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Introduction / Career Advice

JohnLJohnL Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hello everyone,

First off let me introduce myself, my name is John and I am fairly new to the IT field. I have always had an interest and messed with computers but never truly pursued it. I started taking computer classes when I started college back in 2001 and then I took a Cobol course and I said nevermind. I then finished with a Business Degree with a specialization in Finance in 2007. After many years I discovered that I didn't care for business. I then enrolled in a local community college studying Computer Networking and Systems Administration where I received many academic awards and finished school with a 4.0. I ended up with an Associates degree from that school. I have since gotten a job as an application analyst and have been in that position for about a year. I have gotten my A+ cert and am taking the Network+ cert on Tuesday.

I know where I want to go and that is where I ask for some advice on my next steps. I want to eventually end up investigating cyber crime / digital forensics. I have looked into the masters program at WGU in Information Assurance but after speaking with a enrollment counselor he suggested that I go after the bachelors in IT security first. I don't quite qualify since I don't have any CCNA or higher certs yet. My question is should I go ahead and go after the bachelors and then the masters? I feel I could benefit from some of the courses in that program and I should be able to transfer in a lot of credits. I also planned on taking the CCENT and Security+ within the next three months. Any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
John
B.B.A. in Finance - 2007
A.A.S. in Computer Networking & System Administration - 2014
M.S. Information Security and Assurance - 2016
CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, CEH, CHFI, CCNA: Routing & Switching
Working on CISSP

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    lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    JohnL wrote: »
    and then I took a Cobol course and I said nevermind.

    That's exactly how I felt about C++ and pursuing CompSci in college :)

    It seems like you have a good foundation, and a good idea of which direction you want to go. This area (cyber crime/digital forensics) is very popular in the federal space in addition to the private sector (who either contracts to the federal space or contracts to other private firms of varying size). Curious, what drives you towards this? Have you read any books, attended any conferences, watched any videos online? Digital forensics in particular is a very technical field that often requires a background in programming, or at least a rather detailed understanding of it. 'Cyber crime' is a much more broad topic and lends itself to cross-discipline sections of the cybersecurity field.
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I can't stomach the idea of you doing the bachelors AGAIN. I could understand taking a core class or 2 before being accepted if your previous major deviates from each other, such as finance and security. But to do another bachelors to me sounds costly (time and cash).

    These other folks can point you in the direction of certification better than I. I just wanted to chime in and give you my piece of mind on getting another bachelors.
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    JohnLJohnL Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    lsud00d,
    I think what drove me towards cyber crime / digital forensics was an exercise I was involved in while attending TSTC (my community college). My professor called it a "Hack-a-thon" and it was the most interesting and fun thing I have done. When I first began my enrollment he mentioned this and I knew I was in the right place. I've thought about pen-testing but it seems like much more of a contract job. I really like the idea of figuring out how these cyber criminals got in and tracking them down. I have several books on cyber crime and digital forensics sitting on my shelf that I still need to go through.

    N2IT,
    I really hate the idea of going for another bachelors but the masters program at WGU requires a bachelors in IT or a higher level cert. I have also looked at more advanced certs, CCFP for example, and it required a bachelors in IT. It really sucks but if that is what is needed then I am willing to spend the time to get what I need. I am highly motivated and with the way the WGU programs are structured I believe that I could get through the bachelors program within 18 months.
    B.B.A. in Finance - 2007
    A.A.S. in Computer Networking & System Administration - 2014
    M.S. Information Security and Assurance - 2016
    CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, CEH, CHFI, CCNA: Routing & Switching
    Working on CISSP
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    lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    John, just double checked on CCFP:

    Candidates must have a 4-year college degree leading to a Baccalaureate, or regional equivalent, plus 3 years of cumulative paid full-time digital forensics or IT security experience in 3 out of the 6 domains of the credential.
    Those candidates who do not hold a 4-year college degree leading to a Baccalaureate, or regional equivalent, must have 6 years of cumulative paid full-time digital forensics or IT security experience in 3 out of the 6 domains of the credential. Candidates without the required degree may receive a 1-year professional experience waiver for holding an alternate forensics certification on the (ISC)² approved list.


    https://www.isc2.org/ccfp/default.aspx


    So it looks like you don't need a degree specific to IT, any bachelors will do. But, the 3 years of experience is what gets you.

    And for WGU Masters
    WGU Admission Process
    To be admitted into this online IT degree program, you must:


    Apply for admission.
    Possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally or nationally accredited institution.
    Demonstrate IT security experience through at least one of the following three methods:
    Have earned a bachelor’s degree in IT security or IT networking that covers at least two CISSP CBK domains. (You can find the domains listed here.)
    Hold a CISSP, CCIE, CCNP, CCNA, or GCWN certification that was earned within the last five years.
    Submit a resume for review showing recent significant IT security experience, of at least three years, which demonstrates at least two CISSP CBK domains.

