Kristin Strand: Be firm in your goals. [Consultant]
Kristin Strand: Hello. My name is Kristin Strand. I am a Cybersecurity Associate Consultant at BARR Advisory.
Kristin Strand: As I was growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. I can remember from about second grade. I was playing basketball in high school and one of the coaches was actually a recruiter and he knew I wanted to go to college, but wasn't going to be able to pay for everything out of pocket, and so he sold me that line that the military would pay for my schooling. And so there, I was signed up in the Army. I definitely expected it to be hard and it was, um, but I kind of approached it like I approach many things that I've found to be difficult, find someone that I know already did it and I'm like, if they can do it, I can do it. And that got me through basic training and then through a lot of the things that I wanted to accomplish, as far as the Army was concerned.
Kristin Strand: I went to college. I originally thought I was going to teach phys ed. And I just actually found the content to be pretty boring. So then I changed my major to teach math. And, so that's what I did for about six years. I enjoyed it. I like solving problems. Yeah. and, knowing that I got to the right answer.
Kristin Strand: Teaching is rewarding, but not very lucrative. I have a family so I wanted to make more money. Originally I felt like being a teacher was a stable job, job security. The world will always need teachers. So in career changing, I also thought about, okay, what job can I get that can also be just as rewarding, but also job security? Where's the world going? And so of course I thought computers, IT, and so that's how I decided to get into IT.
Kristin Strand: I always considered myself to be pretty tech savvy, by looking at YouTube or trial and error, able to figure out things, but just general things. I feel like I could learn to do anything.
Kristin Strand: So when I first started out in the Army, I was a flight operations specialist working with pilots that flew helicopters and checking their logs, their plans, and then checking in with them, making sure that they were on course not experiencing any difficulties in flight, and checking them back in when they got back. Once I decided that I wanted to get into IT in the civilian side to try and get some background, I changed my job specialty to IT, but it actually turns out that as a 25 Bravo, I was in a signal position and we worked mostly with antennas. So not really what I wanted to do civilian side. I'm actually training now to go and be a drill sergeant. So going to have a whole new job specialty, I'm going to be more in line with what I did in the civilian side, bringing in new soldiers and kind of teaching them the Army way.
Kristin Strand: Trying to get the training that I needed to get into IT. I went through the Department of Labor and they connected me with program through Apprenti. I was able to attend this 12-week program that paid me while I went, so kind of like a job and I went to class from nine to five, um, five days a week for 12 weeks and they paid for my certifications and trained me and here I am, cybersecurity. Initially, when you sign up, they have employers who are pretty much already invested in you and they are waiting for you to graduate that program and get your certifications and you have a job before you start the bootcamp.
Kristin Strand: I have a plethora of engagements or projects if you will, that I'm working on. And I kind of really self-manage throughout the day, maybe have meetings with internal coworkers or clients, and I have deadlines and due dates. I am so happy that I made these moves. It's honestly, it's better than what I thought it, that it could be and that's just because of the company that I work for. I really believe that the culture there at BARR and they really care about the employee. I see myself, you know, being here for a while and I, I love what I'm doing now.
Kristin Strand: My go-to words of wisdom since I've started, this whole process is just to make sure you know what you want, have your goal set out and to stick to it, be firm in those goals and expressing them. I know when I first started out with the Apprenti program, and being in the military and wanting to progress in IT and looking at cybersecurity, a lot of people told me, you know, well a good way to get into the IT industry is through help desk. And I knew that that wasn't the type of job that I wanted, but, um, I was willing, you know, to go that route if I had to, but I really was not wanting to do help desk to deal with angry people day in and day out who can't get their stuff to work. I got offered actually through Apprenti to do a help desk position first, but I knew like that's not what I wanted to do, so I stood firm and I said, no, I'm not going to take it. I'm going to wait for cybersecurity to come along. They called me twice, offered me help desk and I declined it twice standing firm on knowing what I wanted and cybersecurity came along. It's really been the best decision that I made to stand firm and to know what I wanted and to wait for it to come around.