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Training and Certification


Whether you want to improve your skills, boost your resume or prepare for a new job opportunity, training and certification programs and resources can help you achieve your goals. With the right program and resource, you will be more productive and this will help you climb the career ladder.

Here is a forum to ask questions about a particular program, to exchange insight on which is the right training, to share which certifications are the best to attain, to seek out what to do first, and to offer recommendations to others.

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Jacob_Smith  
#1 Posted : Thursday, March 12, 2020 11:10:42 PM(UTC)
Jacob_Smith

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In my pursuit of obtaining federal employment, I have been offered a number of different opportunities to pursue some IT certifications. I will list these below:

1. IT bootcamp
This training is a few weeks long and includes certification for Network+, Security+, CEH and one other Comptia cert that I choose.

2. Only ONE of the below certifications: (includes a training program, exam fees, etc.)
PMP, Six Sigma (Green Belt), SSCP, CISSP, any GIAC course, Dell Boomi Professional Administrator, Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI - ACP), SPHR, Network Security Professional NSE 5, ITIL, Oracle 11G/12c Database, CCNA, Java SE 7/8

3. Any IT-related training up to $4000 at my local CC.

Side note:
I'm in college now, and can audit a few CS courses each semester if there are other courses here that you recommend or feel are essential.

Ideas:
Here is my current plan that I was thinking about. I could first do the boot camp and automatically have Network+, Security+, CEH. I would think the next logical progression here would be CASP. That would take care of #1. Next, I would use opportunity #2. Here, I would pursue an appropriate GIAC cert exam, but I’m not sure which one like to pursue (certified Pen Test maybe?). Finally, for #3, I guess I would just call the CC and explain what progress I’ve made at that point and ascertain the next appropriate cert for that final training opportunity.
What do you think about this particular plan?

I have no previous experience in IT, but I’m a vet and I plan on working in the government at any agency that I can get hired at. Thank you!

If possible, could you please list your position in the industry? I'd just like to get an idea of what type of advice is coming from which angles of industry professional experience, etc. ie are you a Cybersecurity expert in the private/govt sector, are you a student, etc.
FrankJr  
#2 Posted : Saturday, March 14, 2020 7:57:36 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Jacob_Smith Go to Quoted Post
In my pursuit of obtaining federal employment, I have been offered a number of different opportunities to pursue some IT certifications. I will list these below:

1. IT bootcamp
This training is a few weeks long and includes certification for Network+, Security+, CEH and one other Comptia cert that I choose.

2. Only ONE of the below certifications: (includes a training program, exam fees, etc.)
PMP, Six Sigma (Green Belt), SSCP, CISSP, any GIAC course, Dell Boomi Professional Administrator, Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI - ACP), SPHR, Network Security Professional NSE 5, ITIL, Oracle 11G/12c Database, CCNA, Java SE 7/8

3. Any IT-related training up to $4000 at my local CC.

Side note:
I'm in college now, and can audit a few CS courses each semester if there are other courses here that you recommend or feel are essential.

Ideas:
Here is my current plan that I was thinking about. I could first do the boot camp and automatically have Network+, Security+, CEH. I would think the next logical progression here would be CASP. That would take care of #1. Next, I would use opportunity #2. Here, I would pursue an appropriate GIAC cert exam, but I’m not sure which one like to pursue (certified Pen Test maybe?). Finally, for #3, I guess I would just call the CC and explain what progress I’ve made at that point and ascertain the next appropriate cert for that final training opportunity.
What do you think about this particular plan?

I have no previous experience in IT, but I’m a vet and I plan on working in the government at any agency that I can get hired at. Thank you!

If possible, could you please list your position in the industry? I'd just like to get an idea of what type of advice is coming from which angles of industry professional experience, etc. ie are you a Cybersecurity expert in the private/govt sector, are you a student, etc.


Offered a number of opportunities by whom?

Regardless, federal employment isn't a career; information technology, plumbing or medicine is a career. In a perfect world pick a career not an employer. Without an information technology background boot camps and certifications are pointless as both require a level of experience. Pursue a degree. Auditing course is intended for individuals not pursuing a degree. Ultimately vet preference and disability preference is the foot in the door for the majority of vets, not education.
Jacob_Smith  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, March 24, 2020 4:04:06 PM(UTC)
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@FrankJr - Thank you for the reply.

