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ABOUT THE AUTHOR The author, Aliyu Ahmed Ahmed is a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and an IT Business Process Outsourcing consultant. He has a B.Sc in Economics and a Diploma in Computer Science from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. His other IT certifications include MCP, MCDST and Linux certification from an Indian (Kolkata) Software Training Facility called Tathya PVT LTD. He is also an occasional columnist in the Guardian Newspaper and a contributing editor in Communicationsweek, an IT magazine. Ahmed has five years field experience in network support and has over the years worked in the following IT firms; KarRox Training Institute as MCSE Instructor, Aptech World Wide/STPL (Software Technology Park Limited), as a Networking Instructor/Security Administrator, Sphinx Interactive Solutions as a Technical Support Engineer, and Meridian Technologies as a CCNA/Security Instructor. He is currently working with Webb Fontaine as a site support engineer, a Geneva based ICT conglomerate.
“From bits to bytes to gigabytes, humanity recreated itself into an inter-planetary fragile ecosystem called the Internet: And into a fear, the fear of its unknown others. Think before you click accept, and together we shall clean the Internet.” Aliyu Ahmed Ahmed
CHOOSING AND NAVIGATING YOUR IT CAREER PATH Newton's First Law of Motion states that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object at motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon by an external force. This is true of careers as well, including yours. Where do you want your IT career to be in one year? Do you want to have earned several IT certifications in that time, therefore advancing your IT career? Or do you want to be in the exact same place you are today? The only person who can make this decision is you. Moreover, I can speak from experience that when you begin putting your career into motion - the possibilities are unlimited. However, you have to get started – today. Before going around asking experts on what IT career path to take or what IT certification to pursue, first the only person you should ask that question is yourself. Whether you want to start an IT career or jumpstart your current one, make the decision to move forward in your career - and then follow through on that decision. Because the goal of getting a job is less important than the goal of getting a job that you like. You have to have passion for whatever you are doing. If not, you will not do it very well. So try to get a job that you like, pay the whole of your attention on it and then allow nature to take its course. Also, the passion that led you to a particular field in IT is important, because employers will ask you why you decide to choose a particular field in IT as they are looking for people with natural excitement about starting a career in a particular field in IT.
Other than the obvious passion for computers and technology, salary and job growth potential are excellent reasons to consider computer careers. Diversity of computer skills adds to marketability in the workforce. A lawyer that is a Microsoft Certified Professional will benefit internationally than a lawyer without an MCP, likewise a medical doctor that is SQL or Oracle certified will have a better outlook globally than a doctor without any IT certification will. Many employers do not have time to train workers on basic skills and expect employees to be more than familiar with computers. If you have an aptitude or interest in math, science or art, and have strong problem solving and analytical skills, you are a perfect candidate for a computer related career. Computer careers can be a solitary work, but often require good communication skills. Systems administrators must know how to relay information to clients and co-workers in order to maintain order and efficiency in the system. Computer education is available in many varieties; from certifications, certificate programs, associate's degree programs, bachelor’s and even master's degree programs. Many professionals in Nigeria receive degrees in computer science and related fields, but still cannot produce in the local and international IT markets. Therefore, they are required to have specific certifications (for example MCSE-Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, CCNA or MCSA-Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator) and some hands on 3
Solaris 9 SCNA.on experience. Server+. a hardware engineer. a graphic artist. MCSA 2000. Certification provides verification of individuals’ knowledge and experience through evaluation and approval based on a set of standards for specific profession or occupations’ functional job levels. MCNE. CISSP Linux+. RHCT. a builder. after then what do you do next? Do you want to be a programmer. that is if you are bent on making a career out of your undergraduate studies. LPIC2 Linux Junior Level. among which are: A+ 2003. NetWare 5 CNE. a security advisor. Master CIW i-Accelerate.MCSE 2003. CSSP. it is better to have good hands on experience without having the certifications than having the certifications without knowing the equipments. industry. and represents a certified individual’s mastery of a particular set of knowledge and skills (US DoD) A lot of people these days are crazy about getting IT certifications attached to their foundation degrees or other basic knowledge because certification credentials will definitely enhance their knowledge. before thinking of 4 . insurance. elevating their status as knowledgeable professionals and compensating them well financially. CCNA voice. Network+. hospitals and utilities absolutely rely on them. NetWare 6 CNE. If you are a computer specialist. In fact. CCNP security. MCSA 2003. CCIE. MCSE 2000. Some others are. Solaris 9 Security TICSA and a host of others. Solaris 8 SCNA. you certify on that IT course. an architect. LCPI2 Linux Intermediate Level. CCNA security. a database administrator.SCE. Companies are more likely to employ candidates with years of experience on Cisco equipments without a certification than candidates with CCNA but lack hands. a movie or a statistical analyst? You can consider your foundation degree or any basic expertise you have acquired and see what IT skill can enhance it. Each certification is designed to stand on its own. SCM. The issue is what certification do you start with? Moreover. There are over 400 certifications out there for you. Then.SCP. a career in the IT profession can be obtained in less than a year of study with the current spring of various IT certifications. the IT industry now require those certifications as a proof of sound understanding of IT principles . system engineer. The acceptance of computers in business has created a great demand for IT professionals. More so. Almost every industry has a need for IT professional for marketing.experience to fit in. If you are say a structural engineer. The information age has created a wealth of career opportunities for computer specialists. or would like to become one. client retention and daily operations. a network engineer. CCDA. Industries such as banking. an animator. surveyor. RHCE. a planner or a photographer. Master CIW Administrator. Security+. CCNP voice. Certification is recognition given to individuals who have met predetermined qualifications set by an agency of government. CEH. or profession.
