Experts!: security-related career questions (long)

From: J. Yoon (
Date: 12/29/03

  • Next message: Clayton Dillard: "Re: Best practices for a small business's security"
    Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 16:17:12 -0500

    I'm 29 now and make about $67k as software engineer but desperately trying
    to get my foot into the security field.
    I wanted to get a CISSP cert and even studied the training book
    but didn't take the exam. I probably would have passed the written but since
    4 years of security work experience is required, I felt I be better off
    going for something like a CCSA instead.

    Originally, I am from a hard science background
    but also have about 5yrs experience using unix shell perl and cgi web
    programming working for large companies that develop scientific
    applications. My actual job experience can't be considered security-related
    but I have *some* personal experience at home locking down
    and tinkering with my home network & linux boxes.

    I would like your advice on how I can get my foot in the security job door
    without my experiences so far being flushed down the garbage disposal
    and ultimately become successful in the security field.

    ( I'm interested in any network security field but mainly pen-testing and/or
    codebreaking, encryption.)

    General Questions:

    1) Do I have to start all over again from entry-level position
    even if I have 5 or more years experience as systems engineer/software

    2) Growth Potential: how long did it take you to move up the corporate
    and finally make it to some type of management in the security field?

    3) Job market: how's the job market for people with CCSA and other type of
    who have no prior security work but still have development experience?

    4) Salary: What's the salary range you expect to be paid if you were to find
    an avg security related job in the DC metro area?

    5) Lifestyle: Are you treated with "on-call hell" all the time day and night
    with grave yard shift
    or are you pretty much left alone and undisturbed?
    do you get to meet any new people
    or are you severed from civilization and often wish you can ET-phone-home
    every now and then?

    Related to CCSA 156-210.4

    5) Is it essential to get hands-on checkpoint-ware administration experience
    to pass this certification exam? I don't have access to any of Check
    Point's software, how can I get experience using their software without
    spending too much dollars.. assuming hands-on experience is necessary.

    6) Is "smart defense suite" a relatively big portion of the new exam
    compared to the old exam 156-210? Should I not worry too much about it
    or should I get a new course book?

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  • Next message: Clayton Dillard: "Re: Best practices for a small business's security"