I need advice for getting back in the IT field

cowbucscowbucs Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi Everyone,
I am currently thinking about a career change into, or should I say back into, the IT field and I was seeking a bit of advice. A little bit about my background, I worked in the IT field as a Computer Lab Manager for four years before being laid off. During that time, I achieved my CompTIA A+ certification and was working toward my MCSE having earned the MCP title for passing the MS Windows 2000 Professional exam. After being laid off, I decided to follow my childhood dream of becoming a police officer, which I have been working as over the past five years. Law enforcement is nothing like I thought it would be. The saying “everyone hates a cop until they need one” holds very true. I am miserable and my health is taking a beating. I currently live in Florida where the IT job market sucks. I plan on moving back to the Northern Virginia area, where I lived for several years. I would like to work in information systems security.

What suggestions can anyone give for getting back into the IT field? I was thinking about working on the N+ certification (just to knock off the rust). Do you recommend this as a good starting point, certification wise? A friend of mine pointed me toward the Global Information Assurance Certifications, any thoughts on this?

Thanks in advance for any responses.

Comments

  • chmorinchmorin Member Posts: 1,446 ■■■■■□□□□□
    As far as re-certifications go, the more pressing matter will be getting experience again. You might have to bust your butt in a part time or temp position while working your current job in order to get a leg back in with the competition. I'm not sure how far 4 years as a lab manager, A+ and out-dated MCP will get you, but my guess is not as far as experience would. I would assume it would be enough to get your foot back into an entry level job.

    IT is a very broad field. Where are your specifically thinking of entering?
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  • cowbucscowbucs Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I would like to work in network security; however, I know with outdated and limited experience in the field, I can only hope to find a job to allow me to get my foot in the door. I'm going to take your advice and look for computer work on the side to help build my experience; although, I don't think I am going to find anything in the area where I live.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,744 ■■■■■■■■■■
    cowbucs wrote: »
    I would like to work in network security; however, I know with outdated and limited experience in the field, I can only hope to find a job to allow me to get my foot in the door. I'm going to take your advice and look for computer work on the side to help build my experience; although, I don't think I am going to find anything in the area where I live.

    By Network Security do you mean Switches and Routers or Servers?
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    cowbucs wrote: »
    Hi Everyone,
    I am currently thinking about a career change into, or should I say back into, the IT field and I was seeking a bit of advice. A little bit about my background, I worked in the IT field as a Computer Lab Manager for four years before being laid off. During that time, I achieved my CompTIA A+ certification and was working toward my MCSE having earned the MCP title for passing the MS Windows 2000 Professional exam. After being laid off, I decided to follow my childhood dream of becoming a police officer, which I have been working as over the past five years. Law enforcement is nothing like I thought it would be. The saying “everyone hates a cop until they need one” holds very true. I am miserable and my health is taking a beating. I currently live in Florida where the IT job market sucks. I plan on moving back to the Northern Virginia area, where I lived for several years. I would like to work in information systems security.

    What suggestions can anyone give for getting back into the IT field? I was thinking about working on the N+ certification (just to knock off the rust). Do you recommend this as a good starting point, certification wise? A friend of mine pointed me toward the Global Information Assurance Certifications, any thoughts on this?

    Thanks in advance for any responses.

    What are your thoughts of being a computer crimes investigator? That is my ultimate goal. The problem with that is that in order to be a sworn officer you have to spend 6 months on street patrol. (Which I think I would actually enjoy, but it also seems stupid to throw all my tech training out the door for a few months.)

    One of my former college instructors and now friend who works for a local police department and does this type of work tells me it isn't that difficult to get into. This field is expanding rapidly and the only thing slowing it down is that the budget is too tight to build labs. It is certainly not the lack of crimes involving computers because in today's world that is almost every one. Now I haven't applied to any of these jobs yet because I don't feel I'm ready but from what he says, telling them that you are interested in this and that you have the tech background (might want to work on some current certs to have full coverage) will almost certainly get you the job because once your time is up they will move you to their computer crimes unit.

    You have the tech background, and the police background. To me it looks like it would be a perfect match. Once you would get the job they send you off (and pay for) FTK and EnCase training. A friend of mine just spent a week out in California all expenses paid taking an EnCase course that the government paid thousands of dollars for. All she was financially responsible for was souveniers and maybe some food here and there. (Although it isn't all fun and games, lots of homework to be doing.)
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • tpatt100tpatt100 Member Posts: 2,991 ■■■■■■■■■□
    humble2007 wrote: »
    What are your thoughts of being a computer crimes investigator? That is my ultimate goal. The problem with that is that in order to be a sworn officer you have to spend 6 months on street patrol. (Which I think I would actually enjoy, but it also seems stupid to throw all my tech training out the door for a few months.)

    One of my former college instructors and now friend who works for a local police department and does this type of work tells me it isn't that difficult to get into. This field is expanding rapidly and the only thing slowing it down is that the budget is too tight to build labs. It is certainly not the lack of crimes involving computers because in today's world that is almost every one. Now I haven't applied to any of these jobs yet because I don't feel I'm ready but from what he says, telling them that you are interested in this and that you have the tech background (might want to work on some current certs to have full coverage) will almost certainly get you the job because once your time is up they will move you to their computer crimes unit.

    You have the tech background, and the police background. To me it looks like it would be a perfect match. Once you would get the job they send you off (and pay for) FTK and EnCase training. A friend of mine just spent a week out in California all expenses paid taking an EnCase course that the government paid thousands of dollars for. All she was financially responsible for was souveniers and maybe some food here and there. (Although it isn't all fun and games, lots of homework to be doing.)

