I'm just starting out in the IT world, and the question I want to ask is this:
What route / qualification path did you ( the reader ? ) take on your way to get where you are now? always assuming of course, that you LIKE where you are ??
this is a serious question :p , as I would like to feel that taking the next year or so, to gain my MCSE is wothwhile ?
and what other certifications would you recommend / not recommend, and in what order ?
My original aim was to get to Admin level, and from there conquer the world ?
At present I am studying at home in my own time ?? SQL and some C++, I am also reading up on the 'basic' technologies ( networking, trouble shooting, monitoring and diagnostic tools etc. )
Hopefully this will make some sense eventually :)
Me personally, I'm not in the "real world" yet. But just like anything else, you will be most skilled at what you can put up with the most. There are SO many directions in the IT world. Find one that you are interested in (make sure its not a phase), then pursue it. If you have fun where you work, then you'll be a kid for the rest of your life.
I've found that my "smarter than me" buddies all have the advantage of a "lab" network. That always seems to be a great catalyst for learning.
Good luck :p
I do security full time in the 'real world', so I'll kinda describe that route.....and how I got there.
Experience is worth more than anything else in the security world. A formal education helps (if only to instill some basics), but is definitely not a requirement. You can learn a lot by breaking your own personal machines all the time. :) If you're interested in certifications, I'd recommend the SANS training and certifications.....they're fairly complete and most of the certs are challenging enough to prove yourself.
My own personal career path involved first getting my foot in the door doing tech support and basic administration. (I had done the same sort of work at an ISP prior to this) After busting my hump for a while, showing everyone who mattered that I was a hard worker and a quick learner, they started promoting me up the chain. All the while I spent much of my free time studying concepts and questions that I ran across at work and implementing them in my home network. My employer also was very supportive when I asked to attend conferences and training, which has been very helpful. (I'd recommend LISA and SANS) After years of working through this whole process I'm now in charge of corporate security.
Bottom line: In the security landscape, the material you need to know is definitely NOT static. You need to be constantly learning and experimenting.
where as I am concerned, i am still learning, n finding new ways to learn as much as i can, coz learning is never going to end... there is always one or other thing to learn here... me still searching for resources to learn...
A lot of people choose the path motivated by money. But resources and priorities shift so no chosen path should be resolute in it's future. Attitude and knowledge along with personality go a long way toward acheiving success and leave a longer lasting imprint when the latest IT fad has faded. Go with what you enjoy, the items that turn your buttons from medicore to fun. For example: If you hate looking at security logs but love batch files then you know the path....
First there are basicly two main roads, administration or devlopment, while there is some overlap they are distinct feilds....pick a path.
If you are looking at devlopment learning c++ and SQL is a good start, pick up some pearl and C# or VB or java also, a fromal education, or some source fordge type porgrams will basicly be a nesceity to get a job in this feild in the current econemy.
IF administration is your cup, learn NOS (linux, windows 200X, ect) and the infrustructure side of things (how to cable, basics of router administration, server administration.) a fromal education will help a lot to get your foot in the door, so will certifications....best to get both...I started with neither, but the econamy was diferent then...I also started at a small M&P type VAR getting paid very little as a PC tech
I'm just sticking my foot in the door as we speak. I am working on getting my MCSE/A certification, having completed A+ already. CompTIA certs are very common nowadays. I am wondering if there are any other certs that are ... more highly revered i guess is the way to put it. Any ideas? Is SANS very well known?
BTW: I got my A+ just by buying a $39.95 A+ Exam Guide, reading it thoroughly, taking notes and studying them. I then took every practice test (free) online to make sure I had the knowledge I needed. I took the test sometime last year and passed with flying colors. I hope this might encourage some of you to go out, buy a book, read it, and succeed. The IT world is not so difficult I have discovered if only you put forth a little learning effort. I'm still taking baby steps, but I'm getting there. I should have my MSCE/A sometime next year. Until then, I'll keep reading!
There are a million certs out there. If you absolutely have a clear path, like for example Security Auditor, there are specific certs for that - some even required for GOV work. So it depends on the path, I know that's not exactly a great answer. So I'll give a scenario, if I wanted a PC tech I wouldn't care as much about MCSE as I would about A+. If I wanted a network guy and all I had was CISCO I might care more about CNA vs. MSCE etc. Last couple of guys I hired didn't have Certs. they were hired because I could tell they enjoyed computers and I liked them as people. Yes liking someone has tremendous weight and it's legal discrimination.
Don't just rely on certs...too many paper certs in the world untill you hit the high end CCIE, RHA? ect where they have a hands on portion of thetest. No real way to study for those exams either besides doing the work. Try and get some position to get work experience, this is where formal education comes in handy, work study and internships are a great way to get ones foot in the door.
If you looked at my profile, you will see that I do not fit the average ? I am a late !! starter into the IT world, and have spent the last 30 years as an electrician. I left my last (V well paid job) at Chistmas, I have attended a (cram) course - noob to hacker in 4 weeks - to get me a UK recognised cert, plus the A+ which I sat after the crash course, I am HOPING to make a career here, and would eventually like to get to the security side, the advice posted so far has been just what I was hoping for, with plenty to think about, I am still going to study for the MCSE, as that is a reasonable start point IMO. and will work towards qualifications as they become valid ? I might even manage to keep my own sys from going down the tubes on a regular basis ? or maybe not. :D