As I finished up my Undergrad B.S. Computer Science this past December, I incurred this dreaded "I'm Done" senioritis-like feeling. That finally has passed and I want to go back to school for my Master's in Information Security (MSIS). Currently I'm working on hardening the essentials of networks and security by studying and testing for the CompTIA Network+ (N10-006), Security+ (SY0-501 or SY0-401), and CySA+ (CS0-001).

Update 1: Thinking of ultimately studying for Net+/Sec+/CySA+ and testing for CySA+, see where I'm at and either study/take SSCP then go for MSIS or go straight for MSIS. Read the micro rant below.

My current career goal is to become a Network Security Engineer and move up from there. This post is going to be my progress towards furthering my education in the field of Information Security. Additionally, I'll list out what I used to study for each certification exam.

Contents:
CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway
Professional Certifications
Internal Shared Thoughts

Cybersecurity Career Pathway

CompTIA has recently developed a career pathway for cybersecurity by creating a new certificate, the CySA+, which is a bridge to fill the gap between the Security+ and the much higher level CASP.
Cybersecurity Career Pathway image

Professional Certifications

Below I'll list which study materials I'll be using for each cert I study for and/or test on before going for my Master's in InfoSec. I'll update with passing scores for the ones I take.

Note: Any Udemy courses that I enroll in I've got for $10/each, a quick google will find whichever on-going promotion is going on at that time in order to get any course for that cost. That's the lowest I've seen courses on Udemy.

CompTIA Network+ (N10-006):

Study Materials:
CompTIA Network+ Cert.; N10-006. The Total Course, video series by Mike Myers via Udemy

CompTIA Security+ (SY0-401):

Study Materials:
CompTIA Security+ Cert.; SY0-401. The Total Course, video series by Mike Myers via Udemy

CompTIA CySA+ (CS0-001):

Study Materials:
Unavailable

ISC2 SSCP:

Study Materials:
Unavailable

More material to come as I use it...
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Some thoughts I've been having...

2017-05-04 22:04 EST

I watched this video which was linked to on Discord and the guy from it didn't send me completely away from taking CompTIA certs but rather less of them -- rethinking them entirely. I already have a decent job and mainly want certs just to improve upon myself before going for my MSIS. Ultimately want to work my way into a position as a Network Security Engineer and beyond. I realize vendor-specific certs (CCNP R&S, CCNP Security, JNCIS-ENT, etc.) will help this, but a life goal is a Master's Degree.

As I'm currently studying Network+ material, I was originally planning on studying/taking Net+, Sec+, CySA+, and then my Master's in InfoSec and then realized what's the point in the first two if the knowledge and not the certs themselves are prerequisites to the CySA+ (Cybersecurity Analyst) cert. Although I just finished my BSCS, I've been working in IT in multiple intern/entry-level roles (e.g. Public Schools Student Technical Asst., University Computer/Network Technician) for the last 8 years from HS to Undergrad (currently a hybrid entry/mid sysadmin/helpdesk role in finance) so I'm familiar with network and security concepts but only to the point of roughly half the Net+ topics. I haven't looked at Sec+ yet.

Here's where I'm at... I'm thinking to finish wrapping my head around Net+/Sec+/CySA+ material, taking the CySA+, see where that leaves me with knowledge, and then either study/take SSCP and then going for my MSIS, or go straight for my MSIS. It helps that I'm a quick learner.

I don't know which path makes sense. All I know is I want my Master's but figure I should have a strong grasp of SSCP-level knowledge before enrolling to make my life easier. Different universities have recommended that -- that at least makes sense. I'll figure it out as I go through my studies.

Just a thought that was running through my head I'd figure I'd share. Not a definite change of plans, just an idea.

EDIT: The CSA+ certification has since been reacronimized to CySA+ due to copyright. The contents of the certification is the exact same, just a slight name change. Read more, here. The article has been modifed to reflect the name change.