AdministratorJune 15, 2020 at 9:50 pm
Welcome to our community! I wanted to introduce myself a bit more so that you know who I am, where I come from, what my background is, and what some of my personal goals are.
You may have already noticed that my name is missing an “r” at the end – so no, it’s not Christopher, and that’s because I’m French! I was originally born and raised in France before moving to the U.S. at the age of 11.
I’ve never been the most social person, and moving to an entirely different country was quite a cultural shock. So, I turned to video games.
One of my all-time favorites is Starcraft. Back then (Starcraft 1), they had different chat channels than they do today, where you could create clans and hang out with people virtually. Some of the clans took things pretty far and outside of the video game itself, which led to a lot of “clan wars.” Basically, just imagine a bunch of kids & teenagers trying to prove who’s best…
Long story short, I started writing my first lines of code because we needed websites. Except those websites were always under attack. Not by sophisticated attackers, of course, just other teenagers trying to show off. But, they still did plenty of damage.
Funny enough, that’s how I got my start in IT, programming, and cybersec. I just absolutely loved it…it was the only thing I thought about while in school and I ran straight to my computer when I got home.
Because of my interest in IT, my parents tried to get me involved in more IT-related courses in school. Unfortunately, they were far too easy and boring, too theoretical for my taste, or they seemed unattainable (ie: expensive and exclusive schools). Plus, the more I talked to actual practitioners in the field, the more I realized what we were taught in school was not the skills that most employers were looking for.
All that to say: I didn’t have the best grades in school because I spent more time learning unrelated things on my own, which seemed completely backward, and I couldn’t help but feel like there was a better way.
During my last year of university, I started a podcast called Scale Your Code to interview experts from tech companies building, optimizing, and scaling cool tech. The podcast was important to me because it taught me those exact skills that were needed in practice that school didn’t even remotely touch on. I ended up interviewing people like David H. Hansson (founder of Ruby on Rails, co-founder of Basecamp), Jeff Atwood (co-founder of Stack Overflow/Stack Exchange and founder of Discourse), and a bunch of other very smart technologists, and it taught me so much.
Scale Your Code was acquired by Linux Academy, an online cloud & Linux training platform, in 2016. From there, I created multiple training courses to help people learn how to use AWS and get certified, and then moved on to many different roles in the company, including building and managing our Hands-On Labs engine, pioneering Skills Assessments for AWS skills, and overall helping grow Linux Academy 10x before we were acquired in December 2019. I left a few short months later to take a much-needed break.
As I wondered what my next steps would be, I kept thinking back to the fact that – for as long as I can remember – individuals & organizations have very much struggled with cybersecurity, including application security. Apart from extremely expensive training, outdated tutorials, or just overall spread out information, there didn’t seem to be a lot of training help out there. The other major problem that people are experiencing even when they find training is a lack of connection between that training and getting jobs, promotions, or switching careers.
So, it felt like the perfect time to apply everything I’d learned up until this point in order to create a cybersecurity community with training resources that doesn’t judge you based on your current skill set or experience. Instead, we’re here to help you learn and grow, because we need more people like you learning how to build a more secure world.
I’m very excited to work, collaborate, and learn with all of you, and I can’t wait to see this community grow!
MemberJune 22, 2020 at 8:29 pm
Wow! Amazing. Thank you for starting this as I could never put into words what you just did. It is so much a struggle among students like myself especially being older I have been just overwhelmed. My younger brother for example has a two year with CCNA and sec+ certs and still can’t find a job. They want experience. My goal is to go on to get my masters but in between find a job in this field. Just wanted to say thank you and that out of all the sites out there no one has put this as succinctly as you have!
AdministratorJune 22, 2020 at 9:11 pm
Thank you for the comment, @sechvn , and welcome to the community! Certifications used to carry a lot more weight, back when fewer people had them. They are still beneficial, especially in getting your foot through the door, but you’re right — hiring managers expect a certain level of experience instead of hiring and providing training for upskilling to that level.
I’d love to chat with you and your brother on ways we can bolster the experience level and resume to land those jobs. We’re currently thinking through different projects that may be good fits.