Q&A with FortiVet Graduate Michael Grams

The cybersecurity skills gap, defined as a shortage of qualified people needed to fill open positions in IT security, is a real world, global problem that must be addressed if we hope to stay ahead of today’s motivated cybercriminals.

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021. Every year in the U.S., a plethora of cybersecurity positions go unfilled, and employers are currently struggling to fill the over 90,000 positions in the states of California, Texas, and Virginia alone, according to the cybersecurity data tool CyberSeek. With this being said, there are strong synergies between military service and cybersecurity that can be leveraged to address this growing challenge. With the new year upon us, let’s focus our recruiting efforts on the over 265K men and women that are leaving our military every year with technical training, experience, and the proper perspective necessary to effectively fill our cybersecurity skills gap.    

Because the match between the need for cybersecurity professionals and trained military veterans is so high, this is a great opportunity to feature a “graduate” of our Fortinet Veterans Program. This unique program facilitates the transition of exceptional military veterans into the cybersecurity industry by providing professional networking, training, and mentoring to bring them up to speed as they transition to the civilian workplace. Today, dozens of “FortiVets” have already been trained, with many more currently enrolled or successfully starting their careers in cybersecurity at Fortinet, as well as at our distribution and technology partners.

Today, we spotlight Michael Grams, a 5-year veteran of the US Navy, a FortiVet Program graduate, and now a Network System Administrator, to get his take on the program.

 

Can you give us a summary of your background in the military?

In the Navy, I was a Hospital Corpsman. My job was mainly focused around emergency medicine and clinical care of United States Marines. I also spent a year working in mental health at the Naval hospital. I had multiple responsibilities, from maintaining medical records for an entire Battalion to supervising nursing shifts at the hospital.

What do you do now?

I work as a network system administrator as part of a national printing company. I’m responsible for all aspects of their IT infrastructure, including networking equipment, servers, and workstations, as well as peripherals and line of business devices. I’m also responsible for maintaining network security and making sure that all compliance and policy standards are met throughout the organization. I’m also in charge of engineering the future of the IT infrastructure for my organization.

How did you get into the FortiVet program?

I found the FortiVet Program while working for a managed services provider that was a Fortinet partner. I was looking into ways to fast-track or improve my chances of finding a position in the industry as a security administrator or systems administrator. After a couple of interviews with the FortiVet program team, they decided I was a good fit and started my program participation. 

Why do you think the program is important to help fill the talent gap in cyber security?

The program seeks veterans who are interested in cybersecurity or who have had experience in cybersecurity while working for the military, fills in any gaps in their skillset through rigorous training, and then connects them to its partners looking for trained cybersecurity professionals. By doing this, Fortinet is providing employers with a chance to find experienced, highly disciplined, and adaptable jobseekers that have been carefully vetted by the program. The FortiVet Program also provides veterans with a way of showcasing their talents, while giving their partners a way to fill the talent gaps they are currently experiencing.

What is the benefit of hiring military veterans?

By hiring a veteran, you get an employee that has already proven themselves to be someone that can learn new skills quickly and adapt to their surroundings to be effective and productive. Every veteran has been trained with multiple soft skills that can be very useful, including leadership, team building, communication, and customer service, to name a few.      

What would you say are the benefits to a company for hiring someone from the FortiVet program?

Companies that hire from the FortiVet program aren’t just hiring veterans. They are hiring veterans that have gone through a rigorous interview process, and have then have received specialized cybersecurity training and mentoring. Jay and his team work directly with each veteran that is accepted and provides them with the personalized insights, coaching, and mentoring they require so they can bring these jobseekers to their partners with confidence.

 

Check out our entry level designation of the Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) program. It is intended to provide a basic understanding of the threat landscape facing networks today. Anyone interested to learn about the threat landscape and cybersecurity should take this course for more learning. Also learn more about the Fortinet Network Security Academy available to educators and students or more about the FortiVets program mentioned above.

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