to the recruiter in-person, but they do have a 35 (Military Intelligence) track with OCS. Signals intelligence and electronic warfare fall under this category. I understand I'd have to take the ASAVB and actually qualify for MI, but I'm not too worried about it.

    http://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/browse-career-and-job-categories/intelligence-and-combat-support/military-intelligence-officer.html
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Yes they do have military intelligence, but again it falls into the managing people who do the job versuses doing the job. Also, I believe when applying for OCS you list the top three and the Army will come back with what they need. Definitely see a recruiter, but if you are looking to do the job enlisting is going to be the only way (a couple members here are former Army and could definitely help you out).
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  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    So I looked into the Air Force as well, as they have a similar job: Cyberspace Operation Officer - airforce.com

    The online recruiter said I would be cleared for a position by a board before I would have to sign any commitment. Though I believe their process is a little different.
  • wastedtimewastedtime Member Posts: 586 ■■■■□□□□□□
    As far as the military option Army, Navy, and Air Force all have Cyber positions and depending on your definition of Cyber there are a lot. I am not very knowledgeable on the Navy or Air Force positions but I do know a lot about the Army positions. If you plan on coming into the army for a short duration (i.e. 5 years or less) and do cyber related stuff, the only position you could get is 35Q as an enlisted person.
    The positions termed cyber (i.e. CNO specific work roles):
    Enlisted: 25D, 35Q
    Warrant: 255S


    I don't believe the Officers have one yet, but I am sure it is getting there soon.


    There are a lot of other positions that have have been doing the work but is not cyber specific. Such as:
    Enlisted: 35S, 35N, 35T, 25B
    Warrant: 352N, 352S, 255A, 255N
    Officer: 35G, FA24, FA53, FA30, 25A


    I am not saying you should go Army but this is what there is as far as positions. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. If you aren't sure about military I would suggest option 3. If they are interested in hiring you, the only thing holding you back is yourself. Don't sell yourself short.
  • mistabrumley89mistabrumley89 Member Posts: 356 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I guess I could give you a little bit of insight. The Army is currently standing up a Cyber Corps. They are pulling soldiers from SIGINT(military intelligence) and the Signal Corps. There are currently two CYBER specific jobs in development. This will be the new 17 series MOS (military occupational specialty). 17A Will be Cyber Warfare Officer(Board seletion will convene Dec 2). 17C Will be Cyber Warfare Specialist. They are only recruiting current services members as of now (Can't join as this, but you can apply after you get yourself situated). 25D is a glorified COMSEC custodian. They will be dispatched to Cyber Protection Teams, which most SGM's will see cyber and think COMSEC because they do attend a COMSEC handlers course as part of their MOS schooling. There is no direct recruiting into the 255S Warrant position that I'm aware of. They take applications from current 255A/N to place into 255S.

    All aside, if I could do it all over... I would never join the Army. Don't get me wrong, I owe everything I know/have right now to the Army. I should have went Air Force though. Better quality of life. You don't work outside your job for the mostpart (Army is more of a do what I need, not what you are trained to do)
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  • mistabrumley89mistabrumley89 Member Posts: 356 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I know the Army Time's is very unreliable at times, but I do believe this article is pretty dead on:

    Officers can apply to go cyber in voluntary transfer program | Army Times | armytimes.com
    Goals: WGU BS: IT-Sec (DONE) | CCIE Written: In Progress
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  • mistabrumley89mistabrumley89 Member Posts: 356 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm not sure if this is for enlisted, officer, or both... but this should be a rough outline of the technical trianing that you will go through if selected for the 17 CMF:

    •Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
    •Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
    •Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
    •Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
    •Network +
    •Security +
    •Joint Intermediate Target Development Course
    •Intermediate Cyber Core
    •Joint Network Attack Course
    •Art of Exploitation Training
    •Vulnerability Assessment Training
    •Intrusion Detection
    •Critical Thinking and Structured Analysis
    •Intelligence Collection Course
    •Cyber Operator
    •Cyber Attack and Defend
    •Cyber Threat Detection and Mitigation
    •Malicious network Traffic Analysis
    •SANS Cyber Training
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  • NetworkingStudentNetworkingStudent Member Posts: 1,407 ■■■■■■■■□□
    You say life changing event, I assume you’re getting married, divorced, or having a child.

    I don’t know that much about IT security, but I do know only you can determine what will truly make you happy in your new job role.

    Do you want any of the following?

    More pay?

    Shorter drive time?

    Better benefits?

    More training?

    Are any of these items more important than the other?

    Have you looked at these IT security jobs in MN?

