Back to College or Self study certs?

rumbl3rumbl3 Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
So long story short (long time lurker here lol). I've been in I.T. for about 15 years no real certs (originally learned learned in a Adult Ed. computer repair course). I'm somewhat stuck career wise hit the pay cap and 99% of the positions above me currently are management basically non-tech related.

I want to move into I.T. security (my hobby on my spare time tinkering with it and taking online courses through various sites). But, I'm debating what would be the best way for me to approach moving out of consumer repairs and into the security field. Should I attempt to go back to college (my "General" skills are lacking hardcore after being out of a school setting for over 15 years). Or should I go with a self-study drum up the cash for certs path?

I've had some chances to move up, but all management side jobs (Director of Tech, I.T. consumer services management) I have zero interest in management (not a fan of the politics game that comes with those types of roles and I tend to stick to Leader/Team leader technical roles in my current line of work). My wife thinks I am completely insane btw lol.

I'm leaning toward self study (maybe lynda,plural sight,etc) and going after certs. I'm a hands on type of learner.

Jumping on this all my children will be going to school next school year and I will finally have time to jump into either college or self study/certs. Any help with maybe some suggestions to start charting some sort of map would be well appreciated.

Comments

  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,389Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Do you have a bachelor's at all? I'd recommend WGU. Since you have a ton of experience already, you can breeze through the technical courses most likely. Getting a degree and certs on top of your experience your resume should be gold.
  • aftereffectoraftereffector Posts: 525Member
    If you don't have a degree, get a degree. You'll need it for those higher paying jobs. If you do have a degree in anything, focus on certs - a second bachelor's won't give you much return on your time investment. You will need both the degree and the certs eventually, but the degree will take the most time, so definitely get started on that. Like markulous said, WGU is a good option because it lets you accelerate and will give you a few certs while you work through the course material, so it would be a very efficient use of your time.

    What specialization of IT Security are you targeting? Pen testing / hacking, vulnerability assessments, compliance, security operations, security engineering, network vs platform security? There are a lot of different specialties out there and a lot of paths to get to each one of them.
    CCIE Security - this one might take a while...
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,467Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I love your idea of self study to be honest. I would recommend that.

    Check this out, this looks like a winner. https://www.coursera.org/specializations/cyber-security

    245 USD Chump Change. Material was created by the University of Maryland.
  • doctorlexusdoctorlexus Posts: 217Member
    For $1150, you can sign up for the PWK course with 90 days of lab access and the OSCP exam at the end. If you meet the prerequisites on the link below, I recommend just jumping right in.

    https://www.offensive-security.com/information-security-training/penetration-testing-training-kali-linux/
  • rumbl3rumbl3 Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I have no degree. I have a GED and the cert from the Adult Ed. Course I took for computer repair about 15 years ago. Everything I know has been from (some examples) free courses online, lynda, udemy, various colleges I find out have a free course and just tinkering.

    The reason why I'm debating is due to the fact I probably can not pass a entry test into any college lol. Which I have no problem with studying up basic skills if I need to. But, I feel I'm at the point that I would require some remedial courses just to have a shot.

    As far as a specialization not a clue. Right now I'm just trying to get the wheels on the track.
  • ITSpectreITSpectre Posts: 1,040Member
    rumbl3 wrote: »
    I have no degree. I have a GED and the cert from the Adult Ed. Course I took for computer repair about 15 years ago. Everything I know has been from (some examples) free courses online, lynda, udemy, various colleges I find out have a free course and just tinkering.

    The reason why I'm debating is due to the fact I probably can not pass a entry test into any college lol. Which I have no problem with studying up basic skills if I need to. But, I feel I'm at the point that I would require some remedial courses just to have a shot.

    As far as a specialization not a clue. Right now I'm just trying to get the wheels on the track.

    I would have to take the remedial classes (math mainly) and I suck in math.
    I recommend both. You can go to college and then get certs too.
    In the darkest hour, there is always a way out - Eve ME3 :cool:
    “The measure of an individual can be difficult to discern by actions alone.” – Thane Krios
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,389Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    With no degree, I think that would be a VERY beneficial goal. There are a lot of positions with hard HR requirements for a degree, you really don't want your resume trashed because of that. It also allows you to negotiate higher pay. You could always take some college prep courses if you're that afraid you won't be able to get in.
  • rumbl3rumbl3 Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Yeah position I was offered about a year back for a Director of Tech was rough. Made it through 3 interviews and got the offer, but the pay offer vs distance, etc was quite a bit lower (figured in my interview proved I knew my stuff, but they knew they could undercut me big time because I have no degree/certs).

