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A Man of Many Certs: How One Cybrarian Views Micro Certifications

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By: Olivia

March 13, 2017

We’ve been asked by many members how other Cybrarians are using micro certifications to learn new skills and further their careers. It’s a fair question certainly, with this concept being so new.Certifications are imperative to a cyber security career, as they have become the standard to prove one’s knowledge on a set of skills.  But micro certifications seem to leave some of you with the sense of hesitation, which is fair. New is often scary.So, I decided to reach out to one of Cybrary’s members, Larry Cameron, who has fully embraced certifications.As of today, he has earned 10 micro certifications. Among them, PCI/DSS and Risk Management Framework.Larry Cameron is the founder of Quantus Technical Solutions and the Canadian Rural Internetworks Society. He dabbles in a variety of areas, including cloud computing, IoT, and Cyber Rehab.child_computerWhen asked about his background, Cameron says, “I got into IT at an early age. My sister showed me a book of programs for the commodore 64 and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I tried a few programs and started to understand the concept so I merged two programs to make my first custom program at age 8. I was tinkering with a 486 dx at age 14, opening the autoexec.bat and other .ini files and trying to figure out what the purpose was for. It has always been in my blood and I have been focused on IT since high school, all 4 years of college and now for my entire career.”With that focused of an IT background, certifications are critical, as you can imagine.“My first certification(s) were when I worked at Research In Motion. They are the makers of the BlackBerry,” Cameron shares. “I wrote 4 certification exams over 2 days. I only show the highest certification BCSD. Otherwise, my signature would be a paragraph and look a little awkward.”Even a quick glance at Cameron’s LinkedIn will show you his signature is longer than most: ‘Larry Cameron- MDS, SCSC, CCA, BCSD, CSMS, ISMS.’That being said, his role at Quantus Technical Solutions has a heavy emphasis on cyber security. “Every device I implement has the potential to make my customer vulnerable. I apply this skill [cyber security] to all of my projects to ensure they are protected when I am not around. I also consistently trying to improve and harden customer environments due to new attacks and vulnerabilities coming out every day.”When I asked why he personally believes certifications are important, Larry’s answer was synonymous with one of our core beliefs at Cybrary.
I believe that continuous learning is important
He expanded on that point to say, “This can be instructor led, online, self-study, certificates, certifications, diplomas and degrees. I wanted to be a professional student at one point until I saw the student loans start piling up. I did lots of Cisco, Novell, A+, Server+ training in college, but I never had the money way back then to get the certifications.”Part of the benefit of micro certifications is that they are so much more accessible, both in format and in price. For Cameron, he says he’s drawn to micro certifications by the great selection of training programs that focus on the content he likes.Most importantly, for those of you doubting the validity of micro certifications, Cameron is also able to provide an employer perspective.
I am the person who interviews for my team. I have updated my HR team to ‘count’ Cybrary when looking at CVs and sifting down to the ones to bring in
never-stop-learningWhile some of you may be surprised to hear this, in reality, you should be delighted. Micro certifications were created with everyone in mind, and employers who open their hiring criteria to focus on skills means that everyone has a chance at the career they desire.Larry Cameron, a well-credentialed professional, is just one of many to see that micro certifications carry immense value. But his mindset is not the only one shifting the climate at the institutional level.Another Cybrary member, Jaden Turner, contacted the team to share great news: “Colorado Technical University online is using my certification of course completions as accredited and being applied towards my classes.”As of March 13th, 2017, over 30,000 micro certification exams have been taken. This is only the beginning.Ask yourself, what inspires you to learn? And how can your thirst for knowledge make for a better future? Watch this video and reflect on these questions. The answers, are a part of Cybrary's growing mission, as you can see in this video: Lynch (@Cybrary_Olivia) is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the field of cyber security. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog.
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