Dec 18 2008
I made two fairly major purchases this week, even though I had to use the credit card to make them, something I hate doing. Both are aimed at promoting my long term health, one physical, the other career. The first was to get a small amount of exercise equipment and order the DVD’s for the P90x system. I’m sure anyone who’s following the security guys in Twitter has heard more than their fair share about P90x lately and Chris Hoff has gone so far as to create a new blog of his own to monitor his progress with the P90x system. I probably won’t go as far as he has with the blog, but I think I will follow his example and take a ‘Week 0’ picture and occasional pictures after that. I’m not starting the program until after Christmas myself, mostly because I’ll be heading out for the in-laws for a week and don’t want to start something this hard then stop for a week.
The second purchase I made was to get myself a membership in Microsoft’s Technet Plus. I’ve had access to TN+ several times before through employers and I’d used it a lot to build and rebuild servers, test out new programs and generally learn aspects of Microsoft programs I wouldn’t normally have access to. Unluckily the last time I had access to TN+ was just after XP came out and when Vista came out the only reason I got to try it at all was that I happened to recieve a copy of Vista Ultimate at an event I attended. Not that I ever successful upgraded a system to Vista, but at least I got to try.
The truth is, TN+ is also a tax writeoff for me. I haven’t earned much from Google Ads this year, but it’s more than the cost of the TN+ subscription and this will help me conteract what little tax burden there is. But more importantly, this is an investment in my own continuing education for security and technology. I work from home and while I get a chance to see different networks and OS’s with every new client, it’s not the same as getting your hands into the guts of a server and administering it yourself.
So I’m viewing the purchase of TN+ as in investment in my technical skills for the future. And that’s how I’m selling it to my wife as well. I put a lot of time in to reading blogs, writing my own blog and creating the podcast, but the amount of money I’ve put into furthering my skills has been minimal the last few years. My training comes through going to events like RSA, Black Hat and Defcon. I don’t have a lot of time and energy to read security books, but several of the publishers occasionally send me those to read and review. I often think about investing in a Masters Degree. It’d be expensive and time consuming, but it’s a piece of paper that helps you go a lot further in life than a BS will. But until my wife finishes her own college courses and gets a job, any further courses for me will have to wait.
What other venues should I be spending money on to further my career as
a security professional? Is there something I’m neglecting that might
eventually catch up to me? How are you investing in your career? Are you investing in your career monetarily or are you making your investments in time and energy instead? I know there are a lot of people out there who are beginning their careers who are curious about how to get into security, but I’m wondering how the people who’ve been in the field for years are continuing to improve their skills and preparing for that next step up or making themselves as ‘recession proof’ as possible. I don’t think anyone in this field can afford to say they’re resting on their laurels.