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How Life Can Change in a Month

A short month ago I had this idea in my head, after being exposed to the world of Twitch via my kids and a couple of people I’ve learned from – why not try it myself? So I tugged on my Logitech headset, turned on my webcam, and proceeded to make a fool out of myself attempting to get through rooms on a website called TryHackMe. Thanks to the awesome people in the Ur-Hackr.com Discord, the VetSec Inc. Slack, and my amazing family, I’ve stuck with it now for a month. Monday-Friday, 5pm PST, on Twitch, beating my head against a keyboard.

I also recorded a 5 minute trial course on Cybrary.it, only to seemingly see it fall through (FYI, I got ghosted, for anyone else that gets any of their recruiting emails). I upped my participation in VetSec a bit, and learned a lot about the industry I’m transitioning into. I finished my second course on the path to a Masters Degree, and started the third.

Over the month, I figured my streaming would be a good outlet for me to get some practice time, and if a few people came to say hi online, so be it. I didn’t expect what really happened. In a short month, the generosity of community has been amazing. As I sit writing this, 156 people follow my stream (basically, they’ve agreed to get email notices when I go live). Additionally, 25 people have subscribed in total, which means they’ve paid to eliminate advertisements for themselves on my stream and support me monetarily. I didn’t anticipate either. I had hoped for maybe 25 followers and a couple subs. Blown. Away.

In addition to this, thanks to the leadership at VetSec Inc. and the wonderful sponsorship by eLearnSecurity, I was gifted a Cybersecurity course called Penetration Testing Student. This past week I passed the exam and am now a certified eJPT.

Finally, even though I can’t go into too much details yet, my work with VetSec, Inc., is just beginning. For anyone that is a veteran interested in CyberSecurity, or is active duty and looking for more information on the Information Security domain, please contact me or visit VetSec at https://veteransec.com. My work there is only beginning and I look forward to sharing more of my journey with all of you! Stay tuned!

How to Get Started in CyberSecurity

There’s a thousand posts about this topic, covering everything from whether Cyber is right for me, to the different certifications one could get, all sorts of stuff.  I’m going to try and take a slightly different tack with this one, and talk about learning in general.

You see, I joined in the Navy fresh out of High School. I didn’t even really know what I wanted to do with my life at that point. I didn’t understand what work in the real world was like – up until this point, I’d worked at a small cafe in Port Ludlow (which, unfortunately, went under within the past year), and McDonalds.  I knew I liked computers, and I knew my grades weren’t the best.  Perfect spot for a Navy recruiter to grab me, I know.

Anyways, after 18 years of service to our country at this point, I’m most grateful to the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program for teaching me how to learn.  The academia we go through is very rigorous. It’s extremely fast paced, teaching us the ins and outs of nuclear power inside of 18 months, including how the equipment actually functions well enough for us to do maintenance on it.

So after all this, how do you get started in Cybersecurity?  Find out if you like it. Learn about it!  Not just how to do the jobs, but what the jobs are about!  If you’re a veteran, like me, check out places like VeteranSec.  Network on LinkedIn.  Peruse Reddit and look through the various groups there. I just did an AMA on Navy Submarine life, look for one on Cybersecurity!  There are tons of ways to learn more about the profession. The Cyber Mentor has some great videos on a day in the life of a penetration tester.  There are some great blogs, and if you want to actually try some of it out on the red teaming side of the house, then visit sites like Ur-Hackr, TryHackMe, and HackTheBox.  For those super new to the profession, I am a big fan of the community that has been built up thus far in Ur-Hackr (of which I am a moderator), so come join us on Discord as well!

I’ll be updating a list of awesome links to gamified resources for hacking, learning cybersecurity, and more on the right sidebar when I get around to it.  Until then, try some of the links up above.  Remember, especially in our current age of coronavirus, people are our greatest asset.  Communicate with them!  This community is awesome and we’re all here to help.

Want to talk more? Come join me in the Ur-Hackr Discord!