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career advice
From: Nathalie Vaiser <nvaiser () gmail com>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 16:52:56 -0500

Hello all,

I'm hoping to get some direction/advice from some seasoned IT security
professionals...

In short, I've been in IT for about 10 years (mainly as a system
administrator / helpdesk type of role - web servers).  I've always
been interested in security and have recently taken and passed the CEH
exam so that I can get some kind of foundation to build upon. I know
what I've learned so far is only the 'tip of the iceberg' and I've
been having difficulty deciding where I should focus my learning now,
in terms of preparing myself for a career in security, ideally as a
pen tester but possibly just in a defensive security role.

I find it ALL very interesting, but I've been struggling with finding
a direction and focus for myself.  My current job duties don't involve
much security work but I'm hoping to eventually grow into that role
there. For now I'm taking time outside of work to further my IT
security skills.

It seems 'web application security' is in high demand right now -
however - I'm not a developer nor programmer, and probably could never
be a good one if I tried (it just doesn't come easy to me).   I assume
if my focus would be on web application security I would need to know
more than just how to find vulnerabilities - I would need to be able
to at least consult or work with developers on fixing the problem, so
I'd be very limited and at a disadvantage without any programming
skills (am I right about this?).

I do feel I would be at a disadvantage, for example I've started
practicing using OWASP Webgoat and am struggling with parts of it,
mainly for my lack of knowledge of Ajax, SQL, etc..

If that is the case (that web application security shouldn't be my
focus since I have no programming/dev background), then I'm not sure
what to focus on, and what would make sense in terms of a viable
future career in security.  Possibly network security may be of
interest, which means I should probably consider studying for the CCNA
to get a much better foundation in networking.

I know no one can decide for me, but what I'm looking for is feedback
on what scopes I may want to consider in the security field that are
large enough that they do encompass a career/job position, with the
caveat that my programming/dev skills are currently nill, and even
though I am considering learning some kind of programming (probably
Perl or Python) I can't see myself ever being extremely proficient
with it.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

Nathalie
CEH, MCP, MCTS, Linux+

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