April 20, 2021

How critical is sysadmin experience in becoming a pentester/red teamer?

My end goal is to be a red teamer. Right now I’ve got a year left in uni with a degree in information systems and I’m currently working an IT help desk job for several years now. I got my sec+ cert last summer and I have a SOC analyst internship that I’ll be doing this summer.

In my spare time, I work on some security related coding projects along with overthewire challenges. I thought that given my experience, once I graduate, I could jump straight into being a SOC analyst for a few years then with the OSCP I could be a pentester/red teamer. However, some people say that I’ll need experience as a sysadmin or network engineer first, others say I don’t.

How critical is this job experience in order to get a job as a pentester/red teamer? Am I getting ahead of myself by jumping into security too soon?

I feel like I’ve spent the past 5 years “learning the basics” with networks, coding, and help desk stuff that I feel like I’m ready for more. I hate the feeling of doing sysadmin stuff because I feel like it’s moving backwards since I’m already starting to get into security career and cert-wise.

What do you make of this?

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