Greetings. My name is Paul. My wife and I live in the greater Boston area, and I am working on changing careers. I was a music teacher for a long time, and when I burned out on that career path, I floundered professionally for a few years before realizing that I wanted to go into i.t. Currently I have been fixing printers at Harvard university for the last year, which has given me good experience working with hardware and also developing a command of networking basics. My long term career goals are focused on infosec.
I have been learning programming for the last 2.5 years approximately. My first attempt was centered around C++, and I have also been learning Python for about a year. For a while I had moved away from C++ to learn Python exclusively, and now I am at a point where I want to focus on both of them.
My goals with learning programming relate to my interest in infosec, especially on the pentesting/ethical hacking side. I realized early on that I did not want to become a 'dev' of any stripe or variety- I don't want to get into full stack web development, software development, q.a. testing, or anything like that. I have the utmost respect for those men and women who develop expertise in those information technology disciplines, but my intuition has indicated to me that I would burn out fairly quickly if my profession was exclusively focused on writing code.
I am interested in being thoroughly conversant with programming so as to be able to read source code for malware and hacking tools, and to replicate malware to understand how it works, and also write tools for hacking/pentesting. I am not interested in black hat hacking, but in understanding what black hat hackers do so as to help secure information networks and computers. If there is anyone in this community that has experience with this I would be interested in communicating with them.
I am also learning assembly language programming. I don't want to be an expert assembly programmer, but I do want to clarify and cohere my understanding of how computers actually work, how the cpu and ram interact, how a program accesses memory addresses and the role of the chipsets and the rest of the hardware, and also how the bios/uefi underpins the whole mechanism of the operating system and overall functionality of the computer. I am intent on spending a few months looking at assembly language programming (AMD x86_64 CISC processor architecture) to deepen my understanding of this whole process. I might even write about my experiences with this journey on here.
My other areas of focus with this i.t. journey involve certifications (currently preparing to finish up CompTIA A+ technician certification), being involved by a professional sysadmin to hone my skills with Linux. After I satisfy my curiosity about assembly, I will be moving on to look at algorithms and data structures, using a learning approach cultivated by competitive programmers.
In general, I like to stay busy, push myself, and be always looking to improve. Once I have transitioned into an actual i.t. job, I will be able to reassess and hone my focus. For now, I'm going to utilize a combination of my own internal guide and feedback from the various communities I'm active in to develop in a thorough and grounded way. I look forward to being part of this community.
p.s.- please excuse any grammatical/spelling errors. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to compose this thing at 1:30 a.m. I live life on the edge.