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Breaking into infosec from hardware and software support

I have seven years in IT, mainly working in hardware and software support. I want to break into the security field....

What certs and training would help me to get on the road to infosec and possibly a new career path?

Many higher-level infosec certifications come with "years of experience" requirements that call for anywhere from three to nine years of relevant on-the-job experience with security matters and activities (and require a letter from an employer or current certification holder to attest to such claims). Thus, you will want to investigate any of a number of entry-level security certifications to help you get started (and to start acquiring the experience necessary to qualify you for more senior credentials).

To that end, I'd recommend any or all of the following credentials (which you could even tackle in this order, to meet the TICSA requirement for training and/or two years of experience):

  • Brainbench offers two good entry-level exams: Internet Security and Network Security

  • Prosoft Training offers a reasonably straightforward CIW Security Professional exam that makes a nice step up from the preceding two elements. With an MCSE or CNE in hand, that and this exam lets you call yourself a CIW Security Analyst, as well.

  • Pick one of the SANS GSEC or the TruSecure ICSA (TICSA) certifications as your next stepping stone (and a good place to become fully employed as a security professional). See http://www.ciwcertified.com/exams/1d0470.asp?comm=home≪m=4 or GIAC Security Essentials Certification.

    Note also that the TICSA and GIAC/GSEC each have their own certification ladders that you can climb, en route to even more senior security credentials such as the CISSP or CPP.

    Good luck in your pursuit of infosec certification. It's a great topic to go after these days!

    For more information on this topic, visit these other searchSecurity resources:
    Executive Security Briefing: Revisiting the security certification landscape
    Chat Transcript: Security certifications -- What they are, and why you need them
    Best Web Links: Infosec Training, Careers and Events

  • This was last published in March 2002

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