Sunday, September 25, 2011

The GSE Lab………Completed!

After months of preparation, I took and completed the GSE Lab on September 17th and 18th at SANS Network Security 2011 in Las Vegas. I took the last 30 days off from blogging to prepare for the exam. Unfortunately most of the time was spent working and not preparing for the lab itself, but I was getting a little burnt out studying.

I flew to Vegas on Friday the 16th and meet my fellow tester and friend Ash for dinner. Ash and I discussed what we thought what the test was going to be liked and decided we should locate were the lab was going to be held.  We walked into the room were the lab was being set up in ran into Jeff Pike, who was administering the test. While there Jeff informed us 11 people were sitting for the test, which as far as I know is the largest group to sit for the GSE to date. Ash and I left and agreed to meet for breakfast the next day.

After breakfast on the 17th, Ash and I walked into the testing facility making a bit of a ruckus! Jeff proceeded to cover various items, and the test began. Once the test started I had my usual initial nerves but after 45 minutes or so I settled into the exam. Once in the exam time flew and before I knew the morning session was over.

Ash and I took lunch together, and ran into a few other GSE test takers. This was the first time we really meet with them. It was an interesting group of people taking this exam, some purely defensive, others purely offensive, and guys like Ash and I who worked both sides.

After lunch we got started on the second part of day 1. This is an area I am not fast with, but gave it my best! While going through this section I didn’t have the nerves I had in the morning. Once again time seemed to fly, an hour felt like 10 minutes, and the whole section seemed to only last about 20 minutes. I will admit this section is causing me great concern, if I don’t pass I’m willing to bet it’s because of this section.

After the test, I went to my room and reviewed a couple of things that had not been covered. After a bit of review, I meet up with Ash for food and a walk around the hotel just to get out.

The next morning I meet Ash for breakfast again, watched several train wrecks of drunk and pissed off people.  Between the train wrecks, we talked about what we thought was coming up. We went back to the lab, even starting a bit early, and began the second day. The morning session tested several different areas that I felt good about, except for one area. I flew through most areas, but still needed more time.

After lunch we headed back for the final part of testing. I will admit this part was not for the faint of heart.  There was a lot to cover and a not nearly enough time to complete it. I answered as much as I could and if I didn’t know the answer I moved on and came back later. Sometime during the afternoon Eric Conradshowed up to say hi to the test takers. Not long after he left time was up and the test was finished.

After the test I went with Ash, Eric, Seth Misenarand a few other testers and had a few beers to relax!

How did I do? I don’t know but should find out in a few weeks. Later this week I will write up my thoughts about the exam.
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