I have a couple of questions regarding certification and, more broadly, about my situation which I suspect is somewhat unusual.
As such, therefore, the notion of paying a certain number of dollars and being “mentored” appeals. I have looked at the exceptionally detailed course outlines for the CEH and OSCP and I am enthused by the content.
However, as mentioned, I am not from any kind of IT background. The self-described “noobs” in these forums have Computer Science degrees or have worked as sysadmins for two years or something similar. I have nothing at all like this – only a personal interest in computer security. My professional academic qualifications are in unrelated disciplines.
I am at a stage in my life where I need to determine my future career. Otherwise I will just get older and, while I currently operate in a professional environment (as a PhD student in an unrelated discipline), where I am is not where I want to be.
I am not interested in training purely as a means to an end (a job). I am interested because training would provide me with new information, new ways of perceiving security, and new experiences.
I perceive two potential problems.
The first is that I will simply not be permitted to take the course. The EC-Council states:
“Not anyone can be a student — the Accredited Training Centers (ATC) will make sure the applicants work for legitimate companies.”
Since I have zero experience in IT and certainly do not work for the type of “legitimate compan[y]” they want, the EC-Council's demand would suggest I have no way to take their training.
I understand the OSCP screen applicants too.
I understand their rationale but it puts neophytes like me who have an interest, but are not formally employed, at a disadvantage.
The EC-Council write that:
“This course will significantly benefit security officers, auditors, security professionals, site administrators, and anyone who is concerned about the integrity of the network infrastructure.”
I am, indeed, concerned about the “integrity of the network infrastructure” but on a personal rather than professional basis.
The second concern is whether I have the necessary knowledge (gleaned from experience). I would take the view that, should I be permitted to take a course, I would learn what was necessary in advance (for example, shell scripting). Anyhow, I would be less bothered about passing the exam and more focused on learning the information.
To summarize: the attraction of a course is that I would be taught in a co-ordinated form by professionals (obviously supplemented through intensive personal study). This teaching would hopefully help me to find employment as well as providing me with knowledge which I find personally interesting and which I currently feel I lack.
I hope that – considering my specific circumstances – people can provide advice. Many thanks!