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IT Professionals: Need Advice w/ Career Path

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by sgtlmj, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. sgtlmj

    sgtlmj NRA Life Member Millennium Member

    Feb 23, 1999
    I am a police officer and am interested in broadening my horizons, ie, putting some more letters after my name. I am adept at most aspects of computers and am called upon daily to fix someone's computer/networking issues.

    I figure with my law enforcement background, a certificate in some sort of network security would springboard me into another career, should I become injured or disabled in my current job, or simply grow too old to keep up with the bad guys.

    I'll probably start with the CompTIA A+, but I'm afraid that the class will be too basic for me as I've been immersed in computers since I was 10 and built my first Timex Sinclair.

    Some questions that I have:

    Can I skate by the A+ without taking a class? Maybe grab a study guide and hit it hard?

    What should be next? Network+

    There's an alphabet soup of certifications. If I'm looking for net security, what flavor of soup should I go for?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. AZ-Boog


    Apr 19, 2002
    Chandler, Arizona
    I am not an "IT Professional", but I do work in the Technology sector (Semiconductors). What I've seen is IT being outsourced offshore (India/Pakistan/Singapore). You may want to re-think your career path before proceeding. Maybe do some research to find a growing niche where your skills can be utilized without the fear of the job being outsourced at some point in the future.

    best of luck.

  3. unixglocker


    Jan 7, 2003
    I really don't see outsourcing security to India as being likely anytime soon among people that have a brain inside their skulls.

    Used to work with a guy that was head of IT security at a major company, he came straight there from the Mounties. Had been a LEO for a long time but had gotten into data forensics and all that kind of thing. Now that's something, you can stay in the same sort of job really and do the eletronic forensics stuff right? If you want to contact this guy PM me and I'll dig up his contact info, he's one hell of a great guy and I'm sure he'd be happy to talk to another LEO getting started in electronic security.
  4. frefoo


    Apr 4, 2004
    Northen VA
    AZ-Boog is correct when he says "IT being outsourced offshore" within reason.

    Most of the jobs outsourced are programing and help desk type of work. "Give me VPN access and I can work from anywhere is the mind set." So if you can work from anywhere you can work in India. My brother's job (programer) was sent to India.

    I am a consultant working for clients designing Enterprise Storage SAN/storage (Brocade, McData, EMC, HDS, IBM etc).

    That type of work can not be outsourced because you need to be onsite, for the most part, to plug in fibre cables etc.

    Security is a big deal, learn everything you can and pass the CIISP or CSSIP? cert that will help you (drawing a blank on the Cert name. Someone correct me here). That is something that is also not generally outsourced. Most attacks come from the outside so having an in-house "expert" that knows networks is a "good thing" to mgmt.

    I am not sure where you live but being a police officer is a plus. In DC/NOVA having a security clearence (expired or active) is also a plus.

    I would ignore the A+ cert, IMO it does not mean anything anymore. Instead focus on the following Solaris, Linux (that is big) and Windows. Where I work HP-UX is starting to fade, IRIX/AIX is dead. I expect Windows/Linux to be the "next thing"

    My clients are starting to look at the above, and generally see a need. If you bring security knowledge into the mix so much the better.

    PM me if you have any questions

  5. sgtlmj

    sgtlmj NRA Life Member Millennium Member

    Feb 23, 1999
    From what I'm reading, CISSP requires 4 years of IT security experience.

    Looks like I'd need Network+ and Security+ first.

    Know anyone who has been to one of the IT boot camps?
  6. I remember when IBM was bringing in workers from China because it was much cheaper to train people in China than train Americans in America.Then IBM would get them work permits by saying that they couldn't find enough qualified Americans.For almost any IT job in America you can get paid training.You can even get paid to be trained.
  7. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

    Oct 23, 2001
    HotLanta, GA
    Get the A+ cert. I posted this once before. I applied to a job that was posted in the AJC(Atlanta Journal and Constipation) and they called me within 30 minutes after I posted my resume as fast as I could.

    The job was paying 55K starting.

    I didn't have an A+ cert so they passed me by :(

    Go to and download the A+ test(look under CompTIA). It is a demo and only gives a 10 question test but you can see if you like it before you pay full price for it.

