VetsInTech CyberSecurity Training at Palo Alto Networks in Santa Clara, CA (August 6-10, 2018)
The instructor of the course was Mitch Densley. I am not sure that it is possible to request the instructors by name, but if I could, I'd request Mitch for every class. He provided an abundance of resources that went above and beyond the core curriculum, to the point that there wasn't enough time to review them all. I am still perusing materials days after the class is over. Mitch was not alone in delivering the course. He was accompanied by what I would best call subject matter experts: Sandro (Professional Services Architect) and Tom (Content Developer) also brought their weight of experience to bear during the course, helping to translate classroom activities to real-world applications. One thing I won't forget about Tom is that he finds his work fun because he gets to tinker for a living. One thing I remember about Sandro is that he said "The Network is King" more than once. It's almost like a mantra with that guy.
The focus of the course was not purely academic. The head of technical recruiting, Chuck Konrad, described how job descriptions and resumes are read by actual recruiters and provided pointers on how this could be used to your advantage. One point that was made repeatedly was reaching out to persons inside the company of interest prior to blindly submitting an application. Interview pointers on being prepared to explain and answer how one has overcome adversity and/or performed in the past with respect to the role's requirements. Further, he made a big emphasis on integrity/honesty (since no one is expected to know it all in cybersecurity, not knowing it all isn't a negative).
There were multiple guest speakers that came by an accentuated that we (veterans) should be prepared to show examples of abilities that veterans hone: learning quickly, adapting and overcoming in volatile and/or adverse situations, discipline to persevere in spite of limited progress, etc. Further, the guest speakers voiced how Palo Alto Networks supported veterans in the training initiatives.
Oh yeah, lest I forget: there was a consistent reminder that adversaries are launching automated attacks, and that defenders have to get better at putting in place the proper automated defenses.
Here's a run-down of the persons I encountered during this course. I was able to get a little something from everyone.
Mitch Densley (Security Training Engineer at Palo Alto Networks)
Classroom Subject Matter Experts:
Sandro Janita (Professional Services Architect at Palo Alto Networks)
Tom Gonzales (Technical Instructional Developer at Palo Alto Networks)
Guest Speakers (in order of appearance):
Linda Moss (Vice President of Global Enablement at Palo Alto Networks)
Chris Starling (Director of Operations at VetsInTech)
Ashley Richardson (Security Training Engineer at Palo Alto Networks)
Rick Howard (Chief Security Officer at Palo Alto Networks)
Chuck Konrad (Director, Global Technical Recruiting and Veterans Programs at Palo Alto Networks)
Dustin Whidden (Sr. Veterans and Diversity Program Lead at Palo Alto Networks)
Mark Anderson (President at Palo Alto Networks)
This gentleman wasn't a guest speaker, but he was very receptive to comments (both positive and negative) with regards to the courseware:
Hung Ha (Courseware Development Manager at Palo Alto Networks)
Also, a shout out to my fellow students:
Currently, the calendar at vetsintech.co lists upcoming events in Arlington, VA (Washington, DC area) and Boston, Massachusetts:
VetsInTech Cybersecurity Training (Arlington, VA) (VetsInTech, in partnership w/ Sun Management and Palo Alto Networks)
2019-09-17 (Monday) thru 2018-09-21 (Friday)
VetsInTech Cybersecurity Training (Boston, MA) (VetsInTech, in partnership w/ DraftKings and Palo Alto Networks)
2018-10-22 (Monday) thru 2018-10-26 (Friday)
If you have any questions about the experience, I can provide a first-hand account of any details you're curious about that weren't expressed here.
Since VetsInTech is a non-profit, it depends upon donations to provide its outstanding services to veterans. If you would care to donate to their mission, you can do so at this link: https://vetsintech.co/help-us-help-vets/
VetsInTech is a non-profit that helps veterans connect to the technology industry, with programs for education, entrepreneurship, and employment. For more information about VetsInTech, please see https://vetsintech.co.
Palo Alto Networks is a for-profit network and enterprise security company based in Santa Clara, California. For more information about Palo Alto Networks, please see https://www.paloaltonetworks.com.