CCNA in Cyber Ops, check

I did it. . I got certified this weekend!  After only 3 LONG months of studying every single day I finally took the second test and passed this weekend!

I won’t lie, it was hard for me.  I took a Security+ class back in December and knew that I couldn’t test for that right away because all of those ideas were just bouncing around in my head without any feet to hold them down, if that makes sense.  So I was pretty scared when I started listening to online classes and reading the material for the CCNA test.  I knew I was going to have to supplement and really dig in to understand, and I did.

So now, I am doubling back and re-reading my Security+ book so I can test for that in two weeks.  I also started a 12-week online class to prep for the CISSP Exam that I plan to take in October or November.  I am going to do this Security thing no matter what. . .I may have to start my own company if no one will hire me. . .but watch out. . .I will do this!

Ladies. . do hard things!  If there is something you want, go for it.  You CAN do it no matter what they told you!!  Have confidence, sit down, and do it. . .even if it’s hard and doesn’t click the first time. . .keep trying!!

First step is complete

I haven’t written much lately, have had my nose in either a book or my computer studying to take the two test that will earn me my CCNA in Cybersecurity.  It has been very hard.  I started the adventure back on April 1 and have studied every single day since then.  I has been hard, fun, challenging, exciting, and miserable all together.  I knew next to nothing going into this about security, and I now know a bit more.  I have gone deeper into the Windows OS, worked long hours in Linux, used some awesome OpenSource tools and will now sit for my first of two tests tomorrow morning.

I am nervous, but feel moderately prepared.  I have heard from others that this test is the easier of the two, but that is from people who have been working in Networking for a while so I am not sure their opinions are relevant for me.

I promised myself a bit over a year ago now that I would dive in and try some new tech skills until something stuck that inspired and amazed me.  I have tried web development and security now and I love them both.  Cybersecurity is probably the best fit of all.  Some development with a bunch of security is exactly what I love.  Do hard things, make a change, believe in yourself. . and wish me luck tomorrow!

2 Weeks in – I Can Do IT!

I am two weeks into my CISCO Cyber Security Class and I can’t lie, it is kicking my butt.  Security and networking in general don’t come easy to me, I have to really study to get them, but I am remembering finally why I liked school so much.  I love having something to learn and hard deadlines to get there.

I just finished the first half of tutorials for the first test, SECFND, fundamentals.  It went over the basics of networking, and then started diving into current security threats and how they work.  It is still all very high level overview, but the labs are fun and have us actually running exploits.

It will be hard, and if I pass the tests on the first run I will be surprised, but I am really loving this challenge and can’t wait to see where this leads.

I saw an application the other day for a chance to win CISSP training, I am thinking about going for it!

Cybersecurity Scholarship!

I did it. . I got one of the CISCO Cybersecurity Scholarships and my cohort will begin sometime in June 2017!  I can’t wait and I am so excited to take this next step in my computer/networking/security career!

If you want more info on the new Cyber Ops CCNA CISCO has a page up with some really great resources for studying.  I don’t know much more at this point, but you better believe I will be sharing more information as I go along.  I am trying to cram as much security information as I can before then, so feel free to share great security sites and study tools and helps if you have them. . .

An Update – A New Calling

It’s been a while since I posted what I am up to.  I am still plunking away at learning to code and learning some cyber security too.

I am enrolled in FreeCodeCamp, Codecademy, and two other online web development courses.  I am finding that while it takes a while to work through more than one program, the constant repetition is really helping me retain what I am learning.

So far, I like building websites the most.  I took a great class on Udemy called Bootstrap 3 Beginners that helped me get a couple of websites up pretty quickly while also teaching me a ton about Bootstrap, HTML, and CSS.  There were some great tips on animation, fonts and free pictures that helped me create a toolbox that I will use over and over again for quick builds for friends and family.

I am still considering doing some more technical security training, but am finding a new passion for art and creating things with all these web courses and find that I can easily sink hours into projects and be smiling the whole time!  I think I found my new calling!!

It Really Is the Small Things

csvfileI spent a really dumb amount of time today trying to write a Python script to do what I could have done in minutes in Excel.  I created a .csv file with the header and rows populated.  It is a small thing, but I struggled, and the data I was sending wouldn’t go at fist, so I had to figure out why what worked for one type of data didn’t work for another.  Turns out, I just needed quotes.  But the point really is that I didn’t give up , I kept at it, and I finally accomplished this stupid small task!

I have so far to go it is hard to imagine ever being proficient, but then again, a week ago I wouldn’t have believed I could write a script that created and populated a spreadsheet!  All progress counts, right?

I want to remember today and that I can do it!  I am not dumb, and I can work through problems and come up with solutions.  I could have asked for help like I usually do, but instead, I can go back through what I know and see if the answer isn’t there somewhere after all.  I can code, and I can do this!  I am still working through Learn Python the Hard Way, but I am also working through a couple of other classes too and all together I feel like I am finally getting somewhere, after a good month of hacking away.