    Hmmm prep courses never though of that. I'll have to look into this and see what I can find. I think with some math prep courses I would be in a lot better shape to attempt getting into college. I always see WGU on here and have always been very interested in going to that college (all the reviews and the way school works with them). I just know my math skills are very basic (algebra what?).
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,389Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I transferred my Associate's into WGU so I'm not sure what their math program is like, but if it was like the college before then basic algebra is about all you need. I don't know that there's any calculus courses or anything.
  • PJ_SneakersPJ_Sneakers CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, (ISC)², Microsoft USAPosts: 879Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    I would never have gotten a degree if WGU did not exist. There is really no time for me to attend scheduled classes at a B&M school.

    Since you do not already have an associate's, and are really interested in WGU, I would suggest self-studying the CompTIA A+ and getting that certification first. It should qualify you for admission into one of their BS programs, and then also give you credit for two classes.
  • rumbl3rumbl3 Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Yeah dropped out of high school just when we were starting algebra. So sounds like a plan tonight I'll toss my courses I was working on to the side and see what place has a basic algebra class I can take online and get started with that.
  • rumbl3rumbl3 Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Wow, that's nice. I'll have to jump on that. One of those things I always said I was going to go take the test and Just never bothered because never had a issue picking up help desk/ repair positions. I'll definitely take a look at that. So I guess at this point I'm looking at studying up some college prep math and knock out the A+ and then come Sept. kids are all in school hopefully be able to dive back into school then.

    Thanks everyone for the comments/suggestions!
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,389Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I would never have gotten a degree if WGU did not exist. There is really no time for me to attend scheduled classes at a B&M school.

    Since you do not already have an associate's, and are really interested in WGU, I would suggest self-studying the CompTIA A+ and getting that certification first. It should qualify you for admission into one of their BS programs, and then also give you credit for two classes.

    You can use IT experience to qualify, right? I remember that being an option when I first started, I just didn't have enough experience. With 15 years I'd think it would be pretty easy to qualify.
  • PJ_SneakersPJ_Sneakers CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, (ISC)², Microsoft USAPosts: 879Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Yeah, you can. I think you have to write up an explanation or something.

    I know one person who did this, and he told me that it was a pain in the ass getting WGU to accept his work experience. But that's just one guy who may or may not have done a good job of explaining himself.
  • stryder144stryder144 Posts: 1,571Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    For access to free, go-at-your-own-pace college classes, check out Saylor Academy. They have quite a few courses that have received ACE recommendations for credit and you can transfer the courses to several colleges.
    The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia

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  • ITSpectreITSpectre Posts: 1,040Member
    stryder144 wrote: »
    For access to free, go-at-your-own-pace college classes, check out Saylor Academy. They have quite a few courses that have received ACE recommendations for credit and you can transfer the courses to several colleges.

    Good stuff!!! Im going to take a few classes here and then go to WGU. Mainly im going to take the remedial classes so I wont have to take them anymore.
    In the darkest hour, there is always a way out - Eve ME3 :cool:
    “The measure of an individual can be difficult to discern by actions alone.” – Thane Krios
  • PJ_SneakersPJ_Sneakers CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, (ISC)², Microsoft USAPosts: 879Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Another low cost option is University of the People. It's "free" and nationally accredited by DEAC (but not regionally, which is of course better). You have to pay an application fee and $100 per exam.

    Some regionally accredited schools do accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools, and some employers just want to see an accredited degree.

    EDIT:
    Also, the most cost-effective regionally-accredited degree programs I've found are from College for America from SNHU. $10,000 for a bachelor's degree, but you're limited to Management and Communications.
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Posts: 2,245Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    markulous wrote: »
    You can use IT experience to qualify, right? I remember that being an option when I first started, I just didn't have enough experience. With 15 years I'd think it would be pretty easy to qualify.

    You can, unless it's changed since I went there, because that's what I did. My certs were expired, I had 100+ college credits but didn't actually have an associates but I had a decade+ of IT experience. I sent in a resume, they accepted, wasn't complicated at all.
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Posts: 1,722Member
    ITSpectre wrote: »
    Good stuff!!! Im going to take a few classes here and then go to WGU. Mainly im going to take the remedial classes so I wont have to take them anymore.

    This is pretty much what I was going to recommend. Ease yourself into it. Get certs and a degree.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Posts: 1,539Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    As other people have said, I would go for the degree since you don't have it yet. That factor alone would limit you even probably in your current vertical. Try to get that done as fast as possible and if you don't go WGU for example, use break periods to try and get at least Network+ and Security+. Due to your age I don't think a lot of normal universities will cram entry exams down your throat but only they can say for sure.

    Does your current job involve anything besides repair...IT wise? Either way that will impact what positions you could get into...for example if you only have been doing repair you won't be able to get a senior level system administrator job. That's just something to remember when you start looking.
  • rumbl3rumbl3 Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Well currently I managed the department, repair, and all that other fun stuff watch the business day to day and the numbers. Just my issue currently is the next step is going into a pure management/sales management roles that really have nothing to do with my side of the business.
  • jdancerjdancer Posts: 480Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    For a self-paced math courses for college credit, go to https://www.aleks.com

    Their math classes are ACE recommended and good up to calculus and beyond.
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