Passed my GSEC Yesterday

bgedneybgedney Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I'd been lurking this and other forums in preparation for my GSEC.

I took my GSEC yesterday. Passed with a respectable 83%.

I'd taken the bootcamp last year in Las Vegas with Dr Cole. Really enjoyed the course and learned tons. My Girlfriend's daughter was in the hospital the whole time I was in the conference so I was mildly distracted, but all in all, the theory wasn't above me.

I extended my exam once and really didn't put the time studying in I should have. I downloaded the mp3s and got about a day into them and realized this was the wrong way to study. Too much content. Great content, but not all directly related to the content of the test.

So I gave up on those and moved on to the books. I read the first 3 books with the time I had remaining (which, did I mention was the LAST day of my extension? Like had to email and ask for another hour to be added on to my extension so it technically expired the next day, but so I could schedule it for the day it originally expired).

Morning of I took half of one of the practice tests, did well, didn't google much. Went faster than I expected. Knew where most of it was. But I decided I needed an index like I'd read. So I made one. Saved my butt.

I got to my testing center later that I wanted, but still within reason. (its a local IT shop with a testing center- there is one lady. She sits there and face books and texts all day- kinda funny).

I was in control for maybe the first 75-80 questions. By 90, I was ready for a break.

I start my break- go out, ask the lady where I can take my break. She was like- I don't know. Just don't go out to your car (where my phone was). Nice. I used the restroom, sat there- cleared my head for like 10 minutes, and went back it. By question 140, the test was having its way with me- mentally. I was keeping my score up (I stayed between 80 and 85% the whole test through), but I was just mentally not in control of the test.

In the end. I passed. 4 hours or so. It was a good test. I recommend the expensive classes if you can afford it. Good experience. Good environment.

I will say, I had a few extra books outside of my course material, and they were completely useless. I accidentally left one at home, which may have been useful when answering questions about ATM, because I forgot it was on like page 3 of book 1. Oh well.

Figured I'd add to the feedback.

Comments

  • bgedneybgedney Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I have one test up for grabs. PM for my address for which you can send bribes. Everything is always for sale.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,776Mod Mod
    Congrats on the pass!
  • bgedneybgedney Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks cyberguypr . I'm pretty stoked about it.
  • Clem25Clem25 Posts: 46Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Do you feel that someone without much experience could take the GSEC 401 bootcamp, understand the material and pass the exam? I'm asking because I'm in the middle of switching careers from sales and I would like to get into infosec. About to take my A+ exam, and I was thinking about paying for the GSEC bootcamp. Thanks.
  • DoyenDoyen Posts: 397Member
    I read somewhere that with the GIAC exams, you are allow to bring an armful of books (and maybe notes) that you can use while taking the exam. Did you utilize that opportunity while taking the exam or did you feel that time would be wasted by having to refer to some material while testing. I've always been curious about that.
    Goals for 2016: [] VCP 5.5: ICM (recertifying) , [ ] VMware VCA-NV, [ ] 640-911 DCICN, [ ] 640-916 DCICT, [ ] CCNA: Data Center, [ ] CISSP (Associate), [ ] 300-101 ROUTE, [ ] 300-115 SWITCH, [ ] 300-135 TSHOOT, [ ] CCNP: Route & Switch, [ ] CEHv8, [ ] LX0-103, [ ] LX0-104
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  • docricedocrice Posts: 1,706Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I've always used nothing but the course materials and personal index for every GIAC exam I've taken. I've almost never used non-SANS material to help me out. Being able to take in an armful of printed materials of your choice is a nice advantage ... but these exams are not designed nor padded enough time-wise to allow you rely heavily on looking up answers while the exam clock is ticking. Overall, you must have a solid grasp of the material to pass.

    While taking SEC401 without hands-on working experience in IT might get you to the point where you can pass the exam, realistically it's highly dependent on how well you can understand the content. 401 is not an introductory infosec course and assumes you already have some experience with managing Windows and Unix systems and know basic security concepts. From an employment perspective it's very unlikely you'll go straight from no IT work experience directly to an infosec-specific position. All the topics taught in 401 stems from existing non-security domains such as system and network administration.

    I'm not discouraging you from taking 401, but I want to make sure you understand what's realistic based on what I understand of your current situation.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
  • Clem25Clem25 Posts: 46Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    docrice wrote: »
    I've always used nothing but the course materials and personal index for every GIAC exam I've taken. I've almost never used non-SANS material to help me out. Being able to take in an armful of printed materials of your choice is a nice advantage ... but these exams are not designed nor padded enough time-wise to allow you rely heavily on looking up answers while the exam clock is ticking. Overall, you must have a solid grasp of the material to pass.