Paymaster etc. Illustration software. Businesses use computer graphics for business presentations. films and various visual merchandising needs. electronic drawings and so on . an administrator. advertising designer and computer artist. just one job with a movie firm can suddenly bring you into big money. Leading illustration packaged like Corel’s CorelDraw. Internet Design Skills. If you are going into graphic design you should know that there are three main types of graphics packages: Image editing software. especially as the internet expands the methods for visual merchandising. 3D max etc give you the tools to also work with bitmap images and do some rendering and animation. These sectors rely a lot on animations and pay good money. curves.any IT certification you have to think of obtaining a certification on AutoCAD. You should really eye technologies where people are spending some money or likely to spend money in future. If you are very good with illustration software. More and more industries require computer graphics for advertising. or into related discipline. lines. Lest I forget. this is an IT sector worth eying. Those who completely pursue an education in Graphic design will be prepared to enter the workforce in a variety of roles such as graphic designer.logos. The outlook for growth among employees in the computer graphics field is very good. Further more. Web Design Skills. Layout software lets you assemble text. people now venture more into how the computer functions. enhance. if you are an economist. It will also be a big plus for you if you know a lot of accounting packages like Tally. most often as a PDF file. training and support. Computer Animation Skills. color and effects to your designs because the era of paper and pencil design has been long forgotten. illustration software and layout software. Computer Design skills. polygons and color. Hot selling skills in graphic design are: 3D Design Skills. Image editing software lets you work with photos or other digital files at the pixel level to crop. Peachtree. images and illustrations into a single document that will likely be printed or distributed electronically. companies pay good money for their installations. Media Production Skills. and Raster Imaging Skills. statistical packages or Econometric View will do you a lot of good as your will be involved in a lot of projections and predictions using past or real-time data. on the other hand. icons. alter and otherwise modify the image. 3D Studio Max or some sort of graphic design and animation diploma/certification. This will definitely add speed. most businesses these days need to create content that will be viewed both on the Web and in print. obtaining a certification in office applications like Excel.using points. As the technology grows in this field the need for employees who are trained continues to grow. Maya. Also. Television and movie producers use computer graphics for special effects and animation. Vector Imaging Skills. an architect who is good in animation in 3D Studio Max or similar packages can fit into the advertisement industry or the movie industry. lets you create original artwork -. Advertising agencies use computer graphics for images in advertisements for print and television. Also. and running data a lot. Therefore. Leading image editors (such as Adobe Photoshop) contain drawing tools that let you incorporate illustrated elements with the photos you’re working with. like networking and system support as computers have now flooded every nook and cranny of the world 5 .
which is a re-certify form valid for individuals who had a CCNA certification starting from October 1. Frame Relay. and IT is the place to go. because people make projections as regards to the sectors where investment are moving to. the skills you have gained will serve you well in most situations. knowledge and skill earned on a traditional CCNA course. or passing a CCIE written exam. so it is necessary for additional computer training to re-certify. After CCNA training your can also re-certify by passing the Cisco Qualified Specialist exam. Cisco has introduced CCENT. WAN. The nice part about doing the Cisco Certification is that the information from there can be applied to so many other certifications. Cisco's CCNA Prep Center Pilot offers simulations and sample questions. CCNA training does not require any prerequisite and makes available many other resources to help students with the preparation of their CCNA certification exams. and CCIE voice with the security and wireless elements to the certification to encourage specialization. offers the same value. Cisco CCNA online training certification program. Therefore. CCNA SECURITY. In addition. passing the ICND exam. 2004. Presently. coupled with ICND 2 you get your CCNA. ICND 1 is equivalent to CCENT. CCNA training and additional training. in addition to expert advice. CCNA voice. you can retrain in less than a year in IT certifications to transform into a hot cake. Yeah! Am always carrying cables. you will gain knowledge of 6 . Computer training includes also valuable tips from CCNA professionals. and dialup access services for small networks with 100 nodes or less. if you are trained in other fields and you are unemployed. The CCNA course includes.and they need support. and encouragement through CCNA certification success stories. exams and recommended training include the Introduction to Cisco Networking Technologies (INTRO). CCNA CCIE and a host of others. The CCNA is a very good entry-level certification and if you study for it properly. The idea is. Serial. However. CCNA course. IGRP. excluding the Sales Specialist exams. CCVP. but not limited to using the different networking protocols such as Ethernet. For instance. IP RIP. IP. and it is a nationally recognized certification. majoring in IT requires starting with A+ and N+ then any other thing can follow. Access Lists. Even though it is a vendor specific cert. CCNA training allows you the ability for installations and operation of LAN. probably cover most of your career path expectations. you will have a very solid understanding of lower level networking which is essential to do any admin job. This is achieved by either passing the current CCNA exam at the point of the original certification's expiration. CCNA wireless. Now to the certification. passing the 642 professional levels. the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices (ICND) or both. crimpers and laptops to test routers and switches but I feel happy even though it makes me the dirtiest personnel among my colleagues. I am a trained economist but I work as a network support engineer. beside the e-learning modules and laboratories. With computer training online. they prepare themselves through certifications to exploit those sectors in future. Let us start from networking because I am a Cisco trained network engineer. Cisco's CCNA certifications are valid for 3 years. and VLANs. Popular certifications in this section include MCSE.
