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How Haaz Skipped the Entry-Level Job and Shattered the "No Experience" Barrier

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By: SLWelty

December 14, 2018

Haaz is an Insider Pro member who used Cybrary to successfully change career fields. Prior to Cybrary, Haaz encountered many adversities when applying to entry-level jobs with little to no experience. Cybrary’s online learning community gave Haaz the tools and knowledge necessary to wow companies and win interviews. Read more about his journey in his own words:

 The catch-22 problem in IT and Cybersecurity professions is that in order to land an entry-level position you need experience, yet without an entry-level position, you cannot gain that requisite experience. Add to that the necessary requirement of various certifications and you are faced with a frustrating and demoralizing fight to break into the infosec field. But wait! There is a way past these issues, for me, that was Cybrary.

You can advance your cybersecurity career if you choose >>

I had a decade of IT experience in systems administration when starting Cybrary, and I came with the goal to switch tracks to Cybersecurity. I was lacking experience in the cybersecurity field, and even was willing to take a pay cut and start at the bottom. Let me flip to the last page of this story and tell you that not only did I get a pay raise, but also accepted a senior position as an Incident Handler. I’m now working for a major technical services provider in the D.C. area that supports several federal agencies. 

All this happened within three months of joining the Insider Pro program.
 Let me tackle the usual problems associated with looking for entry level work one-by-one: 

Lack of Experience

The usual advice regarding this is to build your own lab and install tools like Wireshark, OpenVAS, IDS, and Firewall. The idea is that installing these tools, capturing and analyzing traffic, and defending and breaking into an environment you have built will give you the required experience. This is great advice, except if you don’t have the resources to set up it up yourself, you’re out of luck.Having access to Cybrary’s virtual labs sidesteps the need to have your own lab. This allows you to jump straight into learning the tools needed for the job. I used these labs to quickly gain experience in network security monitoring and malware analysis. The lessons associated with the labs demystified a lot of concepts. I was able to speak confidently about the tools and what they do in my interviews. 


The wonderful thing about Cybrary’s Insider Pro for cert prep is that not only do you have lectures, but also practice labs and practice exams. It’s a one-stop shop to get your theoretical and practical knowledge down. I’m currently using these to prep for my [CySa+]( and [CISSP certification]( I am a kinesthetic learner, therefore having the option to physically do what I’m learning helps solidify knowledge. Learn how to advance your cybersecurity career today >>


Another common piece of advice for advancing in any career field is to find a mentor. Unfortunately, you cannot go to your local grocery store and pick one out and most of us are not thrilled about cold calling people to help. Cybrary’s Insider Pro program pairs you up with a mentor from the get-go. Mark Nibert, my mentor, was contractually obligated to wake up to my messages backed up on his phone. He helped with my interview prep and navigating the career change process including next steps. I appreciated his patience and guidance through the process. Then there is Gina, a lovely lady I met through the online community, who was immediately invested in me and helped with resume writing and interview advice. When you’re second guessing yourself, it’s great to have someone with more experience to sure you up or give you course correction. My advice to anyone considering Cybrary’s Insider Pro program is to come with an attitude to work hard, respect the community, and trust the process the mentors have set up. Good luck!  



Please Note: At the request of the individual featured in this success story photos or names may be modified to protect their privacy.

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