As part of my personal development plan, I am planning to take several exams which include QSTM, ICND1, CMNA, and CCNA Security.
Along with a few other colleagues, I have been preparing for the QSTM (Qualified Security Team Member) exam, which will take place at the University of South Wales on June 1st. To help us prepare for the exam, ITSUS have allowed us time to brush-up on our penetration-testing skills. A lot of the time has been used for self-studying, as well as group study sessions at the end of each week.
For the last couple of weeks I have been researching various techniques and tools which would help in the upcoming QSTM exam. For example, in university I used BackTrack 5 R3 as my operating system of choice whilst performing penetration testing, but BackTrack has since deprecated and been replaced with Kali Linux. Although I had known this for some time, I had never used Kali Linux. This study time has given me the opportunity to experiment with Kali and discover new tools, such as the Armitage interface for msfconsole.
As mentioned previously, a group of us have been having sessions within ITSUS to help us prepare for the exam. These sessions are headed by our Senior Technologist and allow us to actively engage ourselves.
I am currently working on setting up a larger virtual environment to evaluate my penetration testing skills. So far the environment includes Windows 95, Windows Me, Windows XP Pro SP2, and Windows 7 Pro, as well as several operating systems specifically made for penetration testing, e.g. MetasploitableandDVL.