Karen, Jay, and Ashley: recent BRCC Cybersecurity program grads Three recent graduates of the BRCC Cybersecurity program share their experiences – from how they chose the field of cybersecurity, to what they like best about their new careers.  

Cyber Security Grads Stay Local

Mon Jan 6, 2020 at 09:55 AM

Karen, Jay, and Ashley: recent BRCC Cybersecurity program grads Three recent graduates of the BRCC Cybersecurity program share their experiences – from how they chose the field of cybersecurity, to what they like best about their new careers. Karen, Jay, and Ashley are all Cybersecurity Analysts with Tiber Creek Consulting. While the company is based in Fairfax, VA, they have a remote office in downtown Waynesboro, VA.

What was your previous career?

Karen: I worked at a public middle school for 13 years, most recently as a Student Information System Clerk.

Jay: Currently I am co-owner and operator of Brown & Co. Hair Design in Harrisonburg, VA.

Ashley: PC support at Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center.

What sparked your interest in the field of cybersecurity?

Karen: I’ve always been interested in IT. Finding out about the GO Virginia Grant and BRCC’s cybersecurity program piqued my interest in the direction of cybersecurity.

Jay: I began taking classes at Blue Ridge out of necessity. I wanted to network my work computers with my home computer, and thought that with a little instruction I could do it myself. In order to the take the networking class I had to take some prerequisite information system classes, and was hooked from that point.

Ashely: I have been interested in computers since I was a child.

What were your impressions/feelings about the BRCC program?

Karen: The program was great. It provided me with lots of resources for cybersecurity training and certification. The instructor, Dan O’Brien, was so helpful in providing information on career opportunities and was always willing to provide feedback and advice whenever I needed it.

Ashley: I enjoyed the class. Dan did a good job explaining the individual topics and helping us with the labs.

What is most challenging about your job?

Karen: I learn new things every day and consuming so much information in a relatively short amount of time can be challenging at times. But, I love it.

Jay: The most difficult part of the job is taking technical information and converting it to language that can be understood by non-technical people.

Ashely: I have worked with computers for a while but cybersecurity is definitely different from anything else that I have ever done.

What do you like most about your job?

Karen: Tiber Creek Consulting is a great company. They created a tool, IntelliGRC, to help streamline and automate cybersecurity assessments for organizations. I use this tool daily and it’s so exciting to be a part of helping companies reduce their information security risks.

Jay: Coming from the service industry I love to help people solve problems. The pay and benefits are great and I really like the flexibility and the ability to work remotely.

Ashley: I really like the flexible work arrangements.

Any future plans for more training?

Karen: Yes, I plan to earn CompTIA A+, Network+ and CySA+ certification by September 2020. CISA will be next in line after those.

Jay: I am currently studying for the CompTia Advanced Security Practitioner or CASP certificate.

Ashely: I am currently studying for the CySA+ certification.

GO Virginia Cyber Security Grant

BRCC students can receive this training at a significantly reduced-cost thanks to the GO Virginia Cyber Security grant. The goal of the grant is to train and employ 50 Tier I Cyber Security Analysts by July 2020.

The GO Virginia training program includes a security review course, CompTIA Security+ Exam, Cybrary online training, and on-the-job training, and takes approximately three months to complete. For more information, contact Dan OBrien, GO Virginia cyber security program manager and instructor, at (540) 453-2254 or obriend@brcc.edu, or visit GO Virginia Grant.