Cisco IOS Intrusion Prevention System (IPS).4 routing protocol. It involves extensive work on switches. preparing students to earn the CCNA certification. High availability. VPNs. plus a few more topics. firewalls. new wireless LAN fundamentals for Airspace thin-client. which is made up of Cisco original equipment. IDS. multicast routing. i. CCNP new modules will comprise of: 642-901 BSCI Building Scalable Cisco Inter-networks.e. You can move from CCNA security to CCSP or CCNA Voice to CCVP. The CCNP examination is highly regarded and consists of exams. routing authentication security. and Cisco Security Device Manager (SDM) 7 . CCVP or CCIE voice specializing in call centre set or IP telephony. Cable and DSL broadband access. and firewalls in a simulated network environment. CCSP (security. Cisco routers. ISR routers. you can now obtain CCNA voice. Cisco Easy VPN. which allow the students to understand the world of network engineering. CCNA training online focuses on the coverage of Cisco router configuration procedures. you have to then decide whether to major in design. covering switching. "Introduction to Network Engineering". updates to Cisco IOS Software 12. but having to do your CCNP before CCSP is an added advantage before moving to CCIE.switched LAN Emulation networks. Cisco IOS Firewall. learning fundamental facts of data network theory and current technologies that makes the Internet tick. The CCNA is a starting point to do the more advanced Cisco courses such as CCNP (more advanced networking). implementation routing and switching which is the CCNP or major in security. I was privileged to under study in a Cisco Academy in Zaria (Nigeria) with some medical doctors. etc. Role-Based CLI Access. The Computer training program online consists of 2 sections. or CCVP (voice). IPv6 642-812 BCMSN Building Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks. in partnership with major Universities and Colleges offering CCNA certification as well. These days as the voice technology is gaining ground. mapped to exam objectives in order to prepare you for Cisco Exam 640-801. which is heavily theoretical and analytical like CCSP.). support and remote access. The second section of the online CCNA course is "Practical Network Engineering. voice. and Cisco IOS switch security 642-825 ISCW Implementing Secure Converged Wide-Area Networks. Cisco AutoSecure. Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)/MPLS VPN fundamentals Cisco IOS Security featuring S2S VPN (IPsec and generic routing encapsulation/IPsec [GRE/IPSEC]).” This is an approach to some of the most powerful networking technologies. which I will discuss later. routing. and then you get things like VoIP. After getting your CCNA.
Don’t forget to be flexible with the Unix descendants too. Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA). At the risk of sounding arrogant. When you are preparing for your CCIE. The CCSP curriculum emphasizes Cisco Router IOS (ISR) and Catalyst Switch security features. When you are about half way through. CCSP leverages the new CCNA Security certification as a prerequisite. I believe CCIE (Cisco Certified Network Executive) is the mother of all certifications (You know you cannot go wrong with Cisco in networking). In addition. which is an 8 hours test.until you get there. wireless security standards. Even your wife may start suspecting something. is to put you in a room with a bunch of devices and give you a scenario. Start your CCNA then follow it up with the MCSE tracks one after the other and then round up with a CCNP. Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS). CCIE is very expensive and it is only given in selected locations. integrated network security solution. What they do with the hands on. apparently.642-845 ONT Optimizing Converged Cisco Networks Voice over IP (VoIP) fundamentals. just hold on. they send you out of the room and then mess up what you have done and you are now supposed to troubleshoot the problem and fix it. In addition. You are then supposed to create the network based on this scenario. and reduce costs. You pay $300 for the test and $1250 per lab for the lab test. The CCIE certification opens doors internationally for the network engineer because the skills are portable and in demand in virtually every country on the globe. a network professional demonstrates the skills required to secure and manage network infrastructures to protect productivity. You also need a certain amount of experience to take CCIE exam and the test is multiple choice and hands on. Security Enterprise and Device Management. concepts and implementation methods for quality of service (QoS). Linux and Windows coexist in most of today’s networks. your neighbors will think you have gone crazy. the certification is only valid for two years. because these days. Note combining a CCNP and an MSCE will make you a hot cake in the field of IT. There have been some great strides in developing talent and Cisco has been right there to monitor and support the hiring of talent through the SRS (Strategic Recruitment Solutions) Program and the Cisco Partner Talent Portal. secure VPN connectivity. techniques to address VoIP challenges. just do not let that bother you. as you will be talking to yourself a lot. With a CCSP certification. Network Admission Control (NAC) as well as techniques to optimize these technologies in a single. and Cisco wireless LAN (WLAN) networks Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP) validates advanced knowledge and skills required to secure Cisco networks. mitigate threats. 8 . Becoming a CCIE is easier today with many training options available for career minded networking professionals. currently there are just barely over 21000 CCIE holders in the world. The highest paid Certified IT professionals are CCIEs partially because of the demand for them and partially because of the small population. In addition. Cisco Security Agent (CSA).
Wireless (CCNA Wireless) Professional Design (CCDP). Foundation for Channel Partners. Security. Cisco has announced a new certification higher than CCIE called CCA. Security (CCSP). you are equipped with your COMPTIA A+ and N+. Cisco Certifications in order of specialty Entry Level IP Networking (CCENT) Associate Level Design (CCDA).Presently. CCIE Voice. and radio equipment installation because the Cisco curriculum will not practically take you through these installations. CCIE Storage Networking. Routing and Switching (CCNA). Voice (CCVP) Wireless (CCNP Wireless) Expert Level CCDE Design Expert. A Cisco Certified Architect gathers the business requirements and objectives necessary to produce a blueprint for an integrated. Data Center. CCIE Routing and Switching. SP Operations (CCNA SP Ops) Voice (CCNA Voice). I won’t respect a programmer that doesn’t know how to 9 . before taking any certification adventures make sure. large-scale. Security (CCNA Security). if you choose to work on Cisco equipments. In addition. Candidates must also have an active login to the Cisco Learning Network. complex. valid CCDE along with a thorough understanding of networking infrastructure principles is a prerequisite to obtaining CCA. CCIE SP Operations. CCIE Security. CCIE Wireless Specialist Level Advanced Routing and Switching. They can translate business parameters and objectives into functional requirements for a network design. The Cisco Certified Architect certification (CCA) recognizes the architectural expertise of network designers who can support the increasingly complex networks of global organizations and effectively translate business strategies into evolutionary technical strategies. Cisco Certified Architects can clearly communicate and advocate proposed Cisco network architectures. Service Provider (CCIP). please learn how to install Vsat. I want to sum up this section with an important point. CCIE Service Provider. Wireless LAN Architect Level Cisco Certified Architect Once again. Fibre Optic termination. Routing & Switching (CCNP). global network. Unified Communications & Video.
