I would secure that clearance at all costs. It will still be good for 2 years even if you leave Federal employment. And it's much easier to get cyber roles with a clearance under your belt. For experience I would just sign up for Tryhackme or HtB.
What is your degree in? You having all that and TS clearance is huge. You would be foolish to leave before getting that. Also without knowing more about you, it's hard to give any advice. The only advice I can give right now would be to invest in a homelab or a tryhackme account. HtB is good but that's more tailored to red teaming. Do you have zero IT experience?
So I started applying for jobs last week as I said before. Mainly because I need to start making more money. So I actually decided I'll give them a chance to increase my salary to something to make me feel better as I wait for this TS/SCI. Here is the short version.
- I asked for a 15K increase, which I thought was modest.
- They said this was a large increase and they would come back to me to let me know how much they could give me, but was confident I wasn't going to get that.
- They come back and offer me a 7.5K increase.
- I said 12K is the lowest I can go.
- They offered me 10K
- I doubled down and said 12K
- They said the core money will come in end of February and they MIGHT be able to give me 12K if I can wait until mid March. They will know end of Feb. or I can take the 10K right now.
- I asked for the weekend to think about it
- We had the meeting this morning and after talking through some more details I said I'll take the possible
- He said they'll aim to give me the full 15K instead and he's very confident that they will reach that and he'll let me know by end of Feb.
WHY THEY PLAY ALL THESE DAMN GAMES!?
So this 15K will keep me happy for a few months. But again, once this SCI is in. I'm out! I'll be looking for another 10-20K bump, and these folks don't got it. Apparently.