Certification Path Advice needed.

BullRatBullRat Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
I must say that I am beyond excited that I have found a place where I can read about peoples journey through the IT landscape and get advice from people who are living the life I strive for.

Before I ask the question I have I want to introduce myself.

Hi, I'm Mike... nice to meet you.

I have been messing around with computers in one form or another for the last 10 years, I have no fear when it comes to breaking open the box whirring beneath my desk to troubleshoot issues or upgrade the equipment. I am the guy in the family who everyone calls when they have computer problems, and I can always seem to whip up a remedy. Needless to say I love working with and on computers, and I am looking to parlay that love into a fun, exciting and lucrative career.

I am a little behind the game in that I am 31 and just recently enrolled at ITT Tech near where I live in their Networking Systems program of study. I have tried the traditional avenue of community colleges for my degree but I was less than impressed with their programs, and despite the cost, ITT seems to be a good fit on many levels.

Now, here is my plan... which leads to my questions.

My immediate plan, while attending classes, is to get A+ certified and to obtain a Help Desk or similar position to gain the ever needed work experience while I am in school. I am working retail making less tan $25,000 per year so an entry level IT position will pay at least that much. My ultimate goal is to work in Network Security.

What I want to know is what certification path should I pursue while working on my degree? What certs will, coupled with my 2 years at ITT, set me up for the greatest measure of success right after I graduate?

I appreciate everyone's constructive input.



  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Welcome to the forums Mike,

    I would think A+, Network+ and Security+ (its like a CompTIA trio or something icon_eek.gif) would be the first three to work on while you're in school. That will at least give you an introduction to networking and security principals which should tell you if you really want to follow that path. After which you can narrow down your options a little bit more once you've had time to "learn" what you like.
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Yes, welcome.

    Is there going to be any overlap between the curriculum, and any certifications that interest you? You should take advantage of any overlap that's available.

    Like astorrs said, the CompTIA certifications are the typical starting place for most people. After that, you should really take a look at MS, *nix, and Cisco, and see which area interests you the most. You should also read the security stickies and start going through the posts in the security forums because you will learn a ton. There are numerous paths you can take in regards to InfoSec, so you should start trying to figure out where exactly you want to end up. You'll waste a lot of time spinning your wheels if you don't have a solid plan in place.

    I wouldn't worry about your age. I've seen a number of people start careers in IT after doing something else for a number of years. Mark, the MS Moderator, was originally an electrician. Just remember that you're going to have to put in some serious work in order to obtain (and maintain) that lucrative career you're after. It's not like a decade ago where you got paid big money for obtaining some moderate credentials.
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