How a Ballerina could move into Cybersecurity

Cyber Security, IT 24th Jul

Jason Ford, Quanta Cybersecurity and IT Trainer talks about the limitations in Cybersecurity Training courses. Jason discusses a safe and more practical path for those aiming to improve their penetration skills.

In 2020 the UK Government launched a widely derided campaign encouraging people to consider jobs in cybersecurity. They chose an image of a Ballerina with the caption “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber”. There were many issues with the way this was presented. I won’t claim to be skilled enough in PR to critique them here. However, it isn’t too far from my experience teaching Cybersecurity courses over the last decade.

The Perfect Candidate… In theory

While I haven’t yet had any Ballerinas attend my courses, I frequently get delegates with roles in IT Support or Project Management looking to change careers. Also, I teach resettling military personnel learning to take positions in “Civvy Street”. One of the popular routes is to take courses and pass exams to fill up their CVs with qualifications like Security+,Cysa+,CEH,CREST,CISSP etc. These different courses are excellent at providing detailed information on methodologies, technologies, and processes. But one thing they don’t do so well is actually equip delegates with the competence to do the job they want.

This is not a problem unique to Cybersecurity. I personally have qualifications in areas, or for products that misrepresent my competence in a real-world situation. For example, My BSc is in Chemistry, but if you asked me to hand you a bomb calorimeter, all you would get is a blank stare! At Quanta, my colleagues that deliver training on Project and Service Management have developed excellent “Business Sims” to bridge the gap between knowledge and competence. Courses like this are great for organisations, but it’s difficult to leverage that into a new job in the way that a qualification would.

From Theory to Practice

Delegates on my courses often feedback that they are given scenario-based questions or even “homework” ahead of interviews for Cybersecurity roles. They often feel unprepared for the interview even if they are loaded up on Qualifications. My personal delivery style is to focus on giving my delegates as much hands-on experience in the classroom as possible, but outside of that, there are some excellent resources online like Hack the Box or Immersive Labs. You can even use virtualisation technology to spin up your own lab environment using open-source materials like Parrot, Kali, Metasploitable, and SecOnion.

If I were Fatima, or anyone else looking to move into a career in Cybersecurity, I would strongly consider complimenting Qualifications with some practical practice. You can achieve this either by following a guide or trying to break stuff at home in a closed environment. This will not only contextualise the theory covered in exam-based courses but also make it much easier to start a new role.

A Final Note



Quanta has recently launched our CompTIA CASP+ course. CASP+ is aimed at advanced cyber professionals looking to attain a recognised qualification that demonstrated their competence in applying cyber skills in a business setting.  This sought-after qualification combines traditional multiple choice-based questions on its exam with detailed simulations. The exam really tests the delegate’s capabilities! Those that pass can be confident that they can walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

CASP+ is the final element of the CompTIA Cybersecurity Pathway. Contact us to learn how we can support you on your CompTIA Pathway.





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