    Master Information Security Degree Program | WGU College of Information Technology

    CCNA is not near as difficult as the others listed, so since you already have a bachelors just work towards the CCNA and then apply for the WGU Masters program.
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    JohnLJohnL Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    We'll Im about to take the CCENT which is the first half of the CCNA Routing and Switching cert so I could get that fairly quickly. If I have that in addition to a Security+ cert then I think I could get in.

    Thanks Lsud00d for looking that up. I did see some of the info but wasn't sure if it meant maybe a CCNA Security or if just a CCNA. I really do just want to get in the masters program but I just want to make sure that I'm not missing out on any major courses through the bachelors program that would be valuable. I guess I can always read some books and look at other certs for validation in those areas.
    B.B.A. in Finance - 2007
    A.A.S. in Computer Networking & System Administration - 2014
    M.S. Information Security and Assurance - 2016
    CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, CEH, CHFI, CCNA: Routing & Switching
    Working on CISSP
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    That makes a lot more sense and doesn't sound as costly! icon_cheers.gif
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    JohnLJohnL Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Well I just passed my Network+ exam this morning with a 787. I was aiming for a score above 800 but oh well. Now its time to prep for the CCENT. Thanks for the suggestions. :)

    If anyone has anymore tips as I go on this journey I would really appreciate it.
    B.B.A. in Finance - 2007
    A.A.S. in Computer Networking & System Administration - 2014
    M.S. Information Security and Assurance - 2016
    CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, CEH, CHFI, CCNA: Routing & Switching
    Working on CISSP
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    rcsoar4funrcsoar4fun Member Posts: 103 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'm not saying don't concentrate on the masters....but...

    Given your background I could see a great deal of demand on the accounting forensics side, not sure if you would like that or not.

    First thing is getting some hands on network experience in addition to the certifications. Cyber crime rarely occurs these days without a network being involved.

    Second, take a look at the CISSP certification. It is really more "Security for Dummies for Management" but is well respected in the industry.

    Last I would look at the CEH. Really this is a penetration tester cert. It will at least give you a good grasp of the tools involved. You may decide you hate it,

    In the end a CCNA/NP, CISSP and CEH could be completed in about the same time as the masters, but way more valuable.
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    JohnLJohnL Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    In the program that I am looking at I will have to pass the CEH and the CHFI to earn my masters degree. That makes it really appealing to me, a two birds one stone kinda thing. I completely agree that I need some network experience and I fully intend on going after my CISSP. Im just trying to figure out the best possible order.
    B.B.A. in Finance - 2007
    A.A.S. in Computer Networking & System Administration - 2014
    M.S. Information Security and Assurance - 2016
    CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, CEH, CHFI, CCNA: Routing & Switching
    Working on CISSP
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    rcsoar4funrcsoar4fun Member Posts: 103 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I would do them in the order I listed above. CCNP will not significantly help you over CCNA for the other two, but the CCNA will give you an excellent basis to begin. It is infinitely easier if something like understanding how a TCP half open attack works if you really understand how TCP works. Honestly I would learn at it like the OSI model, with security being layer 9.

    When studying CCNA really learn the basic stuff first. Try to get a holistic understanding of what layer 2 does and what layer 3 does and how they interact. Too often people jump in with "I want to learn routing, it is so cool!" then struggle later on. I have seen CCNP certified people that couldn't answer the simple ones.
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    JohnLJohnL Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thank you so much for the advice. I've been looking through this forum on the CCNA and it looks like I have a lot of studying ahead of me. We went through a lot of Cisco IOS when I was in school but I plan on hitting it hard for the next few months.
    B.B.A. in Finance - 2007
    A.A.S. in Computer Networking & System Administration - 2014
    M.S. Information Security and Assurance - 2016
    CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, CEH, CHFI, CCNA: Routing & Switching
    Working on CISSP
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    colemiccolemic Member Posts: 1,569 ■■■■■■■□□□
    JohnL is a coworker of mine, so do I get a referral from TE or something? A t-shirt would suffice. :D

    I agree with the others to focus on CCNA and then jump into the master's program. It's changed a lot since I went through it, but it still provides a great value for the cost.
    Working on: staying alive and staying employed
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    JohnLJohnL Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I think a t-shirt sounds fair. :)
    Thanks colemic for introducing me to this community.
    B.B.A. in Finance - 2007
    A.A.S. in Computer Networking & System Administration - 2014
    M.S. Information Security and Assurance - 2016
    CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, CEH, CHFI, CCNA: Routing & Switching
    Working on CISSP
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    lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    colemic, you're TE-shirt's in the mail icon_wink.gif

    Congrats on the N+ pass JohnL!! The N+ will give you a jump start on the CCNA.
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