Learner Testimonial — Skills Bootcamp in Cyber Technician
After finishing his 12-week Skills Bootcamp in Cyber Technician, our learner, Dean Ibbetson, had a chat with us about his experience. How did he find the programme and what's he up to now?
Dean has always had an interest in IT. After leaving school, he planned to work in aviation, but soon found out he was too young to be insured for this type of work.
After serving 3 years in the military as an Aircraft Refueler, Dean joined the NHS. What was meant to be “a stopgap” grew into an 18-year-long career as a Senior Nurse Practitioner for Mental Health.
Dean started out as a Support Worker and qualified as Psychiatric Nurse in 2010, an unexpected yet rewarding career. But his passion for technology never left him and he found himself researching it again.
IT had been a hobby for Dean for a long time — building PCs, installing programmes, learning about software. After attending some courses in Game Programming, he began to investigate Cybersecurity and how they connect.
He intended to achieve the BCS Certificate in Information Security Management Principles (CISMP), but a recommendation from a family member guided him to try a Skills Bootcamp instead, putting him in touch with a Firebrand trainer.
The trainer gave him a roadmap of courses to take and Dean decided to follow it. Shortly after, he enrolled on the Firebrand Cyber Technician Skills Bootcamp.
"I quickly realised it’s not an easy course," he said, but he found the flexibility of the programme rewarding. He was able to arrange his full-time shift pattern in the NHS around the 2 days of online training per week. Dean praised this aspect of the Skills Bootcamp, as the combination of remote training and self-study allowed him to achieve his certifications without sacrificing his work.
"I was expecting it to be quite easy, just study days...but it took a lot of external studying, doing more of a deep dive into what was taught, researching the modules," Dean said.
“Some days I’d finish work at 8pm and be up until 1am studying. A lot is down to the desire to learn. What you’re taught on the course is a foundation of knowledge — you have to build on it.
"My instructor, Gary Fildes was phenomenal. He was really knowledgeable; if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have passed!
“The way the bootcamp was structured worked really well,” Dean said, with gaining CertNexus as the first certification was a good way to ease into Cyber Security.
The content was easy to grasp and didn’t require a lot of revision for Dean. By completing that first, he was then set up to begin CISMP, which required more in-depth studying and was the focus for his main exam.
The course gave Dean such a strong foundation of knowledge and hunger to learn, he decided to take it further and gain an (ISC)² certification separate from the Skills Bootcamp.
Skills Bootcamps also provided employability support throughout the programme. Dean forged great connections with his Instructors, Success Coach, and peers.
"My CV was originally 5 pages long — my Success Coach, Zaira, really helped me condense and format it in a useful way for employers!"
Dean stayed in touch with his fellow learners on WhatsApp, discussing job opportunities sent by the Firebrand Recruitment team.
“Zaira told me about her route into Cybersecurity, becoming a mentor; I’d been passionate about education since my NHS days, mentoring nursing students, I had a lot of transferrable skills.”
Dean made a humorous comment to that effect on LinkedIn; “I said, congrats, can I have your job? 😉” The Firebrand team took him up on it and, before the Skills Bootcamp was over, he was offered a job which he is very excited to start.
To anyone thinking of starting a Skills Bootcamp, "I would massively encourage them to apply!" Some of Dean’s NHS colleagues have already signed up, as the rise of technology within the healthcare system attracts more individuals looking to make a shift in their careers.
Thank you, Dean for getting in touch! We wish you all the best in your new role — welcome to Firebrand!