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#1 Welendowd  Icon User is offline

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I will be graduating soon, and would love some advice

Posted 13 August 2012 - 12:53 AM

I have taken two C++ classes. My last class I took was OOP programming. I took a break from school, and I go back next month. I was trying to find/figure out what to do next. I need to start working on my coding skills because I graduate the beginning of next year. I am majoring in information security, however, it isn't what I thought it would be when I started going to college. Information security seems to be more centered around networking and building computer systems. I enjoy my coding classes much more. Anyway, I would like to really increase my skills as a programmer over the next 6 months this way I would possibly get a job as a software engineer or designer. I also have been looking into penetration testing, I think I would enjoy doing that as well, but I haven't seen any courses that my school offers that would cover something like that. Any advice that could steer me in the right direction would be great :D

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Replies To: I will be graduating soon, and would love some advice

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: I will be graduating soon, and would love some advice

Posted 13 August 2012 - 08:47 AM

Well you need to make a decision.. either you do infosec full time and programming as a hobby, or programming as a full time job and infosec as an interest. The reason info sec people need to be heavy in the hardware and systems is that is where the majority of their world is.. what makes up a secure network.. location of hardware.. system admin... ports and networks.. If you want to be a pentester then you need to throw yourself wholeheartedly into systems and networking. It's a tough gig and requires you to be on top of your game all the time.
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#3 Welendowd  Icon User is offline

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Re: I will be graduating soon, and would love some advice

Posted 13 August 2012 - 09:09 AM

Yea, I know that now. I was just saying when I first started college I thought infosec would be something different. my only thought is if I need to change my major to better my chances at getting a programming job. I haven't fully decided just yet. I guess my question would be: "If I decide that I would rather get into software development, instead of information security, should I change my major?
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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: I will be graduating soon, and would love some advice

Posted 13 August 2012 - 09:11 AM

Maybe.. I don't know how much of programming fundamentals you have picked up. Two classes might not cover it.. but if you snag a decent language and crack the books on it.. it maybe not be a big deal in switching majors.
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#5 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: I will be graduating soon, and would love some advice

Posted 13 August 2012 - 03:34 PM

I wouldn't. You're thinking of what would be a developer.

A penetrations tester is more of a systems administrator and network maven than anything else. That means that you need to know TCP/IP, Networking, Scripting, Unix, and the usual sysadmin toolset.

What's the difference between a developer and a pen tester/admin? Developers have to conform to standards and make things efficient above all else. Most admins go for getting scripts to work and patches. They're not making enterprise grade software for the most part, just making sure that they can get things working fast. 5 minutes of a down server means your neck.

A pen tester is a unique breed. Their goal is to break something any way they can. Your job is to throw a monkey wrench in any little nick a dev forgot to patch. A dev needs to protect against everything, which can make a job hell. You don't need enterprise grade software engineering for that, you need to break something and break it fast. That's where scripting, networking knowledge, and social engineering come into play.

The Dev and Administrator have a job of making a tall castle wall with barbed wire to keep you out. Your job is to find the one or two loose stones you can kick in to sneak in, or the right bottle of wine and charm to get by the gate keepers.

I'll write a bit more on this one later.
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#6 Welendowd  Icon User is offline

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Re: I will be graduating soon, and would love some advice

Posted 14 August 2012 - 04:44 PM

View PostLemur, on 13 August 2012 - 03:34 PM, said:

I wouldn't. You're thinking of what would be a developer.

A penetrations tester is more of a systems administrator and network maven than anything else. That means that you need to know TCP/IP, Networking, Scripting, Unix, and the usual sysadmin toolset.

What's the difference between a developer and a pen tester/admin? Developers have to conform to standards and make things efficient above all else. Most admins go for getting scripts to work and patches. They're not making enterprise grade software for the most part, just making sure that they can get things working fast. 5 minutes of a down server means your neck.

A pen tester is a unique breed. Their goal is to break something any way they can. Your job is to throw a monkey wrench in any little nick a dev forgot to patch. A dev needs to protect against everything, which can make a job hell. You don't need enterprise grade software engineering for that, you need to break something and break it fast. That's where scripting, networking knowledge, and social engineering come into play.

The Dev and Administrator have a job of making a tall castle wall with barbed wire to keep you out. Your job is to find the one or two loose stones you can kick in to sneak in, or the right bottle of wine and charm to get by the gate keepers.

I'll write a bit more on this one later.



Sorry I didn't explain myself like I should have. I understand the difference in between all these jobs I am trying to decide which one I would go for. I understand the job and responsibilities of a pen tester. I have just been thinking that I would enjoy coding a enterprise grade software over doing pen testing or systems admin.
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#7 time4f5  Icon User is offline

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Re: I will be graduating soon, and would love some advice

Posted 15 August 2012 - 04:42 AM

well you are in a tough spot primarily because of the 6 months time frame. In my opinion, it takes time/experience to be good at software development. 6 months and 2 classes won't cut it. Unfortunately most classes that I've taken are decent at teaching syntax but aren't very good at Software development as a whole. I've found that being very good in a couple of languages is much more valuable than being basic in a lot of languages. From my experience, a good info sec person can code adequately. They are valuable to a company. that may be an option.

If you want to go full blast into development-try to find a place that will allow you to intern or shadow some of their developers. This typically will require it to be a smaller company or maybe someone you have networked with that will do it as a favor. It is best to get some "real life" exposure to what it would look like. For that matter it may be helpful to do the same with and IT company as well. Try to go further/deeper in C++ by working on some of the projects on this site. It won't happen in 6 months, but it may get you into the door of a company and you can continue to learn as they pay you.
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#8 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: I will be graduating soon, and would love some advice

Posted 15 August 2012 - 05:36 PM

View Posttime4f5, on 15 August 2012 - 06:42 AM, said:

...In my opinion, it takes time/experience to be good at software development. 6 months and 2 classes won't cut it...


That.

It unfortunately takes quite a long time to really be good at code. You can memorize all the syntax, know all the rules, and can quote an entire book on it, but until you get to the point where you can understand the practical uses of those constructs it'll be extremely hard to get far into the development world.

That being said, I'm not saying you shouldn't go for it. It's simply going to be a hard path to take at this point. If you believe that you'll enjoy it, do it with all you have. Don't back down from what you want to do just because it will be difficult. Anything in life worth having takes some pretty serious dedication.

Now you'll probably still be able to get in the entry level of things even with that, and as long as you can get a start you'll have some traction to build on.

Best of luck, and feel free to stick around and ask questions.
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