Turning Over A New Leaf

RunningForwardRunningForward Westchester County New YorkMember Posts: 22 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hello everyone! 😊

I am looking to enter the IT field to make a career for myself.

I have a four-year degree double majoring in both criminal justice and psychology.

I have over a year with “general” IT experience working as essentially basic helpdesk for small businesses and retail stores. Very basic stuff under my belt. Nothing to write home about. My work experience in IT is from about three years ago. I do not know anyone in the industry to help me get my foot through the door but I do have references from my old IT jobs.

I have several years of work experience in retail stores, customer support, customer service, sales, etc. I also have multiple years of experience teaching different grade levels in both elementary school and early middle school plus tutoring mostly math and some English.

I have chosen AWS since it seems to be popular and growing. I have done job searches (Indeed & Dice) within Westchester County New York and there are about two dozen jobs available that require AWS knowledge, although none of them are entry level. I am assuming that there will be more jobs available if I broaden my search south to where the city is, although I would want to keep my commute to under two hours if possible.

I am looking at grabbing two or three certifications within the next six months:
AWS Cloud Practitioner (Foundational) – will grab this one
AWS Solutions Architect (Associate) – will grab this one
COMPTIA Security+ (501) or COMPTIA Security+ (601) – not sure about these yet

I will build a “portfolio” of my work and projects once I start creating assignments that are a part of my self-study.

I plan to take this very seriously.

I know that jumping into AWS from such little real-world experience might not be the best course of action. I am going the AWS route because it is in demand and I have always found “the cloud” interesting despite not knowing much about it. I was also leaning towards cyber security but most of those jobs seem to want me to be in DC on top of requiring vast work experience.

Please let me know if there are other certifications or other routes to take that would be better.

Thank you everyone! 😊

Comments

  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Good luck. I really enjoyed the Security+ exam.
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,844 Admin

    I am looking at grabbing two or three certifications within the next six months:
    AWS Cloud Practitioner (Foundational) – will grab this one
    AWS Solutions Architect (Associate) – will grab this one
    COMPTIA Security+ (501) or COMPTIA Security+ (601) – not sure about these yet

    CCP is the easiest with some good (and free) study recourses listed on TE. CSAA is very wide in its coverage of topics and will require much more study time. Security+ is the foundational InfoSec cert and recommended for people to determine if their primary career path should be InfoSec. The Sec+ voucher is good for a year and for either exam release.


    I know that jumping into AWS from such little real-world experience might not be the best course of action.

    But you can get real-world experience with AWS, Google, and Azure! All three of these Cloud providers have free tiers that people can use to get familiar with their design and operation and to practice for their cert exams. All three CSP's require an email account and a credit card (yes, despite being "free"). The big difference is on Amazon you can (accidentally) use services that cost you money while on Google and Microsoft you can't be charged unless you fully subscribe to their service.
  • RunningForwardRunningForward Westchester County New YorkMember Posts: 22 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thank you both so much for your advice and support! It does mean a lot!

    I have begun studying for CCP but realized that I do not know that much in IT even if the CCP is very foundational.

    I would like to ask advice about a new game plan for me.

    I have zero certifications.

    Would it be wise to obtain A+ (1001/1002), Network+ (007), and Security+ (501) first before going for CCP and CSAA? 

    I have found the Professor Messer website and free YouTube videos. I think perhaps I should obtain these three "core foundational trifecta" before going for CCP and CSAA but am unsure. My main reason for looking into cloud was that there is a huge job market for it but upon further study and research I am realizing that most of those job roles are for those who have significant experience and know more than just what is taught for passing CCP and CSAA. 

    Please let me know what you all think! Thank you again so much and please stay safe during COVID! 

    God Bless! :)
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,844 Admin
    If you don't understand the TCP/IP networking and packet filtering stuff that's in Network+ (N10-007) or CCNA you won't understand about VPC and security groups in CSAA. A+ and Security+ aren't needed for those AWS exams.
  • RunningForwardRunningForward Westchester County New YorkMember Posts: 22 ■■■□□□□□□□
    JDMurray said:
    If you don't understand the TCP/IP networking and packet filtering stuff that's in Network+ (N10-007) or CCNA you won't understand about VPC and security groups in CSAA. A+ and Security+ aren't needed for those AWS exams.
    Thank you for clearing this up!

    I feel that I was not clear though.

    My new plan is to take first Network+ (N10-007) then Security+ (SY0-501) because I have no certifications and that I have many major gaps in my IT knowledge due to my very limited work experience.