Do you know which IT/CS type fields are in need of personnel in the government sector and accordingly which certifications that they are looking for mostly?

Edited by user Tuesday, March 24, 2020 4:04:56 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

RMZB  
#4 Posted : Sunday, April 12, 2020 6:02:01 AM(UTC)

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I agree with Frank. It all depends on what you want to do in your IT career. If you are drawn to the most in demand portion of IT then that would be Cyber Security and I'd work towards a Cyber degree and my CISSP. Your CISSP would trump the SEC+ so I wouldn't even look in that direction. Now if you want to get into more of the technical side I would consider #1 getting experience any way you can (Tier 1 and up) and in the process work towards getting an MCSE or some higher level technical degree. I hate to say it but the best thing you can do for yourself is get a degree, get a cert(s) in the area you want to focus in and then take any job can in that field and work your way up. I interview people often with Bachelors and Masters that have zero IT experience and they get beat out a lot by people with a cert or two and hands on exp....but in my dept I'm usually looking for GS11's, 12's and 13's so I can't bring in someone with zero exp and teach. Don't get discouraged, find an area in IT and focus on that and don't be afraid to start at the bottom like most of us have. If you show initiative and drive people around you will notice and you will get promoted. Good luck.
King_Fed  
#5 Posted : Saturday, June 27, 2020 6:47:15 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: RMZB Go to Quoted Post


I agree with Frank. It all depends on what you want to do in your IT career. If you are drawn to the most in demand portion of IT then that would be Cyber Security and I'd work towards a Cyber degree and my CISSP. Your CISSP would trump the SEC+ so I wouldn't even look in that direction. Now if you want to get into more of the technical side I would consider #1 getting experience any way you can (Tier 1 and up) and in the process work towards getting an MCSE or some higher level technical degree. I hate to say it but the best thing you can do for yourself is get a degree, get a cert(s) in the area you want to focus in and then take any job can in that field and work your way up. I interview people often with Bachelors and Masters that have zero IT experience and they get beat out a lot by people with a cert or two and hands on exp....but in my dept I'm usually looking for GS11's, 12's and 13's so I can't bring in someone with zero exp and teach. Don't get discouraged, find an area in IT and focus on that and don't be afraid to start at the bottom like most of us have. If you show initiative and drive people around you will notice and you will get promoted. Good luck.


For CISSP the candidate needs at least 4 years of experience in two or three of the domains... unless that has changed.

I have CISSP, PMP and other certs... I agree having experience and certs will get you the interview.

I also started from the bottom.

Good nugget, there are also agencies that provide IT incentive pay: DHS - 15 to 25 percent, State Department 15 percent, etc. If you are a GS-13 step 1, instead of making the $102,663 you would make an additional $15,399 with 15%. That would be $118,000.

Not a bad deal for a cert or taking a certain job (25% is reserved mostly for cyber positions).

Edited by user Saturday, June 27, 2020 6:48:07 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

William Walter Watkins  
#6 Posted : Monday, July 13, 2020 9:32:09 AM(UTC)
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Your list of certs is all over the place. It is impossible to be good at everything. Some of those certs have prereqs and are not as simple as taking a course and passing it. Narrow your focus and take one, study for the roles you want. Having a scroll of certs is not going to help you land a job. I would take a look at jobs you are interested in and check to see if there are any DoD 8570 level certs listed in that role. Concentrate on those, they will help to increase your odds and raise your GS level once hired. For reference, I have a cyber and network background and a few certs.
Ostheim  
#7 Posted : Monday, December 21, 2020 10:58:52 AM(UTC)
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So my question for everyone is, I have a BSCJ: Cybercrime & Security, is there is an IT position for entry with no experience where I can gain experience while working towards certifications?
William Walter Watkins  
#8 Posted : Monday, December 21, 2020 6:35:32 PM(UTC)
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Try for a development program. The pay is entry level but you can float around every few months and rack up experience in multiple technologies. There are certain dev programs that concentrate on tracks, others that are all over the place. They require little to no experience and you can often get certs and IT training courses fully paid for while working. At the end of the program you can apply for one of the jobs you worked at in the program for a permanent placement.