Other certifications offered by Juniper include: 10 . to initiate them into the Juniper platform. whereas Pearson Vue is Cisco's. M40 of M-series was the first product by Juniper Networks. which offers a lab-based exam. my crew and I were working simultaneously with welders. except if you look closely to figure out my original made washout Armani jeans or my Bruno Mali made shoes or probably if I am answering my black berry from time to time. to their surprise we were always carrying cables. At the site. When you are working in an open standing switch like 4500 series switch or an open Linux box you use for routing. JUNOS Juniper's network operating system runs on most of the Juniper products. your necktie could be trapped in a rolling fan. EX-series Ethernet switches and SRX-series security products. just like the CCIE R&S. Then. Did I hear somebody say ‘how about Juniper certifications? Juniper is a company that produces networking hardware just like Cisco. However. Cisco certified professionals will be working in well ironed presidential suites wearing garish looking neck ties. which requires a bit more advanced-level knowledge. They were under the mistaken impression that since Cisco is a hot cake IT certification. Though. pliers. I had the opportunity of designing and implementing a multi-floor LAN. I have met CCIE holders that are beginning to take Juniper exams so as to move into the 30% margin of the networking market. many people fought for the form. Juniper produces T-series. JNCIA-ER is the entry-level certification in Juniper. E-series. The CCNA tracks are very demanding and practical oriented. and together they formed a kind of duopoly in the networking market. In 2009. Juniper ranked 4 in Fortune Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies list in Networking Communications category in 2009.replace his RAM. and after our first module most of them ran away. which was released in 1998. M-series. and J-series families of routers. there's the newly listed JNCIE-ER certification. When the Cisco academy took off in my state (Ahmadu Bello University Zaria). tilers and some carpenters. Juniper 30% and the others sharing the remaining 10%. Next is the JNCIS-ER. Prometric is Juniper's only choice for testing centers. MX-series. Juniper is a little behind the curve in terms of the number of qualified/certified individuals out there interested in its products compared to Cisco. much like Cisco's enhanced qualifications for the CCNA certification. from there you can decide a particular course. Juniper made its debut on Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work for. The idea here is to represent a CCNP-type knowledge level. you could hardly differentiate us. When I started working with my organization. These courses are very easy to pass. with Cisco taking 60%. LAN tester and dusty patch panels around. These days Juniper is awarding free exam vouchers to Cisco Certified Professionals.
JNCIA-EX: Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate on EX-Series SwitchNetwork. Professional level certifications JNCIP-M. JNCIS-ER. and staying focused on possible weaknesses in those systems and hardening them as appropriate. This includes choosing the network hardware and network operating systems. JNCIA-E: Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate on E-Series router network. JNCIS is short for Juniper Networks Certified Internet Specialist.Associate Level Certifications JNCIA-M: Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate on M-Series router network. E stands for E-series router certification path. i. Specialist level certifications JNCIS-M. and E stands for the E-Series router certification path. J-Series routers associate). organizations weren’t bothered about the security implication of the transactions they just want to see communication happen. also known as an information security engineer. Expert level certifications JNCIE-M. Duties of an information security specialist include the analysis of an organization’s security risks and requirements.e. But now through bitter experience organizations will approve any budget on security. JNCIA-ER: Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate on enterprise routing (former JNCIA-J. This is a dollar making profession. JNCIP-E JNCIP is short for Juniper Networks Certified Internet Professional. JNCIS-E. M stands for M-Series router certification path and. M stands for M-Series router certification path. is an IT professional who designs and manages an organization’s security infrastructure. M stands for MSeries router certification path. JNCIS-ES. When the Internet started accommodating ecommerce. I want to now move into a very challenging field in IT. JNCIE-ER JNCIE is short for Juniper Networks Certified Internet Expert. rating the importance of a company’s products and 11 . JNCIA-FWV. Information Security (infosec). locking down those systems. An Information Security Specialist. ER for Enterprise Routing certification path. or security administrator. and FWV stands for Firewall/VPN certification path. ES for Enhanced Services. ER stands for Enterprise Routing certification path.
some information security specialists may also have a technically related MBA degree. An information security specialist often starts out as a network engineer and may move on to more specialized roles within the security or educational realm. such as information security architect. as well as be able to keep close tabs of newly discovered holes in their systems. Whichever path they take. bank tellers do not spend as much time learning about counterfeits as they do with knowing the real thing. or else move towards IT management. Salary information is so dependent on an IT professional’s particular skill set. experienced information security specialists can attain salaries of $70. and the related design. However. This role has overlap with that of a network engineer but is higher. and the web is critical. A strong interpersonal skill is also important. The same applies to security specialists: they must have an intimate knowledge of their systems in order to know their weaknesses and how to overcome them. this person should be proactive when it comes to applying security patches and the like but should also be prudent by being in the habit of ensuring that patches are first tried out in a test environment and by ensuring that data backup and disaster recovery plans are in place and followed as required. Optimally. Either way. implementation and maintenance of the security infrastructure to protect the business from security breaches. a lot of dedicated training and related certification in one or more leading network operating systems is highly recommended as is training and certification on network equipment and protocols. A person may consider entering this field after attaining a Computer Science or Computer Engineering University degree or a one or two years computer diploma from a local technical institute or a CCNA certification. However.services. security specific certification should be pursued.000 USD or higher in the international market.000 or $80. A very good understanding of networking. Below is a salary survey in thousands of dollars per annum by Techrepublic in 2010. both hardware and operating systems. as a security specialist must be able to convey to management the security risks. They are likely to work in a team with more and less qualified security staffs and so must be able to communicate both up and down the chain of command. in that it is a more specialized role. Candidates for this job should also be exceptional troubleshooters in order to help them discern between security breaches and innocent technical bugs. In addition. these professionals tend to be at the high end of the IT pay scale. experience and geographic location. As the old saying goes. Table 1 12 .
Source: Global Knowledge/Techrepublic 2010 13 .
