Finding a Career Path & Establishing Goals

ServerProvidesServerProvides Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello, I'd like to go ahead and thank everyone for taking the time to read this (and hopefully reply with some good advice).

I've always been interested in computers and in high school I started taking programming courses which I thought were absolutely wonderful. I decided I wanted to make this my career. When I got to college though they only wanted me to take math, english, science, ect. and I quickly lost interest trying to get a "formal" bachelor's degree in Computer Science. This is when I found a local college offering two year AAS degrees in "Computer Engineering Technology" which I enjoyed greatly and even was able to get some experience working on the computer labs there. After finishing up my degree I worked as an PC technician and as an Internet Support Representative (Help Desk) for a very horrible ISP that will remain nameless. Frustrated with these low paying jobs and menial work (it's only fun to tell someone to plug their ethernet cable in so many times...) I decided that I wanted to go back to school. Now I'm about to start my senior year in Computer Science and I'm managing the CS labs for the school which is all very well in good, but I'm afraid that graduation is going to sneak up on me and I won't have a good plan of action afterwards. I really do enjoy coding, but after taking a few security classes in school this has really caught my attention as well. I've looked at positions in the security sector and it seems like to be good I need to be a jack of all trades knowing servers, networking, and coding to be able to effectively exploit machines (or prevent exploits). This finally brings us to the reason that I'm here. I'm curious what certifications would be worthwhile, and where I should spend my time studying to make myself more marketable.

A little more about myself...
I have a background in networking and PC repair. I've also been playing around with Linux for the past few years and have gotten fairly proficient in it as well. I'm probably *NOT* the best studier because I don't learn well by strict memorization. I'm not interested in getting a myriad of different certifications just to have them; I actually want to learn material that will make me more of a marketable individual.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Currently Pursuing...

BS in Computer Science

Comments

  • ipconfig.allipconfig.all Posts: 428Banned
    My response to your post is this......

    You should do CISSP certifications. If you want to go further into the I.T security side. They are highly recognized and will give you a great knowledge. Also they are not that easy to get. If you want you can do a Comptia security + course which will teach you the fundamentals of I.T security which will make doing CISSP a little bit easier.

    CISSP - (ISC)2 | Certified Information Security Education | Professional Information Security Certifications

    Comptia Security + CompTIA Security+

    If you want to learn more about networking do vendor based I.T certifications In Microsoft systems and Cisco systems. Such as

    MICROSOFT = MCSE, MCSA, MCP, MCITP,
    www.microsoft.com/learning/certification/

    CISCO= CCNA,CCENT
    www.cisco.com/.../learning_certification_type_home.html

    Try and get few certifications while you are doing your degree. Also try and find some sort of a part-time I.T job while you are studying, if possible. Do not worry so much, you already have previous work experience which will come in handy.

    Best of luck !!!
    Im a depressed loser :sad: none wants me.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    I think the CCNA and CCNA: Security would be the logical choices given your background and interests. You can go on to the CCNP and CCSP after that.

    Congratulations on sticking with the degree; that's quite an accomplishment. I've been struggling to wrap mine up for close to a decade.
  • ServerProvidesServerProvides Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Try and get few certifications while you are doing your degree. Also try and find some sort of a part-time I.T job while you are studying, if possible. Do not worry so much, you already have previous work experience which will come in handy.
    I have been out of IT work over the last year when I was working as a tutor for Computer Science. This next year I will be managing the students who take care of the lab, assisting them if necessary. I will also be in charge of the lab tutors, and will be working with professors to develop software solutions to the needs of the computer labs. Also, we'll be relocating in the next year to a new building so I get to head up that as well. I think it's going to be a fun change from the normal role of PC tech and I hope to learn alot.
    dynamik wrote: »
    I think the CCNA and CCNA: Security would be the logical choices given your background and interests. You can go on to the CCNP and CCSP after that.
    Last time I took the CCNA exam I was in school for my associates, and I bombed it with a 790. I had a hard time with the simulations. They took up alot of time and I don't think I was able to complete the full exam in the time allowed.
    Currently Pursuing...

    BS in Computer Science
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Last time I took the CCNA exam I was in school for my associates, and I bombed it with a 790. I had a hard time with the simulations. They took up alot of time and I don't think I was able to complete the full exam in the time allowed.

    So you just gave up!?

    +1 for the Security+ as well.

    I think the CISSP is too much for you at this point. You can become an associate without meeting the requirements, but unless you have something lined up to where you'd start gaining full-time infosec experience, it's just going to fall by the wayside.
  • flurrballflurrball Posts: 50Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    790 isnt bombing the CCNA, just need to brush up a little on your weak spots.

    Yea, I would go CCNA, then CCNA:Sec, then Sec+, also consider a path to CCSP. This is what I'm planning on right now, even though I'm also getting some MS certs along the way.

    I would set the CISSP as a long term goal.
  • ServerProvidesServerProvides Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    flurrball wrote: »
    Yea, I would go CCNA, then CCNA:Sec, then Sec+, also consider a path to CCSP. This is what I'm planning on right now, even though I'm also getting some MS certs along the way.

    I've thought about getting MS certs as well but I'm afraid that accumulating a bunch of certs is going to pigeon-hole me into a job that is mostly IT administration work. I know that security is large part of being a system admin, but I would rather be able to focus more on programming than admin work.

    It sounds like everyone so far has said to start out with the CCNA & Security+ and work up from there. What kind of jobs would I be able to find with these certifications that would involve programming (above scripting of course).
    Currently Pursuing...

    BS in Computer Science
  • ipconfig.allipconfig.all Posts: 428Banned
    If you are interested in programming why don't you do MCPD

    www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcpd/entapp/
    Im a depressed loser :sad: none wants me.
  • 7lowe7lowe Posts: 178Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm kind of in a similar boat as my A.A.S. consisted mostly of programming, but then I got interested in security and started working on my B.A.S. in Network Security & Forensics. I graduate in about 3 weeks! I'm scrambling to figure out what to do next myself.

    I got my Network+ certification last year and Security+ this year and think those would be a good start for you. I've only been sending out resumes/applications for about a week and haven't really heard anything back yet. If I don't start getting responses then I'll probably think about going for the CCNA next, but I'd really rather find a job and let them pay for it.

    7
  • ServerProvidesServerProvides Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    If you are interested in programming why don't you do MCPD

    www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcpd/entapp/

    I've looked at those certifications and none of them look like the type of programming I'd be interested in doing. I don't mind application development, but I hate using Visual Studio and all of its .NET languages. The exception of course being C#. I enjoy low level programming, shell scripting, ect. I'm not trying to be too picky but I would much rather work in Infosec as an IT than spend my whole life programming databases. icon_sad.gif
    Currently Pursuing...

    BS in Computer Science
  • ServerProvidesServerProvides Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    So I basically narrowed it down to two career paths.
    Either...
    I would like to either focus on being an IT Security Analyst. If I go down this route I would pursue MCITP:EA, Sec+, and CCNA:Security first and then go for CCNA. I think this would give me a broaden my knowledge base of solutions to business environments.

    Or..

    I would go into some field of Computer Science. I'm not that familiar with the field so it's hard to say what kind of coding I would be doing. I might try to get my MCPD in this case as suggested but I'm not sure if I would get any additional certs.

    Does anyone know about the CS field or about job opportunities in the InfoSec sector?
    Currently Pursuing...

    BS in Computer Science
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