I'm going through an (early?) mid-life crisis. I'm 31. I've had a passion for computers/it security since I was like 16 and read "A Cuckoos Nest" by Cliff Stoll.
I got off track. I'm working at a warehouse for $14/hr. I want to get my life back on track. Not sure how to do that. Have some ideas.
Some background so that perhaps you can get an idea of my skillset. Diminished as it may be.
I was extremely interested in computer security when I was younger. Friday night for me was combing over source code looking for buffer overflows, race conditions, format string bugs, etc.
I found holes ranging from buffer overflows in linux games that'd give you gid=games when exploited to remote root holes in widely used daemons.
I'd generally write proof of concept code and send it to security focused websites (at the time, bugtraq).
I also loved to reverse engineer malware. I wrote a paper that was picked up by a leading AV company and published on their website.
I've written security suites for Linux which included kernal patches to 'secure' the kernel or 'harden' it, userland utilities such as tripwire-esque software to monitor for binary modification, etc.
I've written Windows programs such as a Poker Bot that played for real money on Party Poker (back when this site would give you real time game information in their logs, no screen scraping necessary).
I haven't truely coded in probably 4 years. I briefly wrote an Ebay Scraping utility to parse out certain auctions to assist with my 'brilliant' idea of an ebay business. Lasted all of a week.
Anyways, rambling, most of the above was all done year s ago, like 8+ years.
I have nothing really relevant at this point to offer employers. I want to go back to school.
I have $20,000 which is kind of earmarked for this.
I'm considering taking a 3yr College Diploma program "Computer Programmer Analyst".
It's what I wanted to take when I was 18 but instead stayed close to home and did a 3yr diploma program which was more focused on h/w electronics (Microcomputer Engineering).
I've never been a good programmer. I focused on **** like security as described above, stuff that at this point probably wont translate to any kind of job esp since it's so dated now.
So my ideas to get out of this warehouse are:
3 yr College for Computer Programmer Analyst:
University, Bachelor of Science with a focus on Software Engineering (small chance of this, too expensive, not smart enough..but maybe ill challenge myself??)
Upgrade my skills myself maybe get some certifications? possibly CISSP and JAVA certs?
Or am I destined to work at McDonalds? Quite possible.
TLDR: 31yr old loser, $20,000, some dated comp. sci. skills. College, University, Certs, other? or am I a lost cause?
if you read it all, thank you!!