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Career Advice Needed: Sr Security Analyst

Khaos1911Khaos1911 Member Posts: 366
So I've worked for a fortune 100 company for nearly 10 years, with the last 3 yrs being in Information Security. Good team, Good benefits, Honestly, I could retire from this place. Only in my early 30's though. Very good gig, but I've kinda been wanting more...I decided to test the waters and basically have been offered a job with a Gov't contractor as a Security Analyst to a big 3 letter organization. Potential to learn new technologies that are high in demand: Arcsight, Snort (more in depth than I currently utilize), linux, etc. But this is more of a SOC Analyst role. Trying to decide what I should do. I have a wife and a daughter, and we aren't hurting at all. Just wanting to pay off more debt faster.

Current Job Pros:

-High job security

-work 8am-4:30ish (a hour lunch, but you can go as long as you want really, super relaxed environment. Just do your work an you're golden)

- Opportunity to go for a level 2 Sec Analyst position in a couple week.

-Familiarity with technology, culture, team, and having a super cool boss.

-No micro management

- Analyst role, only on call every three months and we usually get very little, none after hours. Very manageable.

- I'd be the official primary on stuff I already do primary work on, lol.

Current Job Cons:

- Tuition reimbursement is low, which is a bummer. Really wanted to start a Masters next year without coming out of pocket.

- 30 min commute each way.

-No opportunities to learn new technologies, no real training budget. But Could probably get them to pay for a SANS class every few years.

- They don't value certs at all

-raises seem to keep getting smaller though reviews keep getting better. Never had a bad review.

New Job Pros

-Senior position title

-6 min commute each way ( place is barely a mile or 2 from my house)

-Learn new technologies that interest me, and will look great on the resume

-For some reason I always wanted to work in IT Security for gov't.

New Job cons:

-Need to brush up on a bunch of these technologies before my 1st day

- 2nd Shift (spending less time with 19 month old daughter)

- The unknown of working in a gov't SOC environment. Heard SOCs are really hectic.

- Benefits aren't as good as current job, still trying to find out about their tuition reimbursement

- What if I get there and just feel it was a mistake

- Less job security than current job.

If more come to mind, I'll re-edit. What do you all think?

Comments

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    Khaos1911Khaos1911 Member Posts: 366
    Also, I'd feel like a jerk leaving my current company right now. Our lead suddenly left not long ago and I was secondary to a few of his high profile items and if I left, it'd be a mad dash to get that filled. They literally would have nobody to deal with the IPS and there is a major project we are woking on right now that goes live in a month or so and I'm the technical "expert" on that project....I'm truly torn and not sure what I want to do.
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    pinkydapimppinkydapimp Member Posts: 732 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I think you need to do whats best for your career. You are going to have to take risks at some point. You seem to be in a good place to do so and this role should give you some great new skills for your resume. Honestly i feel like you should be making more and i think this could be a step towards getting there. I would go for it. Dont worry about leaving your company in the dust. If you really feel that bad, ask for a raise. If they give it to you, then stay for another year. If not, then you know where you stand and that you need to focus on yourself.
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    TheFORCETheFORCE Member Posts: 2,297 ■■■■■■■■□□
    You have good experience so far, your certs have a lot of value. Honestly the only reason you are not at 6 figures right now is because you spend 10 years in the same company. I went from 60k+bonus to 80k+bonus in 3 years by changing companies and Idon't even have half the certs you have. Once you stay for 10 years in a company you get used to all the things that are good. Go for the challenge, embrace the new job. Even if it doesn't work, you will not have any issues finding a new job with higher pay and better experience than your current job.
    Out of curiosity though, why did the lead leave and how come you are not aiming for that position if you want to stay there?
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    Khaos1911Khaos1911 Member Posts: 366
    Thanks for the input, guys. Another thing is, I'm in a small market and my town isn't booming with a hot IT landscape. InfoSec careers here are few and far between, but it's home and if I were single I'd been gone but our families are here and my wife is super attached to hers..... This is more of a distribution and hospital town...I know I have some good certs, some good experience, but I still feel like a noob at times. Just want to continue getting better and the new position would force me out of my comfort zone, (hell I'm over here on a vm working on my snort and linux skills right now, which if I weren't being offered this new job, I'd be watching inkmaster and eating cheetos.). Salary wise, my location and overall career is being killed by my city. This is just not an area for "real" IT security work.

    Lead and his family relocated to different state. He wanted to stay at our company but they wouldn't let him do remote work from there. A more senior guy on my team went for the role and we all knew he was a shoe in. They only interviewed others to meet HR laws, but we knew the deal. The 2 position coming open next week is his old position, which I think they all want me to go for.
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    E Double UE Double U Member Posts: 2,233 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Khaos1911 wrote: »
    - 2nd Shift (spending less time with 19 month old daughter)

