The Cyber Advantage program is a six-month intensive program at Montgomery College in Maryland. It prepares participants for a career in Cyber Security in an effort meet the demand for professionals in the field. In march of 2016, I graduated as part of the first cohort of the program.
Cyber Advantage has completely changed the course of my career for the better because it gave me the knowledge and skills to confidently start my career in cyber security. I would strongly recommend anyone interested in cyber security to apply, and here’s why:
When I first decided to pursue a career in cybersecurity, I had no idea where to start. The thought of all the things I had to learn was very daunting. This program was perfect because its courses were based on the most fundamental knowledge building blocks that I could use to understand more advanced security concepts. It also forced me to dedicate time to actually learning about cybersecurity, rather than just talking about it.
My cyber advantage cohort was extremely diverse. We had students of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and experiences. We ranged anywhere from current college students (like myself) looking to gain a head start, to professionals already working in other sectors of IT, to people with decades of experience in other industries looking to change careers. The courses start from the absolute basics, so you can keep up regardless of what you already know (or do not know).
Dedicating 9 – 14 hours weekly to classes is no easy feat. Especially if you are already a student with a full load of course, or if you a working professional and have to drag yourself to class after a grueling workday. Having other students in your cohort makes that feat a lot easier because they can encourage you and hold you accountable since they are also going through the same thing. In addition, they can get you caught up if you are ever absent.
Unlike other college/university settings, professors in the Cyber Advantage program are the most talented practitioners in their domains, so they are passionate, and up-to-date on the topics that they teach. This makes all the difference because the skills they teach you are very same ones that they use daily at work. These skills will make you very marketable to recruiters when you begin the job hunt.
Cyber Advantage is special because it not only gives you the knowledge to begin your career in cybersecurity, but it also gives you the tools to apply that knowledge. The program comes with support in the form of book vouchers to help you pass your certification exams, in addition to career counseling courses that teach you how to market your newly acquired skills. Through this program, I was able to pass the CompTIA Security + exam, in addition to obtaining an internship position within the computer incident response team of a major defense contractor.
Learn more at Cyberadvantage.org