Taking a Major Pay Cut to Get Foot into Security

willanderson1111willanderson1111 Posts: 43Member ■■□□□□□□□□
Would you take a pay cut of $20k to get into security? This position will allow you to have hand on experience with some of the latest security tools and will upgrade your clearance to a Top Secret/SCI. The security position is a Security Analyst Tier1 so basically an entry level. I've been in desktop support and networking ever since graduating from college. I'm thinking of taking the pay cut, get experience, get my clearance upgraded, pass the CEH, and then jump ship.

Comments

  • DeathmageDeathmage Posts: 2,496Banned
    How long would you stay before jumping ship? - would a year be too long?
  • willanderson1111willanderson1111 Posts: 43Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Yes or do you think is too short? I'm on my third year at my current job and before that I was with a company for 5 years.
  • Rumblr33Rumblr33 Posts: 99Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    The question here is: Does taking a pay cut now dramatically increase your future earning potential? We see the statistics on the lack of qualified security professionals and how this projects for the near future and salaries increasing. Reading your post, you have experience in desktop support and networking, which will definitely help with your future endeavor into security. Cost benefit analysis...where do you see yourself 5, 10, 15 years from now? Will taking the pay cut for the experience help you? Personally, it really depends on your endgame. I would do it. The clearance and experience alone will quickly help you recoup the 20K lost, but then like Deathmage stated, how long do plan on staying?
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Posts: 2,268Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Agree with the others, there is a lot to consider. I did it, not HUGE, but some, and loss of benefits. I knew that I had a year contract to learn everything I can and then either negotiate for a better rate or move on. As Rumblr33 said, your future potential vs desktop work should be dramatically higher. It was less than a year in security and the same recruiters who didn't want to talk to me about a security role before were suddenly proactively contacting me with jobs way above what I was seeking through them before.
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Posts: 2,297Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    If the 20k decrease in salary will not significantly impact your living I would do it, even in the case it did, i would still do it for the future potential. Not to mention that the clearance alone is something that not everyone can easily get. That will potentially open new doors for you that will help you recoup the losses.
  • 636-555-3226636-555-3226 Posts: 976Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Take a pay cut to get into security? What kind of twilight zone are you living in? I guess if you're entry level maybe. It's a good field in my area. Experienced security pros can pretty much write their own salary (within reason) as demand far outstrips supply. I agree with TheFORCE, above
  • RollTideNDRollTideND CISSP, GCIH, CEH, Security+, Network+, A+, Project+, CSIS, CIOS, MTA 98-365 North DakotaPosts: 9Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I took a $16k/year pay cut to get into a "pure" security role. My research gave enough indications that I would eventually make up the difference in 2-5 years so it's definitely a personal decision. I too came from help desk/tech support/NOC/Network Admin/Systems Engineer and now I'm an IT Security Risk Engineer and I love the job but the pay isn't quite where it should be just yet but in 1-2 years it should be.

    If you can play the long game and you don't need a ton of money right this second, I say do it if security is where you want to be.
    Earned: BS Mgmt/CIS (Park University), CISSP, GCIH, CEH, Security+, Network+, A+, Project+, CSIS, CIOS, MTA 98-365
    Current: WGU MSCIA - Risk Management, Cyberwarfare, and Cyber Law
    Next Up: WGU MSCIA - Other Courses TBD, CHFI, CCNA R&S
  • Mike-MikeMike-Mike Posts: 1,860Member
    I took about a 13k cut to get an actual Security role. On the positive side, my hours are more stable now, standard 8 to 5 instead of bouncing all over the place. I like RollTideND feel confident that there will be a higher ceiling in this role.

    However it was painful to get my W-2 from my old job and realize how much more money I made at the old gig.
    Currently Working On

    CWTS, then WireShark
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,389Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    In your case, I'd consider doing it for the clearance and you'd likely be able to get that 20k back in a year and maybe more.

    I'm having issues getting into security at the moment because of taking a paycut also. All the jobs that seem super interesting are SOC jobs and they're all 25k-40k a year and I can't take that kind of hit. The others that have a similar salary haven't matched up to my background yet. I'm hoping having a SIEM at home and messing around with a lab will help a little.
  • The_ExpertThe_Expert Posts: 136Member
    Security is not all what it is cracked up to be... think long and hard about your move. Can you not make more money now by moving into the same role at a new company?

    Why go backwards?

    Security deals with a lot of patching, audit requests etc. etc. Did I mention auditors?
    Masters, Public Administration (MPA), Bachelor of Science, 20+ years of technical experience.

    Studying on again, off again...
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Posts: 3,277Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    The_Expert wrote: »
    Security is not all what it is cracked up to be... think long and hard about your move. Can you not make more money now by moving into the same role at a new company?