    This would be enough for me to stay. I could make more money leaving my current role, but my work-family balance is close to perfect.
    Alphabet soup from (ISC)2, ISACA, GIAC, EC-Council, Microsoft, ITIL, Cisco, Scrum, CompTIA, AWS
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    docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Another thing to consider is potential frustration that a new environment brings, particularly not having the authority to get things done or management who just wants to claim that they're serious about security while treating it as a compliance stamp. Some places also operate at a faster or slower speed than you may like. Red tape, or lack of organization, the team, etc.. all add up after a while.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
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    636-555-3226636-555-3226 Member Posts: 975 ■■■■■□□□□□
    For me personally it's about work/life balance. The new job doesn't offer enough yet for me to lose that family time.
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    TheFORCETheFORCE Member Posts: 2,297 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I dont have kids so I can't really relate but I have a friend who does and he always does these crazy gigs for extra money, OT, weekend jobs, side jobs etc. When I tell him "you have to spend more time with your little kids man" his reply is.. " even if i spend the entire day with them they will not remember it, nor appreciate it, nor understand what it means because they are so little, sure the play time is fun but when they grew up and go to school and go to college i don't want them to have debt and student loans "
    The point is, family time with the kids is important but you have to realize that when you are younger in your 30's you can work harder and sacrifice a bit more so you and your kids can have it easier later on. Fill the bank when you have the strength, the endurance, the desire and the opportunity. Besides, the new gig is closer to him by 24 minutes!
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    Khaos1911Khaos1911 Member Posts: 366
    Yeah, TheForce is really selling me on the new job. I was kinda leaning towards it already. I'd still wake my daughter up every morning, change her, cloth her, feed her breakfast and spend a little more time before taking her to daycare. Still have all weekend with her. Her mom is going to be pissed once she truly realizes she'll be doing dinner every night and putting her to bed, all the stuff I do for her now, lol.
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    kohr-ahkohr-ah Member Posts: 1,277
    If the Mrs is okay with it and you'd be happier go for it. TheForce I'd right as they don't remember it when they are that little but on the flip side you remember it. It is stuff you may miss out on also. But as long as the work life balance is there and you are happy why not?

    You get 1 shot at life and you may as well enjoy it.

    On the catch side once they hit 4 they remember it. My dad traveled for his job and I saw him few and far between but he made great money for it. It was something I held against him for a long time because he missed out on a lot of things in my life.
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    Megadeth4168Megadeth4168 Member Posts: 2,157
    There is a lot to look at here. I also have a family and young kids, the way my wife and I handled this type of situation is as a family we weighed the pros and cons. It is difficult to manage the balance of family and career advancement. There are a couple notes I would point out.

    1. I left a job I really enjoyed (but was no longer learning anything new) to go to a job where I could potentially grow. I got to the new job and didn't really grow nearly as much as I would have liked.... but salary is up 20% from last job.

    2. I have worked DoD contractor positions.... This is where I've gained the biggest boost in my career. However, you need to know how long the contract is for. When these contracts go up for re-bid, you may be with a different company and suddenly find yourself taking a massive pay cut.... I like to see 3 or more years left on a contract... need some level of job security, it's important.
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    BlackBeretBlackBeret Member Posts: 683 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Megadeath hit the nail on the head. Almost every contractor I know, myself included, are constantly looking for more job security. I once got hired on to a SOC Analyst role where the recruiter told me it was a brand new five year contract. I relocated from California to Texas, inprocessed, got my ID card, and realized that the five year contract was over in 3 months...It worked out because I used that position to network and spring board to another company/contract that I'm enjoying, but it's short term as well. You really don't want this stress in your life if you can avoid it. You're fairly senior in a good role, with a good company, you get cost of living raises, you like the environment (most important factor IMO). I'd trade with you in a minute. I completely understand not wanting your career to stagnate, and based on the Gov SOC's I've worked in, the majority are places where you might learn one or two new things, but at such a small level you can't do much. I know how it sounds, some of these recruiters have no morals and will make it sound like an amazing job, then you show up and you spend 8 hours looking at ArcSight, opening pcaps, and clearing out false positives because they can't be bothered to refine their signatures. You'll never get to configure anything as an Analyst because they have a maintance team for that purpose. If you do find something that's potentially malicious you'll forward it to the Incident Response Team and go back to closing events in ArcSight. I'm not saying don't find a new career if you don't want your skills to stagnate, but if you've got a nice career you should find a place you can make a career out of, not a job where you'll have to start bouncing between contracts/companies, etc. Also as a side note every contract company I know of at the moment is cutting education programs down to barebones starting 2016. I'm sure some are doing better, but being that you'll have missed the fall semester anywhere as it is, ask about the benefits programs for next year, not the current programs.
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    BlackBeretBlackBeret Member Posts: 683 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Sorry about the wall of text guys, I put new lines in but it's not saving that way. Stupid hotel IE browsers.
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    Megadeth4168Megadeth4168 Member Posts: 2,157
    BlackBeret wrote: »
    recruiter told me it was a brand new five year contract. I relocated from California to Texas, inprocessed, got my ID card, and realized that the five year contract was over in 3 months..

    Great point, the recruiters either don't know or lie about how much time is left on a 5 year contract. You will need to ask specifically in an interview how much longer is on the contract.
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    Khaos1911Khaos1911 Member Posts: 366
    No recruiters involved. I apply straight to companies, I'm not with that middle man crap. Spoke directly and negotiated with Manager and HR rep, they just renewed the contract, this was the 1st year if I remember correctly and they have 3...I think it was 4 years left on this "5" year contract. This was their second or third renewal with the org.

