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Secret Clearence already

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Joshsevo

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Post Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:08 pm

Secret Clearence already

So I am wondering what I should do and what I am worth.  Here's my dilemma.  I just got offered a job working for General Dynamics at Fort Hucchicia in AZ working for the Army's signal battalion.  Good job, good company..etc. It's about 30K per yr and they told me that my secret clearance from the Navy is still active and they really want me.

But I think that my BA in Computer Forensics & Network Security plus my certs and now also my active clearance is worth more than $15 per hr.  My buddy just got a job in VA welding on ships for 60K and they said he got that much just because his clearance is still active and the company didn't have to pay for him to get a new one which I heard for each level of clearance costs a company like 60K.

So that's my dilemma, what do you guys think.
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sil

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Post Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:29 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

You're living on the wrong side of the country:

Averages in the beltway
Digital Forensic Analyst With Security Clearance in McLean, VA (average salary $104,000)
http://www.indeed.com/salary/q-Digital- ... n,-VA.html

Forensic Clearance in McLean, VA ($98,000)
http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=Forensi ... Lean%2C+VA

Forensic Engineer With Security Clearance in Fort Bragg, NC $81,000
http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=Forensi ... ragg%2C+NC

Senior Digital Forensic Analyst With Security Clearance in McLean, VA $92,000 Low Confidence (less than 75 sources)
http://www.indeed.com/salary/q-Senior-D ... n,-VA.html

So here is the reality of it whether some choose to ignore or realize this... A BA in CompSci is not all that it is cracked up to be. In 1999 (over 10 years ago!!!) I had just broke 100k without the degree, without any certifications at all. Granted it was the dotcom daze, the money was around then and it still is around now.

The issue with trying to learn most of the useful security groundwork is, it changes daily, There will be no college capable of supporting this. So programs/curricula needs to change rapidly otherwise what you learned at the beginning of your freshmen year is worthless. Same goes for certain certain certs. While I have never been a fan of SANS, I do respect the fact that their course content remains fresh. This is more worthwhile in the long run when you hit the real world.

College vs. say SANS cert route:

Learning
College - find a good school, hope your tuition isn't sky high. Learn decades old frameworks and theories.

SANS - two solid years in either a red or blue route. Learning cutting edge concepts and techniques that are applied in the real world.

Benefits
College - parties, parties, dorms, parties

SANS - network with people in the industry. Get to see what others do, where others work.

Costs
College - depends on the school. Let's average this to 4k per semester
SANS - depends on what you do... We can average this to say 3-4k per course

At the end of it all, which candidate do you think would have the upper hand here? The college graduate or the SANS student? I know people who've slept their way through college. I highly doubt you will find the same when it comes to someone who is SANS certified. Anyway, back to topic... I suggest you look outside of your state if money is your theme. Your area seems to be lacking on the payscale. 'Round these parts (metro Tri-State: NY, NJ, CT) we start at about 75k for intro security jobs.
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rattis

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Post Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:21 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

I think that you didn't give us enough information. You don't have to answer the below, but think about them...

What is the position you will be doing? What will the day to day work be? Are you going to be a helpdesk monkey that they leverage every once an a while to recover lost data, or are you going to walk in to a computer morgue and start pulling data daily?

You mention the degrees and certs, but say nothing about experience in the field.

What's the cost of living in Az? And lastly don't take this the wrong way, but you're comparing yourself to your buddy doing a skilled trade. Things are different there to start with. An apple and oranges thing.
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Joshsevo

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Post Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:10 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

I am open to move.  Since I was in the Navy I am used to moving frequently.

Since my BA is in Forensics and Security I have the option to do either one.  Which one do I choose.  Forensics. 

I don't want to me a help desk monkey.  Maybe to begin  but would need to be in writing that I move within a yr. 

I do have an Forensics internship that I've had for 6 months.  So I do have some experience to back up the BA and certs. 

My buddy and I went to the same "A" school as a welder and were in the same shop.  So hypothetically I could go be a welder in the shipyards for 60K but I don't enjoy welding.

