reviewing my 2019 learning and career goals

I really thought about not comparing what I did in 2019 with what my planned goals were, but then I realized that’s not useful to me at all. And there’s no real need to only restate what I did this year. I see I predicted that I’d be far too aggressive with my planned activities, and I was right! Still, I think it’s normal for me in this regard to over-commit to things and then accomplish what I can, rather than plan to underachieve and coast through another year. I used to do that, and I don’t really want to at this point in my career.

Rather than go through the full list, I figured I’d just pluck out the things I planned to formally pursue.

SANS SEC542 (GWAPT) at SANS East – Success! I ended up going to SANS East, earned a SEC542 coin, got first in NetWars, and later earned my GWAPT.

TBD Second major training: Black Hat USA Trainings or SANS SEC573 (GPYC) Python or SANS SEC545 Cloud – Failed! This one wasn’t really my fault. I aggressively (so to speak) requested budget for this at work, but that never came to fruition.

Linux+ – Success! I took and passed both exams before CompTia refreshed the cert and broke from LPIC-1, meaning I got the lifetime version from CompTia and still also got the limited one from LPI. Not only was this a goal for this year, but this is probably the last “certificate bucket list” item I’ve long had on my wish list from back when I didn’t even do this learning stuff regularly (thanks to a company and manager who didn’t value personal development).

SLAE (+ OSCE prep) – Pushed back! I don’t consider this too bad of a fail. I still want to start this track through to OSCE, but I also understand this is a labor of love more than it will benefit my career/work at this moment. It, again, will get on my list for 2020.

CCSP (Cloud) – Sorta Success! Honestly, this one morphed into something bigger and more formal than just pushing for CCSP. I’ve decided to make a concerted and bigger dive into the cloud security world. I pushed CCSP out to 2020 and instead earned my AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification and the Cloud Security Alliance CCSK. And since then, I have been hitting coursework and labs to attempt the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam very soon. After that, my plan is to earn the CCSP and then the AWS Security Specialty.

Pentester Academy tracks (+Red Team Lab?) – Low usage! I haven’t given this enough love, just like I haven’t gotten back into HTB or other labs like I want to. I’m considering this a fail, and will be re-prioritizing for next year.

Linux Academy – Success! Hey, I’ve been making heavy use of this this year! I also dropped PluralSight as I wasn’t making heavy use of it.

Splunk Fundamentals & Power User – Dropped! I had wanted to pursue this, but this definitely was chopped off early. This is more of a work item, and my role hasn’t really allowed me to be in Splunk as much as others on the team have been. And that’s OK. I let this one slide to make more room for the cloud focus.

As far as my informal topics go, most of them just didn’t get as much love as I’d like to have given them. I’ve stuck to a few books that weren’t intensive time-sucks like The Phoenix Project, Tribe of Hackers, Tribe of Hackers Red Team, Red Team: How to Succeed By Thinking Like the Enemy, and Infosec Rockstar. I think I may repurpose “informal learning” into two paths: informal topics and maintenance/improvement paths.

I still attend SecDSM and BSides Iowa as expected, but I didn’t hit any other cons this year. I really should try to get to Defcon next year in the new digs…

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