    I think this is a great idea. Any method that will allow your experience in law enforcement to count towards your new career sounds like a winning idea to me.
  • cowbucscowbucs Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    humble2007 wrote: »
    What are your thoughts of being a computer crimes investigator? That is my ultimate goal. The problem with that is that in order to be a sworn officer you have to spend 6 months on street patrol. (Which I think I would actually enjoy, but it also seems stupid to throw all my tech training out the door for a few months.)

    One of my former college instructors and now friend who works for a local police department and does this type of work tells me it isn't that difficult to get into. This field is expanding rapidly and the only thing slowing it down is that the budget is too tight to build labs. It is certainly not the lack of crimes involving computers because in today's world that is almost every one. Now I haven't applied to any of these jobs yet because I don't feel I'm ready but from what he says, telling them that you are interested in this and that you have the tech background (might want to work on some current certs to have full coverage) will almost certainly get you the job because once your time is up they will move you to their computer crimes unit.

    You have the tech background, and the police background. To me it looks like it would be a perfect match. Once you would get the job they send you off (and pay for) FTK and EnCase training. A friend of mine just spent a week out in California all expenses paid taking an EnCase course that the government paid thousands of dollars for. All she was financially responsible for was souveniers and maybe some food here and there. (Although it isn't all fun and games, lots of homework to be doing.)

    This is definitely something I would like to do. The only problem that I see at the moment is most law enforcement agencies are in a hiring freeze and are looking to trim their budgets in any way possible, so I don’t see that position being offered anytime soon in my agency or surrounding agencies.

    I have never seen a position posted for computer crimes investigator, at least not in the part of Florida where I live. Out of curiosity, how did your friend come about the job? Was he a police officer who lucked into the position or was he hired with the intention of making him a computer crimes investigator?

    I wonder if it would help if I went out and got certified on my own dime. I’m thinking I could volunteer my services for any computer crime cases that may arise so that I can gain some experience. Hmmmmm….you may have placed me on the right track. Big thanks to you and everyone for your valuable feedback.
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    cowbucs wrote: »
    This is definitely something I would like to do. The only problem that I see at the moment is most law enforcement agencies are in a hiring freeze and are looking to trim their budgets in any way possible, so I don’t see that position being offered anytime soon in my agency or surrounding agencies.

    I have never seen a position posted for computer crimes investigator, at least not in the part of Florida where I live. Out of curiosity, how did your friend come about the job? Was he a police officer who lucked into the position or was he hired with the intention of making him a computer crimes investigator?

    I wonder if it would help if I went out and got certified on my own dime. I’m thinking I could volunteer my services for any computer crime cases that may arise so that I can gain some experience. Hmmmmm….you may have placed me on the right track. Big thanks to you and everyone for your valuable feedback.

    The way he tells it, he was an average cop and it was decided that they needed a department and he drew the short straw. I don't believe this, he had a tech backgorund and I'm sure he volunteered. They then sent him all across the country and invested I believe he said somewhere around $50,000 in various training programs over the next year, including FTK and EnCase. I'm not sure if he picked up CFCE then or if that came later.

    These are NOT training programs to start yourself. Even if you wanted to practice FTK, its something like $10,000 a year for a license. Again, not something you would personally own.

    What you can do is pick up things like net+ and security+, windows os certs aren't going to hurt since most cases are going to deal with them and knowing the ins and outs of the registry and of file systems (especially NTFS, pick up Brian Carrier's File System Forensics if you want a good read on how almost every file system saves and retrieves data). These certs will definately help you get a job and will help you in a job and they shouldn't break your pocket book.

    The jobs are out there, I know lots of places are on hiring freezes and things. But some of these computers used in crimes sit for months before they can even get into a lab to be looked at. So whether they have the money for it or not there is going to be some sort of compromise. Again, a friend of mine just got hired as a internet crimes agent and was sent to EnCase training. It isn't the perfect job but shes making more than $20 an hour for her first job in the industry. As far as I know all she has is a 2 year associates degree in Computer Forensics. Start getting that application out everywhere, and since you are looking to move anyway take a look at the washington DC, Virginia area. Many federal jobs around there.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Having a security clearance would probably put you on the fast track in northern VA, I would think. No idea how to go about getting one though.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    blargoe wrote: »
    Having a security clearance would probably put you on the fast track in northern VA, I would think. No idea how to go about getting one though.

    As far as I know the only way to get one is through the military or to have a company sponsor you. Depending on the clearance level these can cost a company $50,000. They have to contact hundreds of people and most of them require polygraph tests ect. A lot of work is done to get one of these, even if you had the money I don't know that you could just get one to get one.

    Thats why having one gives you a huge advantage. Two people we like equally, one of them has it and the other one we are going to have to pay to get it (and potentially pay to see them fail).
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • cowbucscowbucs Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    humble2007 wrote: »
    As far as I know the only way to get one is through the military or to have a company sponsor you. Depending on the clearance level these can cost a company $50,000. They have to contact hundreds of people and most of them require polygraph tests ect. A lot of work is done to get one of these, even if you had the money I don't know that you could just get one to get one.

    Thats why having one gives you a huge advantage. Two people we like equally, one of them has it and the other one we are going to have to pay to get it (and potentially pay to see them fail).

    Your right, you can't just go out and get your own security clearance. The company that hires you pays for the clearance. Being able to obtain a clearance makes you marketable in that you were able to obtain it in the first place; however, most companies will still go through with the background investigation to give you the clearance you already had in the first place. I know this from experience having had numerous levels of security clearances in both the civilian and military sectors, and none were transferable.

    I have been looking at federal jobs and have applied for several over the last couple of years. The federal sector is just so competitive, more so than the civilian sector. I’m going to keep an eye out for any jobs specific to computer crimes.
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