How finding a professional network set this former Marine on the fast track to a rewarding cybersecurity career.
When the straight road wasn’t getting him the job he wanted, 2023 MSSA graduate Frankie B. leveraged specialized training and the MSSA Alumni network to break into the cybersecurity field as a cloud technician.
Tell us about your job. What do you work on now?
I’m a cloud technician for a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that works exclusively with Microsoft Azure. I’m responsible for monitoring systems, aiding with compliance, and implementing the latest solutions provided by Microsoft. I also support clients that are migrating to cloud systems.
My team manages 50+ clients, so the work varies each day, but the impact is consistently positive.
I’m excited about taking on more cybersecurity responsibility and working at the IT Operations Center that deals not just with cloud, but also networking and cybersecurity issues.
How did MSSA get your boot in the door for these opportunities?
I have a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, but I didn’t feel competitive in the job market because I had no real-world experience. During MSSA, I worked a lot with Azure cloud, so I went into interviews with practical experience in a growing technology.
The success of past MSSA graduates also helped me get my job. Directors in my organization had previously worked with MSSA alumni, and the reputation they created for MSSA’s training led their recruiters back to the program when they had roles to fill.
I was actually hired at the same time as another MSSA alumnus, so we onboarded together and helped each other learn the new job.
What are some of your proudest moments so far in your IT career?
I am very proud to have picked up the job as fast as I did. Having an outside perspective helps me triple-checking my assumptions when troubleshooting problems, so I’m getting good at finding system issues.
Managers expected a six to nine-month learning curve, but halfway through training, both of us who were hired from MSSA were already able to help and work in-step with the team, which surprised them.
Do you have advice or key learnings to share with transitioning service members?
Don’t underestimate structured training opportunities like MSSA or other SkillBridge programs. The training will get you up to speed, and having a network helps you see how other people got where you want to go.
Also, make time to get certifications in your focus area. And don’t forget to use your GI bill benefits—education is always going to help.