Industry Trends

A Conversation with a NSE Training Institute’s Veterans Program Graduate

By Jay Garcia | May 31, 2021

Anyone who has tried to hire a cybersecurity professional understands that the shortage of skilled candidates for critical cyber roles is severely impacting organizations. Fortinet is committed to helping address the skills gap through the Fortinet Training and Advancement Agenda (TAA) and NSE Training Institute’s Veterans Program by providing training, mentoring and employer connections to veterans and their spouses. The Veterans Program is also addressing high rates of veteran unemployment in collaboration with veterans’ nonprofits and the public sector. The Fortinet Veterans program focuses on helping veterans transition into the cyber-security industry and capitalizes on the natural synergy between national defense in the Armed Services and defending critical information for businesses and government agencies.  

Today we spotlight Isrrael Quintero, a 10-year Army veteran, Fortinet Veterans Program graduate, and now a Systems Engineer at Fortinet to get his take on how the Veterans Program helped him transition into a career in cyber and how his military experience has helped his civilian career at Fortinet.  

NSE Training Institute

Can you give us a summary of your military background?

I enlisted in the Army in 2004 as a Petroleum Supply Specialists and got medically discharged in 2014. Within my ten years of service I did three tours in Iraq (2005-2006, 2007-2009 and 2010-2011) and became a sergeant. 

What attracted you to apply for the Fortinet Veterans Program?

I applied for the program because it offered free security training, therefore, allowing me to stand out to potential employers and ultimately leading me to an open position in Fortinet’s SE role. Now that I’ve graduated the program and I’m a part of Fortinet, I want to mentor and guide other veterans who are interested in network security or in any IT role.

What NSE training courses did you complete and did you find it useful?

I completed NSE 1 and 2 under the Fortinet Veterans Program; which then allowed me to complete NSE 3 and NSE 4 via the NSE Certification Program once I was hired within Fortinet. I’ve found the training very useful not only in gaining new knowledge but also in helping stand out to employers while I was searching for jobs, ultimately, helping me secure a job at Fortinet. 

What do you do now and what does a normal day in your job look like?

I’m a Systems Engineer at Fortinet working with customers and prospects to present demos of Fortinet products and answer any technical questions. 

How has your military background helped prepare you for your current job?

My military background has helped me prepare for my current role because it was there that I learned the value of thoroughly analyzing a problem or task to ensure the best information was available in order to make a meaningful decision. I bring this trait with me in my current role as it allows me to have a unique point of view; which has shown to be useful for various applications. I believe that the stressful circumstances I am accustomed to have positioned me to perform exceptional under pressure. I truly believe we are as successful as we are prepared and it is a mentality, I carry with me. Being a sergeant brought forth many responsibilities and leadership skills that helped me supervise over fifty soldiers at a time. This position helped me learn how to talk with various personnel, from the lowest to the highest senior ranking throughout the military. I also learned to be extremely organized and thorough, which I also implemented to my soldiers. It was all of this and much more that allowed me to create, oversee, and run Latin America for my previous employer.

What's the best thing about coming to work each day? Is there a "perk" to your job that might surprise people? 

The best part about coming to work is the current team I am a part of. The chemistry within the team is very positive; they are every helpful and full of energy. Another, thing I love about working at Fortinet are the toys (products). If you enjoy learning and working hands on with security or network this is the best place to be.

Why should companies hire FortiVets?

Companies should hire FortiVets because they are highly motivated veterans, who are looking to implement their unique skill sets learned in and out of the military to their employer. The veterans that have gone through this program have received a rigorous interview process, security training, and mentorship making them stand out to potential employers.

Training Veterans and Connecting Them to Cyber Employers through NSE Training Institute

Veteran’s hold a critical skillset that translates remarkably well into the world of cybersecurity, between situational awareness and defending critical information for businesses and government agencies. Fortinet supports the growth and diversification of the cybersecurity workforce through the TAA initiatives and the NSE Training Institute’s training programs, including providing veterans and their spouses with easily accessible training, mentoring and employer connections through Fortinet’s Veteran’s Program. The Veterans Program also provides a solution for the high rates of veteran unemployment in collaboration with veterans’ nonprofits and the public sector. 

Find out more about how Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) and NSE Training Institute programs, including the Certification ProgramSecurity Academy Program and Veterans Program, are helping to solve the cyber skills gap and prepare the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow.