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The below is written by Joshua Coppola.
Let me start this blog post by sharing a little bit about myself.
I am a student who is majoring in Computer Information Systems. The way the degree program is structured, the only difference between a computer information systems major, and a computer science major is one is more business orientated, whilst the other is more science focused.
Originally, I had intended to study computer science at a private college, but was falling behind as I had never had much experience with computers and was in classes with those who had. As such, I switched the major field to Criminal Justice, attempting to get into private security. Due to loans and other concerns, I decided the financially best situation would be to pursue my first love in computers. As such, I began self-teaching myself courses in programming and security.
As I delved into the security world, I realized that I would not be able to get anywhere without a degree in that field. With that in mind, I have returned to school and am currently using federal funds to pay down my private loans (I was young and naive and failed to realize the difference).
Currently, I have been taking CompTIA’s Security+ with Concise Courses, and Top-Hat-Sec’s SQL Injection course. Also, to further my learning, I set up a virtual lab and used it to learn about Kali and Metasploit as well to gain familiarity with Linux based environments and commands. I also made a Twitter account to follow security persons such as Kevin Mitnick and others from Top-Hat-Sec (a big shout out to R4V3N and H4V0k who have helped me).
Meanwhile, I have been employed as an End User Device Administrator in order to gain hands on experience, but still pursuing what I can to learn about security. Currently I am attempting to get into a security analyst position with a local university, but it is one that receives thousands of applications and as such, with my current credentials, I do not believe I will have a good shot at this place. I have found interest in the area of both network and malware analysis. Upon graduating from college, I would like to pursue a career with a focus in those fields. To further my development on those, I have started familiarizing myself with Wireshark and Cisco CCNA in 60 days.
The reason for this blog post is that in my current situation, I have realized that I am really the only one around who is interested in security and that makes it difficult to find like-minded people. And I would really like to surround myself with like-minded individuals and mentors in this field. I hope we can start a discussion on this post that leads to (maybe) the creation of a group. Concise Courses are open to facilitating this resource.
And, I’d welcome any constructive criticism on my approach, and any tips from those already established in the field. Simply put, what advice do you have for somebody who does not physically have like minded (InfoSec) peers in close proximity.
Here’s an update from Joshua
[Joshua posted the below in response to some of the replies: 2015 January 20th]
“….As an update to my blog, I am looking at attending Western Governors University through their Bachelor’s in Information Technology field as it is low cost and it provides in the tuition the money for certs such as A+, Network+, etc. You graduate as fast as you can study and do the coursework.
I want to thank everyone for their constructive criticism and am working on better understanding Kali, Metasploit, and Snort. I don’t really have anyone or any organization near me that would provide a networking aspect for myself. However, I am doing what I can. Thank you all….”
Please drop a comment below to help out Joshua and all the other beginners within our extended community. We all had to start somewhere and any advice that you can give will be hugely appreciated!
Thanks again to Joshua and Good Luck!