A Crazy Security Kind of Day

Today I had a plan for learning.  I was going to spend a couple of hours this morning (in whatever chunks my regular work projects allowed) on learning Python and a couple this afternoon doing some Web Development learning and building since I am trying to cram both into my brain as quickly and solidly as possible.  HOWEVER, it did not turn out that way.  I had a much more interesting day, and in hopes that I not forget anything that happened, I decided to document it here.  I am afraid all this will prove is that i for sure have a healthy dose of Adult ADD.

I should have known it was going to be a super special interesting day by the wild tangent of a podcast I started with on my drive in.  I have been obsessing this week on the CodeNewbie podcast, listening to episodes in no kind of order other than what sparks my interest at the moment (dangerous, I know).  It was a good episode, but the best takeaway for me was Zen Pencils!  Have you seen this?  You MUST check out this amazing cartoon if you haven’t, for me, it was life changing.

After printing off a few inspiring cartoons to plaster the walls of my cube with, I was able to work through my second round on chapters 13-15 in Learn Python the Hard Way and the next section from my Automating OSINT Python course before I was off to a really interesting webinar on ransomware that was sponsored by a CISCO user group in my area.  I expected the content to be more, techy, I guess, but it was still really interesting.  I finished that and was off to work on some other work tasks.

I am now back at my desk with a break and find myself Googling the speaker from my webinar and find his super cool site The Dark Knight.  I read that and then remember that he talked about some resources that helped him break down what was happening with his clients who hired him to help with ransomware.  That took me over to the SUSE site to read a really cool breakdown of hexdump and how to see the insides of a document. . .see . . . isn’t it kinda cool!

hexdump

And suddenly I am in love with tech again and remember why I got into this “career” in the first place.  Now, if I could just find a tool to keep me focused on learning one thing at a time so I could actually feel like I am moving forward that would be great.

Still Learning

I’m still Learning Learn Python the Hard Way, but I have added some other sites and learning for fun too.  I heard a podcast with Justin Seitz as the guest and he was talking about Python and Security and so I went over to his site, Automating OSINT and saw that he offered a beginner Python class so I immediately signed up for that too.  I am sort of at a place in the LPtHW where I need to take a step back and go back through to solidify what I have learned so far anyway.  I love the new class, even though it moves a bit faster and is a bit more challenging.  I think it’s tricky in a good way that will really help me tie together some security and some programming skills.

I also just finished my first goal with security which was to get through one of the Security+ courses online.  I chose a free one first, since I think work will pay for a boot camp to pass the test anyway.  I know from past experience that I will pass the test from the boot camp, but I want to really learn and know the subject matter and so I will need a few passes for that.  The class I stopped on first was the one over at Cybrary.  I enjoyed it, but I feel like it was only a high level over view and now I need to dig in deeper.  For that I will be reading one of the Security+ books and probably listening to another online video class.

Learning a Language – Python

So it has been a couple of weeks since I sorta fell into a Python learning plan and I have to say that I am loving it!  I really thought that I could not learn or that I would not like to code, but I was wrong!

I happened upon two courses that really changed my mind.  The first was a class over at Code School, it was just a quick and free introduction to Python, but I was hooked.  Then, I did a search for free training and found a site that I really liked that let me try for free, Learn Python the Hard Way.  Now this site has been amazing.  I love the way Zed teaches.  I love that he puts so much emphasis on writing and rewriting code just to get a feel for it.  I also can really track better with his path than the one over at Code School, but that is personal preference.  I have no doubt that there are many ways to learn, but this is it for me.  I am on my second pass through the first 22 chapters and am picking up even more the second time in.

I know I have a really long road ahead, but my goal is to be a programmer.  Right now, I am thinking I will focus on Python and Security, but I am also working on another path that I will explain more in my next post.

It may have taken me a while, but it is good to have a plan and some goals in place once again that align with my current job and my future goals!  I can see light on the road ahead and that is a bit new and exciting!!

A New Plan

It’s been a long strange road for me, my tech career.  I have taken some odd turns, made mistakes that change the trajectory of my course, and find myself today making a whole new 5 year plan that has me excited about my career for the first time in several years.  I will share that plan next week I think.  What I need to do here real quick is to jot down the key to my change so I don’t forget how and why I got here.

For a long time I have been trying to convince myself that I don’t belong here in the tech world.  I have wasted so much time trying to find a passion outside of tech.  I looked at writing, cooking, sewing, teaching, motor sports, entrepreneurship and house wifery (I made that up, don’t judge).  Nothing was a good fit and I just couldn’t get into any of them.  Finally, at a complete dead end, almost in tears and ready to just quit everything, I finally started looking at tech and trying some things just to see if anything fit.  And guess what, it did.  I started learning Python quite by accident and realized I love it!  I like to code.

I think I convinced myself early on that I could never code mainly based on my interactions early in my career with some folks I considered to be smart coders.  Looking back, I think they were hacks, and certainly awful people, but I allowed a couple of bad eggs to ruin my entire perspective.  I have spent so many wasted years running, it is time to stop, dig, and put down roots.  I have to take a breath, relax, and start learning.  My posts over the next few months will most likely be about the new classes I’m taking and all that I am learning.

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