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Justin Cooper | Cyber Security Student Testimonial

We catch up with Learning People graduate Justin Cooper who changed his career from retail manager to cyber security professional by studying and passing the CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA CySA+, and CEH

Tell us why you enquired with Learning People

I didn’t know anything about getting into the industry, and a quick Google search showed me that Learning People had the top reviews. There are a lot of scam companies out there and I could see that Learning People wasn’t one of them. I researched the certifications that were being offered and they were all legitimate and well sought after certifications.


Were there any specific skills you were looking to gain or develop by enrolling with Learning People?

No, I didn’t know anything about the industry at all. I’ve always been a techie and I’ve been able to code for a long time, but I didn’t have a clue. So it was good that Learning People were able to tailor a package for me and give me guidance as well. It’s like an all in one package, where I didn’t have to worry about anything. I was given the learning materials, I was given the exam vouchers and I knew that there were free retakes as part of my course as well, which was really good because I actually failed on two certifications, and then had to retake them.


Was there a particular reason you chose to enrol with Learning People, and did you speak to any other educators or training providers?

I did look at other ones like IT Career Switch and people like that, but they weren’t offering the comprehensive packages that Learning People had with the practice labs and the unlimited retakes. I think they offered the CompTIA A+ and Network+, but it wasn’t straightforward.


Tell us about your experience of learning online using our system and the associated labs

The learning material was quite straightforward, when I did the CompTIA A+, it was quite in-depth in terms of there being a steep learning curve of technologies, and there are two parts to that exam. I was actually provided with additional resources by StudentCare and the labs were easy to access. It was just literally logging in to the site, pushing the button – and it’s all set up for you. It was really easy.


Did you utilise any of the course mentoring – if so, how did it help you?

No, I didn’t really need to. It was all pretty straightforward, there was nothing on there that gave me any cause for concern. And I think within this industry as well, if you’re going to be a Cyber Security professional, you have to be quite good at Googling. A lot of us will come across stuff every day that we don’t know about and we Google it, so I would say if a student does want to be a Cyber Security professional, they need to be quite independent and be able to go out there and search for that knowledge anyway.


How did you get on with the practice exams /  test preparation?

I would say that the ones that were provided were ok, but the ones that simulate the CompTIA actual exam that you guys provided, they were a lot more in tune with what CompTIA were going to ask. 


Tell us about your experience of working with our Career Services team, and what did you find most useful?

They were really helpful, I worked with Marisha at the time. She guided me through the process of writing my CV and how to use LinkedIn, which was invaluable. I use it to this day and I’ve secured all my positions through LinkedIn.


Cyber security career change


How did enrolling with Learning People affect your career?

Massively. I’m basically being paid £21,000 a year more than I was two years ago. But it’s important to understand that it’s not all about the money, you have to love the industry. I would say my life has changed in terms of my lifestyle, in that I’ve got to study about 2 hours every night, at least five nights a week just to stay on top of the latest threats and technologies and study for exams. So if someone didn’t want to do that, then it’s not for them.


Tell us about your new job / promotion

Well, I haven’t actually started it yet because I’m still working my notice period, but in terms of what a cyber security engineer does, it’s more about implementing systems, setting them up, spinning up VMs, and maintaining firewalls. The analysts will analyse the data coming through and make suggestions on vulnerabilities, but the engineer will be the one to actually implement and maintain those secure systems.


What has been the best part of your Learning People experience?

I would say getting the certifications, because each one is like a level up, and it gives you a boost to get the next one. It is straightforward as well because you can access all the learning materials on an iPad, or a computer, wherever you are. I remember doing my day job, taking my iPad with me, and I was able to do the training on breaks, so it was really helpful that it’s so flexible. 


What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking about enrolling with Learning People?

I would say as well as the courses that you guys provide, which are excellent, I would say it can help to be able to script in Python and bash, and now that people are moving more to Azure, I would say PowerShell. I’m quite weak on PowerShell I’ve got to say, but having some basic programming scripting skills are helpful, you can get in without them but I’d recommend learning them. I would also say work hard, and never stop learning.