Archive for Career

Time for an update! New Job

It has been a crazy busy wacky kind of fall for me.  It is a long story that no one really needs to know, but to make the story short, I am now an IT Data Security Analyst!  I made a plan a little over a year ago to either move into web design or Security, and all the doors kept opening for security, so I kept going through them, and now here I am, in a security job!!

I have tons of updates to post, and I want to start tracking my progress here even if it only ever helps me remember where I came from and where I am heading.

The first order of business is to pass the CEH v9 exam/certification.  I sat for the class last week and will be studying for the next few weeks in order to hopefully take the test in mid – late January.  Fingers crossed. . .

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New Things to See and Do and Learn

Its been a long summer of classes and learning, and instead of being too tired to learn more this fall, I find I am driven to learn and do more.  I want to know more things, I want to learn about the Cloud and Web Development and DevOps while I’m at it.  I am not sure where all of this is leading, but I am mesmerized by what I can do over on AWS (Amazon Web Services).

I found this site, A Cloud Guru, and I really like learning from them, so I have signed up for a couple of their classes.  I chose the Associate Certified Solutions Architect for the long haul, and the Create A Serverless Portfolio with AWS and React for the quick and dirty how to.  I can’t wait to finish both of these and get to work and get certified.  Not only does this address all three areas above that I am interested in, but it is all about building stuff, and I love that so much.

After that. . .on to Azure, Office365 and Google Cloud. . .I am not slowing down or giving up on the dream of more. . .

Final CISSP Class Tonight

About 9 weeks ago I began the CyberVista CISSP Training Course.  I knew going in that I might not be able to sit for the test for a while, mostly due to the fact that I don’t yet have a job in security, and that is a requirement.  I could try and get some entry level security type job, but the fact of the matter is, I’m not ready.

I have been on a couple of interviews, mostly for jobs just outside security, and I realize that the elephant in the room for me is routing and switching.  I am scared to death of it, I am letting it intimidate me, and I am done not knowing all the things I need to know solid.   It is time to face this fear and knock it down.  So I will finish my class this week, but starting today, I am going to start studying for the CCNA Routing & Switching.  I will sit for both tests by the end of January.  After that, I plan to study for and take the CCNA Security test by the beginning of March.  When I have completed that, I will have gotten my CCNA CyberOps, CCNA Routing & Switching and my CCNA Security in a year.  Once I have those certifications in my pocket, I will get a Security job which should then allow me to study for a couple of months and then take the CISSP Exam.  It is then my plan to start focusing on Cloud Technology by getting Amazon Certifications next year.

I will change my future, and I can do this!

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!!

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.

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.

A Big Move and Lots of Learning about Networking Fundamentals

I have been trying for a couple of months now to find good links and helpful information on what it takes to move a company, specifically the data center, as that is what I am responsible for.  As I move through this process though, I realize that I need to do a lot more than move some servers and routers. 

The past two days have been spent meeting with cabling companies trying to get a handle on what we need to get the the phones to ring and the computers connected to the internet and our servers.  It seems I need a cabling company to come and wire my building.  What they do is run all the wires from our server room to the rest of the building, but there is a bit more to it than that. 

There will be a demarcation point where the T1s will be dropped, I am most likely installing a T1 and a PRI, and the companies that drop those will only do that portion.  From there, I need to extend the demark to the MDF in our server room.  Because we are moving into a large warehouse, I also need to have them create an IDF and run fiber from the MDF to the IDF. 

While I am learning on the fly, I am finding it hard to find helpful articles on the web that explain this all.  Most sites focus on telephony or data networks but don’t explain how it all fits together.  If anyone out there knows of sites that explain all of this well I would love to see them.  I plan to share all I learn here, and hope that I expain it in a way that will make sense to me and others when I am done.

Just Finished My First SANS Training Event

I just finished a week of SANS training in beautiful St Louis, MO and am still digesting all of the information.  I also want to hold off a full assessment until after I have actually taken the test for the GIAC certification in October, but I did want to share some general impressions.

I attended a SANS Community event, which is one of their smaller events that usually consist of just a couple of classes in a given city.  I attended the Security 401:  Security Essentials Bootcamp and got exactly what I expected from it.  I am fairly new to IT Management and even newer to IT Security and I found this class to be an excellent beginning source of information.  I have honestly found it hard to know where to start often in getting training and laying some network and security foundations, and this class did just that.  It was a very wide, or top-level view of IT Security.  I found that I learned a great deal, and came away with some tools that I am learning and will eventually use in my environment.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the knowledge level of our instructor.  I have been to many IT training classes where I have felt that the instructor did a quick reading of the material and knew only a bit more than I did on the given topic.  That was not the case with the SANS Instructor we had.  He definitely knew his material backward and forward, and had used it in the field at a consulting level and on the job.

I will know for sure how well the information was presented when I sit for the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) test in a couple of months, so I will post again at that time.  I will be studying for this for the next couple of months by going over the printed material that was handed out at the bootcamp in addition to going over the on-demand class material and taking the practice tests.

I’m Going to Community SANS!

I am going for training finally.  I have only been in my current position for a year and a half now slugging my way through, figuring everything out on my own for the most part before finally getting approved for training.  To say that I am excited really is an understatement.

I did think that my first training would be Microsoft Certification training of some sort, but it turns out it will be SANS Institute training, and I am sooooo jazzed about it.

I will be attending the SEC401: SANS Security Essentials Bootcamp Style, which looks pretty intense, but does cover a bunch of topics that I have been trying to study and work on for the past year and a half.  I am going to be a facilitator at this event, which is really exciting and is honestly the only way my small company can afford to send me.  I will help the instructor and the people at SANS for a reduced tuition price.

Still Studying. . .

Well, still studying for the 70-290 test and getting more and more frustrated.  I am now reading my second book, it is a Syngress Book and I am absolutely amazed at how much more information is in this book than is in the Microsoft Press book.

I guess reading multiple books though is the norm, based on the feedback that I see on Amazon’s site for this book and others.  Since I am fairly new to Windows Server 2003 I guess it only makes sense that I will have to read multiple books.

If anyone has any books that they recommend please let me know.

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