Most of the the 3 letter agencies have them, there's usually an option stating would you consider a development program, just click yes during the application process. At the end of the program which will take a few years, you would have achieved a clearance/certs/attended several classes/gained hands on experience in multiple job roles.

Originally Posted by: Ostheim Go to Quoted Post
So my question for everyone is, I have a BSCJ: Cybercrime & Security, is there is an IT position for entry with no experience where I can gain experience while working towards certifications?


Ostheim  
#9 Posted : Monday, December 21, 2020 6:52:45 PM(UTC)
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Thank you for that advice! I will definitely check it out, I did look into the FBI for IT positions at entry level but I also wasnt looking for a development program either so I will be looking for that with each Agency.

Originally Posted by: William Walter Watkins Go to Quoted Post
Try for a development program. The pay is entry level but you can float around every few months and rack up experience in multiple technologies. There are certain dev programs that concentrate on tracks, others that are all over the place. They require little to no experience and you can often get certs and IT training courses fully paid for while working. At the end of the program you can apply for one of the jobs you worked at in the program for a permanent placement.

Most of the the 3 letter agencies have them, there's usually an option stating would you consider a development program, just click yes during the application process. At the end of the program which will take a few years, you would have achieved a clearance/certs/attended several classes/gained hands on experience in multiple job roles.

Originally Posted by: Ostheim Go to Quoted Post
So my question for everyone is, I have a BSCJ: Cybercrime & Security, is there is an IT position for entry with no experience where I can gain experience while working towards certifications?




King_Fed  
#10 Posted : Sunday, January 10, 2021 3:45:54 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Ostheim Go to Quoted Post
Thank you for that advice! I will definitely check it out, I did look into the FBI for IT positions at entry level but I also wasnt looking for a development program either so I will be looking for that with each Agency.

Originally Posted by: William Walter Watkins Go to Quoted Post
Try for a development program. The pay is entry level but you can float around every few months and rack up experience in multiple technologies. There are certain dev programs that concentrate on tracks, others that are all over the place. They require little to no experience and you can often get certs and IT training courses fully paid for while working. At the end of the program you can apply for one of the jobs you worked at in the program for a permanent placement.

Most of the the 3 letter agencies have them, there's usually an option stating would you consider a development program, just click yes during the application process. At the end of the program which will take a few years, you would have achieved a clearance/certs/attended several classes/gained hands on experience in multiple job roles.

Originally Posted by: Ostheim Go to Quoted Post
So my question for everyone is, I have a BSCJ: Cybercrime & Security, is there is an IT position for entry with no experience where I can gain experience while working towards certifications?





Here is something that might interest you... if you have not started a program:

Information Technology Specialist (Public Notice Flyer)
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
U.S. Secret Service

https://www.usajobs.gov/...ob/ViewDetails/588818100

There is also a Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency: https://www.cisa.gov/ Jobs page: https://www.cisa.gov/careers

Edited by user Sunday, January 10, 2021 3:51:17 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Ostheim  
#11 Posted : Sunday, January 10, 2021 4:03:42 PM(UTC)
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King_Fed, thank you for that and I will be checking it out. I appreciate the information.
JonnerDude  
#12 Posted : Thursday, January 21, 2021 9:25:37 AM(UTC)
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I know this is 10 months old and I will probably just reiterate what others have said. Your first step is getting in the door. For this you will need experience and possibly a "lower level" certification like A+, Net+ or something like that. These will usually net you a job on a Tier 1 helpdesk. From there you should grow your skills and gain that experience. By doing this and taking on projects you will gain the CEU's to upkeep those certifications and work towards getting other certs where you need experience on your resume like CISSP, PMP and others that you may need mid to late career.

Security is big and while the CASP sounds good, the CISSP holds more value when you decide to go for a higher level security certification. DoD 8570, if you are looking at DoD jobs, does not hold the CASP to the same level as the CISSP.

