Advice for getting into cyber security field?

Dabull25Dabull25 Posts: 19Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Thanks for taking the time to read this. So currently I have a BS degree in a completely unrelated field from IT. I graduated in 2008. A few years ago I had taken classes at my local community college in cyber security. I've taken all the Cisco course, data communication, ethical hacking and defense and LAN. I'm about 4 courses away from getting an AA degree from there. I'm wondering if I should continue taking classes to get my AA or if I should be looking at different programs(like a masters) or if I should concentrate on just getting certs. I don't have any job experience in working in IT and want to soon transition in the network security field. What path should I be looking at going forward? I really appreciate any advice. I'm confused on what I should be doing.

Comments

  • Dakinggamer87Dakinggamer87 Gaming Tech Expert Silicon Valley, CAPosts: 4,015Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I would start by looking for any ways to gain experience be it internships or volunteer work to build your resume. You have some education already which is a plus with HR and your overall portfolio. I would suggest doing your Master's degree later down the road once you have more sustainable experience. It will benefit you later down the road doing that degree when looking to get promoted or move into a management role perhaps.

    I would start looking for roles such as a NOC to ease the transition and to have something on your resume for future prospective employers. Good luck out there!! :)
    *Associate's of Applied Sciences degree in Information Technology-Network Systems Administration
    *Bachelor's of Science: Information Technology - Security, Master's of Science: Information Technology - Management
    Matthew 6:33 - "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

    Certs/Business Licenses In Progress: AWS Solutions Architect, Series 6, Series 63
  • TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Posts: 1,928Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Your BS is a great start, it doesn't matter it not in IT, it's certainly worth more than just a BA. I would concentrate on getting basic certs like Network+, Security +, CCNA security. The exams are fairly cheap and you can pass the exams by studying books. With these certs and your degree, I'm sure you'll have little trouble getting your foot in the door someplace. It may be entry level, but if can get your employer to pay for more advanced courses and certifications, that be the way to go.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • Dabull25Dabull25 Posts: 19Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the info daking and tech, so you wouldn't take anymore classes and just go for certs?
  • TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Posts: 1,928Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Dabull25 wrote: »
    ... so you wouldn't take anymore classes and just go for certs?

    Employers are not going to care how many Cisco, data communication, ethical hacking, defense, LAN, etc, courses you took, they are meaningless to them. They want to see a degree from an accredited institution or industry recognized certifications. You could have Cisco advanced engineering level training, but a valid CCNA will far outweigh it in the eyes of an employer. How do I know you didn't sleep though class or updated your facebook, all day during class? Certifications at least prove you know enough to pass a test. It's true they are not a perfect measurement of someone's technical knowledge, but it gives employers somewhere to start and it gives HR an easy way to filter through the hundreds of applications they get for open positions.

    I was talking to one manager at BSides Phila in December, they place applications into two piles, pile one is people that who they know from industry network reputations, and pile two is applicants with certifications. They much rather hire someone that is known in the industry, then someone that holds a certification, but the people's applications that do not fall into category one or two are in the trash. Don't let your application end up in the trash, get some certifications.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,480Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    It's true they are not a perfect measurement of someone technical knowledge, but it gives them somewhere to start and it give HR an easy was to filter through the hundreds of applications they get for open positions.

    Well said.

    Going to agree with Tech in regards to security and certifications.

    I recently did a research exercise on ~15 security positions (titles) and if they required or preferred certifications and which ones.

    A couple of cool take aways

    ~40% of all security positions I reviewed either required or preferred the CISSP. This is over 10,000 jobs analyzed.

    ~10% of the security positions reviewed required or preferred the C|EH

    One outlier was the pen testing positions, ~45% required the OSCP and the CISSP. (Not together but those jobs really liked either or if not both).
  • CIPHERSTONECIPHERSTONE Posts: 30Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    If you are going to pursue certs I'd suggest setting up a virtual lab in AWS or on spare boxes. Practice what you learn. And come into the interview with a story. Certs don't mean much if you don't have any experience. Put them to use even if it's in something you made. Setup a lab? Don't just tell me. Show me. Do a detailed network diagram in Visio or gliffy. Add network flows. Bring a copy. Show it to me. You aren't selling yourself then on your experience but rather your initiative. You know what most IT people suck at? Documentation. The point is take initiative and build something. Be excited about it. Tell me what went right and wrong and how you fixed the **** that went wrong. That would be a great interview in my book.

    Just some pointers from an old guy whose seen a lot change in 26 years working in the IT field. Currently in Security Architecture.
  • joshmadakorjoshmadakor Posts: 495Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    TechGromit wrote: »
    Your BS is a great start, it doesn't matter it not in IT, it's certainly worth more than just a BA. I would concentrate on getting basic certs like Network+, Security +, CCNA security. The exams are fairly cheap and you can pass the exams by studying books. With these certs and your degree, I'm sure you'll have little trouble getting your foot in the door someplace. It may be entry level, but if can get your employer to pay for more advanced courses and certifications, that be the way to go.
    CCNA Sec is garbage right now unfortunately, but normal CCNA Route/Switch and Security+ would be neat!
    WGU B.S. Information Technology (Completed January 2013)
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