    Open Positions | Minnesota Information Systems Security Association Chapter
    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

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  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    MSP-IT wrote: »
    I'm working on recoiling from a pretty large life event and I really need to start anew

    You sound like you have a lot going on right now. You might want to give yourself some time to adjust to this new change and see how it fits with your life. Making changes immediately following a life event can result in some serious regret down the road. This is especially true for multi-year military commitments.
    Best of luck to you, whatever you decide. We all hit hard times in some shape or form.
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  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I appreciate all the input regarding the military, but it seems like the process isn't necessarily fast. At this point in time I don't have the 8 months required to go through applying for OCS. Unless I could jump the hoops in under 3-4 months, I don't I'll consider that option any further.
    ...

    I'm looking to get out of MN. I have family here, but I've never felt at home in the Twin Cities. If I could uproot myself and move into another area, I would in a heartbeat. My current job is a dead-end, with little/no realistic work to be done. I'm really tired of silos, red-tape, and absent communication. At this point I don't really care about compensation, as long as I didn't take a pay cut. The only benefit I could ask for is training, be it on-the-job or paid for. I've done little to nothing at my current job other than collect a paycheck, and the technology that I am learning about is mind-numbing and mediocre at best.
  • deezineccnadeezineccna Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    For me option 3 is the best option. Dream job + 15% increase. The problem is the opportunity cost. How does it work out in the end? Is there a possibility for an increase after training? Questions to ask: 1) how long would it take with a 15% increase to pay off the relocation costs, 2) is there a way to make this a reality with lower relocation costs.
  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Pay would most likely increase after the first year. As far as the relocation costs go, lease termination is beginning to seem inevitable, so option 3 is likely to be my best bet.
  • aftereffectoraftereffector Member Posts: 525
    I got a lot out of my time in the Army, both as enlisted and as an officer, and if I could go back and choose again, I would do it exactly the same. However, I think that you will get more out of your first or third option than you would out of the Army at this point in your career. I left just before they announced the specialized cyber officer track, but they've been talking about it for quite a while and (someone correct me if I'm wrong) I don't think it is an accessions branch option. That is, you can join right off the street and commission as a Signal Corps or Military Intelligence lieutenant; you'll have to go through Basic (easy) and OCS (not difficult), and they no longer guarantee a branch - you would compete for it on an order of merit list that was very weighted towards physical fitness scores and the first history test when I went through OCS in 2010. But you wouldn't be able to start out into the 17A program right away.

    From what I have read, the 17A is like the current 24A Telecom Engineer and 53A Information Systems Manager, which is a functional area of specialization that officers can apply for through the VTIP program between their fourth and seventh commissioned years. It's not guaranteed by any means, and while definitely a good opportunity, it also comes with a very high opportunity cost (specifically all the time that you will spend as a platoon leader, company XO, and junior staff officer doing nothing even remotely related to networking, systems administration, or security). I was an operations officer for a strategic signal company in Korea and I had zero IT duties and responsibilities whatsoever. The extent of my involvement with IT was maintaining a situational awareness of what projects we were working on and the status of each project or task, and I had a LOT more to do with facilities management, such as getting workers to fix improper TIG welds on lighting protection systems, than I ever did with the unit's Windows 7 migration.
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  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I appreciate your input.

    I have an in-person meeting with the Army recruiter tomorrow, and am waiting to hear back from the Air Force OCS recruiter. I'm exploring all options thoroughly. It's interesting to see the differences between the Army and the Air Force. From what I've heard from the Air Force, it's almost built upon specialization.
  • PrefluxPreflux Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Personally if I were in your shoes and I was more than willing to relocate, the 3rd choice is a no-brainer.

    Your current job has great perks seeing as you work 100% remote but I also personally never really take anything said by a hiring manager within my company serious, mainly for the reason I've been let down numerous times and things get delayed. If you wait there until early 2015, you may miss the opportunities thrown at you now to be told they can't expand until the end of 2015, then you're stuck waiting again.

    The 3rd option would be my choice. Mainly because it's your 'dream job'. You could stay where you are now, and wait to get into the team you want to be in or you could get right in there now and enjoy every minute of work. To me doing something I enjoy is the main thing I look for in a job, and it's even more appealing if you'll be making more money!

    The debt you'll be putting yourself in isn't too bad, you'll be out of that fairly quickly when working in Security and it's a small trade off to get your dream job. Many people take pay cuts to get into their ideal role. I'd also imagine you'll get a lot of chances to do paid training and courses through your work.

    This is just my $0.02 so don't take it personally :).
  • zxbanezxbane Member Posts: 740 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I agree with a lot of others, the 3rd option sounds like a temporary sacrifice for a long term gain. Also you mention being tired of red-tape, and if that is the case then the military definitely would frustrate you..
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