Testimonials Apps Brecon

Learner Testimonial — Skills Bootcamps in Cyber Technician: Brecon

Skills Bootcamps can help people reskill into tech regardless of their professional background. Our recent graduate, Brecon Smith, has done just that. This is his story.

“I studied Art and Graphic Design for a long time and worked as a freelance web designer, graphic designer since I was 17. I mostly did digital design – business logos, letterheads, etc., using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, painting a picture here and there…  

“As part of web design, I did dabble in learning basic Java Script back in the day, but didn’t use it; I was focused on the frontend ‘look and feel.’

“After many years of doing this, I grew tired. I love art as a hobby; doing it for other people increasingly felt like a chore; it was draining me creatively, so I was looking to reskill.

“Then Covid hit. The design world was hit quite hard, especially in my area; a lot of designers, photographers, lost a lot of business; plus, friends who went to uni have been struggling to get work in the industry for a long time.”

Ready for a change, Brecon researched online.

“I saw an ad for Firebrand Skills Bootcamps. I’d grown interested in Cyber Security for a while, on the side, when I’d had to use digital forensics tools like Autopsy to recover deleted files on a corrupted SD card.”

Why a bootcamp and not a course, or something else?

“The main appeal of the bootcamp was that it was so focused on Cyber Security and the fact that you get a lot done in a short period of time – just 12 weeks. I didn’t want to spend 2-3 years at uni before jumping into a career!

“Getting to do two certifications during the programme was very useful too. I did Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) and the BCS Certificate in Information Security Management Principles (CISMP).

“I’m quite lucky in that I don’t have a busy schedule – for example, with kids to look after – a lot of people on my course are working parents with other responsibilities. I admire them for doing this!

“Everyone at Firebrand made it as easy as possible for them to do this, to wrap the bootcamp around their lives. Our Success Coach, Michaela [Flowers] was so helpful to everyone and made the process friendly.

“The tutor we had for CISMP, Adel Abdel Moneim, was fantastic; he even taught one of our lessons on his birthday! He didn't tell us until the end of the day, and then he didn't go out, but stayed on to explain aspects of the day’s lesson that some people had struggled with. He really went above and beyond to make sure everyone understood the subject and was comfortable with it. He was a pleasure to learn from!

“We had a really nice study group, around 15-20 people; it was great to learn alongside a bunch of friendly faces. My bootcamp was online, but I made a good friend through the course! He works in IT for the NHS; for him, the bootcamp was a professional development activity rather than a career change. It was great to ask for his advice when I needed it.”

Having gone through the Skills Bootcamp, Brecon researched what to do next; he was recommended an Apprenticeship and then specialising into Cyber Security even more.

“I started applying for Apprenticeships with instant success – almost all of them wanted to interview me!”

Now, Brecon is doing a Level 3 Azure Cloud Support Specialist Apprenticeship with an MSP (Manage Service Provider) based in Bristol. “We offer cloud-focused services, IT support for various companies in the area, and so on. It’s a varied workload; security applies to every aspect of IT anyway – or, if it doesn’t, it should! – so I’m always applying what I’ve learned.

The Apprenticeship helps him expand the foundation he gained during the Firebrand Bootcamp and progress into a more specialised role. As his career takes shape, Brecon looks to focus on Cyber Security more and more, but, given the fast expansion of IT as a whole, “I may end up changing my mind!”

So, would Brecon recommend Skills Bootcamps?

“Absolutely. Skills Bootcamps are one of the easiest ways I’ve found to add those aspects to your CV that will get an interviewer to look at it and say, ‘This person may not have the proper experience, 3 to 5 years, but I can see they’ve put the effort into learning these skills and will be able to learn on the job too.’ Having the Firebrand Skills Bootcamp on my CV definitely got my foot in the door with the interviews I attended.”

Thank you for your feedback, Brecon!