Introducing the Veteran Training Initiative by Palo Alto Networks that is focused on helping veterans transition into careers as cybersecurity professionals. Read the interview with Mitch Densley, a Lead Technical Trainer with the Veterans Network. Got Questions? Get Answers from LIVEcommunity.
As we approach Armed Forces Day (May 18) and Memorial Day (May 27) in the United States, I’d like to take a moment to bring your attention to the cybersecurity training offered to military veterans by the Palo Alto Networks Education services team.
The Veteran Training Initiative by Palo Alto Networks was developed by Jay Mackey, Director of Technical Education Delivery, to help veterans transition into new careers in cybersecurity.
According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 200,000 servicemen and women transition from active-duty back to civilian lives each year (The Military to Civilian Transition, 2018).
I had the honor of sitting down with one of the Lead Technical Trainers for the Veteran Training Initiative, Mitch Densley, who is also a military veteran and one of the founding members of the Learning Happy Hour on LIVEcommunity. Densley served 10 years in the United States Navy as an IT1 (Information Systems Technician) 1st Class, and he has been with Palo Alto Networks for a little over three years.
As Lead Technical Trainer, Densley revealed that “every instructor leads a classroom of motivated individuals working toward a common goal with a successful outcome, and the common mission and team spirit are the same in the military (plus a lot more), which I believe gave me the confidence and motivation to do what I do.”
Rick Howard, Chief Security Officer at Palo Alto Networks, speaking to a classroom of veterans in 2017.
The Veteran Training Initiative presents a “skills learning path” that allows veterans to follow nine clear, self-paced steps in preparation for taking one of the Palo Alto Networks certification exams—PCNSE, PCNSA, or PCCSA.
“I am proud to work for Palo Alto Networks and that we are enabling veterans to learn a ton of new skills at their own pace and explore any cybersecurity aspect that interests them,” said Densley.
The LIVEcommunity page for the Veteran Training Initiative states, “Veterans have intangible qualities and values developed during their military career. Those same qualities and values are needed in the cybersecurity arena.”
When I asked Densley to expand on the types of qualities and values veterans possess and how those can contribute to our company culture at Palo Alto Networks, he paused for a brief moment, then smiled as if he was remembering a great memory, and then he replied:
“We are all one team! The camaraderie within the veteran community is instant and palpable regardless of the branch of service or oftentimes country of service. I think veterans naturally exude qualities of integrity, honesty, dedication, commitment, and honor. These are precisely the qualities I value in my coworkers and work to maintain in myself.”
Veterans group picture at Palo Alto Networks in 2017.In closing, I asked Densley if he had any advice for veterans thinking about entering the world of cybersecurity.
“I believe that we are currently living in a cyberwar that has material impacts in the physical world, and we need cyberwarriors who understand the discipline needed to combat the enemy,” said Densley. “Veterans of all stripes have an important role in this cyberwar because they don’t run away from a challenge, they run towards it! It doesn’t matter if you were a cook, infantry man or woman, pilot, officer or hull technician—all are needed and valued!”