Tech Industry: Development, Security, or Operations?

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TheRedHare
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Tech Industry: Development, Security, or Operations?

Post by TheRedHare » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:59 am

Hello all,

So for the past couple of months I've been plugging away at my new job as a technical writer; I just call myself that bc I don't really have any title. Basically, I help write up the information security polices for my former college because they don't have any formal polices and have been winging it for many years due to the small size of the IT staff.

I've been putting a lot of hours into learning security like understanding TCP/IP, Linux OS, PCI, and security polices, however I've also been learning about the tech industry as a whole so that I can understand everyone's role and to find out what I might enjoy the most. That being said, I've found that Development and Security to be in high demand but they are also on completely different sides of the spectrum. I would label myself more of a creative, who enjoys freedom, and likes creating things....yes I'm more of an Idealist. Security seems more enterprise like and thus offers less of all the things I enjoy, however on paper it would seem that Security would be the path of less resistance to go into: I graduated from a military college, and my current position is geared towards security.

Another side of IT is Operations: I see these guys as the typical computer repair guys, the network guys, and the sys admins. From what I gather, the
"IT" side of the tech world is fairly small because a lot of the infrastructure has been built, and operations is now a pretty mature section of the tech world. There isn't much of a need for operations compared to security or development because what took a team of 10-20 people in IT staff in the 90s and early 2000s now only takes about 5 (this depends on the size of the organization).

All that being said is security as soul sucking as they say? It seems like if I went the security route I would have to conform more, and not be able to use as many of the ERE tactics such as riding a bike or walking to work, or freedom to choose where to live. To those of you in or who where in tech, what are your thoughts?

George the original one
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Re: Tech Industry: Development, Security, or Operations?

Post by George the original one » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:27 pm

Development, provided you can avoid the "reinvent the wheel" syndrome, is probably the most fun for a creative individual. Security is pretty solid, routine, but you can make it inventive even when it swings between policy-making & operations with the inevitable whims of managment. Operations is great when there's growth and you get to design systems or teach people, but it sucks most of the rest of the time due to not being respected by the other branches and the staff don't want to learn and is always on the chopping block, looking for efficiencies.

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Re: Tech Industry: Development, Security, or Operations?

Post by TheRedHare » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:57 pm

[quote="reinvent the wheel" syndrome[/quote]

I get the gist of what you're talking about but could you elaborate more on this?

George the original one
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Re: Tech Industry: Development, Security, or Operations?

Post by George the original one » Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:16 pm

Sure. A lot of development work goes along the lines of "we have this program (or collection of programs), but the hardware/OS/communications/UI are outdated, so we need the software written on a new platform". It will be classified as development rather than maintenance, but there you are duplicating a program that already works. It will feel like any CS class, where the "correct" solution is already known and they're just teaching you how to do the same thing.

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BRUTE
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Re: Tech Industry: Development, Security, or Operations?

Post by BRUTE » Sat Feb 11, 2017 4:06 pm

dev

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TheRedHare
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Re: Tech Industry: Development, Security, or Operations?

Post by TheRedHare » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:37 pm

scriptbunny wrote: At the end of day, it kind of depends on what kind of work you want to do/the skill-sets you have and want to build. Do you want to build something? Analyze systems and poke holes in them? How do you feel about coding?
Yeah I am much more of a creative type and would probably enjoy building things rather than trying to hack something...although it would be fun to do it as a hobby...hacking I mean.
I have been teaching myself code for about a month now and so far I like it. There are sometimes where it gets to be a bit tedious, but I think that mostly because I'm stuck learning the basics until I can actually start creating things on my own. The project based learning has helped me with motivation because I can actually see the progress I'm making.

My only real concern is being able to get a job in the industry. I pretty much know how to get into the industry, it's mostly down to me being able to teach myself code.

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Re: Tech Industry: Development, Security, or Operations?

Post by General Snoopy » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:04 pm

Since you wan to be creative, then Development is where you want to be. Since you are already in Security, then you should focus on Development that has a Security Focus. In this fashion your current experience will have value.

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Chris
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Re: Tech Industry: Development, Security, or Operations?

Post by Chris » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:24 am

Here's another way of seeing it: devs often put ops guys out of a job. People are expensive, and are therefore targeted for replacement by software (e.g. cloud computing). Devs also put themselves out of a lot of would-be jobs, so they can focus on other things (e.g. automated testing). In other words, it's the devs that often create the future. The pay is often better and, as noted, the level of respect if often higher.

That being said...

You're always going to be going some ops stuff. Web programming? You'll need to know to setup a server, understand how the stack works, and debug networking problems while developing and testing. It's not the most fun, but the exposure does give the opportunity to acquire stills in other areas. And you may find out you like those areas better than writing the software itself.

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Re: Tech Industry: Development, Security, or Operations?

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:27 am

The only ops role I would consider is something in the DBA realm. Even then you're likely to be working odd hours, under appreciated when thing work, blamed when things fall, etc. The work is always seen as a cost center, and it is centralizing to the few big cloud players.

Security is going to offer the best hours and effort for the pay. Stable, high demand, but tedious. Given that you are there, I would pursue it. Assuming some amount of dev skills, switching into dev with a security background will be trivial. Huge demand for devs that really understand security.

The actual security problems are very complex and interesting, but they come later career. Listen to the silver bullet podcast for some examples.

Dev can be creative, it can also be turning specs into code, with little input. Much more likely to get over worked than security, though the current market is less tolerant of it. Expect to retool every 1-2 years, often on your own time. If that sounds exciting, it could be for you. If it sounds tedious, maybe not.

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Re: Tech Industry: Development, Security, or Operations?

Post by TheRedHare » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:49 am

Scott 2 wrote:The only ops role I would consider is something in the DBA realm. Even then you're likely to be working odd hours, under appreciated when thing work, blamed when things fall, etc. The work is always seen as a cost center, and it is centralizing to the few big cloud players.

Security is going to offer the best hours and effort for the pay. Stable, high demand, but tedious. Given that you are there, I would pursue it. Assuming some amount of dev skills, switching into dev with a security background will be trivial. Huge demand for devs that really understand security.

The actual security problems are very complex and interesting, but they come later career. Listen to the silver bullet podcast for some examples.

Dev can be creative, it can also be turning specs into code, with little input. Much more likely to get over worked than security, though the current market is less tolerant of it. Expect to retool every 1-2 years, often on your own time. If that sounds exciting, it could be for you. If it sounds tedious, maybe not.
Thanks for the advice! Security can definitely be tedious, but it does make sense that it would be more stable. There are a few different scenarios that could come up within the year of my contract: 1. Afterwards I could join the AirForce as a CyberSecurity Officer, 2. Work for a local Security company, 3. My school decides to offer me a full time gig. Each have there own individual perks.

I do think that I would eventually like to move into Dev because it seems more interesting, but as you said, it would probably be best to stay in security.
I'll be sure to listen to the podcast too!

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