NGT Academy is training the next generation of cybersecurity analysts and network engineers – and that includes dedicated career services. Kim, a Senior Career Coach at NGT Academy, shares what students can expect from the career services curriculum, and the typical cybersecurity and networking roles NGT Academy graduates land.
Kim, how do you support students at NGT Academy?
I’m a Senior Career Coach, and like the other coaches, I coach a few cohorts each session. We teach career classes every week for full-time cohorts and every other week for part-time cohorts. In between those classes, we’re always in contact with our students. We have one-on-one meetings and we grade their career milestones, which include resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles.
What is the ideal career goal for a graduate of NGT Academy?
In the vast majority of cases, our goal is to help NGT Academy students land entry-level networking or cybersecurity jobs. For our students that have some experience in the industry or tech field, we help them move into middle or senior-level positions in networking and cybersecurity.
What sort of jobs do NGT Academy students typically land?
Our Network Engineering students land roles as Network Analysts, Network Administrators, Junior Network Administrators, and Network Engineers.
Our Cybersecurity students typically land roles as Information Security Analysts, Cybersecurity Engineers, and SOC analysts.
When do career services start at NGT Academy?
Immediately! Our career services team participates in a student’s Launch Call, which happens when the bootcamp kicks off. At that point, students can start scheduling their one-on-one, which is their first milestone in the program. We touch base and figure out what their goals are and how we can support them.
All of our programs include two career weeks – one meets midway through the bootcamp and the other at the end of the bootcamp. During these career weeks, we cover everything from negotiation, resume-building, LinkedIn, mock interviews, networking, and other similar topics.
The second career week is a culmination of everything from the program and we bring in speakers and alumni to share experiences or talk about things like imposter syndrome. In between those classes, students can book as many one-on-one Zoom appointments as they want!
Are there career benefits to learning cybersecurity online?
Learning networking and cybersecurity online shows employers that you’re self-motivated. Our students gain a lot of technical skills that are essential for this field by completing our online programs.
We are always updating our career resources, whether it’s the website, slides, handouts, curriculum, and so on. In response to COVID, we’ve added topics to our careers curriculum, such as online networking and virtual career fairs.
Does NGT have employer partnerships?
We have a national employer network that’s always growing. Our employer network is very supportive. Our employee partners share open positions with the NGT Academy careers team that we can then share with our students
How are NGT Academy students prepped for cybersecurity job interviews?
We do an interview workshop where we focus on behavioral questions and we offer technical interview workshops. Our students can use resources like Big Interview to practice their interview skills as much as they like. We recently integrated peer interviews into our curriculum and in the first career week, students are paired up to do a peer interview for an hour.
We do mock interviews with students all the time. I’ve even done multiple interviews with the same student as they develop that skill set. We encourage students to do as many mock interviews as they need.
Does NGT help students with negotiation and compensation?
We’ve built negotiation and compensation right into our careers curriculum! We tell students that we can do a practice run-through where we negotiate together or we can just talk about what to say in those scenarios.
What are employers looking for in today’s networking and cybersecurity professionals?
Employers are not concerned with only an applicant’s technical skills or education anymore. Employers are interested in an applicant’s willingness to learn and passion for that role. They always tell me those skills will supersede anyone with extensive experience.
Another important factor for these two fields is hands-on experience. Employers who recruit NGT Academy students know that our students have that real-world experience, thanks to our curriculum and labs.
Do you have any tips for grads that are trying to decide if a company is right for them?
Research the company you’re interested in by referring to websites like Glassdoor where you can read employee reviews. I tell students to take these with a grain of salt because people who tend to post reviews are either very unhappy or extremely happy.
If you can connect with someone who works at the company on LinkedIn, you can ask about their experience and challenges. They can give you the highs and lows of working at that company.
I tell students that they don’t have to take the first job they’re offered and that it’s completely okay to work a job for a year or two and then move around. Gone are the days where you’re expected to work for a company for 20 years, so don’t feel that you have to take the first offer! If you do feel it’s a good opportunity but not a company you want to stay at forever, that’s okay too. Just do it for a couple of years to gain that experience.
Finally, always go with your gut and look out for red flags. If things don’t seem right, follow that instinct and think carefully about your options. If you’ve been made an offer, remember that’s not the final offer you’ll get.
For those bootcamp grads currently on the tech job hunt, how do you recommend they incorporate their past work and education experiences into their elevator pitch, cover letter, or resume?
Our NGT Academy students have worked as baristas, forklift drivers, customer service reps, bartenders, and everything in between, and we tell students that it’s great to share their past work history because it shows they have professional experience. Past work experience shows that you understand how to collaborate, work in teams, be accountable for your time, and all those other skills that are transferable across professions. We tell students to show which skills are transferable to network engineering or cybersecurity. If you have past work experience or a degree, put it on the resume because it’s not going to harm your application and it might actually help.
Does NGT Academy continue to support their bootcamp grads in their careers post-graduation?
Currently, we do. We have people that reach out after a year or so who have done a job and they want career support. We have unlimited support and we continue to support and stay with our alumni. When one of my classes graduates in September, I will continue to support them until they get into employment. If they want to return in several years, I will happily support them.
Tell us your favorite student success story!
We had a student last year who went from being homeless to working as a network project manager making a six-figure salary! When he was interviewing for networking roles, he was told in an interview that he was far above what would be considered as entry-level knowledge, and they gave him a more senior role where he now manages a crew of engineers.
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