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college major questions

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drumminian

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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:34 am

college major questions

Ok so I am currently at a Comm. college locally my parents paid for the Florida Prepaid college thing(2 years community college 2 years at a state school).  I want to do something in the computer field, but unsure about what field.  IT Security is the top of the ladder, followed by network administrators, and that type of stuff I like doing physical work not sitting behind a cube programming all day that's not my cup of tea. Right now I need to get around to setting up what I want to get my AA in at the community college.  The two AAs I can choose that deal with computers, there is Computer Information Systems, and Computer Science Engineering.  Which of these two should I choose to pursue? I really want to deal with networking/hardware/security fields.

I am currently thinking about going to NOVA after community college any suggestions?
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ziggy_567

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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:14 pm

Re: college major questions

Computer Science would be more technically focused while Computer Information Systems will be more of a business focus.

You should look at UCF in Orlando as well. I know a lot of people that graduated from UCF, and they seem to have a pretty good program running.

Sorry for the brevity, but that's all I have time for at the moment...
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kriscamaro68

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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:15 pm

Re: college major questions

Computer science would deal with programming. One thing about security is that you will be doing lots of sitting looking at logs (depending on what part you get into). Also Knowledge of programming languages is helpful in security as well. Security is a hard road to travel and get into. I don't want deter you from going that route but be prepared to spend time working you way up the later before you do security related tasks. You gotta know the system/network before you can secure it.

Like it was posted earlier info sys would be more of a business side of things mixed with small amounts of technical.
Last edited by kriscamaro68 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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drumminian

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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:25 pm

Re: college major questions

kriscamaro68 wrote:Computer science would deal with programming. One thing about security is that you will be doing lots of sitting looking at logs (depending on what part you get into). Also Knowledge of programming languages is helpful in security as well. Security is a hard road to travel and get into. I don't want deter you from going that route but be prepared to spend time working you way up the later before you do security related tasks. You gotta know the system/network before you can secure it.

Like it was posted earlier info sys would be more of a business side of things mixed with small amounts of technical.


well if you were to deter me off of security what field would you think would suite my interest? I'm not saying that I don't want to do programming I just don't want to do application type programming.

Thanks for the info between comp. eng. sci and info sys, I like technical stuff so I can see that info sys is not for me. I have thought about ucf pretty close to home which is nice a lot of people from my high school I know went there and they seem to be enjoying the classes they are taking.
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kriscamaro68

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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:00 pm

Re: college major questions

Well as far as degrees go I dont know what is available in your area. I think Security is  great field to go into and It is where my passion is but if its not what drives you to want to learn everything you can then you need to find out what does. If servers is what does it for you then s system administrator would be a good field. If networking is what does it for you then network administrator would be a good place to go. If both do it for you then security is a good road to go down. If you want a technical degree look for schools that offer b.s. in information technology. That will be lots of hands on. If you are willing to do an online school then check out http://www.wgu.edu/online_it_degrees/bachelor_degree_programs they have a great b.s. program.
Last edited by kriscamaro68 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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tturner

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Post Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:00 am

Re: college major questions

Not all security folks need to be programmers but it can be beneficial depending on what you want to do. Check out the SANS list of cool infosec jobs

http://www.sans.org/20coolestcareers/

Many of these jobs will interface with code at some point, and some are very application focused but others really don't. I worked as an IT Security/DR Consultant/Administrator for the state for 6 years (and general IT work with servers, desktops and some IT Management for 9 years before that) and never once looked at a line of code. I managed all aspects of BCP/DR for IT, enterprise AV, incident handling, IT audit, VA, and basic firewall configs as well as loads of work defining and implementing configuration standards. None of it required code outside of some simple task automation using batch scripts and most of that was copy/paste off the internet with some minor tweaks for environmental stuff.

That being said, depending on your career goals you may reach a point where your lack of programming knowledge may limit you. This is where I currently am. That job at the state was a great way to break into infosec but I was somewhat limited since I wanted to focus on security testing and do more than just the configuration reviews and audits that were a core piece of our assessment process. Hard to think outside the box when you are checking boxes. At that point you have 3 choices.

1. Learn the code and apply the knowledge to what you already know (This is the route I'm currently undertaking and painfully slow I might add) This seems to be one of the biggest pitfalls I've seen and experienced firsthand with infosec careers. Trying to run before you can crawl. For me it was programming, for others it's network protocols or architecture, or methodology or critical security thinking or risk analysis or soft skills or any of a number of other components of a good security tester.

2. Go into management

3. Work in an area where you don't need to be a programmer. I know some really top notch incident handlers, firewall admins, IDS analysts (unless you count Snort rules which I don't) and others that can't write code.

What is it you are trying to achieve? Check out the SANS list above and think about the 3 jobs that sound the most interesting to you. What do they have in common? What would you need to do the jobs? That should get you started.
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archtctfr

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Post Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:21 am

Re: college major questions

Interesting question and there appear to be some very fine advice in the responses. i will take a different tack and ask a question in response to the question. First of all that I saw the one I put a big "no" was the one that indicated "go into management". If you do wish to avoid the repeat and repeat kind of functions. Why would one think of being a mangler. That is what they do and you most often loose the ability to pursue the type of things you appear to enjoy. So my question two parts.... How far are you planning on going with your education. A BS today is really a starting point. If you are planning something take it one step further. What might you want from your Master Program. Review some of the requirements as well as the schools you find interesting. You do not want to get to the threshold and find you need something else. Take the time now to build your program toward the end. That may seem like a long way off, yet the process of considering will help to bring forth the areas of interest as well as the areas you have not even considered. how do they say the 2X2 matrix of a place where you dont know what you dont know. if in the end you find the desire and urge to head toward management then do it. We are in a big need for even passable managers. Stats indicate 8 of 10 are worthless. So we could use some good ones. In the end it still sounds like you are at a stage consider all limit none. Hope that adds to the consideration.
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mallaigh

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Post Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:22 pm

Re: college major questions

Have you looked at the some of the course descriptions and the degree road maps?  The AA in CIS could be more business focused or it could be more focused on networking. 

If the CIS aspect focuses on networking, you may enjoy that and it would be valuable information.  If it is more business focused and since you said you are interested in the technical side of things, you probably will find the basic programming knowledge very valuable in InfoSec or Systems Admin.

Do you have any prior knowledge/experience with networking, systems, or programming?  I think that is a good question to ask because if you already know a decent amount about, lets say networking, you would probably find your self bored with school in networking classes and not really expanding your skill set.  Coding can be boring but if you take what you learn and try and apply it to things that interest you; you could find it interesting.  Most companies looking for InfoSec personnel want well rounded engineers/techs. 

So, although you didn't show much of an interest in programming, it might be the better choice based on your options depending on what the CIS program focuses on.   

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