Internet/Network Security/CAREER SOFTWARE SECURITY


Paul Hi,  Im looking to make a career change.  Can you tell me how I can get a start in software security.  I dont want to go through 4 years of college.  I am older and cannot go this route.  Do you have any ideas, and is this something I could do out of my home.  I would appreciate your help and input. Thank you Ken

Hi Ken,

If you are looking to make a career change into software security there are a few routes without a college degree.

Lets assume you have a few years of working as a network administrator, or a server administrator, or at least some 3rd level technical support of hardware and software.(3rd line support basically fixes or tries to fix what 1st and 2nd line cannot).

Then in most cases you can take a test called the "CompTIA Security+". This test meets the U.S. Department of Defense requirements for the information assurance (IA) technical and management certifications.

So with that certification (there are plenty of testing centers all over the world) you could get a job in the DoD or at a private company.

Assuming you want to do this from home, yes, you can, if you form a company and offering your services though a website. Eventually in a few years if your successful....take on office and so on.

Experience does help when studying and taking the CompTIA Security+ exam, but its not a requirement. If you have no experience I strongly recommend you take the "CompTIA Network+" exam first (its usually $300). Due to the nature of the job I would also take the CISCO tests as there is a lot of routing to learn as well.

NOTE 1: Do not waste money on buying expensive books that claim to fast track you into getting certified. They usually look pretty, have the word bootcamp on them and cost several hundred dollars. Simply go to your library (especially the one at a local community college) and ask them for the relevant book that you want to study. In most large cities or towns they will have it in stock already. That can save you a lot of money (easily $500 or more). If you need a list of recommended books let me know.

NOTE 2: The CISCO and CISSP exams are usually offered at community college (around $84 per credit hour). The CISCO exams and testing out can be completed in 3 months. If I remember correctly its about 9 credit hours, so 9 X $84 is $756 and add on about $150 for books and such, you can get the CISCO certification for about $1000 in total.

Private companies usually charge about $4,000 or more for the same thing you can get at a local community college. So right away if you take my suggestion you already saved at least $3,000.

Right now I cannot think of other options since I dont know how much experience you have in the relevant fields of study. If your comfortable giving me your resume I may have more suggestions. (If you wish you can strip out your full name, your address, your phone number etc, but rest of the info I will need like work history, your skills and so on)

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Paul Walsh


I can answer almost any question in relation to network security, penetration testing, Active Directory, computer hardening, CISCO Routing, spyware and virus removal.


I have over 12 years experience in network security, penetration testing and technical support as well as system and server administration.


CCNA AAS Network and System Administration A+

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Multiple startup clients in various business sectors. SME as well as Fortune 100 companies.

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