If you are a marathon runner, you have to train everyday to make sure that you are both in shape to run and have the right techniques to run in the big race. If you are a basketball player, even if you are in the pros, you have to hit the gym almost every night to make sure that your shot is still going down. And if you are a musician, you have to practice your instrument every night to make sure that you are hitting the right notes. If you do not then when it comes to play in the big recital you might find yourself lacking. You will find that when it comes to most jobs where talent is involved, you are going to have to practice a lot to make sure that you stay good.
And the world of computer security is no different at all. If you want to be the best at your job then you are going to have to practice at it. You cannot just take what you learned at school and hope to run with it forever. No, you are going to have to sit down and not only study but also run simulations of what you might deal with when it comes to an outside attack on your system. And thankfully when it comes to today’s cheaper and more powerful technology it is easier to do just that.
As a serious practicing computer security expert, you’re home system should be something that you can hack on every night. If you want to be able to beat the bad guys at their own game, you must try your best to think how the bad guys think. And you will only be able to do that if you practice hacking on a system. And to really be good, you must practice out of your own skill set as well as within it. If your security domain is the network then you should practice reverse engineering applications. Even if you do not become an expert in it, you will at least be competent in it if you need to be. And the reverse is true. If your skill set is reverse engineering then you should learn how the network works and how it is able to become compromised.
Just like with anything else, if you want to be good at computer security you are going to have to practice.