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I'm interested in entering the Information Technology field. Which certification(s) is best to start without obtaining another college degree?

Veteran

TYRONE BRINKLEY Fort Worth, TX

I have a Master's in Criminology and a Bachelor's in Behavioral Science. Ultimately, both Information Security and Cyber Security occupations interest me. Which field would be closer to what I've already achieved in college and if neither, What's the best place and resource(s) to start? Many thanks!

21 October 2020 14 replies Education & Training

Answers

Veteran

Tim O'Brien Santa Clara, CA

What I can suggest, or rather recommend is some reading:

The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cuckoo%27s_Egg_%28book%29

How To Become A Hacker http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

Hacking Your Career A practical guide to turning your hacking experiences into a career launchpad. https://medium.com/@notdan/hacking-your-career-8c219a770212

Also the blog series from Lesley Carhart (aka tisiphone.net aka @hacks4pancakes ) regarding starting a career in InfoSec:

Starting an InfoSec Career – The Megamix – Chapters 1-3 https://tisiphone.net/2015/10/12/starting-an-infosec-career-the-megamix-chapters-1-3/

Starting an InfoSec Career – The Megamix – Chapters 4-5 https://tisiphone.net/2015/11/08/starting-an-infosec-career-the-megamix-chapters-4-5/

Starting an InfoSec Career – The Megamix – Chapter 6 https://tisiphone.net/2016/02/10/starting-an-infosec-career-the-megamix-chapter-6/

College and Infosec: To Degree or not to Degree? https://tisiphone.net/2017/05/15/college-and-infosec-to-degree-or-not-to-degree/

The Worst InfoSec Resume, Ever https://tisiphone.net/2016/03/17/the-worst-infosec-resume-ever/

HTH!

4 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Gary Maier Hopewell Junction, NY

Hi Tyrone;

I would reconsider adding a degree in Computer Engineering for the IT field. Perhaps you could alternatively take a few courses at your local technical school or county BOCES center. OR take some computer classes online and then start at a job like The GEEK Squad doing computer repairs and installations. Build your resume

Advisor

Sherry Wynn Austin, TX

Tyrone,
If you would like to take an assessment that will recommend a tech career path that aligns with both your aptitude and inclination, check out our no-cost resource here: https://skillsbuild.org/reignite
Once you are registered, take the assessment (~90 minutes, 5 short tests) and the platform will make recommendations for you and will also share current information on what that job entails and needed credentials. In addition, you will have the opportunity to earn IBM industry-recognized badges for your resume and LinkedIN profile.

Advisor

Luke Raiano Bedford, NH

Hi Tyrone. I agree with obtaining an appropriate certification for this space. If you also have or had a clearance, you should highlight that in your profile/resume if not already there.

Advisor

MARK THIELE Longmont, CO

Tyrone,

As others have stated , there resources that are free or low cost such as CompTIA and CourseA. You can browse job listings on https://careers.ibm.com/ to see what certifications or equivalent experience they prefer.

Advisor

Robert Lamaster Meridian, ID

Hi Tyrone,

One thing you may want to look at would be an article I wrote here on ACP AdvisorNet. The article is a brief overview on working in IT. https://acp-advisornet.org/articles/837/so-you-want-work-it

Veteran

Tim O'Brien Santa Clara, CA

And to your question "Which field would be closer to what I've already achieved in college and if neither, What's the best place and resource(s) to start?"

It depends on what aspect of InfoSec you are wanting & able to get into. Having a degree, being able to communicate verbally, to document your research and analysis, pull together a story is key skills when communicating with peers and leadership.

Note that Information Security and Cyber Security is the same thing - "cyber" is just a common marketing buzzword being used of late. Note that knowing your audience is key in what term to use - I never use "cyber" in my environment or with my leadership. In many places, using the term "cyber" is looked down upon.

Good luck.

Advisor

Jordie Kern Amherst, MA

We offer free classes, mentorship, and job placement in emerging tech fields like Cyber, Robotics, Cloud Computing, etc. Let me know if you're interested in learning more.

Advisor

Joy Montgomery Pleasanton, CA

Join https://www.afcea.org/site/ and start networking there. Different companies may have different ideas about which certificate is most important. Do you still have security clearance? There is a job search tool specifically for security jobs. https://www.clearancejobs.com/ It will show you what certificates people are requiring.

Advisor

Deanna Corbett Winter Garden, FL

Hi Tyrone,

A useful base level certification is the Comp TIA. If you can narrow which part of tech interests you, that can help you be more specific and intentional about your certification pursuits.

It can be helpful to first do some online research to get more familiar with what different area entail, and then reach out to people who do those jobs and ask for an informational interview. You should inquire about what they like or don’t like about their role; what are the most useful certifications to get, and what was their career path they took to get where they are - maybe ask about potential for advancement or branching into other, related areas. This will help give you a feel for the path in, and the day to day of what working in that space may be like so you can truly decide the best path for yourself.

Best of luck!

Advisor

Deanna Corbett Winter Garden, FL

Hi Tyrone,

A useful base level certification is the Comp TIA. If you can narrow which part of tech interests you, that can help you be more specific and intentional about your certification pursuits.

It can be helpful to first do some online research to get more familiar with what different area entail, and then reach out to people who do those jobs and ask for an informational interview. You should inquire about what they like or don’t like about their role; what are the most useful certifications to get, and what was their career path they took to get where they are - maybe ask about potential for advancement or branching into other, related areas. This will help give you a feel for the path in, and the day to day of what working in that space may be like so you can truly decide the best path for yourself.

Best of luck!

Advisor

Jeff Martin Ashburn, VA

I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!

Advisor

Kelly O'Brien Sneads Ferry, NC

Hi Tyrone!
I can help you out with that - let's connect on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-obrien15/) or send me an email directly (kelobie15@gmail.com) and we can set up time to talk!

Best,
Kelly O'Brien

Advisor

ACP AdvisorNet Staff New York, NY

Hi Tyrone,

Thank you for your question. I encourage you to utilize our Community feature to reach out to advisors who have experience in IT and/or Cybersecurity. You can search by location, experience, and expertise, and reach out to as many advisors as you would like.

I hope this helps!

Best,
Isabel

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