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NIT (Ninja in Training) looking for guidance.
From: gbugbear at gmail.com (Tim Mugherini)
Date: Thu, 14 May 2009 11:01:59 -0400


There is a lot of great advice here but wanted to add my 2 cents. I also
changed careers to IT when I hit my late 20's after spending 7 years at
UMASS getting my BS in Sports Medicine while working full time to support my
family. Not once have a regretted my "formal" college education. Nor has it
ever hindered me in obtaining a job in IT or IT security. If anything I
landed my current and previous jobs supporting IT Infrastructure and
Security within my industry in part because of my Life Sciences degree.

With that said, my advice is to make sure you love what you learn and do! My
first love was physiology - which is how I spent seven years only getting
4-5 hours of sleep a night. My second love was computers and security. Which
is how I only run on 4-5 hours of sleep every night now.

So take all the aforementioned advice from others and learn everything you
can. Find something you are passionate about and consider specializing in
that area of security. If you find your not passionate about what your
learning in school then change majors to something you are passionate about,
change schools, or take what you learn there everyday and apply it to
security (this could be a lot of fun). This goes for any remedial entry
level IT job you may have the opportunity to accept. While not necessary, A
college degree will only help you later on no matter what the major is in.
If anything, a formal college education will teach you focus, more efficient
ways to learn and retain information, and time management skills (especially
when you child is eagerly waiting for your arrival home).

On the flip side, some of the most brilliant people in the industry have had
no college at all. Ill let you decide.

There is a diverse group responding to your email here but I guarantee that
everyone who has responded here has one thing in common - they love and are
passionate what they do!

More of a pep talk than resources or a direction but I hope it helps.

Best of luck!


On Wed, May 13, 2009 at 5:31 PM, Robin Wood <dninja at gmail.com> wrote:

2009/5/13 Mike Patterson <mike.patterson at unb.ca>:
Jack Daniel wrote on 5/13/09 12:55 PM:
Effective communication skills will occasionally be more valuable to
you than any technical skill you may have.

Disagree.  Effective communication skills will always be at least as
valuable as your technical skill, and will frequently be the more
valuable of the two.  I don't even draw a distinction.

You may be the smartest person in the world, but if you can't prove it
to me in a way I and others I work for and with can understand, I still
won't hire you.  Yeah, you broke into my DC - great, how did you do it?
 Jibberyjabberybleebloo, I see, thank you - do you have a dictionary?

We (security pros) have enough of a bad rep that nobody wants somebody
on their team that'll just make them look worse.

In other words, practise your writing.  Try to explain the latest
vulnerability in your own words.  Get your wife and kids and dog and cat
and next door neighbour and boss and co-workers and everybody else to
read it, and see if it makes sense.  Try writing some documentation on
how to lock down that AP.  *Give references.*  Hell, try different
writing tools - not everybody needs to be a Word drone!  I write my
documentation in LaTeX.

I think it depends on where you are wanting to work, if you want to be
a techie sitting in a backroom working on tools and doing research
then you need to communicate with your team mates but maybe not with
the outside world. If you want to be client facing then you will need
to be able to communicate well.

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