An Undergrad student's dilemma

manvir88jattmanvir88jatt Posts: 3Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi everyone,

First of all thanks for such a wonderful website. I stumbled on it and i am glad i found it. To begin with i am an IT student i have diploma in IT and a certificate in computer information systems. The problem is i dont want to do bachelors, because it feels like waste of time , there are hardly any jobs and they all require experience. Also i am taking a year or two off to work full time n save up some money for school. So i started researching on what exactly i want to do and found metasploit and pen testing and ever since i found that i have been interested and learning every day about security , auditing and our networks. I talked to my manager at previous workplaces who is a security advisor and he recommended on doing GIAC certifications to get a decent job first and then carry on with bachelors alongside.

My question is i am not a complete noob but i dont have any experience either, so i am not sure which certification to go for. I am thinking about getting Comptia+ Security+ certification first .

1. Security+

Do you guys think this a good career path to take ? Please guide

Thanks ,


  • forestgiantforestgiant Posts: 153Member
    Regardless of what you feel about the Bachelors, don't drop out. It's not what you feel, but how employers see it. before they see and work with you, they will judge you on how you appear on paper, and having a Bachelors prove that you can finish what you started.

    Also, saying you like metaexploits is unimpressive. It makes you a script kiddies. Don't fall for that trap.

    Seriously I'm recommending you finish the degree, learn networking, server, systems management, improve your soft skills. Then, learn penetration testing. All of the areas give you a foundation for penetration testing --- what can you penetrate if you don't know how they work? Ever watched a James Bond or Mission Impossible movie? Those guys research and plan for every possible contingencies before try try to *penetrate* anything.

    Also, I'd recommend Brian Tracy's audio books. "discipline is doing what you should do, when you should do it, no matter what you feel"
  • manvir88jattmanvir88jatt Posts: 3Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    thanks forest giant,
    I am script kiddie in reality :P I am planning to do bachelors for sure but the problem is i have to work full time right now and i cant go to school. I am saving up money for school and in the mean time i want to self study and get couple certifications and get a better junior entry level job. I am in sales right now and it has nothing to do with field of study. So self study and couple of certifications now will help in better grades in bachelors too. Thats the plan. Do you think that i should go for Security+ and GSNA in the meantime ?
  • ShanmanShanman Posts: 223Member
    Working full time has nothing to do with going to school. I go to school full time, work full time, and have a family. I am only 2 classes away from my BS and can't wait. If you want to go to school then go. You might have to put down something else in your life that is taking your time. It is all in your priorities and time management.

    Sorry for the preaching, I will get off my soap box now. :)
  • manvir88jattmanvir88jatt Posts: 3Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    sorry guys i guess i didnt explain it properly. right now i am taking time off of school, and i am looking to do a certification in the mean time so i am wondering if i should go for these or not.... i will do my bachelors but in my free time i want to do something productive instead of wasting it in all booze and parties.

    sorry i sounded rude
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,386Admin Admin
    The only people who know what certs will get you hired are the people doing the hiring.

    Get on the job sites (,, etc.), look for jobs that interest you, and check what kinds of IT certifications they are asking for.

    Also realize that many of the most desirable certs (CISSP, CISA, CISM, etc.) require at least 4-5 years of verifiable professional work experience.
  • swildswild Posts: 828Member
    IMHO, the money spent on a very expensive SANS course would be better spent towards a BS since you are not already in IT.

    I second Shanman's stance on work/school/life balance. I work full time, get certs, have a family, volunteer 10 hours a week at a nonprofit and still do my classes through WGU. So far I've finished 9 credit hours in the last month and am going for my remaining 60 by the end of June so I can graduate this term.

    It's all about priorities.

    Also, get your A+, Net+, Sec+ and look for a help desk position. Doesn't pay well, but it's IT experience and it adds up. Once you get your BS, try for other certs. Another thought, some companies have tuition assistance programs or will pay for your certs and training for you. It's worth it to work your way up from the bottom, at least it is for me. Makes me appreciate how I've come.
  • beadsbeads Posts: 1,439Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Couple of thoughts here.

    First to elaborate to what JD mentioned about verifiable experience AND a bachelor's degree is important. You might get by claiming you have a degree but if you were to be caught... well, so much for a great deal of work. Add to that most folks in hiring positions will know you have to have a four year degree in something in order to get your final endorsement from the ISC2 or ISACA. 'Nough said, there. If your resume doesn't add up, neither will you.

    Stick to gaining those lower level certifications first. They will add more credibility over the longer term than the high powered, mid-career certs at this point in your career. Yes, I have seen resumes where the only credential seems to be a CCIE with absolutely no experience in IT. You know what happens to resumes/CVs with those credentials? Yep! They get trashed immediately as they have no credibility.

    As far taking a break from college and anyone else reading this post. I can assure you that if you think college was tough try working full time in IT and going to college/certifications/class/professional meetings/family requirements, etc. College was practically play time in comparison. In fact continuing education is an absolute must for anyone who wants to stay in the field. Meaning more education, continuing education for ISACA, ISC2, EC Council, PMI and one other one that I am responsible for but brain freeze seems to have overcome my faculties. icon_redface.gif IT is a field that drinks not sips from a fire hose of knowledge, no sipping allowed. Thats just being truthful about the field. A degree in the field is also extremely important as it shows your ability to accomplish a long term goal. But I like JD's comment about checking local help wanted postings to see what your local market will or will not tolerate.
  • ptilsenptilsen Posts: 2,835Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    Focus on college. It might seem irrelevant, boring, and time-consuming, but the reality is your are going to regret not having a degree down the road. Certifications and experience can certainly get you far enough to make a pretty good living, but the lack of a four-year degree will almost always cap your professional growth, both in terms of job responsibilities and income.

    I went the easy, quick-gratification route, getting certifications, experience, skills, and a degree mill degree (ITT). I have a wide range of skills, make a great salary for my age, am well respected by my clients and co-workers, and have moved up quickly. I'm also stuck, with little to no hope of changing jobs or job responsibilities, and facing having to take years just to finish a 4-year degree. If you're ambitious and like to move up and do so rapidly, the degree is a must-have IMO.

    As far as your certifications go, get Net+ and Security+ out of the way as they are relatively easy and won't detract too much from working and going to school. JD's suggestion is also a good one, but to get an entry-level job, the Comptia's are typically a good starting point. You might not start in security, but at least working in IT gets your foot in the door.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
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