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?