Career / Continuing Education Advice Please?

Hello all and thanks in advance for your answers. I am currently working at the corporate office for a large health care company as a physical security professional. My main job function is the complete operation of the company’s physical access control system and alarm systems for the home office as well as numerous remote locations and subsidiaries across the nation. A majority of my work experience is in the physical security industry and any knowledge of access control systems or alarm systems has been picked up by looking over vendor’s shoulders and limited onsite training by vendor staff. I am not unfamiliar with computers, picking up some knowledge here and there, but I know enough to know that I don't know enough.

In a field where “convergence” seems to be the word of the day and security systems are getting more technically advanced, my goal would be to improve my knowledge of the IT industry and how it relates to physical security systems in order to advance my career. The only problem is I am not really sure where to begin with selecting classes, certifications, or tech schools vs. college.

I would like to specifically focus on IP related topics, networking, SQL, database maintenance, IT security, and anything I might be missing (if anyone has any suggestions). As I said I know enough to know I don’t know enough. Most of my focuses are words or situations that have arisen as I have been working but I could not tell you what most of them mean or how they work, I know they just do and if not I call the helpdesk or vendor.

I would also like to obtain more knowledge pertaining to the installation of security systems though this is probably more of an electrical industry topic but it also includes database construction.

I do have a limited schedule so I am basically looking at just taking classes specific to my job function vs. obtaining a degree but would like to eventually earn some form of IT degree.

If anyone out there has any knowledge of security systems or advice over what classes I should look into taking I would greatly appreciate your feedback.


1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    For a basic networking, OS admin (windows, unix or whatetever), there are lots of options. I'm trained as a programmer/developer but bridged into administration through experience. Check out your local university or community college continuing education programs. There are tons of private offerings too. I'd also check with local users groups. They could help you know the good from the bad in your area.

    For IT security, you might want to look into the courses offered by the SANS Institute. I'm sure there are others but this is the one I know.

    I've been to a few training events from them. There are live home and recorded online classes too. They even have a degree program but that's an enormous (and expensive) undertaking.

    I'll warn you it isn't cheap but, a tleast for the classes I've taken and the other things I've seen, you get what you pay for.

    If you can talk work into taking on some or all of the bill, even better.

    Depending on how nuts and bolts detail you want to dive into, you might want to beef the general IT skills with formal training.

    Security Essentials or Security for Managers won't be super technical but taking a forensics class (from anywhere) without some sort of computer admin training and/or experience first would be rough.

    As a security profession you probably already have experienced this but, as you dive into IT security you begin to get the picture of what's out there and realize the field is moving fast and as you learn, you get more alarmed by everything else there is to it.

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