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Filling the Cybersecurity Skills Gap With FortiVets

Skills Gap Perspectives

CISOs are challenged with filling critical cybersecurity roles in their organizations due to the shortage of talent and cybersecurity expertise. One untapped resource that organizations looking to fill security roles should pay more attention to in their recruitment efforts is veterans. Veterans have many complementary skills that with the right training can be relevant to a career in cybersecurity. Fortinet’s Veterans Program, part of its Network Security Expert (NSE) Training Institute, focuses on helping veterans transition into a role in cybersecurity. 

Q&A with a Veterans Program Graduate

Michael Beckham is a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Navy who benefited from Fortinet’s Veterans Program, FortiVet. Through the program’s cybersecurity training and other resources, he was successful in securing a career in the field. Below, he shares his experience being part of the program in an interview we recently had with him.   

Can you give us a summary of your background in the military?

I served in the U.S. Navy as a Cryptologic Technician Communications Operator (CTO) for 21 years. My daily routine consisted of ensuring the successful delivery and security of critical messages and traffic, while also maintaining the highly classified equipment that delivered this information highly secure. During that time, I was fortunate to serve with some of the smartest people on the planet. We were able to witness the progression of technology from teletype and tape with blazing speeds of 1200 baud to minicomputers to routers, firewalls and common transport speeds of 100 gigabits and higher. 

How did you get into the Fortinet Veterans program?

I was unemployed at the time for nearly 11 months and I was told about the Fortinet Veterans Program from a fellow veteran. I reached out to Fortinet and went through an interview process and was then accepted into the program. As a result, I had access to mentoring and to the NSE Training Institute resources. 

What do you do now? 

The Fortinet Veteran Program connected me to Walker and Associates, as they’re part of Fortinet’s partner ecosystem, and this is where I now work. I currently work as a Federal Field Systems Engineer responsible for advancing sales of technical products. I focus on advancing a number of technical solutions for the Federal Marketplace, to include Optical, Cybersecurity (primarily Fortinet), Network Infrastructure, Virtual and Hyper Converged Infrastructure, and TDM migration solutions.  

Why do you think the program is important to help fill the talent gap in cybersecurity?

This program helps equip veterans from all branches of the services with the opportunity to fill the skills gap in the cybersecurity industry. It enables veterans like me to leverage their skill sets that are relevant to a career in cybersecurity. Employers benefit from knowing they’re hiring experienced professionals with security clearances. Veterans can also expand their cybersecurity knowledge through training and Fortinet’s Network Security Expert (NSE) Certification Program. 

What would you say are the benefits to a company for hiring someone from the FortiVet program?

Companies benefit from this program by having an array of experienced, proven cybersecurity professionals who can fill the talent gap with disciplined lifelong learners willing to expand their knowledge. 

Closing the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Veterans trained in the latest cybersecurity techniques can play a key role in filling the talent shortage while adding the valuable attributes that are unique to those who have served in the armed forces. Many veterans possess the mindset, skills, and security clearances that positions in cybersecurity require. This is why training veterans and assisting them in entering a career in cybersecurity can really move the needle in narrowing the cybersecurity skills gap. 

Find out more about Fortinet’s NSE Training Institute programs, including the Network Security Expert program, Network Security Academy program and FortiVet program, which provide critical cybersecurity training and education to help solve the cyber skills gap and prepare the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow.

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