Source: Global Knowledge/Techrepublic 2010 14 .
but a globally recognized standard of achievement. Career positions in this category include network security. Generally. and definitely good to know. Like many compTIA exams. C++. Another thing that sets it apart. CISSP certification is not only an objective measure of excellence. web design. compiler and assembly languages. without employing safeguards to protect their data. Investigations and Compliance Operations Security Physical (Environmental) Security 15 . it seems like the starting exam for that branch like Net+ is the starting exam many people take for MCSE or CCNA. your professional experience has to be in two or more of these 10 (ISCs) CISSP domains: Access Control Application Development Security Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning Cryptography Information Security Governance and Risk Management Legal. like most compTIA exams. . and remembering the different backup types. software programming. Regulations. Data extortion is now a common organized crime. or software for fun.Source: Global Knowledge/Techrepublic 2010 Computer security is a growing field. you move to CCNA. at least on 2000 spec. It was the first credential in the field of information security. Many businesses have created networks. then Cisco Certified Security Professional CCSP. such as hot\warm\cold sites. like covering the differences between AH and ESP when using IPSec. A certification in security starts with compTIA’s Security +. After that. It does cover some of what most people think of when they think of security. it is not the type of security exams most people think of. Sec+ seems to cover a lot of disaster recovery. The CISSP is the credential for professionals who develop policies and procedures in information security. Security violations have created new careers in network security and software development. In addition. Sec+ counts as a certification for MCSE + Security. Courses of study are mainly in Microsoft products and software development languages like Visual Basic. its wording seems a lot simpler than Cisco\Microsoft exams.net. accredited by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Standard 17024:2003. and A+ is a starting for people who also take MCSE. Many malevolent computer geeks out there attack systems. While it is security. no need to scroll the page like you do those two exams. You can also couple that with your CISSP (certified information security system professional) which is vendor independent and all the GIAC individual certifications. web development and website administration (server side). websites and become reliant on computer technology. This is meant more for administrators who want to show they have some security knowledge. For your CISSP credential. curiosity or profit.
BackTrack. Pen–test is sometimes called 'ethical-hacking'. Since more and more critical information is stored on computers. This course leads to the Offensive Security Certified Professional. Basically. . which is finding loopholes in a system (OS) using specialized tools. This course will introduce you to real-life hands-on penetration testing techniques using the award winning pentesting distribution . and fix them. The reason it is a specialization is because security is constantly evolving and the approach you take to systems is different from that of a programmer.Security Architecture and Design Telecommunications and Network Security The GIAC individual certifications are: http://www. you need people who specialize in information security.giac.that’s a very basic description. It involves a lot of creative thinking and can be very challenging. It should not be confused with vulnerability test. Penetration testing is great fun. a security consultant is someone who specializes in securing computer systems -. Some of the industry leading certifications in pentesting include: Pentesting with BackTrack: PWB "Pentesting with BackTrack" (previously known as Offensive Security 101) is a flagship course designed to take you from basic information gathering to writing your own buffer overflows. Penetration testing is an activity where you pay security specialists to attempt to break into your systems so that you can discover what vulnerabilities exist. or a network designer. 16 .org/ GIAC Certified Firewall Analyst (GCFW) GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA) GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA) GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) GIAC Security Expert (GSE) GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC) GIAC Security Leadership Certificate (GSLC) GIAC Systems and Network Auditor (GSNA) GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF) A recent aspect of security consultation that is making headlines is penetration testing (pen test) and cyber forensic.
The student must submit their completed exploits and the steps they took to obtain the proof.txt file.txt files on the servers they are challenged with. as well as a depth of knowledge in penetration testing. The OSCP challenges the students to prove they have a clear understanding of the concepts of the Pentesting With BackTrack material. or Offensive Security Wireless Professional. In the testing centre. OSWP The OSWP. If both of these are submitted the students receives points for that particular box. The student is given only 4 hours to crack a limited number of WEP and WPA networks. where a straight 24-hour period is given to the student to attempt this certification. is one of the world's leading wireless attack certifications. or Offensive Security Certified Expert. Each machine is awarded points if a successful hack is performed. takes security certification to a high level. The OSCE labs are set up with a limited amount of machines and very specific "hacks" must be performed in order to pass this amazingly challenging 48-hour exam. After the student studies the internal workings of wireless signals and how to successfully crack the most popular and common encryption protocols in the market they are challenged with the OSWP certification. If a passing score is achieved the student is awarded a coveted OSCP certification. is one of the world's first completely hands on information security certifications. or Offensive Security Certified Professional. A lab that the student never has seen before is set up with only a limited amount of machines. After the student completes the very challenging Cracking the Perimeter class the core of their understanding and knowledge is challenged to the limits in the special OSCE certification labs.OSCP The OSCP. hardcore drilldown into advanced Vulnerability Exploitation Techniques on the Windows platform . The OSCP is a twenty four hour exam. Advanced Windows Exploitation: AWE Advanced Windows Exploitation Techniques (AWE) is an in depth. It is a very difficult and challenging exam that will truly test the limits of the student. The student must demonstrate their depth of understanding by submitting both the steps they took to penetrate the box as well as the proof. a specially designed lab has been built to give a student access to a BackTrack machine that is within range of a challenging access points.from 17 . OSCE The OSCE. If they achieve the points they need they can stop and pass or continue on to try and penetrate the whole network. The Student must submit the correct encryption codes as well as the attack vectors they used to obtain them in order to be awarded the OSWP certification.
