Leeann Ryder (left) & Giuseppe Scalamogna (lower right) of the Project Ares Team talk with Robert Hogan (top right) about his cybersecurity education pursuits.
What inspired you to learn cybersecurity?
I started at a retail job which is a very routine work environment and I didn’t think it was a great fit. I wanted more of a challenge and I thought IT was interesting. So, I pursued my Bachelor’s in Video Game Development at Full Sail University.
At the start of my job search, I felt that the job culture of game development was just not for me. Developers take on roles that quickly stop and have to find new ones. It’s not the best option for me because I really want job security in my career.
When did you decide you had an interest in cybersecurity?
I started an online software development program at the Lambda Academy of Computer Science.
During our application security studies, my class got an introduction to digital security and how to protect the applications that we developed. That sparked my interest in cybersecurity.
How did you find NexGenT and join their cybersecurity certificate programs?
I researched security programs with income share agreements where you can complete the program and pay the school back. I chose NexGenT where I was introduced to Project Ares and earned a Cybersecurity Associate (NCSA) & Cybersecurity Professional (NCSP) certificates.
Are you still studying Cybersecurity now?
I started a security plus certification and now my exam is in about 14 days. Once I take that exam, I’ll finish school for now.
What kind of roles are you interested in pursuing once you finish your CompTIA certification?
My first choice is to become a security analyst. Afterwards, I want to work on the defensive side for a few years and move into Red team.
What do you like most about Project Ares?
After Cybersecurity Foundations and Networks, we got access to Project Ares so we could get hands on practice and manipulate things and do penetration tests.
It gave me hands-on tools as opposed to making my own labs with virtual machines. Project Ares was already mission ready and set up. I didn’t have to think about how to set it up and test it.
Is there a piece of Project Ares content that really resonates with you?
The Stop Terrorist Financing Mission is fun and feels like a real mission where I’m in control. Portflow is great too and helps students learn port numbers in a way that’s fun and easy.
What words of advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about studying cybersecurity?
For any complex topic, you need passion. If you don’t like a subject, you won’t sit through lectures to learn it. Break larger concepts into smaller ones and work your way up from there. That’s my advice to make the concepts less intimidating.
Would you encourage someone without an IT background to study cybersecurity?
Absolutely. I don’t feel there’s any subject in technology where you can’t start at zero and learn. If you’re interested then you can start as a beginner. You don’t need any foundational skills. There’s free and paid resources you can use. You can start on YouTube. There’s always a platform for you to start at no matter where you are.
The Project Ares team appreciates all we learn from our students.
We’re excited by their passion, drive, and desire to be successful!
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