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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.

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!!

Personal Help Desk Tips

It’s a new year, a new day, and I’m feeling fine.  So I am going to start posting here again and use this space as a personal help desk of sorts.  Some of my help tips seem to really help people, so I am going to jump in and start posting again at least once a week.  I will post helps and fixes and general PC help tips.  At my current day job, we are on Windows 7 using Office 2013, so most of my tips will focus on that general area of helps.

I am a second level support person, so I will also share programming and network tips as I discover them.  .so stay tuned and welcome aboard!

Moving Over – DBA

The progression of my IT career has been awkward, strange, and amusing altogether. I find myself now transitioning from doing mostly desktop support and user administration along with network support to full blown DBA.  Given, I am starting small with a few fairly complex Access Databases, but the company has big plans to move those all to SQL and web applications. YIKES!

So, here I go again on my own. . .jumping into Access, VBA, SQL and .NET, it sure is a good thing I like to learn, teach myself and go through trials by fire!  I am trying to start slow. . but am already getting questions and having to fix things. . .surely this is madness and there are more “traditional” ways to advance my career?!  “Thank you sir, may I have another” seems to me by MO.

If anyone has any great learning resources or recommendations on any or all of the above, please feel free to share!

Earth Day – Use Your Computer To Help Others

It is earth day, and I am sure there will be plenty of blogs and companies out there who will focus on how to reduce our carbon footprint, save energy and the like. So I thought I would be a little different today.

I am suggesting that all you geeks out there put your computer and your large brain to work and actually help our fellow man. You can do this by actually having some fun yourself and improving your vocabulary. Yes, in addition to feeling good about yourself for helping someone else, you are also helping yourself.

Go on over to FreeRice and fill up as many bowls as you can by guessing. . .I mean choosing the correct word. If you find that you have been extra blessed this year, or just have some spare money sitting around, give sponsorship a try.

There are many people throughout the world who exist on a bowl of rice a day. Take this even further and try this for a week yourself.

List of Things to Do

Programming Language
I think that it is because I have been so unsuccessful at it so far, but for some reason, a couple of times a year, I get the bug to learn a programming language. So, here I am today, scouring the internet, looking for an easy way to learn. I think this time I will include my teenagers, as perhaps they can keep me motivated at this task which I continually put off. Couple of sites I like today are:
http://nostarch.com/frameset.php?startat=wcj_rev for books to read
http://www.mindview.net/ great reference tool

Packet Analysis
I also realize every now and again how little I know, and how much I need to learn about packet analysis. I have installed Wireshark on PCs I use, but am promply intimidated after one packet capture by the information there. I found a book (Practical Packet Analysis by Chris Sanders)today online that I would really like to buy, but I have promised myself that I will not purchase anymore books until I have finished some of the ones I already own and never have read. But in case I forget all about this book, this post.

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