NX Bypassing Techniques. Say for example. if you want to get into security. It is a highly specialized field. Venetian Shellcode. your website was hacked. Function Pointer Overwrites. You work with law enforcement. Intrusion analysis involves figuring out how an attack was orchestrated. keeping the integrity of the evidence. writing Immunity plugins. but on computers. The course covers topics such as Egghunters. 18 . It is a field that is really coming up these days. you should first make sure your networking skills are in order. An intrusion analyst will try to recreate what happened from the available logs. courts etc. Encoding and custom shellcode creation. An incident handler is a person who is trained to respond correctly to that incident. and have to be able to find things in computer systems where there is seemingly nothing to find. WinDgb. Incident handling is slightly similar to intrusion analysis. and restoring the systems to a normal state as soon as possible. Some leading certifications in forensic include: Certified Computer Forensics Examiner (CCFE) Certification Certified Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) Certification Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) Certification Other popular certifications in security are: Computer Security Incident Handler (CSIH) Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification and Accreditation Professional (CAP) Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSP-ISSAP) Information Systems Security Engineering Professional (CISSP-ISSEP) Information Systems Security Management Professional (CISSP-ISSMP) System Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA) Microsoft Certified System Administrator: Security (MCSA Security) Security Certified Network Professional (SCNP) Security Certified Network Architect (SCNA) Being a security consultant is fun if you are passionate about technology and security. Cyber-forensics is like normal police forensics. Remember. Heap Spraying. It can also be quite painful as people view you as someone who restricts access and just causes inconvenience.Offensive Security.
Therefore. Microsoft certification is increasing day by day. which is on high demand. These days. Practical experience is the best teacher. since you do not want to end up going to jail while trying to make a career. (This also can count towards the MCSE so if you do this. However. Microsoft has thrown away the ‘engineer’ thing in MCSE and now decided we should be called IT professionals instead of system engineers (though MCSE is still supported). Popular flavors are sun Solaris and Irix. and the Tracks are stated below: MCITP Enterprise upgrade 070-647 Windows 2008 Network Infrastructure design 070-649 Updating network infrastructure and Active Directory 070-620 Mobile computing Application Windows vista 19 . you would be on your way to completing the MCSE). something that lets you talk right to the operating system like C. The codes for MCITP are stated below. The MCSA (Microsoft certified system administrator) is more for Administration. It is the most widely recognized technical certification in the industry. writing five exams. with an MCSE we can upgrade to MCITP or start MCITP tracks afresh. Microsoft is now emphasizing on MCITPMicrosoft Certified Information Technology Professional.000. it is far better if you setup your own lab. types of attacks.Then you need to learn a programming language. and most organization build their networks on UNIX and then spread them to Window boxes. most people in my region opt for enterprise administrator. And finally one has to be flexible on a Unix operating system and its descendants. This would be if you were managing a Windows environment that had already been setup.000 to $70. MCITP 070-620 windows vista 070-640 Fundamental of Window Server 2008 Active Directory 070-642 configuring and troubleshooting window 2008 network infrastructure 070-643 fundamentals of windows 2008 network infrastructure 070-647 Designing windows 2008 network infrastructure From MCSE one can upgrade MCITP as server administrator or enterprise administrator. common vulnerabilities etc. It will give the skills on that aspect. Most people learn on other people’s networks (if you know what I mean). Another important certification today is the MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer). After that you have to learn all the different aspects of security. The survey of MCP magazine states that the average base salary of MCP ranges from $60. The MCSE boot camp institutes make them earn their Microsoft certification and make them lead the organization in successful manner. The MCP personnel administer the most advanced Microsoft windows platform and Microsoft server products. The MCSE consist of seven tracks including two electives.
I mean programs. there are nine out of ten chances that he would starve. In fact.S trying to resolve issues and my suggestion often work for them. Also. MCSE or MCITP is a good certification for you and you can take it to anywhere in the world. That is why a lawyer in the U. Or if a CCNA guy can install and give training on accounting packages like IQ restaurant. I want to bring this point to the attention of some of us living in the poorer countries( developing world). and I mean software. and people spend money on these technologies on daily bases. you can easily Google the MCP codes to get more information. In the advance world you can afford to specialize. 20 . This dynamism will also help you economically because when you are on site clients present you with all sorts of problems.MCITP server administrator upgrade 070-646 Planning and Administering Windows 2008 070-649 Updating network infrastructure and Active Directory MCM (Microsoft Certified Master) The Master series certification enables senior-level IT professionals to demonstrate and validate their technical expertise on Microsoft server products and is a prerequisite for the Architect Series MCM: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 MCM: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 MCM: Windows Server 2008: Directory MCM: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 MCM: Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Note. That means being in Africa you can be a better system engineer that someone in the U. knows how to terminate fibre optic cables. because the Internet has created a favorable environment for us compete. Or an Oracle database guy that can install CCTV and IP cameras. and they have conquered poverty. her work is the first intended algorithm to be processed by a machine.S. Everything you see is some sort of codes. with centuries of organized production efficiency. Peachtree etc. If a lawyer says that in Nigeria. to the ultimate IT skill. programming. radio equipments. Now. The first programmer in the world is a lady called Ada Byron.S can afford to tell a client that ‘sorry I am only a personal injury lawyer or an antitrust lawyer’. It is a very old IT skill. but it is not bad if an MCSE can install a VSAT. She foresaw the ability of computers to go beyond mere calculation or number crunching. or work on AutoCAD applications. But the operating systems and the Internet is the same wherever you go. like doing access-list alone because these people are centuries ahead of us. it makes everything happen. They are very easy to learn. I receive lots of email from system engineers in the U. If the internet is a car.
