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Get a Cyber Security Job without a degree or Certification

Here is how I've landed jobs and contracts that required a degree, with NO degree.


My high school guidance counselor forced me into taking Building Trades when I was a sophomore. I wanted to take the Business curriculum, but he literally said I wasn't smart enough. Back then, if he said I wasn't good enough for the Business curriculum, I couldn't take it.


He forced me into taking Masonry the first year and then Woodworking the second year. Honestly, it was the worst two years of my life. I was forced to do something I didn't want to do. Let me tell you, I couldn't build a level brick wall if my life depended on it. When I graduated high school the cabinet that I was supposed to build was uneven, unfinished, and honestly pretty hard to look at.





Being forced into this, I nearly failed high school. I was unhappy and miserable doing something that I had no desire for. This made it even worse. Because I had bad grades, I was labeled. I was labeled and written off as someone who probably wouldn't contribute to society. They had me convinced I was pretty much a failure, so right out of high school I took a factory job and had given up my dreams. Now I was even unhappier than before. I had pretty much accepted the fact that I was a failure. No dreams, no drive, no future.


Years later I found IT. I took a Desktop Support job knowing nothing at all, but I read answers out of a book when users called in with problems. Slowly I started realizing how much I liked computers and IT in general.


I quickly moved to network admin, systems admin, consultant, and then landed my first job in a SOC on an FAA contract. From there, I found a passion for penetration testing and pursued it. Fast forward a few years and I was a certified QSA for the PCI Counsil and was doing security auditing for companies processing millions of credit cards a year. Five to eight years after that I took my first contract as a vCISO.


I want to get across two points:


1. Don't ever, and I mean EVER let someone tell you that you aren't smart enough to do something. That is not their decision to make.


2. Nearly every job I landed through my IT career required a degree. If you recall, I didn't have one and still don't. I can tell you that it is a fact that many job descriptions are wish lists. If they say you need a degree and you don't have one, apply anyhow. As long as you have the skillset, you can still be an asset.


I promise that you have ZERO chance of getting any job that you don't apply for. I am one of many who have pushed through to beat the odds.


I later served as the VP of the School Board for that same school. Only you get to decide your future. Not a guidance counselor, HR department, gatekeeper, or even your boss.


If you need help, reach out to me!

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Get Free Advice from Mike

I send out weekly tips on career advice and growing your LinkedIn account so that you are more attractive to recruiters and hiring managers.  Grow, be discovered and get hired.

Thanks for submitting!

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