Industry Insights: Dr. Andrea Cullen, CAPSLOCK Co-Founder & Cyber Security Bootcamp Boss

Industry Insights: Dr. Andrea Cullen, CAPSLOCK Co-Founder & Cyber Security Bootcamp Boss

Meredyth Grant

Dr. Andrea Cullen has some brilliant insights into the future of our country’s cyber landscape, and thanks to CAPSLOCK and TechVets, believes that future includes veterans.

Do you know CAPSLOCK? It’s a company that runs award-winning cyber security bootcamps for learning in-demand cyber skills fast. In as little as 16 weeks, these bootcamps turn complete rookies into Certified Cyber Security Practitioners.

TechVets is proud to work alongside CAPSLOCK in connecting veterans, service-leavers, reservists, and military spouses with life-changing training opportunities. You can read about taking a CAPSLOCK course here, or reach out to us TechVets for more information on getting started.

We’re delighted to know that CAPSLOCK likes what we do as well, and supports our mission to empower the ex-Forces community into tech and cyber jobs. It aligns with their own goals, as explained by CAPSLOCK Co-Founder Dr. Andrea Cullen herself:

“CAPSLOCK was founded on the understanding that the UK has a cyber security skills gap, and that helping adults reskill could help fill that gap with diverse people from all walks of life.”

Read on to learn how she does it, and what she sees for the cyber world in the years ahead.

Changing Lives Through CAPSLOCK Cyber Security Training

CAPSLOCK came about when Andrea saw the need for a quicker, more accessible, and more efficient route into the cyber world. As we know, not everyone has the time or money to spend years in university pursuing a tech degree.

By taking “the best bits” of university programmes and developing an “up-to-date, industry-focused curriculum,” CAPSLOCK did just that. It has helped hundreds of people reskill and launch cyber careers since its founding in 2021.

“We see people develop their skills and confidence over the weeks on the bootcamp and then go on to start these incredible careers,” says Andrea. “It is just amazing to be part of their journeys. It never gets old.”

CAPSLOCK courses are open to anybody from any background, and can be completed remotely. Remote learning is one of the reasons cyber upskilling is a fantastic option for those transitioning out of the military and/or managing family responsibilities while trying to start a second career.

CAPSLOCK recently launched a pledge called ‘Cyber’s Brighter Future’. The ‘Cyber’s Brighter Future’ pledge is a way for individuals and businesses to commit to making the cyber industry a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming place. The idea is that you share one of our pledge badges on social media and accompany it with your own pledge to make cyber’s future brighter. There have been some brilliant ones so far, with people deciding to mentor people who are new to the industry and committing to calling out stereotypes about cyber. Anyone can get involved, you can visit this post for all the information and to download a badge. And if you search for the hashtag #CybersBrighterFuture on LinkedIn, you can see all the fantastic posts from people and organisations who’ve already pledged. One of CAPSLOCK’s key commitments is helping to drive greater diversity in the cyber industry long-term, so it’s been great to see such a positive reaction to the pledge.

Supporting Veterans in Tech Careers at CAPSLOCK

Andrea has seen firsthand the value of ex-Forces students in tech, and has been present for many cyber career success stories. CAPSLOCK is a great supporter of veterans and military spouses pursuing cyber careers.

“We’ve seen lots of ex-forces personnel coming through CAPSLOCK and their work ethic and dedication to the course is brilliant,” she explains. “They also have some great outcomes and have gone into a diverse set of roles in cyber.”

Members of the military community also bring excellent values and skills to the cyber world. In Andrea’s words:

RELATED: ‘Square Peg, Square Hole:’ Jim Perkins Finds His Place in Cyber Security After Military Service

Why are Service-Leavers Needed in Tech and Cyber?

Andrea says now is the time to give cyber careers a try, as cyber skills become more and more essential to businesses, governments, and individuals alike.

Technology-based connectivity is an essential service in much the same way as electricity or water, and therefore provides a great attack surface for any malicious activity,” she shares. “Although cyber war and cyber terror may seem extreme, a country’s infrastructure continues to be a vulnerability that can be exploited for gain.”

She points to confidentiality and the fear of leaking data as key concerns for businesses today. Everyone is reliant on technology in both home and workplace environments, which has created many areas of vulnerability.

So how do we move forward? Andrea advocates for promoting proactive preparation, and raising awareness of the many different pathways available into cyber careers- especially for the ex-Forces community to see.

She hopes many more veterans will “find their next calling” in the cyber industry, as demand for qualified pros is high (and rising!).

“At the end of the day, technology is part of everything we do and therefore even more importantly, so is cyber,” Andrea says.

RELATED: UK Cyber Week Partners With TechVets to Close the Cyber Knowledge Gap

Looking to the Future of Cyber Security

One benefit to CAPSLOCK courses is their ability to stay current and give people truly cutting-edge training relevant to the cyber landscape of today AND tomorrow. And that landscape changes fast!

“A lot of people may start by talking about AI, but this is just one technological advancement and there are many more,” explains Andrea. “The real issue I see is that technology in general is evolving at such a break-neck speed, it is difficult to put the controls in place at the same pace to effectively manage and protect…any new development always has the propensity to be used in positive and negative ways.”

As examples, she references how 3D printing technology has not only made medical advancements but also DIY weapons, and how cryptographic algorithms used to protect our data has also been used to exploit it. Without tech and cyber controls, things can quickly get out of hand.

“People generally want to do the right thing, but it can be difficult for most to understand what exactly that is when it comes to cyber security,” she says. “Inspiring the next generations to be interested in cyber, and see the potential in all this technology that’s developing alongside them, is so important.”

As long as people continue to be inspired into cyber careers, Andrea believes the future will see CAPSLOCK growing “from strength to strength, continuing to change lives and break down barriers to education” (perhaps while she herself retires to spend time “travelling, baking bread, and cuddling cats”). We agree!

To futureproof your own career, find out more about cybersecurity and tech training with TechVets. If you are a veteran, reservist, service leaver, or military spouse, you can register to join here. For more career insights from those in the know, check out the link below.

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