**TL;DR:** Due to my current career experience in tech support, I’m good at researching things online and I know I can only get better. OSINT and Social engineering already interest me, and cybersecurity seems like a natural progression. What is my path forward?
*I’m ramble-y and wordy so here’s my full story. Sorry for all the jargon, but I’m assuming my audience*
I’ve always been a nerd, saying “as long as it has a microchip, I want to work with it” since I was an adolescent. Growing up in the 90’s I’ve always been interested in gaming, computers, The Internet and technology as it changes rapidly around us.
I have worked in tech support for almost a decade now. Frankly for the most part it’s been with end users: For seven years of this, it’s purchasers of a *specific* manufacturer’s consumer electronics who need help troubleshooting issues with their device’s software and hardware. I’m also well-versed in customer service and care from previous experience in retail; I’d consider myself the best of both worlds, and am proficient in soft skills and also troubleshooting. In my years as a tech support advisor in multiple roles, it has dawned on me that one reason I’m so good at what I do is what I.T. guys and programmers everywhere do on a daily basis: **research.** That’s why I was interested in OSINT in the first place: nothing nefarious, but I found out that information *could* be found and I am just naturally curious. If there’s a way to find something out there, it seems like it would be neat to be able to find it.
So in the past few months I’ve been researching and studying OSINT and SE, at what pace is available to me, the methodologies and resources behind open source intelligence and social engineering. This dawned as a way to help my current career and knowledge set, to help myself understand privacy more as well as educate the users I speak to daily. In this studying I’ve been exhibited the importance of a research skillset and seems, as a dad of 2 in my 30’s, I may have finally found a niche.
*now to the meat of my question:*
In what seems like a natural step, I’ve stumbled in to also studying bits here and there of cybersecurity’s realm. This all seems tied together and it seems like if all of these topics interest me, it’s definitely something I want to look in to. I enjoy troubleshooting and problem solving, though I would definitely say I am not a proficient programmer or coder; I’ve tried for years and can dabble in Python, JS and frontend markup / webdev stuff but nothing major. “Thinking outside the box” in regards to writing scripts, coming up with pentest operations, etc doesn’t seem like it would be a good fit for me. The thought of analyzing, finding and researching information appeals to me a lot more, if that makes sense.
My personality and brain lends itself to hyperfixate on things for indefinite amounts of time. In other words: it may be hard for me to sustain interest for a lengthy period of time, as much as I desire to. It’s simply the way I work and how my brain tends to learn. Partly because of this, in my mid-30’s I do not have completed any post-high school education, obtained any diplomas or certifications, and the only credentials I can provide is my experience in my weighty tech support work experience. I understand this may be a hinderance but I also know there are options out there such as the Sec+ certification, etc.
*If* I find the cybersecurity career path interest *not* in my best interest for whatever, are there other career paths I can utilize research skills for? Obviously OSINT stuff lends itself to investigative work and law enforcement (on the legal side of things, anyway), but is there any other path I can explore? Whether it’s in the technical field maybe with my own employer (away from customer service, ideally) or somewhere else in the private sector? Hell, I’d definitely take a government (municipal, state-level probably is what I’d look at) job if they’d accept me.
If you’ve reached this line by now, I sincerely appreciate your patience and time.