Published on April 1st, 2020 📆 | 5222 Views ⚑0
Addressing the Cybersecurity Workforce Shortage by Training Veterans
After serving in the United States Navy as an information systems technician, Chris Rivers was looking to enter the civilian workforce where he could still apply his technical skills. Through Fortinet’s FortiVet program, Chris received access to cybersecurity training and mentoring, as well as introductions to potential employers. Chris is now a professional services engineer technical lead at Fortinet where he was hired. He earned the distinguished Network Security Expert level 8 certification through Fortinet NSE Institute’s training and certification program, which consists of eight certification levels. We spoke with Chris about what motivated him to achieve NSE8 certification and how it has helped him in his career after serving in the U.S. Navy.
Q: How did you get your start in cybersecurity?
A: In the United States Navy on the USS Grapple, where I was an Information Systems Technician for more than 3 years.
Q: What led you to seek out and to be part of the NSE program and get those certifications?
A: Initially, I wanted to get my NSE4 and NSE5 certifications. But when I started working for Fortinet, I wanted to get all the certifications to make myself an even more invaluable asset demonstrating my expertise in cybersecurity and in the products and solutions. It took me about 2 years to get my NSE4, NSE5, NSE6, NSE7 AND NSE8 certifications.
Q: What did you enjoy most about the process?
A: It is hard to obtain the certifications, because after the hard work of studying and passing the exams, there was a real sense of gratification.
Q: What has been the biggest benefit since getting your NSE8 certification?
A: The certification isn’t just a plaque; I use it every day for professional services, and it has made me a better engineer. I still use the documentation I got when I was studying for NSE4 through NSE8 for troubleshooting and configurations all the time, so it’s not just a certification. It is an integral daily part of my job. I also feel like my certifications have enabled me to progress in my career. When I first started I was a Professional Services Engineer II, was promoted two times since and I’m now a Technical Lead overseeing a team of 10 engineers.
Q: Do you have any advice for others who are thinking about joining the program or currently working through the program?
A: Take it one certification at a time. When I interview engineers for Professional Services roles, I look at certifications because it shows that they are willing to put in the work to advance themselves and better their career. At a minimum, if they have NSE4 and NSE5, that gets our attention. Anything higher is regarded even more highly. Based on my experience, employers look for those NSE certifications, so getting started with it is the first step.
Q: What advice would you give hiring managers who are considering hiring veterans?
A: With veterans, you have to consider that in addition to getting experience and certifications, you’re getting a proven individual who can be counted on to be dedicated to the company to get the job done. The other thing to look at is their attitude and their willingness to learn. Most are coachable and are looking to prove themselves. Those two are invaluable qualities in an individual, and veterans have that. These attributes really separate them.
Learn more about Fortinet’s NSE Institute including our training and certification programs.
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