    While taking SEC401 without hands-on working experience in IT might get you to the point where you can pass the exam, realistically it's highly dependent on how well you can understand the content. 401 is not an introductory infosec course and assumes you already have some experience with managing Windows and Unix systems and know basic security concepts. From an employment perspective it's very unlikely you'll go straight from no IT work experience directly to an infosec-specific position. All the topics taught in 401 stems from existing non-security domains such as system and network administration.

    I'm not discouraging you from taking 401, but I want to make sure you understand what's realistic based on what I understand of your current situation.

    So it might be best for me to move on with learning and studying for the Network+? I'm trying to get my foot in the door into IT, but every job posting that I see has a minimum requirement of A+, Net+, Sec+, and CCNA. Do you have any recommendations for me to get into IT Sec? What would you recommend I start to learn after my A+, which I'm taking the exam next week. Thanks in advance.
  • docricedocrice Posts: 1,706Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    The most common (and somewhat recommended way) to get into IT is to start at the bottom doing a bit of helpdesk/desktop support work, then moving onto systems and/or network administration positions. Paying dues has its purpose. These positions often look for The CompTIA trio, but your investment in time, money, and effort may be better put towards learning Windows technologies and the CCNA. If you're really green, the A+/Net+/Sec+ combination is a good place to start.

    There are a lot of "how to get into IT" threads on this site, so I don't want to rehash everything that's been covered many times before. I recommend having your own basic lab/equipment at home with lots of virtualization technologies to break/fix things so you can experiment at home and apply those lessons on the job.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
  • diggitlediggitle Posts: 118Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Clem25 wrote: »
    So it might be best for me to move on with learning and studying for the Network+? I'm trying to get my foot in the door into IT, but every job posting that I see has a minimum requirement of A+, Net+, Sec+, and CCNA. Do you have any recommendations for me to get into IT Sec? What would you recommend I start to learn after my A+, which I'm taking the exam next week. Thanks in advance.

    My $0.02 is try to get into IT contract work through companies like Teksystems, robert half technologies, modis, etc to name a few. I'm biased and prefer Teksystems as they will hire anybody that can read and write. You should be able to get into IT easily that way, while your on contracts network and give 110%. More than likely the company you are working for will take notice to the work you do and it could possibly lead to you getting a permanent IT gig.

    Upgrade projects/Roll-outs combine customer service + Break fix + troubleshooting networking connectivity.You gain a good networking base and access to more opportunities vs taking a call center troubleshooting Level 1 position on the hopes that the company will move you up further.

    A+, Net+, Sec+ are really good. Next decide what you want to do in information technology.
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  • Clem25Clem25 Posts: 46Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    diggitle wrote: »
    My $0.02 is try to get into IT contract work through companies like Teksystems, robert half technologies, modis, etc to name a few. I'm biased and prefer Teksystems as they will hire anybody that can read and write. You should be able to get into IT easily that way, while your on contracts network and give 110%. More than likely the company you are working for will take notice to the work you do and it could possibly lead to you getting a permanent IT gig.

    Upgrade projects/Roll-outs combine customer service + Break fix + troubleshooting networking connectivity.You gain a good networking base and access to more opportunities vs taking a call center troubleshooting Level 1 position on the hopes that the company will move you up further.

    A+, Net+, Sec+ are really good. Next decide what you want to do in information technology.

    Thanks, I'm actually working with a recruiter from TEKsystems at the moment. I've had a few interviews so far, we will see what happens.
  • bgedneybgedney Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I read somewhere that with the GIAC exams, you are allow to bring an armful of books (and maybe notes) that you can use while taking the exam. Did you utilize that opportunity while taking the exam or did you feel that time would be wasted by having to refer to some material while testing. I've always been curious about that.

    The text books were an asset. Lots of little detail. I SWARE by my index. Take the course. Honestly, my best resources were the text books from SANS.

    Dr. Cole taught my 401. I had the Network Security Bible, but it didn't seem useful to me. I was using it as a technical reference, and the index wasn't helpful in that capacity.

    As for an index, I just did an index that broke down sections by book. And included a chapter summary of each section. That was a quick go-to reference as I made my way through the test.
  • bgedneybgedney Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Clem25 wrote: »
    Do you feel that someone without much experience could take the GSEC 401 bootcamp, understand the material and pass the exam? I'm asking because I'm in the middle of switching careers from sales and I would like to get into infosec. About to take my A+ exam, and I was thinking about paying for the GSEC bootcamp. Thanks.

    I do. Read the text. Know it, and know how to find stuff, and you'll do we'll. The test is designed so you have time to research every question.
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