Sil,

I understand your point but i just don't want to undersell myself when clearances are so hard to get.  I am attending the SANS 408 & 508 and then also the Infosec CEH.  I hope with these as well as my ACE (Access Data) and my EnCase I can get a good paying job.
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WCNA

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Post Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:20 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

30k a year is an insult unless you have zero experience (which it doesn't sound like). A secret clearance is a huge plus. I'd look elsewhere.
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ziggy_567

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Post Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:20 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

On the other hand, General Dynamics has a lot of really cool projects going on. If you spent some time working a job that may or may not be all that great, there are a ton of opportunities within GD once you've proven yourself.

Food for thought...
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caissyd

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Post Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:38 am

Re: Secret Clearence already

I am attending the SANS 408 & 508 and then also the Infosec CEH.

Are you working right now? Are you paying these courses from your own pocket?

Based on what you say, 30K isn't enough, that's for sure. But like chrisj said, don't compare yourself with other types of jobs. In fact, I learned not to compare myself with anyone. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence...

Sil is also quite right, up to date knowledge is always a big plus. In addition, you need to feel you can answer tough questions in interviews...

For my part, I do own a Bachelor's Degre in Computer Science, I have a Top Secret clearance and I own 3 certs in security. But when I look at job postings, most of the good paying jobs (100K and up) ask for a minimum of 8 to 10 years... So depending where you leave, if your market is saturated, you will have tough competition...

Last thing, like ziggy_567 said, since you have a 6 month intership, try to stay humble while you make it a 2 year experience in your field, especially if you can work for a big, well known company. You will be able to jump to 80K-100K quickly after.

Good luck!
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Joshsevo

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Post Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:28 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

I am working two jobs.  My FT job and then also my internship and school.  I am paying for these classes out of my own pocket.  I think I am taking these course to help me with the fundementals of Forensics and Security moee than what school taught me.  So those tough questions I face in an interview I will know what they are and be bale to answer them correctly and then hopefully land the job.
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former33t

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Post Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

No offense, but a secret clearance doesn't really mean anything.  It sure doesn't cost 60k to fund one.

The cost of living at Ft Huachuca is near nil and you are competing with MI instructors with TS clearances and 20 years of experience.  GD underpays everywhere, but in this case 30k is a gift.  If you don't take it, someone else will.  IF you have real skills and want to make money, move to DC.  Of course you can't buy a house there....
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Joshsevo

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Post Tue May 03, 2011 1:34 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

Anyone else?
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lorddicranius

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Post Tue May 03, 2011 1:56 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

I would say you're worth more.  I'm a Navy vet too (IT2, worked on the computer side).  My first job out was a help desk job on the NMCI contract for $15/hr, but my only experience was 4 years in the Navy.  I didn't have any degree or certifications at the time of hiring.
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SephStorm

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Post Wed May 04, 2011 2:06 am

Re: Secret Clearence already

The question is what are you going to be doing, and what is the pool of qualified individuals for  that position in that location.

First strike out any qualifications above your job level. Then look at the competition. And of course, I dont know how contracting, or whatever you are doing works, but you may be able to get a raise later on down the line.

And perhaps most importantly, you are needed. you are doing a job that your nation needs you to do. I would think twice about turning that down because of my self worth, but that is me. :)
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Joshsevo

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Post Wed May 04, 2011 12:41 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

I am still considering it but just looking at it now it looks to be financially unfeasible.  GD is offering me less than what I make now, not much but still less.  But the problem is that my wife would have to leave her job, take a pay cut due to the location (it's cheaper down there) but also because we need someone to watch my son rather than pay for daycare so the wife would just work part time rather than full time. My parents watch him the days when we both work. That and along with my other bills I doubt I could swing it.  Even though it's a decent opportunity I may have to hold out for a higher paying job up front.
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rattis

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Post Wed May 04, 2011 3:38 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

Tell them you're really interested in the position, and try to negotiate a higher pay.
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Joshsevo

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Post Wed May 04, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: Secret Clearence already

I did they wouldn't budge.  I am speaking to a recruiter (headhunter) so his interests are not really aligned with mine other than getting me in to meet a quota.  Which is fine But I can't be duped into a job that even after 6 months will be barely enough to get me by. 
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