The road to a cybersecurity career is not always a straight line. Sometimes, people stumble across it on the way to a different destination and find that cybersecurity is a good fit or an interesting career. Professionals discovering that cybersecurity sparks their interest is good for the industry as the cyber skills gap continues to be a significant problem around the world. At Fortinet, we provide training for IT professionals, students, veterans, veteran spouses and more through our Network Security Expert (NSE) Institute programs to help more people enter the field or upskill for career growth in an effort to close the skills gap.
We recently spoke with Caitlyn Carroll, a graduate of NSE Institute’s FortiVet program, who started a career in cybersecurity at Interface Systems. Here’s what she had to say about cyber security awareness training and her transition into a career in cybersecurity.
What Led You to a Career in Cybersecurity?
I was studying for my master’s degree in public health and community programming while also working at a YMCA. I’m a military spouse, and my husband was deployed at the time. I was working 80 hours a week for barely above minimum wage. A friend told me about the FortiVet program, which provides mentoring and training for not just veterans but also their spouses like me. Through the FortiVet program I was connected with a job at Interface Systems, a Fortinet partner that is part of the program’s hiring ecosystem. The program helped me with my resume, interviewing skills and matched me with an employer, in addition to giving me access to their Network Security Expert (NSE) Institute training curriculum. FortiVet really made an impact in my life – in fact, I even ended up writing a paper about it for my grad program.
What Do You Like About the Cybersecurity Industry?
It affects and touches everyone, from individuals to companies and government agencies. It’s the present and future. It’s not a “here today and gone tomorrow” sort of industry. It’s going to be a needed sector for the foreseeable future. For that reason, cybersecurity offers lots of opportunities and a challenging career – and I like a challenge.
What Recommendation Would You Give to Someone Looking to Start or Pivot Into a Career in Cybersecurity?
I would strongly recommend that they look into Fortinet’s Network Security Expert (NSE) Institute’s free training for all levels, whether you need broad security awareness like me, or you are looking to upskill or advance your technical security skills. I would also tell people to challenge themselves. After I’m done with Network Security Expert (NSE) 2 course, which is Fortinet’s second cyber awareness lesson, I want to take NSE 3 and challenge myself to take more technical training, even though my current marketing position doesn’t absolutely require it.
How Have Network Security Expert Courses 1 and 2 Help You Increase Your Cybersecurity Awareness?
I’ve definitely expanded my knowledge about the threat landscape; it’s been interesting to learn about the many different threat actors. These courses are very consumable and engaging, too. I’m taking other trainings, and I tend to tune out because it’s really long, but the NSE Institute’s training format makes it easy to follow and stay engaged.
I also like the quizzes at the end, because I like to make sure I absorbed the information. I can be tested to see if I would fall for a threat in my email, for example, which puts my learning into practice.
What Are the Benefits for a Company Hiring Someone From the FortiVet Program?
Veterans share a set of desirable traits – a strong work ethic, dedication and loyalty – that they pick up during time in the service is brought to all aspects of life and work. I’ve seen firsthand how hard veterans who are now in civilian professions work. The most difficult part is transitioning into civilian life and that’s where FortiVet plays a crucial role in making that transition a million times easier.
Who Would You Recommend NSE 1 and NSE 2 Courses For?
Because cybersecurity touches everyone’s lives, these courses are great for anyone, whether you’re a middle school student or someone’s grandma with no tech experience. These two courses provide cybersecurity awareness that is critical for everyone to know. I’m telling my husband and our friends to take it – basically, I tell everyone I know! It’s great, foundational information that you can use every day to prevent from falling for threats. My husband plans to start the courses this summer based on my glowing recommendations.
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