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Experts!: security-related career questions (long)
From: "J. Yoon" <supercool9000 () hotmail com>
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 engineer?

2) Growth Potential: how long did it take you to move up the corporate ladder
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 certifications
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 156-210.4,
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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