Next Up: GCIA

ipchainipchain Member Posts: 297
For those of you who have followed my progress you probably know that I recently passed GCIH. I loved the course so much that I have decided to take a shot at GCIA and possibly GPEN/GSEC after that.

Am I GSE-bound? Most likely, but only time will tell. In the meanwhile I can tell you that I have received the courseware from SANS and that I have started reading book 1 already. Before going any further, allow me to say that GCIA seems a lot harder than GCIH. The material is much more complex and from what I can see the course will be very challenging!

At over 400 pages per book, you can definitely tell that SANS put in a lot of work on this one. In comparison to the GCIH, the books for GCIA seem rather HUGE. On average, every book for GCIH was about 200 pages so you can clearly see the difference.

Given the course's complexity I may have to change my study plan. For example, I won't likely listen to the mp3s without having some sort of visual aid as it might be challenging to keep up with the instructor as he discusses TCP, UDP and ICMP packets and their analysis down to the bit level. With that said, I intend on reading the books a few times (at least 3) and creating an index as I did with the GCIH. If time allows, I will then review OnDemand and do the assessments to test my knowledge up to that point.

I will be doing all of this in parallel to my M.S degree, which I am currently pursuing. I got (4) months to prepare for this exam and I intend to use every single minute my daughter allows me to use! At 9 months she demands quite a bit of time, but with a bit of luck I won't run into any major issues.

Will keep you guys posted on my progress.
Every day hurts, the last one kills.

Comments

  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Awesome! Keep us posted.

    By the way, do you work in infosec ( have to ask) and if so what type of work do you do?
  • ipchainipchain Member Posts: 297
    Awesome! Keep us posted.

    By the way, do you work in infosec ( have to ask) and if so what type of work do you do?

    I work for the county that I live in, so in local government if you will. In a nutshell, I perform the duties of your typical Network Security Engineer but under a different title. It's quite difficult to explain, but just so you have an idea we have people doing Network, Security, Systems Administration, DB Administration, etc all under the same title or classification, mainly Operating Systems Programmer or Senior Operating Systems Programmer.

    I guess HR hasn't caught up with the 20th century yet or it may have to do with bargaining agreements and unions.
    Every day hurts, the last one kills.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    ipchain wrote: »
    I work for the county that I live in, so in local government if you will. In a nutshell, I perform the duties of your typical Network Security Engineer but under a different title. It's quite difficult to explain, but just so you have an idea we have people doing Network, Security, Systems Administration, DB Administration, etc all under the same title or classification, mainly Operating Systems Programmer or Senior Operating Systems Programmer.

    I guess HR hasn't caught up with the 20th century yet or it may have to do with bargaining agreements and unions.

    Interesting. I know what you mean as far as doing multiple things but being under the same title.
  • docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    400 pages per book is a lot. That's 2400 pages total. Maybe I should have gone for the GCIA first instead of the GCFW, because the GCFW content doesn't seem as heavy as I thought it would be. I'd say the GCFW course materials are about 200 pages per book as well. I did an OnDemand preview of the GCIA a while back and I knew right off the bat that it was going to take some work to get through it.

    The GSEC is more of a wide-coverage of general infosec - a good solid step-up from Security+. That said, I didn't find it that hard. The page count isn't as much as GCIA, but more than GCIH or GCFW.

    Now that said, I wonder if the 400-pages-per-book is due to the nature of the material. Since you're intimately diving into packet structure, it might be the case that each page / slide simply doesn't have enough space to accommodate the amount of information that can be shown at once whereas for other infosec subjects (such as GCIH) a lot of points can be made on a single page.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
  • CuseHokieCuseHokie Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    How difficult is the GCIH?

    I passed the GCFW in October (93/100). I definitely took my time and wanted to score the highest I could as the score is public knowledge.

    I took the 503 class 3 years ago (didn't know enough to buy the cert, plus barely had 2 years of experience).

    I still have my books and was wondering if I could go out and wing the GCIA... doubt the content has changed that much?

    Anyway, I'm taking 504 in VaBeach in 2 weeks... also just got my CISSP after doing the 414 self-study. I feel like 504 will complement 502/503.
  • Paul BozPaul Boz Member Posts: 2,620 ■■■■■■■■□□
    CuseHokie wrote: »
    How difficult is the GCIH?

    not overly difficult. The tests are open-book so the actual difficulty level is like 2/10.
    CCNP | CCIP | CCDP | CCNA, CCDA
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  • ipchainipchain Member Posts: 297
    CuseHokie wrote: »
    How difficult is the GCIH?

    I took the 503 class 3 years ago (didn't know enough to buy the cert, plus barely had 2 years of experience).

    I still have my books and was wondering if I could go out and wing the GCIA... doubt the content has changed that much?

    Anyway, I'm taking 504 in VaBeach in 2 weeks... also just got my CISSP after doing the 414 self-study. I feel like 504 will complement 502/503.

    Best of luck with the GCIH, although I am sure you do not need it. I just got an email from GIAC today and it looks like they are now standarizing their exams so you won't know whether you are passing or failing as you go from question to question. As for the difficulty level I would say it is not really difficult if you know your stuff. Although the tests are open-book if you have to look up every single answer the time will run out on you.

    From what I have read 503 has changed a bit so I am not sure whether the material you have will be sufficient to study for this particular exam. I would compare your books to what is covered on the current exam and make sure at least 90% is covered on the books.
    Every day hurts, the last one kills.
  • !willfin@llyp@$$thecert![email protected]@$$thecert! Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I had to redo my indexing and I am taking the practice exam (GCIH) tomorrow. let you know how that goes. I relied on the book too much for every question.
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