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College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

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IamHe

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Post Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:48 pm

College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

Hey Everyone!

I need to choose a profession and college ASAP, as I am a senior in high school and it's that time of year. I always wanted to be a Software Engineer, but after some time of thinking, I decided I don't see myself doing that. Instead, I would like to follow career in what I'm most passionate about - Computer Security.

I've been searching the interwebs for jobs in the area, and it seems like they are all so similar, but have different names. For example, a couple job titles I came across were Computer Systems Security Analyst and IT Security Analyst along with a couple others, but they all seem to have the same job description.

I was hoping you experienced peoples could please help me out by naming some job titles in area and what their basic day looks like.

Also, what would I be taking in college? What courses should I be taking? What should I be looking for in a college?

And last but not least, what are some good colleges for computer security. I'm also thinking about minoring in business :-).

I've been learning about computer security/ethical hacking for a couple years now, and I really do enjoy it. I hope you guys/gals could help me out :-).

Cheers,
June
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dalepearson

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Post Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:41 am

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

Morning June,

I will try and help from a generic perspective as I am not in the US so cannot comment on the education establishments, and also job titles to some extent as they do seem to be alot more verified than Europe and Asia in my experience.

Even though computer security has been about for a long time, it is becoming alot more mainstream and as a result more college / university courses are popping up but many are in their infancy. I have been involved in some reviews of a couple of courses here in the UK, and sadly I do think they are a little lacking in various areas.
I would look for a course that covers networking, security and programming fundamentals to give you a good base and common understanding. I would then also like to see modules on risk assessment and risk management, computer laws and regulations, and perhaps some forensics in there to.

Business as you mention is also important, as its key for getting the message across, understanding what your business / customers needs and goals are.

I am probably an idealist, so this may not all exist, but I think it’s a good start and idea of where to focus. From here you can they later in your education look to where you want to focus, penetration testing, consultancy, forensics and more.

Hope this helps a little, and don’t forget doing your own research and education is important to, and you have made that first step by joining this community.

All the best.
Dale
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IamHe

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Post Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:18 am

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

Dale, Thanks for the response. It helped a bit  :) .
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Dengar13

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Post Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:39 am

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

Ever think of the military as an option?  It helped me a bunch and don't regret it once.  I received experience, college for money and a secret clearance.
A+, Net+, MCP, CEH
MCSE: Security/Messaging
MCSA: Security/Messaging
Former U.S. Marine and damn proud of it!
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IamHe

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Post Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:49 am

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

Thanks for the suggestion, but military isn't an option for me.
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Dengar13

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Post Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:15 am

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

I don't know where you are geographically, but Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, and Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh offer great IT security related degrees.  You should schedule some visits based on research of universities that you are interested in and see first-hand what their programs entail.

There are a LOT of areas that IT security encompasses job-wise.
A+, Net+, MCP, CEH
MCSE: Security/Messaging
MCSA: Security/Messaging
Former U.S. Marine and damn proud of it!
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IamHe

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Post Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:17 am

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

Awesome, I'm actually on the east coast so I can definitely visit some of those.
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Ketchup

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Post Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:53 pm

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

I actually just went back to school.  I am doing an online program in Computing Security at Drexel University.  Drexel has a pretty good reputation for degrees in technology.  My program seems like it has a good coverage of information security areas. 

I second what Dale indicated about covering various fundamentals, especially networking and programming.  Having a low-level understanding of the technology you are trying to secure goes a long way. 

There are tons of different jobs out there in information security.  Once you have taken some courses, considering enrolling in a summer co-op or internship.  While there are some universal responsibilities, each job will vary quite a bit.  I am a consultant, and I get involved in forensics, pen testing, security assessments, data recovery, networking, and a bunch of other tasks.  I don't really have a typical day.  By the time you pick up the fundamental knowledge required to land an internship, you will be able to focus on a particular area of information security.  An internship will allow you to see what it's like out there for yourself. 
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Xen

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Post Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:32 am

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

I would like to add some more queries to this thread.

What should be an ideal carrear path if one wants to make it into information security?
Should they start with networking and work all the way up from there or just try for a security job right after the college?

Perhaps, it would be nice to know how did some of you make it.
Last edited by Xen on Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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dalepearson

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Post Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:35 am

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

Equix3n- wrote:I would like to add some more queries to this thread.

What should be an ideal carrear path if one wants to make it into information security?
Should they start with networking and work all the way up from there or just try for a security job right after the college?

Perhaps, it would be nice to know how did some of you make it.


Some organisations have graduate programs, so if you have completed a degree in computer / information security they may well consider you for a junior role in the InfoSec Team.

Myself, I started off on a help desk role whilst at college, then some database and inventory stuff, then network administration, then IT systems analyst, then a little mobile communications, then network architect, then network / security architect, then security and risk consultant, and currently Security Manager.

I worked whilst in education as much as I could, summer breaks and all sorts, part time etc etc. These gave me a few advantages, experiance, and also one by one working in different organisation in different roles to understand what was / wasnt right for me.

I think most people come from a networking background of some sort, but I think thats because there hasnt always been the more direct security routes that are starting to exist today.
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Ketchup

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Post Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:53 pm

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

I had a similar path to Dale.  I started in Tech Support while I was in College.  I then moved into the networking side of things.  I also got involved in software development.  I now work in forensics and information security consulting side of things. 

I feel like the networking and programming knowledge has tremendously helped understand infosec and forensics.  I think that the trick is being security minded and having some security responsibilities as you move up in the job world.  There has to be something for employers to latch onto when they are looking to hire for a security related job. 
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Ketchup
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dalepearson

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Post Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

Just a quick comment.
Remember even if your not doing a security role, security is still your responsibility within the organisation you work for.

Security wont work in a silo environment, however this is how many organisations function in reality.
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IamHe

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Post Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:02 pm

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

Thanks for all the responses.

One more thing...

Once I get into a college, I need to choose classes. To get into the nursing program, you have a bunch of prerequisite classes to take... to get into the pharmacy program.. same thing.. but how do I know what to take in college for a security career?

Do I take a bunch of related classes? or is there a specific program i take?

Thanks
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Xen

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Post Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:43 pm

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

Thanks for the reponses.
I've about 1.5 yrs. till I finish my college (Engineering- comp. sc.), so that's still some time to decide for the career roadmap.
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Ketchup

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Post Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:00 am

Re: College time, I need to choose a career. Help?

IamHe, each program is a bit different.  I would recommend that once you chose your major, you get together with your advisor and go the classes you will need to take.  I would recommend taking some programming classes, networking classes, and anything you can find related to security.  Don't forget the fundamentals. 
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