    Your mouth will absolutely fall open some of the most outdated crap they want to test you on.

    Don't count the A+ cert out. Companies here in Atlanta won't even look at you no matter how many years you have been playing with computers.

    I have 6 years in the industry and they don't even bat an eye at my resume. I have no certs. ;) has just about every practice cert test out there.

    Take a look at the CISSP tests and such.

    As far as boot camps are concerned I took a CCNA/CCDP/MCSE bootcamp.
    Compay went out of business right after I finished my classes.

    Absolutely worthless in my opinion. I paid 5k for books.
    However since I have no motivation to sit and listen to audio CD's I had to force myself to do something. Most local colleges have gotten out of teaching the tech stuff. The bubble has burst and there is no more money teaching those classes.

    You want more info you can PM me.
  8. hwyhobo


    Jun 3, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    I think many IT professionals would love to switch to law enforcement if they could (age, etc). Think carefully before you change your paths.
  9. darin2


    Apr 14, 2001
    I would encourage you to try the computer forensic route. I have been working in LE for 15 years and have been doing computer forensics for the past 6 years. I was always the tech guy people called when they had a problem. Now I do computer forensic analysis and investigations for my department and other agencies in the area. It's become an almost full time job. Plus you can make money on the side doing civil cases in divorces and some other things. Shoot me an email if you have any other questions.

  10. My girlfriend studied math.She didn't want to teach but just happened to be good at math.When she finished her studies and got her degree she knew for sure that she didn't want to teach.She asked for money to study programming and got it.She studied for one year or really 9 months.She learned C and C++. Now she makes good money working for the Italian telephone company as a programmer.
  11. I am a current Sys Admin for a mid size mail order health food supplement company. I am currently working on my Bachelors in Computer Sciences. I plan on getting my A+ Net+ and several other security and general certs. I want to get into forensics or something that puts me in a position to fight against cyberterrorism.
  12. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

    Oct 23, 2001
    HotLanta, GA
    Want to know how to fight cyber terrorism?

    Join the FBI, CIA or Military.

    It's the fastest route to getting your security clearences and real world experience.
  13. Definitely look at computer security. As a professional and executive in the field, I find that LEOs have a better handle on a very important part, chain of evidence. I'd suggest pursuing this, there are both academic classes and courses at several federal agencies that you could enroll in. But, first, I'd make sure you have the requisite knowledge to be competent in the field as a professional and not just a security technician. That means you have to understand the Operating System and how it works, the Network Protocol Stacks, etc. First take an Operating Systems and Programming (knowing how stacks and pointers works) courses before the security classes or seminars.

    FYI - Umich and MichTech both have good computer programs. Many public institutions will let govt employees take or audit classes for free given the right paperwork.

    The real security professional monikers are the GIAC certs. CISSP is just a memory test, useful in its own, but not a practical demonstration like the GIAC certs are.

    As to general computer field areas, I can't comment so much on. Although, I do hire MCSEs, but after I put them through a basic meat grinder. I don't know the job market there, so going computer security might not be the way to go, if they only need computer techs and basic network admins in your area. If you are open to moving to a larger city, then getting depth and strength in the areas I've indicated will help ensure you get a good paying job.
  14. AAshooter


    Nov 1, 2000
    Security and Voice Over IP seem to be the hot areas for some time to come.
  15. whinny

    whinny Guest

    Listen to that ninja guy. You need your clearances for more job options/security, and private sector won't pay for them.

    AFA the boot camps, the network guys where I work think that anything "learned" that quickly isn't worth much. It's still real-world experience that counts most.

    I would also add that if you expect to have a life outside of an IT job, or if you don't deal well with sleep deprivation, you may want to reconsider.
  16. David_G17

    David_G17 /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

    Oct 7, 2002
    FYI, if you're good, the CIA's hiring like crazy.
  17. AAshooter


    Nov 1, 2000
    Listened to a lecture the other day talking about the top certs people are looking for in the industry. The generally categories included: Project Management, Security (Sec+, CCSP, MCSE Sec), Backend WEB apps (MYSQL), Linux (Redhat, Novell), CCNP and CCIEs.

    One item specifically noted was that the IT function is becoming much more integrated into the businesses and not such a self-contained function. This requires broader skills than just IT. Soft skills still remain an issue.