Switching Fields - Looking for Advice

remanifestremanifest Member Posts: 3 ■■□□□□□□□□
edited December 2020 in Education & Development
Hi everybody,

I genuinely hope you all are doing well. This seems like a nice community, and I'm hoping for a bit of help / guidance. I'm brand new here - just found this place.

A little about me & where I'm coming from:
I was laid off from my job in April, where I was working as a data architect. I don't have a degree, but do have a strong aptitude for computer systems, databases, data warehousing, cleansing, analytics, etc. In July, I got a new job - not as high-level as my previous. Problem is, I am quite bored with this line of work. I want to move into cybersecurity -- for a few reasons:
  • I love playing devil's advocate
  • I love figuring out how systems work (and challenging those systems)
  • I love being challenged with new problems
I am desperately trying to find an entry-level position or paid internship within cybersecurity. I've got management (director level) experience, but am happy to start over and take an internship; I'm coming into a new field & have no business attempting to manage seasoned professionals within this field. The two "paths" that most interest me are red teaming and forensics.

I don't have any certifications, other than a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt that I got from Udemy. I've also passed the Python & Java LinkedIn assessments, and am enrolled in SNHU's cybersecurity degree plan (as of June of this year). I'm enjoying it, and currently earning a 4.0. If I keep my pace, I should graduate by August / September of next year. I live in a major military hub, and am open to positions requiring a security clearance. I used to have one, but it's been expired for a long time. I see jobs that say that you need to already have a clearance, but none that are willing to pay for it.

Any advice that you all can offer me would be appreciated so much. One stipulation is that I can't afford to not be paid to work -- I have a family to feed, and I'm the main breadwinner.

If there is anything else that I can answer, I'm happy to do that.

Thanks so much.

- remanifest



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    balancebalance Member Posts: 244 ■■■■■□□□□□
    With the points below 

    • I love playing devil's advocate
    • I love figuring out how systems work (and challenging those systems)
    • I love being challenged with new problems

    You could also be a lawyer .... 

    Looking for a clearance ?  Join the National Guard or Reserves of anyone who will take you. 
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    remanifestremanifest Member Posts: 3 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thank you, balance. I already have military experience - too old to go back.
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    egrizzlyegrizzly Member Posts: 533 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Since you're considering switching to cybersecurity I suggest taking the Security+ exam.  Please see the detailed post I made about how to successfully pass that exam here >>> link.
    B.Sc (Info. Systems), CISSP, CCNA, CCNP, Security+
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    TechGromitTechGromit Member Posts: 2,156 ■■■■■■■■■□
    edited January 2021
    If your willing to invest in yourself, I'd recommend attending a SANS course and getting your GCIH. This with your experience will give you a lot of mileage with landing something in Cyber Security. It's not going to be cheap, the course is 7 grand and the exam attempt is another $800, but it might be worth the investment, instead of starting entry level and taking a big pay cut in doing so. Don't know what entry level you were thinking, but Data Architects make anywhere from 90k on the low end to 200k+ on the high end, entry level cyber security is around 60k a year, so I can't see you wanting to take that big of a pay cut, with a good Cyber security certification, I'm sure you can get something that not low end entry level, but something higher.

    As for the Security+, I don't think it's going to get you the same kinda mileage as a GIAC would. People the hold a Security+ certification are around 500k, where as GIAC's certification's are around 100k for all types of certifications they offer. In short Security+ holders are fairly common, GIAC holders are much less common. 

    The CISSP is way cheaper to obtain, the exam is $699, and you can get books from Amazon or even the library and study your ass off, but not being in the cyber security field to begin with, you'll never qualify for the experience requirements.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
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    scascscasc Member Posts: 464 ■■■■■■■□□□
    A bit of a catch-22 situation - main bread winner + looking for relatively entry level roles. If you have core database experience, you wouldn't consider something like Oracle OCI for cloud/security standpoint? 

    In regard to certs - GIAC the way to go or Offensive Security for red teaming etc. I dont think the other certs for your interest cut it. 

    Good point made by TechGromit above in the sense that salaries for data architects is pretty good, so will taking the lower salary be realistic?

    I know the likes of Amazon recruit heavily for people with a military background - may be worthwhile to explore as you can do the types of work that interest you too.
    AWS, Azure, GCP, ISC2, GIAC, ISACA, TOGAF, SABSA, EC-Council, Comptia...
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    remanifestremanifest Member Posts: 3 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thank you all for your guidance. I really do appreciate it. I've got an interview scheduled for a US Government position (mid-senior level). If I'm able to land the job, they'll pay for my security clearance, and offer opportunities to earn GSEC, SSCP, and CCNA Security. I'm excited about the opportunity, because it's a supervisory position in data applications, with a security-minded focus.

    I know GCIH was mentioned, but would GSEC help me to get to where I want to be as well?
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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,050 Admin
    I am desperately trying to find an entry-level position or paid internship within cybersecurity.

    I know GCIH was mentioned, but would GSEC help me to get to where I want to be as well?

    Considering that internships are usually for kids just out of college, both GSEC and GCIH are overkill for an intern. Have you had any entry-level interviewing opportunities with your Director-level experience on your resume? That might be off-putting to a hiring manager who wants help-desk-quality kids that just do as they are told. I'm not saying that a 40-something duffer can't find entry-level work, but you better be applying to every such position that you can find.

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    changlinnchanglinn Member Posts: 42 ■■■□□□□□□□
    GSEC is like Security++. It is only a little more than SEC+. One of my team challenged the exam without doing the training and thought it was easier than his CEH exam. He also did his GCIH in the last few months and found it tough but rewarding. There is a placement exam you can do online for free. If you get higher than ~75% avoid the GSEC and got GCIH; https://www.sans.org/assessments/security-essentials
    You don't have to do the training, but it is tough without it. As mentioned my team member challenged the exam, and passed.

    A+, C|EH, CISSP, CISM, CRISC, GSTRT, MCSA:Messaging, MCSE:Security
    "Brain does not meet certification requirements, please install more certifications" Me
    Currently Studying: Cyber Security masters and ISC2 CCSP.
    Security blog; http://security.morganstorey.com
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