    I still would like to go for CCP and CSAA in the future since the cloud is in so much demand but the more I read the more I realize that I would need to have some serious knowledge in SQL, DevOps, Python, and Linux.

    Would this be a smart decision to make? I also am leaning towards both of these COMPTIA certs because they are vendor neutral. I also might start to get more interest in cyber security or networking and then I might go down a different path. But either way I very much want to get both Network+ (N10-007) and Security+ (SY0-501) since they cover so much information that I know that I need to learn regardless of which path of IT that I choose to follow.

    Thank you so much JDMurray btw for your prompt responses to my post! I notice you're extremely active on the forums and always seem to be helping people and I do appreciate that tremendously!
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,844 Admin
    I think the new Net+ is good for learning networking, but CCNA is more likely to be asked for on job postings. Security+ is the canonical entry-level InfoSec cert--although the breadth of topics it now covers can hardly be called "entry-level" anymore. To get a job in Cloud, it's better to stick with the certs from a major Cloud provider (AWS, GCP, Azure, etc.) rather than vendor-neutral Cloud certs. Finally, you only need to learn stuff like SQL, DevOps, Python, and Linux depending on what area(s) of Cloud you focus on.

    RunningForward said:
    Thank you so much JDMurray btw for your prompt responses to my post! I notice you're extremely active on the forums and always seem to be helping people and I do appreciate that tremendously!

    No problem! That's what I'm here for! :D
  • RunningForwardRunningForward Westchester County New YorkMember Posts: 22 ■■■□□□□□□□
    @JDMurray

    Very valuable insight! Thank you!

    I should first apologize for jumping all over the place. 

    I have very limited knowledge of IT in general. I have limited work experience. I feel a bit lost and confused.

    What would you suggest I do if you were in my shoes?

    I was looking at both CCP and CSAA but fear that somehow even if I manage to grab both of those certs I will have so many gaps in my knowledge and experience that I will fail interviews. Are you saying that simply grabbing CCP and CSAA can land a job off the bat? I am confused since wouldn't companies want me to know a programming language and other platforms and information?

    I find aspects of networking and cloud interesting but also would someday like to work in cyber security. I would have originally gone for something cyber security related but unfortunately I do not live near DC nor would want to travel away from my family. A big reason I was looking into something cloud related was that the job market is broad and it allows for more flexibility of where I am located.

    Is starting with Network+ then Security+ not the best idea for someone essentially new to the IT field? I want to study what is in demand and can lead to a job that doesn't require me to move. I am in Westchester County New York right now.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,844 Admin
    @JDMurray

    Are you saying that simply grabbing CCP and CSAA can land a job off the bat?

    I didn't say anything remotely like that in this thread. You might be reading into this discussion what you hope I will say.

    Certs will help someone with no experience to land an entry-level job. You might have better success getting a job with experience you already have (e.g., help desk, customer service) and laterally moving on to a Cloud team in the same company at a later date.
  • RunningForwardRunningForward Westchester County New YorkMember Posts: 22 ■■■□□□□□□□
    JDMurray said:
    @JDMurray

    Are you saying that simply grabbing CCP and CSAA can land a job off the bat?

    I didn't say anything remotely like that in this thread. You might be reading into this discussion what you hope I will say.

    Certs will help someone with no experience to land an entry-level job. You might have better success getting a job with experience you already have (e.g., help desk, customer service) and laterally moving on to a Cloud team in the same company at a later date.
    My apologies!

    I currently do not work somewhere that would allow me to laterally move up in the company. Furthermore, the "IT" work that I do for where I work right now is very minimal and basic. With that said though, I do have some good and mixed job experience from different locations and work from my past so that helps.

    I am going to get Network+ then Security+ first then see from there. The more research and reading I do the more I keep getting pulled towards either something networking or cloud related. Perhaps I will go for the CCNA instead of CCP and CSAA but either way that is a bridge I will cross after I obtain both Network+ and then Security+ as soon as possible.

    Thank you again for your help and feedback!
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,844 Admin
    edited September 25
    CCNA is an alternative to the Network+ cert but is more complicated and Cisco equipment-centric. Sign up for the Cisco Learning Network and get a copy of Packet Tracer for practicing network design and operations.
  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■□□□
    But it's also pretty hard not to run into Cisco equipment in network, too. Every place I've worked at had Cisco equipment. So it's not like getting an Apple certification XD
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,844 Admin
    Yes, but do you want to be a network engineer or something more up in the Cloud? If you want to work in a data center or on a NOC team (netops) then going the CCNA/CCNP route (pun intended) would be better for you than CSAA.
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