3 Tips For Learning Security

3 Tips For Learning Security

3 Tips For Learning Security

3 Tips For Learning Security
I get a lot of questions regarding where exactly to start when trying to get into security and frankly, that’s a very important question as today’s security job market is extremely competitive. If you want to be taken seriously you need to learn something! The first thing you should understand about security is that it is big- I mean really, really, really big. There are thousands upon thousands of specialty tracks in security that can range from watching security camera feeds, ensuring physical barriers are in place around a data center, sensitive network traffic is properly encrypted between endpoints, validating and sampling technical and operational controls for compliance, and the list goes on. The point I am trying to make is that there are countless opportunities out there for you that fit your specific skill sets. You don’t have to code to work in the field of security much like you don’t have to watch security camera feeds to be in the field of security.

One of the foremost think tanks in security is a man named Bruce Schneier and he provides excellent advice for anyone learning to get into computer security but the this can apply across multiple domains:


  • Study. Studying can take many forms. It can be classwork, either at universities or at training conferences like SANS and Offensive Security. (These are good self-starter resources.) It can be reading; there are a lot of excellent books out there — and blogs — that teach different aspects of computer security out there. Don’t limit yourself to computer science, either. You can learn a lot by studying other areas of security, and soft sciences like economics, psychology, and sociology.
  • Do. Computer security is fundamentally a practitioner’s art, and that requires practice. This means using what you’ve learned to configure security systems, design new security systems, and — yes — break existing security systems. This is why many courses have strong hands-on components; you won’t learn much without it.
  • Show. It doesn’t matter what you know or what you can do if you can’t demonstrate it to someone who might want to hire you. This doesn’t just mean sounding good in an interview. It means sounding good on mailing lists and in blog comments. You can show your expertise by making podcasts and writing your own blog. You can teach seminars at your local user group meetings. You can write papers for conferences, or books.


Bruce goes on to explain that he is a fan of security certifications and I’d have to agree wholeheartedly with him. If you’re a high speed learning then jumping straight into a certification is a great way to get infront of the crowd in this field albeit,  certifications often get a bad rap from the security community as not reflecting our day to day relaity. To a degree they are correct but regardless, security certifications demonstrate to your employer or future employer that you’re committed and you’ve have the know-how to get the job done or to learn how to get the job done.

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