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cojolio

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cojolio,

Good on ya looking to better your lot in life.

I did what you want to do and it was a great career.

Worked in telecomm equipment and data cabling, then switched to IT full time and ended up teaching in a private IT school. (1990's)

My advice:

1. 4-year degree is not needed for lower-level IT jobs.

I had 20 years in telecomm - then got a job at IT help desk paying the SAME wage I was making in management at telecomm company. :ohmy:

Help desks are the lowest level of IT work and have high turnover. After 6 months there I got a job paying $10k more a year.

Tip: Experience is more valuable than schooling. If you can do some part-time cabling and/or help desk work, it'll count for more than any paper.

Stay away from IT schools; only a fraction of those graduates get decent jobs because the market is pretty glutted and then you're stuck with a hefty loan.

Contact local cabling and temp agencies about work in your off-time. Any initiative you show to improve your life counts well with employers.

If you find IT is your cup of tea and excel at it, you might consider a degree for management positions down the road. But there are many folks who get the paper and find they hate the field :sad:

2. Your security clearance is very valuable.

Look for positions where a clearance at your level (or lower) is required. Having that clearance puts you ahead of other candidates (and that's the whole job-seeking game).

3. Specializing is good but it's tricky to know where to focus.

Explain your situation to IT managers and ask their advice. Mention your veteran status. I've had employers who hire ONLY veterans.

4. Certs are good but you can get those on the side. I got A+, MCSE etc studying on my own time and using test-help materials. (Knowing how to do IT and passing tests are two completely different animals. Use whatever aids are available to pass certification tests). I attended night school to get AA in Networking but learned very little. To do it over, I would have skipped those 2 years of night school.

Feel free to message me any questions.

Good luck! :smile:

Edited by Notorious Kelly
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All my experience is old, worked in Silicone Valley in the 90's and it was a wonderful place to be. Personally I liked database design, but you have an excellent point about networking not being outsourced. Also things in technology change very fast all the time. It's usually a high pressure job, more work than people to do it.

I think getting certified is something you can do on your own. I wish you luck, I think it's doable!

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Cojo, Good looking out here for answers to your questions. I will state my credentials only for the purpose of helping you understand where one persons courses of action lead him.

I received a BS degree in 1996 before deploying to Bosnia, and an MS degree from Capitol College in 2003. My MS is in Networking Security. I worked as a 3-letter designate for the largest insurance company in the world. I was their CSO. My CISSP and MS degree helped open many doors. I also trained as a Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, and that actually put my career into overdrive to get me the CSO role.

The biggest lesson I tried to impart before I lost my mind was that Risk Management is the field of study that will help IT and Security professionals achieve success in their careers and better the businesses they serve. That meansunderstanding Application, Database, Networking, End-user, desktop, laptop, etc, THREATS... and their IMPACT on the customer, consumer, clients, etc... You as the security DUDE have to find all of the possible holes or VULNERABILITIES, and make sure that the company you work for understands that the controls you propose are the only way to address the issues you identify. Good analogy! It's the same as your mission in any combat zone. You have to find all of the vulnerabilities of your unit, and the enemy only has to find one.

I lost my chance when I refused to be a pupet in the corporate game, and yet, I still feel as though it was absolutely worth the loss of credibility in such a fishbowl town as SC Iowa, LOL! My PTSD and Depression prevented me from accepting the human flaws of civilian life, and I subsequently lost m y ability to be affective in that role. I didn't seek treatment until it was too late. Please don't make the same mistakes I made.

A briliant man once said "A smart person learns from his/her mistakes. A wise person learns from the mistakes of others" lol, hope this helps!

I wish you well in both your networking and security career! I also thank you from the bottom of my scummy little heart for the sacrifice you have made for this great nation.

Sincerely,

Ruski

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