My honest opinion is that when you get started, work towards some more functional certifications like Microsoft certs, Oracle certs, AWS Cloud certs and things like that. CompTIA certs are very general and I honestly do not see the overall value in them if I'm being honest. I have held the Net+ and Sec+ for over 10 years now and have rarely used anything I learned from them but needed them for positions I was in. So again, get you foot in the door and go functional. If you like it then later on down the road go for your higher level management certs like CISSP, PMP and such. I hope this helps you.

I hold a PMP, Sec+, Net+, CCNA (expired) and CEH.
Jacob_Smith  
#13 Posted : Wednesday, February 3, 2021 5:32:46 AM(UTC)
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@RMZB, @William Walter Watkins, @JonnerDude - Thank you for the advice!

@King_Fed - What do you mean by IT incentive pay? Is this something like the language pay that linguists receive?

I just wanted to update this post because I just passed Security+ yesterday. Thank goodness! On to the next test/task!

I still have the opportunity for a few more free certs, so might as well take the offers. I see what you all are saying regarding getting some experience and I signed up for federal work study. I'm curious if I will be able to get CISSP experience via a part-time school IT position or if I can somehow just get any kind of experience this way. As JonnerDude mentioned, I don't see any jobs on USAJOBS.gov for Sec+ so far.
King_Fed  
#14 Posted : Wednesday, February 3, 2021 5:17:41 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Jacob_Smith Go to Quoted Post
@RMZB, @William Walter Watkins, @JonnerDude - Thank you for the advice!

@King_Fed - What do you mean by IT incentive pay? Is this something like the language pay that linguists receive?

I just wanted to update this post because I just passed Security+ yesterday. Thank goodness! On to the next test/task!

I still have the opportunity for a few more free certs, so might as well take the offers. I see what you all are saying regarding getting some experience and I signed up for federal work study. I'm curious if I will be able to get CISSP experience via a part-time school IT position or if I can somehow just get any kind of experience this way. As JonnerDude mentioned, I don't see any jobs on USAJOBS.gov for Sec+ so far.


Incentive pay is extra pay you recieve for the cert you have.

For example, Security+ is 10% extra pay per month, while CISSP is 15%.

Not sure how else to explain it other than how I did in my first post. It is simply extra money for having the certification. Might have a term on it like 3 to 5 years and then you need another certification. You also have to maintain the cert and keep it updated.

Since not all federal agencies have it, it sorta traps you at that agency but also creates a highly educated IT staff for the agency. Of course, not everyone takes advantage of it... doubt if it is 50% of eligible IT staff.

Edited by user Wednesday, February 3, 2021 5:22:49 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Jacob_Smith  
#15 Posted : Wednesday, February 3, 2021 11:22:07 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: King_Fed Go to Quoted Post

For example, Security+ is 10% extra pay per month, while CISSP is 15%.


Is this cumulative?

Also, do you have a particular development program (or two/three) that you highly recommend someone like myself applying to?

On another note, what do you think about the SMART scholarship (for something like Computer Science)? Or other similar scholarship programs?
King_Fed  
#16 Posted : Thursday, February 4, 2021 10:41:51 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Jacob_Smith Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: King_Fed Go to Quoted Post

For example, Security+ is 10% extra pay per month, while CISSP is 15%.


Is this cumulative?

Also, do you have a particular development program (or two/three) that you highly recommend someone like myself applying to?

On another note, what do you think about the SMART scholarship (for something like Computer Science)? Or other similar scholarship programs?


Cumulative? I wish. Ha ha ha...

Not cumulative... you can have multiple certs and have them on standby so when one runs out you can start the other. Also, I had 10% but when I added a cert that was 15%, the 10% cert deactivated in the system. You can only have one active cert at time.

Far as programs... go to each agency or contractor site and see what is available. I don't have any ideas in particular on that, unfortunately. SMART looks great and DOD is a large organization. You might want to also check the link I posted earlier in this thread since it is to the cyber agency. I mean, in some agencies, cyber jobs are worth 25% on top of pay... blasting 15% away.

Edited by user Thursday, February 4, 2021 10:42:37 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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