I'm a graduating university student taking up BS Computer Science with a specialization in Network Engineering, so I'm currently immersed in CCNA and am about to take the cert exam this month. I've decided to focus my career in Cyber Security. I've seen that Pro certifications, such as CISSP, is considered a solid proof of one's experience and working knowledge in this field.

However, there are SO MANY of them. And I have absolutely NO IDEA where to start considering how a training course alone costs gold; including a single attempt for a cert exam. SANS charge 5-6 THOUSAND dollars for a single class! :(

Now, I'm undecided whether I should still pursue the CCNA R&S > CCNA Security > CCNP Security since it seems too restrictive given that it's too vendor specific.

Currently considering: CCNA R&S > CCNA/P Sec > Security+ > CEH > GSEC > CISSP Associate > CISSP

I want to one day be CISSP certified.

  1. What do you recommend as the most affordable and relevant roadmap I should undertake for the next 5-6 years upon graduating?
  2. How did you start your career? At what age did you start?
  3. And how can I find an entry-level InfoSec job, if most infosec jobs requires at least 2 years work experience?

*Disclaimer: I know that certs aren't a solid proof of one's expertise and is only paper, but just to place this post into context, I'd rather take cert exams to deliberately build a solid knowledge base, be recognized, and make the path fun by gamifying things with rewards(cert papers).

  • Most affordable way - get employed in a graduate scheme with a company which pays for certifications. However, it's going to be pretty much opinion based - there are pros and cons to all certifications, depending on what areas you're interested in. Some people will swear that the OSCP is fantastic, while others will loathe it. – Matthew Dec 5 '16 at 14:27
  • The question in it's current form is highly subjective. I was in your place a year ago and decided to pursue a master's degree in security. Mind you, I have a work experience of a few years which helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a master's degree. The amount of learning on your job will be dependent on your job description so don't simply take up any security job. Pick a job that you think will teach you well and then once you have a clearer idea on what you want to do, make your decision. – Limit Dec 5 '16 at 14:58
  • You have not stated what field of cybersecurity you want to get into. If you have not defined that, no answer will help you. CISSP is a broad cert (mile wide and an inch deep), and pursuing it will not help you if you do not already have other experience and specialisation under your belt. – schroeder Dec 5 '16 at 15:00

Assuming you are in the U.S. here. I agree with Julian Knight. Get a job right away. Don't pay thousands of dollars for your SANS training. As good as they are, they are priced for employers to pay for them.

Your degree plus your cert should at least get you an interview for an entry-level government cyber-security job. Look at state government. Attacks and therefore attention and federal dollars have been flowing to states for cyber security. Most of those dollars go into the pockets of vendors and contractors but there will still be jobs available with states and larger counties.

Once you have that position you will be a hot commodity. At that point, consider getting a cert but don't worry about CISSP for a while yet.

Source: Work for state government. I've conducted many IT and security interviews. Haven't got any certs yet.

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  • I'd add to go for the cheapest and easiest one first. Easy meaning both the exam and the process to take it - CISSP has validation requirements. Security+ is cheap and easy. You can literally register and take the Security+ the same day (if testing site is available). – MikeP Dec 5 '16 at 18:23

This question is really highly subjective and I suspect will be voted closed quite quickly.

However, given your current experience and qualifications, my recommendation would be to get a job first then pursue some relevant experience. Anyone can buy a qualification but experience cannot be bought.

You can gain certification as your career path becomes clearer.

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