Which fork in the road?

Geek1969Geek1969 Member Posts: 100 ■■□□□□□□□□
I would like to start by saying how extremely happy I am to have found this site. I love reading all of the advice given here from those of you with so much experience and knowledge in the Security field.
I am 40 years old. I broke into IT two years ago after 20 years in retail/wholesale.
I have a few certs completed...A+, Net+ MCSA-2003. Cisco Networking Academy in college, so CCNA will be soon. I started in desktop support 27 months ago and moved up to Sys Admin at a small 100 client 20 server business 10 months ago. We are currently re-working the systems and network in order to be PCI & SAS70 compliant. This is how I am being exposed to security in the real world for the first time. I LOVE IT!!......My question though --is where to go after CCNA?

Security+ is a given...along with 70-299 would be MCSA-S.
Is that enough in MS land? or should I really finish MCSE-S? MCITP?

CCNA by the end of the year...then CCNA-S.. Is it the general consensus that one should complete CCNP before CCSP? It seems that the R&S knowledge is beneficial for the CCSP understanding. I don't know that I will make it to the CCIE level anytime soon, with a wife, 3 kids and a full-time job, but CCNP, CCSP are goals.

I work in a MS world with only 3 Cisco devices (for now) in our environment, but find Cisco so much more interesting and fun. If I had to or could choose a specialty now, I would lean toward Firewall-IDS/IPS. What cert path would you recommend to move into networking more than sys admin. I'd say the ratio where I am is 90/10 --MS. I'd like to be able to move into a position that is more Cisco less MS.

I have read a lot of the posts in the security and Cisco forums here, especially the stickys. ---Great insight and very helpful. Dynamik, JD, keatron especially. Can you guys let me know if this path makes sense for me over then next 12-18 months?

CCNA, Sec+, MCSA-S, AAS-Computer Networking Degree by Summer 2010
CCNA-S, CCNP and /or CCSP by Summer 2011.
Is there something else, I should look at outside of Cisco or MS related to Security or Security consulting?


  • Paul BozPaul Boz Member Posts: 2,620 ■■■■■■■■□□
    CCNA -> CCNA Security -> CCNP -> CCSP

    Skip the Security +, the CCNA Security caries more resume weight and has more knowledge for the dollar cost of the cert. All of the guys I work with that have the Security + don't even list it on their resume. That isn't to belittle the cert (too much) but keeping in mind your age and relative experience your time is more valuable than the Sec +.
    CCNA Security | GSEC |GCFW | GCIH | GCIA
    [email protected]
    Blog: http://www.infosiege.net/
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    He wants the Security+ as an elective for his MCSA/E:S, not just as a stand-alone cert. In that case, I'd wrap up your MCSE:S and then focus on the Cisco stuff. Having an MCSA puts you over the hump, and the MCSE has much more recognition than the MCSA. IMHO it would be a waste to go that far and not wrap it up. After that though, I think the Cisco stuff would have a better ROI than the MCITP. There are plenty of other security-related certs to get after the CCNP/SP, but I'd focus on those. They're going to keep you busy for quite awhile; you can start evaluating your future direction after you wrap those up.
  • Geek1969Geek1969 Member Posts: 100 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I agree with the comments about age & experience, but there isn't much I can do about either of these at this point. Learning the different pieces of technology through studying for the cert exams is one of the ways I can speed up my progress. I was wondering mostly about the order in which to approach them. I have heard and seen many times about MCSE being more powerful than MCSA, but was asking if MCSA-S, along with Sec+, and Cisco security would be broad enough to move into networking without completing the MCSE. It sounds like --no. How about flipping back and forth between the two as I really want to get going on Cisco.
  • SieSie Member Posts: 1,195
    You could do but it depends how easy you find switching between the subjects, maybe sticking to one track while its technologies are at the front of your mind may help you finish them quicker?
    Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Sorry, I must have misread your first post. If you're interested in pursuing networking, I'd just leave your MS studies at your MCSA and pursue Cisco. I don't think adding the Security specialization to the MCSA is going to be a good use of your time.
  • Geek1969Geek1969 Member Posts: 100 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Employer would like to see me continue MS, so I may have to do both, but CCNA will be next.
    Just received a 2620xm router and 2950 24port switch that I bought off of e-bay. Along with a 2610 and a pix 515 that we no longer use at work I am starting my own lab at home. Would another 2950 take me through CCNA-S? or do I need to find a layer 3 switch also?
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