January 18, 2021

Worth it to spend stimulus check on CompTIA certifications (intro, then cybersecurity)?

**First of all, thank you so much, in advance, if you read this and respond.** I’m feeling a bit desperate financially, as my career options are not great right now and my current job (freelance illustrator) just is not cutting it. I’m an intelligent, creative, independently driven person, but I made the huge mistake of spending my undergraduate and graduate degrees in the humanities, after which I had *hoped* to work in academia—but the academic job market is a hellscape. So, here I am looking at other options. I really enjoy learning about all kinds of theoretical systems, and I do like working with computers (and have done some low-key freelance web design in the past). That said, I have no IT experience.

Right now I am considering this path:

* Use stimulus checks to obtain two or more certifications from CompTIA:

1. **CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+)**, “an introduction to basic IT knowledge and skills”
2. **CompTIA Security+**, “a global certification that validates the baseline skills necessary to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career.”

* Apply for a 12-month cybersecurity apprenticeship with IBM, after which I would receive a nationally recognized credential by the Department of Labor. After completing the apprenticeship, I would also be eligible to apply for full-time roles at IBM (and, I assume, elsewhere). The apprenticeship application states that they are looking for people who are familiar with IT and cybersecurity fundamentals, and Python–but they “know you’re just getting your career started, and we’re committed to helping you learn and grow.”

Does this sound like a feasible course of action, towards a solid/sustainable career? Or is this some kind of ill-informed, naive pipedream? Has anyone here had a good experience with CompTIA? A bad one?

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for any insight, and for your time.



Dont waste the cash on itf you will learn that as you progress, do linux + or network + instead.



The first thing I’d ask you (if I was interviewing you) is why do you want to work in this industry? If your response is “job security & good pay” (a normal answer) my reply is this. Understand that this is a realm of perpetual & continuous learning. You will always be learning in this course so expect that.

Just as important is understanding that to be an effective security practitioner you should have a conceptual understanding of how technology (in general works). You definitely need an understanding of all things routing/switching. And you should understand Linux.

As for CompTIA, I’ve taken a handful of their courses. They are great courses to help you understand the concepts of Cyber Security (example, what’s Diffie Hellman or SHA-1). You want to complement those courses with practical red team stuff (Pentester Academy is great).

Finally, there is nothing wrong with certifications, but this career is more than just certs. Continuously learning. Repeat that over and over. Follow hackers on Twitter, read hacker news. When you can’t understand something then research it. And understand cyber security is a huge field.

The pursuit of a career is never a pipe dream. What matters is you’re committed to doing it. It helps more if you like it. If you like spending Saturday night in Hack the Box..well this is probably for you.

As another person mentioned, Linux+ and Network+ are excellent certs for this. Most hacking tools developed for Linux. Networking is the foundation of all computing so you definitely want to learn it (or master it).

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