    Why go backwards?

    Security deals with a lot of patching, audit requests etc. etc. Did I mention auditors?

    +1 on this. Security is a hot field, but unless your doing something like pentesting (even then though...) your still not doing technical work most of the time. Doing audits and making sure you are able to pass audits when auditors come around.
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,389Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I think auditing and documentation is fun. Analyzing logs and recommending patches, etc is also something I love doing. I can't speak for the OP, but I'm definitely aware what I'm getting into.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    If it's what you want to do and your budget can handle the cut why not? Money is nice and all in the short term, but long term satisfaction is the goal in my opinion.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Mike-MikeMike-Mike Posts: 1,860Member
    markulous wrote: »
    I think auditing and documentation is fun. Analyzing logs and recommending patches, etc is also something I love doing. I can't speak for the OP, but I'm definitely aware what I'm getting into.

    i also like auditing, documentation can be great or tedious, depending on what it is
    Currently Working On

    CWTS, then WireShark
  • RemedympRemedymp Posts: 834Member
    I did the same thing. My advice is stick it out for 1 year exactly and get yourself a security cert like GSEC or CISA certification, update your linkedin and watch the opportunities flood your inbox. Trust me.
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,389Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Mike-Mike wrote: »
    i also like auditing, documentation can be great or tedious, depending on what it is

    Yes, definitely tedious, but I'm good with that.
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Posts: 2,268Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    For the people confused as to why it would be a pay cut... When you change specialties you are rarely the same level in something you have less experience in. If you were a Sr network engineer and decided to get into systems without very much experience, you likely wouldn't be a Sr systems engineer. Security roles tend to use a lot of your background knowledge, but it doesn't all translate 100%.
  • RoyalRavenRoyalRaven Posts: 142Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Why would you take a pay cut for security? Everyone I know who's moved into security has pretty much received a raise. The only way you'd drop down is if you are lacking in experience or education.

    I know there are times where taking a different path/different trajectory is better for the long haul, but you'll need time to recover from a pay drop, so you'll want to ensure you're building something that's lacking now.
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Posts: 2,268Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    For the reasons I just explained? If someone changes focus completely, it isn't always a raise. If I decide I want to be a DBA, I wasn't a DBA before, I'm not coming in at the same level. We had a guy the other day at my workplace who is a Sr Desktop engineer. He doesn't do support, he does packaging, SCCM, etc. He wanted to move into security, he's not coming in as a Sr security engineer, he knows nothing about it, not even securing desktops. Maybe if you change at the same company and your duties are really closely related, but it's not always a step up.
  • Matt2Matt2 Posts: 97Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    If you know what you want to be doing long term, and this fit's in with your plans, then do it.

    I had 2 options to get into a 100% security job. I could stay at a well known Enterprise level company where I had worked for ~10 years doing various IT and non IT work, and work my way into a Security role. It would take 2-3 years or so. But then an opportunity came up to move to another company, take a 40% pay cut, and go into a 100% security role in a couple months. That was 2.5 years ago. I think I will soon be back at the salary I used to make. Perhaps still a little behind the curve, but well worth it for my situation.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy SABSA, GCFA, GPEN, CISM, RHCE, Security+, Server+, eJPT, CCNA Posts: 4,049Mod Mod
    I moved side ways to security (although I admit my day to day tasks aren't hmm so security..but I'm getting exposure).

    My reasoning was that I predicted sysadmin/engineer type roles are changing, and in the long run didn't seem like an attractive career (for me ) anymore...and I also think security will get bigger.

    I didn't get a pay cut, I got a pay raise when I moved to this security role, but my day to day tasks are more entry level than what I'm used to doing it, and it has not been painless.

    If I wasn't soo lazy, I would've got some certifications by now, but I haven't; and that's why I'm having hard time getting a better security position :)


    Take the pay cut and try the job out....change is good, specially if you're a young.
    Goal: MBA, Jan 2021
  • Terminator XTerminator X Posts: 60Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I took a $30k pay cut after I got out of the military in order to get my foot in the door. 8 months later, my 2 year plan turned into my 8 month plan where I was making more than I ever did while in. However, I worked my ass off during the 8 months to get my foot in the door. You have to know what your pain level is. Those 8 months of pain paved the way for what I'm doing now.
    -Tact is for those not witty enough to be sarcastic-
    ~Unknown
  • RockinRobinRockinRobin Posts: 165Member
    Take a pay cut to get into security? What kind of twilight zone are you living in? I guess if you're entry level maybe. It's a good field in my area. Experienced security pros can pretty much write their own salary (within reason) as demand far outstrips supply. I agree with TheFORCE, above


    What area are you in?
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