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Success by Certification: Matthew Gira

Tue Feb 16, 2021 at 05:48 PM

Matt Gira

Training toward an administrator role within AIM Specialty Health, a subsidiary of Anthem Blue Cross, Matthew Gira credits the doors that have opened in his career to the cybersecurity class at Blue Ridge Community College, and professors Dan OBrien and Jay Holsapple.

“The class was exceptional,” said Matt. “I’ve already recommended it to several different people, and I’ll continue to do it.”

Looking back on his career, Matt began as a logistics analyst, eventually moving into a network operations analyst within the IT field. It was at that point he felt he lacked the foundational knowledge to advance his role.

“I decided to first get into the networking course with Mr. Richardson,” said Matt. “That helped me get a really good foundational knowledge that was directly relevant to my current position.”

As he finished up his networking certifications in the course, Matt heard that Dan OBrien’s cybersecurity course had opened and decided to go for it.

“I had a conversation with Dan and Jay. They told me about the class and what they were going to do,” explained Matt. “Immediately, the doors that it would open with that skillset in the cybersecurity field, just jumped out to me. My company saw what I was doing, and they offered me hands-on experience with some of the tools that Dan had shown us. Instantly, I was able to get on-the-job training.”

With an entirely virtual class atmosphere, including the use of WebEx conferences, Dan was able to create a unique teamwork environment for his students with breakout rooms. Additionally, Matt complemented Dan’s technique of drawing attention to “real life” job boards to help students browse their career options.

“I got to know Dan really well while in this class, but I also got to know several of the students, and I actually linked up with a couple of them on LinkedIn and Facebook,” said Matt. “Dan also spent a lot of time pointing to different positions while explaining what it would take to leverage up into that role. He put a big emphasis on career development which I thought was superb. That really made the class stand out.”

As Matt continues his training, he is looking forward to the opportunity to pursue either a systems administrator or network administrator role within his company. With the help of the courses he’s taken at BRCC, Matt knows which certifications he will need in order to advance and continues to build his knowledge and skills with plans to move into a project management position in the future.

His advice to others? “Jump in. Just go for it. There’s no reason not to,” said Matt. “Once you get in, you’re forced to be on a schedule. You start the courses, and as long as you put the time and effort in, you can expect that you’ll walk away with a certification instead of always having it on the back burner.”