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Becoming Pentester / EH

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pizza1337

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Post Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:13 pm

Becoming Pentester / EH

As you guys know, i am still in high school(senior year). I have to decide(in few months) if i want to go to big university or a small college(like ivy tech or  something). In big university you have to take some required classes that are not related to what i am going to do. In small college you just take the classes that are focused or related to your career. What do you guys recommend?

I understand that i will have to get some certs and experience too.

whats the best way to enter this career, what would get me a job?

(i don't care too much about learning the material, because i just learn it, and there are courses, and there is Google)

Any reply(thats related) would be very helpful.
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Ketchup

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Post Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:02 pm

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

I am not sure if the size of the school matters honestly.  The size of the school is mostly about what you favor in terms of class sizes.  Larger schools may allow you to acquire more influential contacts that may help you land a better job.  To some employers, the school name and recognition will matter much more than the size. 
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Jhaddix

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Post Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:38 pm

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

Hey Pizza1337,

Here's what i would suggest. If you are heading in that direction, always go for a 4 year degree. I know there are good examples of lots of pentesters not getting a 4 year year degree but honestly you will hit a lot of glass ceilings not having one. it doesnt realy matter all that much from where you get it, just get it.

Try to find a college with a network security program, or lots of electives in that area or pick a major that's related. Do you want to do do practical pentesting? Try and find a networking or IT degree, are you interested in developing exploits or tools? Take Computer Science. There are lots of programs that have security electives. Take at least one per semester/quarter, to keep your interest.

I know some guys at UCSB (the team that competes as shellphish) and they have had a running hacking club ever since they won Defcon. Do that, try and compete in ccdc competitions if you have it in your region.

Lastly look for summer internships with security places that do pentests or assessments. Learn all the industry tools, do all the training you can find on the net, and start writing your own scripts. Even if they are just simple things you think are cool, they show passion for the field.

Start a website or blog, go to cons, and come here when you have questions.

i know thats a lot but, sorry, must have brain dumped there =P
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n1p

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Post Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:21 am

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

From my personal experience, completing a Masters in infosec at a well respected institute known for it's course, provided me with a lot more opportunities. It got me in front of the right people and allowed me to demonstrate relevant knowledge and enthusiasm for the field. Pen-testing/EH requires more demonstrable practical experience and you could find that you will need to acquire security consultant role or similar for year to gain some valuable commercial experience.

Although, it is different for everyone and hardwork, determination and knowledge also works great!

Cheers,
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rattis

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Post Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:59 am

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

My advice, look at a 4 year school, and the community college (2 year schools in the area). Find out what classes will transfer to the 4 year school from the 2 year.

Don't take your time, but try to save money by starting at a 2 year school. Transfer over, and then try to move on to a Master's if you wish.

You could be able to take some of the money you save and apply them to certs.

Jhaddix said you'll hit a glass ceiling without a 4 year degree. It's not so much a glass ceiling, but it's hard to get past HR without a 4 year degree. I also know that some places won't hire you as anything more than a contractor without a 4 year degree.

As Ketchup said, it's less about the size of the school, and more about it's reputation. The higher degree, the more it matters (from my experience).
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j0rDy

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Post Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:33 am

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

good advice people! getting a master degree sure opens doors in a lot more places then without. i dont know about the try to save money advice. i dont mean you should skip class, get behind or have to redo a semester, but investing in education (if this is a 4 year master or a cert) is the best investment you can make. if a 4 year master gets you further then a 2 year one and you have the budget, go for it! so what it costs a little more, it will repay itself (alteast it should) over the years.
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rattis

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Post Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:43 pm

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

j0rDy wrote:good advice people! getting a master degree sure opens doors in a lot more places then without. i dont know about the try to save money advice. i dont mean you should skip class, get behind or have to redo a semester, but investing in education (if this is a 4 year master or a cert) is the best investment you can make. if a 4 year master gets you further then a 2 year one and you have the budget, go for it! so what it costs a little more, it will repay itself (alteast it should) over the years.


The degrees in the states work in two categories:

Undergrad: which contain Associate (2 year) and Bachelor (4 year) degrees
Graduate: which contain Master and Doctorate. (The way I understand grad, never got past undergrad, is you have to have a Masters before you can go for a Doctorate).
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j0rDy

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Post Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:25 am

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

thanks for clearing this out.

you are right about the master/doctorate thing. i believe the doctorate degree will only help when you want to become an academic/teacher? atleast over here it does not provide anything extra in the business world.
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rattis

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Post Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:43 am

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

J0rDy

Its useful for some other things to. Some research positions outside of academics, and places like NASA want them. (I know NASA does from personal experience).
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pizza1337

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Post Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:26 pm

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

I am meeting Ivy tech(community college) representative tomorrow, I will see what courses they have, and if they can transfer credits for some classes i take there. I do want to get computer science degree and networking(offered by university).

thank you guys.
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j0rDy

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Post Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:45 am

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

chrisj wrote:J0rDy

Its useful for some other things to. Some research positions outside of academics, and places like NASA want them. (I know NASA does from personal experience).


good to know. (there goes my chance of joining NASA ;)) how about government?
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ziggy_567

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Post Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:08 pm

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

You may also want to check out schools on this list:

http://www.nsa.gov/ia/academic_outreach ... ndex.shtml

I believe there are Centers of Academic Excellence in every state, so there should be one close to you. If not, there are a couple with online degree programs. Having earned a Master's from one of the schools on the list, I will say that there are benefits to them. First of all, each of these schools has a scholarship program sponsored by the Federal Gov't. Some of the scholarship programs offer guaranteed federal placement upon graduating.


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j0rDy

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Post Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:17 am

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

thanks for the info. note i do not live in the US so i am just interested in the way of education/government operating.
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Triban

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Post Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

Hey Pizza, definitely another vote for the degree, you learn more at college than just what you pick up in class.  Once you get out in the real world, you need to learn the soft skills as well as technical.  There are a ton of people out there that can rattle off technical speak but there area  good number of these folks that don't know how to rattle it off to the manager types and non-technical people.  Not to mention you need to know how to deal with different types of people.  These soft skills are important from getting the interview to doing your daily duties.

Next piece is getting that real world experience!  Be prepared to take grunt jobs just to get into the door (break/fix computers, helpdesk etc...).  Everyone has to start somewhere!

Find a specialization, or your head will explode trying to keep up with everything as you get older.  Also if you are interested in government jobs, looks like there may be some government funding to those who are interested in pursuing a career in Information/Cyber Security.  Mostly likely though, you will probably need to enlist to get the full benefits.  Then again getting a security clearance can be very beneficial.  I think you can get a security clearance without enlisting, but it could take a very long time.

Good luck!!
Last edited by Triban on Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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pizza1337

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Post Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:45 am

Re: Becoming Pentester / EH

I am not really interested into gov jobs.

I am more interested in military jobs. I know navy and army has security testing jobs, one of my friends worked in army before, and i talked to a navy recruiter.

anyone worked for military before? is it good to work there?
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