    Getting really good feedback from you all, please keep it coming. I still don't know what I want to do. So many pros and cons of both positions.
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    Khaos1911Khaos1911 Member Posts: 366
    Got emailed the offer letter today....icon_cry.gif

    Still can't decide, if only I could tell the future.
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    praminpramin Member Posts: 138 ■■■□□□□□□□
    +1 to accept the offer

    because its more money, shorter commute, learning new technology. Learn new technology is the key it the IT field whether it be on your own or on the job. If you aren't learning new skill set/technology you will be behind the eight ball at some point.
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    Khaos1911Khaos1911 Member Posts: 366
    Going to have a final talk with wife tonight, but she is ultimately going to tell me to do what I think is best....This is crazy, becuase I'm not an indecisive person at all.

    Love my fam, but I will make time if I take new position. My big thing comes down to job security. I just don't truly know how high that is at the new gig...
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    bpennbpenn Member Posts: 499
    Hmmmm, that is tough. The short commute just about would win it over for me - I hate long commutes. In the end, I think I would take it. I love trying new things and experiencing all life has to offer. A new job is like a new adventure.
    "If your dreams dont scare you - they ain't big enough" - Life of Dillon
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    TheFORCETheFORCE Member Posts: 2,297 ■■■■■■■■□□
    If i found a job that's close to home and only 6 minutes away.i would walk or bike to work and during lunch go home and have lunch. Think of the money you could be saving that way, becoming more healthy and active and be home for at least 1 hour to do house chores maybe prepare that dinner for later lol. Or visit your kid at school if it is close.
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    Megadeth4168Megadeth4168 Member Posts: 2,157
    Khaos1911 wrote: »
    Going to have a final talk with wife tonight, but she is ultimately going to tell me to do what I think is best....This is crazy, becuase I'm not an indecisive person at all.

    Love my fam, but I will make time if I take new position. My big thing comes down to job security. I just don't truly know how high that is at the new gig...

    Yep, been in that situation a few times, it really is a family decision when you have a wife and kids. Only you and your family will be able to assign some value to some of the intangible benefits such as time-off, shift selection, job security, potential to learn and work on new tech.

    I wish I had better advise, but honestly, it really will be a family decision. I can tell you that I took the risk, left a job of 11 years to go to a DoD contractor for 15K increase... I would have less vacation and a little less time with family but the money Plus the chance to advance my career is why my wife and I ultimately said yes... For me, it advanced my career so much further than I could have imagined at the time. It paid off in my case. It can be a gamble though.
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    Khaos1911Khaos1911 Member Posts: 366
    Update:

    Officially accepted the new offer, giving two weeks notice to current company in the morning.
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    pinkydapimppinkydapimp Member Posts: 732 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Khaos1911 wrote: »
    Update:

    Officially accepted the new offer, giving two weeks notice to current company in the morning.
    congrats! last switch i made i was very nervous about. 3 years later its the best decision i have made. Good luck!
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    tahjzhuantahjzhuan Member Posts: 288 ■■■■□□□□□□
    You would not happen to be in Memphis by any chance? @ Khaos1911
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    kohr-ahkohr-ah Member Posts: 1,277
    Congrats ! Hope all the best and that this ends up being awesome for you.
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    Khaos1911Khaos1911 Member Posts: 366
    Thanks, everyone.

    tahjzhuan wrote: »
    You would not happen to be in Memphis by any chance? @ Khaos1911

    No sir.
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    E Double UE Double U Member Posts: 2,233 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Congrats! I hope everything works out.
    Alphabet soup from (ISC)2, ISACA, GIAC, EC-Council, Microsoft, ITIL, Cisco, Scrum, CompTIA, AWS
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    TheFORCETheFORCE Member Posts: 2,297 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Well done congratulations!

    How did your manager react when you told him you have accepted a new offer?
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    BlackBeretBlackBeret Member Posts: 683 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Congrats on the new offer, I hope it works out for you.
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    BlackBeretBlackBeret Member Posts: 683 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Khaos1911 wrote: »
    No recruiters involved. I apply straight to companies, I'm not with that middle man crap. Spoke directly and negotiated with Manager and HR rep, they just renewed the contract, this was the 1st year if I remember correctly and they have 3...I think it was 4 years left on this "5" year contract.

    By recruiter I meant the HR person that did the recruiting and hiring for this one company. No middle man here either, she just liked to talk up the position it seems.

    As for extension options those usually go fairly well, but every 6-12 months it's a pain in the rear to not hear anything official until the week of when you have a family, and then have to get all new badges, ID cards, etc. As long as the customer wants to keep the contractor around you're okay through extensions. Re-bids are when you have to worry, but like I said, sometimes the HR people will flat out lie to get you in there for even a short time. They always say they're going to win a re-bid, it's usually 50/50.

    Honestly I like the company I'm with now and we seem to be getting our extensions every 6 months with no problems so I wouldn't dissuade anyone from contracting, but if I had a steady career that I enjoyed and paid well I wouldn't leave for contracting
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