students of computer science begin with BASIC and FORTRAN. with line numbers. how you go about your programming career is the big issue you will have to deal with. Perl. It was created by a linguist called Larry Wall who got the name Perl from the Gospel of Mathew in the new testament in The Parable of Pearl. In a non object oriented program like FORTRAN which is still in use today. In the UK. and Java. modular programming like Perl. The lower level language as I said is a machine readable language. Perl (Practical Extraction and Report Language) is a general purpose programming Language derived from C basically for text manipulation. it does not encourage structured. like C. the programs are executed in a highly procedural manner( step by step) i. I will never forget how happy I was when I compiled and ran my first COBOL program in Zaria in 1996. Scripting languages enable fast development. and C. What is an Object Oriented Program? Programs are usually made up of objects. Perl etc. but also very rewarding. It is like this. The business world is object oriented. It is the highest paying and time consuming IT skill. The business world has plenty to lose if software fails. GOTO commands. Even within scripting languages we have 21 . students are introduced to Pascal in their first year. millions of dollars are lost and sometimes people are killed. etc. which means that they're closer to human language than machine language. In Nigerian institutes of higher learning. in these languages. If you are doing mainly web stuff. In an Object Oriented Program the objects can interact irrespective of hierarchy. while the middle level language can only call functions and it shares both attributes of the higher and the lower level language. Therefore. PHP. C#. C/C++. you can program with either object oriented or non-object oriented program. Nowadays there are so many different choices in programming and some are more suited to certain applications than others are. Python.e from A to B to C to D and so on. then you run it into a program that outputs 0s and 1s that the CPU understands. functions makes up commands.then software is its engine. one can get from A to D without passing through B and D. It is important to note that you can program in high level. All these languages teach you the basics of programming that helps you understand how to think while programming in any language. Compilers translate High Level Language to machine readable language. C++. middle level or lower level language. The major goal of any programming language is to bridge the gap between the programmer's brain and the computer. Perl. When software fails. if you have a degree in software engineering. However. php and python mentioned above are scripting languages and they can do the work of each other. I started programming in Dbase and now I am into C/C++ to enhance my security skills. though there is usually a performance penalty. Also. are considered high-level languages. What I mean is that you write source codes that looks like English. The High Level Language is a machineindependent. sophisticated programming language that uses familiar English (or any human language) like syntax. Programming can be very difficult. Most of the popular languages you've probably heard of. and commands makes up programs and programs finally makes up software. ASP. Scripting languages are called interpreted languages because they don’t need to be converted to 1s and 0s. are some good tools for you. HTML. you should be conversant with some programming skills like Java. Now.
e It can be written in Windows and run Unix.com The various flavors of Java technology are: J2SE. WEB developer 070 536 + 070 528 + 070 547 = Microsoft Certified Professional Developer Windows Developer 070 532 + 070 526 + 070 548 = Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (Win Apps) Enterprise Application Developer 070 529 + 070 536 + 070 526 + 070 528 + 070 549 = MCPD Java was introduced in 1995.Mobil/Wireless Java Card Java Web Service Also.com http://www.sun .NET is Microsoft's response to the Java phenomenon. Microsoft has jumped headlong into the mobile code fray with their . you can Google the codes.NET framework.NET architecture has much in common with Java.Enterprise/Server J2ME.java. server-side applications etc. I am afraid to say this –Java is very difficult to learn.Corel Desktop J2EE.Here are programming tracks using Microsoft platforms. as . that is that applet is going to be restricted to the resources within a certain limitation of that environment. because when you have a java applet executed in an environment there is going to be what we call a sandbox environment created. mobile applications. Just about any business application can be written in Java which includes: database applications. However. One major difference is a smaller emphasis on multiplatform support. unlike some other programming languages that will allow control over a whole device once it is being executed in a particular environment. Java language is written tightly to avoid malicious intent. but. Java is an extremely powerful full -featured object oriented language which is platform independent i. C and C++ have out-of-date memory management 24 . Java is free and can be downloaded from: http://java. and . web based applications. Java introduced the world to mobile code and modern network-centric software design. Java is also another good object oriented programming that is platform independent. games applications.
capability and technically speaking.0 Technology Enterprise Application Development with Java EE6 Sun Certified JavaServer Faces Developer Sun Certified Servlet and JavaServer Pages (JSP) Developer Sun Certified Java Persistence API (JPA) Developer Sun Certified Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) Developer Sun Certified Web Services Developer Enterprise Application Development with Java EE 5 Sun Certified Business Component Developer Sun Certified Developer for Java Web Services Sun Certified Web Component Developer Enterprise Architecture Enterprise Architecture .Sun Certified Java Programmer Java Application Development . including Java and C#. cast. These days people use ChucK ( watch the spelling) programming language to create music instead of assembly language. and Microsoft Windows. It can be used to write viruses or device 25 . strongly timed audio programming language for real-time synthesis. Linux. When computers became prominent part of our lives. More advanced languages. and moved around by the programmer with impunity.Sun Certified Java Developer Java Mobile Applications Development .Sun Certified Enterprise Architect Another important aspect of programming is called music programming. Recommended learning paths for Java Certifications Java Programming Fundamentals and Application Development Learning Java with Minimal Experience . people try to make music with computers using assembly languages. composition. manipulated. C and C++ are "unsafe" languages because the seething sea of bits can be referenced. Assembly language is a low-level programming language used mostly in the early 1950s. It is designed to favor readability and flexibility for the programmer over other considerations such as raw performance. are "type safe" and are for this reason much preferred from a security perspective. which runs on Mac OS X.Sun Certified Mobile Application Developer JavaFX Development Web 2.Sun Certified Java Associate Java Programming for Professionals . later on programmers started using FORTRAN which is much more portable to create music. and performance. ChucK is a concurrent.
