I am currently a 4th year part time student (computer science major, information assurance focus) at a local university and full time engineer in the Phoenix area. My plan is to graduate next fall then make a career change into the IT arena, specifically cyber/network/IT security engineering.

I've been browsing around the job market for the last year and have noticed a common theme, almost everyone wants at least three years direct experience and certs. The "entry level" jobs are...not well paid to say the least and even those prefer certifications.

I've been a manufacturing engineer with a large aerospace company for the past three years and had hoped the engineer bullet on my resume would help bridge the experience gap, but, so far, it's not looking promising.

Is it worth it to start going after low level certifications (CompTIA Security+, CEH, etc.)? They can be quite pricey and I'd hate to throw money away.

Basically, what training and/or certs will help bridge the experience gap to help land a decent job after graduation? When I say "decent" I mean at least what I make now (in the 65k annually ballpark). Is that possible or did I drastically overestimate my future value in the market when I decided to make this career change?

Thank you.

  • 1
    Your title says "after graduation" but I think you maybe should write "after career change" – Brandin Nov 30 '16 at 18:57
  • Career advice is off topic, opinion based doubly so, voting to close. – The Wandering Dev Manager Nov 30 '16 at 19:07
  • @TheWanderingDevManager, changed to more direct question – corporateWhore Nov 30 '16 at 20:11
  • @corporateWhore - "Basically, what training and/or certs" is still career advice. A good question here should say what YOU want to do about your situation, and people can respond on that. Saying "what do I do", or "what courses/certs" is a bad fit, people will have wildly opposing views, and it's specific to you, we want an answer that others can apply in a similar situation. – The Wandering Dev Manager Nov 30 '16 at 20:30
  • 1
    Um, ok. I really don't know where else to go for advise. The professors at school won't give me "career advise", the career services counselors push us towards sponsor companies, I've browsed around the internet for a more appropriate forum but came up short. I really don't have any idea what to do here, I just need advise. – corporateWhore Nov 30 '16 at 20:35

An entry level IT position is going to pay significantly less than you are making now if you just go in as an IT worker.

There are several approaches to finding a way to mitigate this.

  • Find a job for someone with all of your skills and experience in your current field. Often, industry experience will bump up your asking price
  • Volunteer. Volunteer work is a resume booster in and of itself. volunteering to get experience, doubly so. Do IT security work for a local charity and get that under your belt so that you have professional references for your IT work as well as your current work.
  • Move to an area where your skills are rare. If you able to move to take a position, do so, but be mindful of cost of living as well as salary.
  • "Find a job for someone with all of your skills and experience in your current field. Often, industry experience will bump up your asking price" The problem with that is my industry is dying, I want out of manufacturing all together. I'll start looking for volunteer opportunities. Thanks. – corporateWhore Nov 30 '16 at 20:23
  • @corporateWhore Pick up a copy of "What color is my parachute", it also has excellent advice. Don't be so sure that manufacturing is dead, or that your skills in it don't translate. – Old_Lamplighter Nov 30 '16 at 21:38
  • thanks, just ordered it. I'm not saying my industry is dead, but being on the front lines for more than 10 years I can safely say it is most definitely on it's door. I'm tired of being furloughed, going multiple years without raises (on a division level), systematically losing benefits, watching plants close here and open in (insert any low labor cost country). I can't take it anymore. I want out. – corporateWhore Nov 30 '16 at 21:47

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .