Hello everyone, I'm HCPS123 or just HC for short. So after reading and seeing everyone's OSCP threads I was inspired to make my own thread describing my journey down the cert path and hopefully into a successful career. Hopefully this thread will help keep me motivated and pushing me forward to the end goal and when I get there I can look back on this and feel a little bit of pride. To clarify though I was planning on using this thread to describe my entire cert path, from the very first cert I plan on getting Sec+ to the ultimate pen-testing cert OSCP.
To understand my goals and the path I've chosen I think it's important to state where I'm starting from. So I'm 24 and a failure. I wasn't able to get any job outside the retail (barely scrapping by) market much less an IT job. I realized halfway through college that I wanted to do something with computers and since I was already in the process of getting my Criminal Justice degree Cyber security felt like a natural fit. Sadly I was VERY naive back then and though that a Crim degree and Cyber security minor would be all I needed to get a job in Cyber Security. Yeaaaaaa that wasn't true at all.
So with the mountain of college debt looming I decided to join the military, picking my job as an IT and that's where I'm at now. I've passed basic training and am now currently in my job specific IT training. That's also where the time limit of 6 years comes from, a 6 year contract with the government. Which brings me into my goals.
In 6 years when my contract is up with the military I want to find myself a nice 100k+ job or a job as a Pen tester. As someone who always either had to beg for a job or go to a place that was hiring anyone that could actually dress like they were showing up to work it would also be nice if for once job recruiters came to me for a change. Which brings me to the path to accomplish my goals.
So ideally I've arranged the certs/skills in a way that the first certs on the list will help prep me for the tougher certs on the bottom of the list. I picked these certs out based on two points, 1. That they'll teach me and make me a better pen tester or 2. Get me past the barrier which is HR. So let's start with the two things I'll definitely have once coming out of the military.
1. Clearance - While I don't have it yet I'm extremely positive I'll pass the background check and be able to get the Secret Clearance that is required for my work as a military IT. It's even possible that I might get a TS or TS/SCI (higher level clearances) but that would depend upon where I'm station. In any case this is an example of the military already paying off. Clearances are great, they're basically certs for your trustworthiness. A running joke we have is that a janitor with a TS clearance makes 75K solely because they have a TS. While that might be a little bit of an exaggeration the fact is clearances are money. They're often very expensive for employers to get for their employees and take a good amount of time to get. If an employee has never had one before that creates a huge risk for the employer (you're spending all this money and time on an employee who might not be able to get it). So already having a clearance is money. So if you know you can get a clearance and can find someone to get one for you DO IT.
2. Veteran status - While the value of this can change depending upon the rank you reach and how much time you spend in, the simple fact is people like and respect Veterans. Having it is a + for HR.
So with all that out of the way here's the list of certs and skills I want to achieve in 6 years. I've decided to start with Sec+ because my time in the military as an IT is superior to A+ and the military has already started teaching us CCNA which from what I've heard is harder than Net+, it would be like starting a Calculus class but going back to get a cert in algebra, at that point you're better off just pressing forward.
Sec+ = Completed
CCNENT = Currently studying for
And that's the path I've currently got marked out. Of course as college has proven I can and might change my mind and adjust this path as needs arise but this is what I've got so far. Hopefully I'll keep this thread active and in 6 years we'll see where I end up.
PS: To the wonderful mods that keep this place running. Sorry if I posted this in the wrong thread, my thought process was that since most of these certs are Security focus this would be the best place to post it but if I'm wrong I apologize and am thankful for you putting this in the right place.