2. Cyber Security Resources
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are your thoughts on certifications such as CompTIA or the CISSP?
I think that they cant hurt, but with nearly 400 certs in cyber these days I think you need to be careful where you spend your time as time is your most valuable asset. I think this is forgotten sometimes with people going for cert after cert when their time might be better spent learning more of the fundamentals or getting work experience. Again, I think the most important thing is work experience in concert with a degree, if you can manage the workload; which is not always possible/feasible. Then while working even part-time if you can, choose applicable certifications that make sense as you are working and can round out and deepen your knowledge. The listing below identifies all the current security certifications by domain. I think that one approach would be to try to intern or get work in a domain area, then use this guide to choose certs that can add more value and development for you. If you cant work part-time, then perhaps select certification areas based on domains you want to learn more about. Just make sure to start out with the beginning certs in a domain area; I can help with making those choices if needed.
Does obtaining these certifications matter more than gaining a college degree?
As said above, I think the most important thing is work experience in concert with a degree, or a degree first if you cant manage to work too. Then, while working even part-time, choose applicable certifications that make sense as you are working and can round out and deepen your knowledge. Further, one final note: The most important thing to securing technology is to understand how underlying business networks and technical systems work (if you go the technical route.) You will only get this from working on the technology side in a business environment, even in entry level tech technical jobs in order to get this foundation, and this is often not covered specifically in most cert programs or in most educational tracts at this time.
Are there any specific certifications that you would recommend?
This is like recommending the best flavors of ice cream; tough to do. I can however provide a good approach for making your own decision. Go a certification path either to provide you more knowledge to aid in a job task while working in a domain area, or if you are not sure if you like a specific domain area like penetration testing for example and are not working in that area, you can explore a free certification to get more insight if you want to further explore the domain or not. Finally, always try and understand the big picture and how the certification you are looking to get ties into your overall career development path.
Are you aware of any other educational/training programs or internships, similar to CyberForward, I might be able to apply to?
Right now, I believe that our program is kind of unique in the business centric approach that offers school credit. However, I know there is a lot of work in this area in the schools and this could be changing very soon. We are also coming up with new programs that might be of interest and will keep you posted as we learn of other programs.
Do you have any advice on what the best way to approach higher education would be?
I think the best approach is to complete your college education and for me three considerations come to mind. 1. Try and do it in a way that limits your debt when you graduate as much as possible. If cost/debt is not an issue, then consider my second point more heavily. 2. Aside from the school and education curriculum, a big part of school is the relationships that you can make while there. Relationships are one of the best ways to progress your career when you graduate, and they are often your most valuable asset moving forward in today’s socially connected world. So if you can go somewhere and be on-site, that has a strong social experience/culture, this is a strong consideration in my opinion. 3. Try and get internships/part time jr level jobs early that provide you experience in the fields you are interested in. Now, right now this can be tough, but this is what we are trying to do with our program and hopefully can have some options in near future. There are others working on this as well.
What major would be best?
These days I really dont think it matters which degree major as it relates to technology as organizations often don’t hire directly based on a degree being specifically in technology; at least I am not seeing that. However, there is nothing wrong with going this way if you want to immerse yourself in technology learning. Also, if you decide to go into technology management or leadership positions later on, degrees often are recommended within technology, often in concert with the work experience. Never hurts to get the degree out of the way early. Another thought, if you are going to work in innovation jobs getting a business degree is also not a bad thing to understand how organizations truly work from a business perspective. Generally, I have not seen this impact a person negatively even when going for a technology job.
Should I complete a four-year college, or would a two-year Bachelor’s education suffice?
I think this will depend on your financial and personal situation. There is nothing wrong with going to a 2 year and it is much more inexpensive and a great education experience as well so this can be a great option. I think the big consideration will again be cost and the experience differences between the two approaches as it aligns to your personal situation.
Would it be viable to get at least an entry-level career without a college degree at all?
I believe it will be possible in the near future as there is such a shortage of available talent it may come about organically by the need. I still believe though the best approach for a young worker will be to get their education out of the way early if they can and then work part time entry level while going to some form of college. However though, as mentioned there are not a lot entry level options currently available that fit this model and we are hoping to be able to prototype a model like this in the future that does.
Can you recommend any online resources to teach the required technical skills?
In the listing below there are lots of various on-line approaches to help get aligned with these certs. If you are looking for specific technical guidance and skills, this is a longer answer and lets see how the future forum can address this in a more comprehensive manner. https://pauljerimy.com/security-certification-roadmap/
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