Frank was burned out from working in architectural design, and was looking for a more stable career. He was a total cybersecurity beginner before Level Effect’s Cyber Defense Analyst Bootcamp, but was able to quickly reskill and land his first cybersecurity role at Tevora. Learn what stood out to Frank about Level Effect when he was researching bootcamps and his recommendations to future bootcampers on how to make the most of your cybersecurity bootcamp. Plus, find out how Frank earned the Cyber Defense Certified Professional (CDCP) certification offered by Level Effect.
What inspired you to learn cybersecurity, Frank?
My background is in industrial and environmental design. I used to work as a designer for an architectural design company that contracted me out to Themed Entertainment companies. After years of going through the wringer of working in the entertainment industry, I was ready for a career change. When a college friend invited me to try Level Effect’s Cyber Security Bootcamp, I decided to give it a try.
There are so many cybersecurity bootcamps today – what stood out about Level Effect?
I chose Level Effect for their instructors. Regardless of where you work or what you do, a good teacher is everything. I was lucky enough to follow in the footsteps of my friend who knew the instructors at Level Effect and spoke highly of them. I appreciated the instructors’ keen level of focus at Level Effect.
Did you know much about cybersecurity before Level Effect? How hard was the application process as a beginner?
Not really. I knew there was a hiring surge in cybersecurity, but I later discovered how difficult the application process would be as a beginner. You will have to apply to a lot of jobs. My advice, follow the Level Effect Team’s guidance.
How did you pay for the tuition?
At the time, Level Effect offered a discount for folks who paid in full, so that’s what I did.
Since this was an online cybersecurity bootcamp, what was a typical week like at Level Effect?
Classes are held Monday through Thursday from 5pm to 7pm PT. During the first 15-30 minutes, we went over any self-paced course content to prepare for the next lecture. The rest of the class was dedicated to a new lecture and hands-on learning. We had scenario-based challenges daily and some that would span multiple days depending on the weekly module.
What did you actually learn in the Cyber Defense Analyst Bootcamp?
The curriculum covered a broad range of subjects related to how systems work, Identity Access Management, Linux, Malware Analysis, Networking, Adversary Tactics, Threat Hunting, practical Cyber Triage, and how to break into and defend systems. The course catered to developing my skills to become a SOC analyst. I learned how to better protect a network, and how to create reports should an organization require them. Language-wise, everything I learned, I learned from their Cyber Defense Analyst Bootcamp. They gave me the tools to get my cybersecurity career started.
Did Level Effect prepare you for any networking or cybersecurity certifications?
The bootcamp didn't prepare me for a specific certification per se, but it gave me a lot of insight and knowledge to be comfortable grasping concepts in CompTIA’s Networking+, Security+, and A+.
I actually got my CompTIA Security+ certification right before the bootcamp to prepare myself for delving into cybersecurity. Doing so helped me conceptually — It made sure that I didn't get stuck in the first few weeks of the bootcamp.
Editor’s Note: Graduates of Level Effect’s Cyber Defense Analyst Bootcamp can sit for the Cyber Defense Certified Professional (CDCP) certification offered by Level Effect, which involves completing a 1-week, hands-on, no multiple choice practical exam.
What has been the biggest challenge in this journey to make a career change into cybersecurity?
Getting started is always tricky. When I started making the career change into cybersecurity, I picked up Darril Gibson’s “CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead SY0-501,” a book about a topic I knew nothing about and yet read to gain some understanding of how the computer network pieces together. In the beginning, it was challenging for me to understand. Luckily, I had the Level Effect instructors who pointed me to good resources and had an answer for every question I had. Every bit of knowledge helps and every bit of knowledge counts.
How did Level Effect prepare you for the job hunt in cybersecurity?
Level Effect supported its students with resume development and mock interviews. If there was a job you were interested in, your cohort leaders would draft interview questions catered toward the specific position you were applying for so you could practice. For my job search, I dedicated ample time to applying for cybersecurity jobs. I followed the guidance of my instructors, who kept reassuring me along the way.
Congrats on your new cybersecurity role as an Information Security Associate at Tevora! What was the interview process like?
Tevora helps companies design security processes and implements security solutions to fit an organization's unique environment. During my interview, I had to exhibit an understanding and interest in specific topics. Then, the Tevora team gave me a problem to solve before I was able to move forward into the role.
What are you working on today as a Security Associate?
Day-to-day, I am not coding, but I am learning a lot and sometimes I get to implement the concepts I learned in Level Effect. I do reports, dabble in Identity Access Management applications, and practice good cyber hygiene whenever possible.
Looking back at this career change journey, was enrolling at Level Effect worth it for you?
Enrolling at Level Effect was worth every single dollar I paid for tuition. My career now is far better than I expected. I'm thrilled that the timing worked out for me because if Level Effect didn't exist, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to take the course with my instructors, who were beyond helpful to me.
What advice would you give a friend starting at Level Effect?
I recommend gaining a high-level understanding of some cybersecurity information before enrolling. Taking the Cyber Security Foundations intro course that Level Effect offers will be helpful in your success throughout the main course. By taking the intro course, you will consistently build off of that knowledge.
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