IT is a “skills-crazy industry” that is why top IT firms in the world are devaluing grades in order to focus more on personality. Sega and Super Nintendo? Assembly language was used to create their games. the idea here is that we don t want people to be too crazy about getting certifications at the expense of getting experience. functionality and robustness. in job interviews. Do you remember Atari games.drivers. Without knowing a little in the programming world. Knowledge + know how = skill. People who worked part-time jobs in school.000 for a custom built software for a financial institution excluding training and cost of maintenance which is usually charged per person-hour. and skill repeated repeatedly will result to expertise and now we are talking of experience. but before then. Almost every industry has a need for databases and. you can make as high as $500. so it depends upon the requirement and its usability. developing countries are now fast collecting database to centralize data in the country for important decision-making. Remember. This shows that they have taken proactive steps to gain practical job 26 . You can stick to one or two for dynamism and you are in business. These days. extra points will be given to candidates who made the effort to pursue on-the-job work experience in IT before completing their education or seeking entry-level positions. time and the right environment. mainly developed by Oracle for large-scale databases. Microsoft SQL for web based applications and Microsoft Access for smaller scale and custom applications. Creation of these databases relies on software. There is no substitute for experience. make sure you have studied one or two books on programming. Jobs in the database category include data architects. In addition. Every programming language got its own importance and benefits. We cannot just pick which is good or best programming language. You could also attach your self with a programmer. you will be a pest to the programmer because you will keep asking him irritating questions in every single world he/she says. Administering database is another cash line these days. that is patient and able to follow through on problems. just like practicing math or martial arts where you discover something new that you are supposed to master and then you go around practicing for quite sometime until you are good at it. Experience is something you cannot buy you can study brain dumps to get some certifications in a couple of weeks but the same is not applicable to experience. and talent. volunteered their IT expertise to nonprofit enterprises or worked on shortterm assignments. participated in internships. What you need is interest. Certifications in this category include Oracle Certified Associate (OCA). and that could be disgusting. Usually. database administrators and information systems managers. experience. to be a good programmer all you need is a very curious mind. advancing to Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) to the ultimate Oracle Certified Master (OCM) It is one thing getting the certifications and another thing getting the experience.
with say CCNA. I noticed a common denominator between these friends. A university degree is important because no matter what kind of job you are pursuing. some qualities will always be in demand. Therefore. within the first few days of handling a batch. certify. I will advise IT students to take it easy because the IT jobs will still be there by the time they are through with their studies. then may be with any university degree. I could actually identify the IT guys. then was hired in a helpdesk type of position. give yourself ample practical experience where possible. increase employee efficiency with any technology you are recommending because business owners need to keep the company profitable. You need to take your skills and translate it into money. and you have to translate your creativity into innovation to move into the cash line. one existing reality stands out from the rest in IT. you can buy well used Cisco switches and routers from EBay. I am afraid to say this fact that it is not everyone that is compatible IT skills. Making big money in IT depends on you. promoted into network admin. under-study someone first. in IT you have to think in a different way. The ability to project confidence (not arrogance). Like I said. Certifications can get your foot in the door these days. and the world before you. I am sure there will be many small organizations that need some kind of IT person to help in some capacity or volunteer as an IT student in a cyber café where you will help them with a lot of cleaning and running some errands just to get the experience. as well as a proven ability to collaborate with others in a team. You are going to find that experience and college education will get you the furthest in your career. save money. The certifications displays you have a base knowledge. get some experience. they first guy told me that he is moving from programming to networking because he is not making money in programming. you need to tell business owners how they can minimize risk. and the second guy said he is moving from networking to programming because he is not making money. It is more important than ever to exhibit strong communication and leadership skills. Don’t forget to start building your home lab gradually. you have to be creative . Also. they will expect you to know how to configure and administer some basic Cisco networks.com statistics state that on the average it takes 58 days to fill in a vacant skilled IT job space.knowledge and enhance their marketability. Do not rush to be certified and then start tampering with some company’s equipments like routers and switches. and know when to utilize the right resources to solve a given problem are two very important qualities that don't seem to be taught in IT schools. so that you do not get into trouble with expensive IT equipments. That feeling your conscience will tell you. some people can only operate at the periphery while others can graduate to being IT gurus. and that it’s most challenging to find IT professionals with 27 . you know what? They were all not well positioned in their respective fields and as such. In addition. Just like in most professions in life. An internet. a friend of mine got his A+. and then try anything you like. Conclusively. Volunteer for an organization that needs someone with computer skills but cannot afford to pay them like some NGOs. generally. As an IT trainer. Customer interaction is a very crucial skill an IT tech can have. got a few more certifications and a university degree. I have two friends in IT. they failed to perceive the opportunities around them. and now has the experience and paper that can get him a network admin job anywhere.
networking skills. Use that resource for everything its worth. The problem is. IT is a small world. Before you put down your hard-earned money. some do not give you value for your money. What are your job prospects and legitimate salary levels after you graduate from their school? What textbooks does the school use? Some technical school chains use only books that someone in their organization wrote. If the answer to that question is "none". The key sectors absorbing these specialists are: Education Healthcare Financial services Also. sometimes it is hard to know the right questions to ask. No field changes faster than IT does. and bad ones. Ask that person what they think about the books. you have made a significant investment in time and money. Ask what changes have been made to their curriculum in the last three years. you probably know someone who is already in it. be careful when selecting IT training institute. look somewhere else. if 28 . When you sign up with one of these schools. like: How up-to-date are the courses they are offering? Make sure the school you are going to attend has made efforts to keep their courses relevant. what the local reputation of the school is. or for that matter. such as cloud computing. you deserve to know everything about the school and your job prospects after leaving school. there are good technical training schools. As with any field. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). If you are looking into entering the IT field. and Software as a Service (SaaS). Some of the hot-selling jobs in IT today are: Network administration IT security (Information System Security Managers) Application Development and web development System engineering Database development Helpdesk and desktop support.
One of the most beneficial things for me has been talking with friends and co-workers about the things you are learning.html 29 . before lodging in a hotel I usually request to see the rooms before paying.easyebookz.com Buy other eBooks by same author http://www. and second. Therefore before enrolling with any IT institute make sure you take a facility tour of their labs.html Google’s Most Magical tools Online http://www. a friend who has the same interests as you that you can study with and bounce ideas off.easyebookz. We are interested in how you feel about this eBook.lulu.org/page3.org/page5. What is the state of their labs? Most often when I travel for conferences. most of the IT personnel in your city or town probably know about it. If you can find these two types of people. it will help you.org/page6. a mentor who can validate your thoughts and teach you things you cannot get from a textbook. first.html Securing Your Online Transactions http://easyebookz.easyebookz. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org 40 Questions Business Managers Should Ask Their IT Managers http://www.the school has a good or bad reputation.org/page7.com/spotlight/onlysose Internet Activities in Nigeria: ethics and best practice http://www.
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