Industry Trends

Fortinet’s NSE Training Institute Supports Veterans’ Transition into a Career in Cybersecurity

By Al Nasturzio | August 13, 2021

Skills Gap Perspectives 

The cybersecurity skills gap is a real world, global problem that must be addressed if we hope to stay ahead of today’s motivated cybercriminals. Through Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) and NSE Training Institute, Fortinet is working to close the cyber skills gap through various programs and initiatives. 

Recognizing that there are strong synergies between military service and cybersecurity that can be leveraged to address the talent shortage, our NSE Training Institute’s Veterans Program facilitates the transition of exceptional military veterans and military spouses into the cybersecurity industry by providing professional networking, training, and mentoring as well as helping connect them to employers. Today’s military is highly technical, and many of these men and women have been trained to use some of the most sophisticated technologies running on some of the most highly targeted networks in the world. As a result, much of their situational, hands-on experience translates to the cybersecurity battlefield. Situational awareness, maintaining security, intelligence gathering, and support for chain of command are all skills that translate well to a role in cybersecurity.

We had a conversation with Minh Son – a 5-year Army veteran, Fortinet Veterans Program graduate, and now a systems administrator – to get his take on the Veterans Program and NSE training.

Veterans Program

Fortinet's NSE Training Institute Supports Veterans

Can you give us a summary of your military background?

I enlisted in the Army in 2012 as a Cryptologic Language Analyst specializing in Persian Farsi. After basic and job training, I was stationed at Fort Gordon, GA. While performing my duties as a Cryptologic Language Analyst, the Army sent me to Network+ and Security+ boot camp as part of my cross-training. The training provided along with meeting my mentor led me to seek out IT/Security roles following my enlistment.

What attracted you to apply for the Fortinet Veterans Program? 

The Fortinet Veterans Program is a great opportunity. I was a little lost on how to advance to the next level in my career and the program provided me with security training through its NSE Certification Program, interview tips, and mentorship that I needed to help me transition into the civilian world.

Transitioning into a Cybersecurity Career with Fortinet's NSE Training Institute 

How far did you get into the NSE training and did you find it useful?

I’ve completed NSE 1, 2, and 4 training courses. The NSE 4 course is very comprehensive and contains many important cybersecurity concepts that would be useful for any IT professional, not just someone working with Fortinet equipment. The material in NSE 4 helped me answer some security-related questions for my interview and impressed my interviewer, helping me stand out to employers.

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

I am currently employed with General Dynamics Mission Systems as a Linux System Administrator. I build virtual and bare-metal Linux systems for a Multilevel Security (MLS) data center. I carry out Trusted Network Environment (TNE) Linux command line administration and ensure successful operation of cross-domain enterprise solutions.

What unique challenges do veterans face and how did this program assist?

I think one of the biggest challenges that veterans face is not being able to translate their experience and skills in the civilian sector. Depending on what you did in the military, there may or may not be an equivalent position in the private sector. It is hard to adapt and use the right wording when writing a resume or conducting interviews. The Fortinet Veterans Program is a great help in this regard. The Battlecard helped me narrow down what to include in my resume and the proper industry-specific wordings. The mock interview helped me prepare for what questions were going to be asked during the interview and helped me focus and stay on track. The NSE training courses helped me review IT and security concepts and learn new ones allowing me to bridge some knowledge gaps.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

One of the best pieces of career advice I received was from my mentor. He told me that the real interview starts when the interviewer asks “do you have any questions for me?”. He explained to me that the interviewer will make his/her judgment on whether to hire you by the quality of your questions. The interviewer can tell how interested you are and how you think by your questions. As a result, I always try to be engaging with my questions and ask detailed questions tailored to what was discussed during the interview.

Why should companies hire graduates from the Fortinet Veterans Program?

Companies should hire Veteran Program graduates because FortiVets have been prepped for success and are ready to hit the ground running on day one. 

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.