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Meet Kassy Scarcia, NexGenT’s Career Success Coach

Meet Kassy Scarcia, NexGenT’s Career Success Coach

NexGenT Career Coach Kassy Scarcia

Kassy Scarcia is passionate about helping others believe in their potential and never settle for less than an amazing life. During her time at UNC-Chapel Hill as an undergrad, she fell in love with helping young adults chart their path for life and be successful in moving their goals forward. She went on to complete her Master’s in College Student Advising online, while working full-time and spent the last 8+ years working in different higher education settings as an academic advisor, career counselor, and success coach. Kassy has supported students at top universities such as Harvard, Boston University, and the University of Maryland.

In addition to her time in education, Kassy is also a professionally certified life coach with 3 certifications in life and leadership coaching and 5+ years running her own life coaching business. Having worked with students for many years, she realized that choosing a plan for your future is about more than just your strengths or what you think you should do. She became passionate about helping people, of all ages, discover the path they truly want to take in life and develop the confidence and mindset fortitude to bring that dream to reality. This passion led Kassy to create her own life coaching business so that she could help adults make life and career transitions, even after college. She is on a mission to create a generation never looking back on life with regret or wondering what if.

When Kassy isn’t coaching or mentoring (which she truly finds fun), she is usually spending as much time as she can with her niece and nephew (very proud auntie!) or planning her next travel adventure. She has two furbabies (cats) who she enjoys spoiling as well.

 

About NexGenT Career Service

Our NexGenT Career Service team works with you to develop your job attainment skills. We do this by first analyzing your individual strengths and weaknesses to build a custom career development plan. Your job success is so important that we dedicate a Career Success Coach to meet with you 1:1 to ensure you’re on track to reach your personal goals. Your Career Success Coach works with you to master each career milestone of a professional resume, cover letter, IT or cybersecurity interview preparation, a professional LinkedIn profile, and ultimately, a job and career success plan.

We look forward to helping you level up and achieve your career goals!

If you aren’t already a student, apply for NexGenT’s Full Stack Network Engineer program here or NexGenT’s Cyber Security Specialist program here!

 

Meet Sara Hutchison, NexGenT’s Career Success Coach

Meet Sara Hutchison, NexGenT’s Career Success Coach

Sara Hutchison NexGenT Career Coach

Sara’s career is rooted in corporate social responsibility and sustainability. After completing her Bachelor of Science she oversaw the IT waste reduction and surplus program for a university. In this role she discovered her passion for mentoring those who are making professional transitions, including from college to career. She received her Master’s in Career Counseling in 2015. Prior to working at NexGenT Sara owned a successful resume writing business where she assisted over 1200+ clients in writing stellar job application materials. She has been featured on The Muse and quoted in an NYTimes Bestseller Becoming the Boss on recognizing talent in others.

Sara’s background in both Career Services and IT Operations has uniquely positioned her to help the students of NexGenT. She has spent the last 6 years dedicated to helping her clients feel confident in their job applications and career transitions. Examples of her favorite success stories include moms returning to work and mid-career professionals making an industry change. 

When she is not working, she is making “vroom vroom” sounds with her son’s toy cars or watching Hamilton on repeat with her daughter. She also enjoys trolling her husband on Twitter and loving on their two rescue pups.

 

About NexGenT Career Service

Our NexGenT Career Service team works with you to develop your job attainment skills. We do this by first analyzing your individual strengths and weaknesses to build a custom career development plan. Your job success is so important that we dedicate a Career Success Coach to meet with you 1:1 to ensure you’re on track to reach your personal goals. Your Career Success Coach works with you to master each career milestone of a professional resume, cover letter, IT or cybersecurity interview preparation, a professional LinkedIn profile, and ultimately, a job and career success plan.

We look forward to helping you level up and achieve your career goals!

If you aren’t already a student, apply for NexGenT’s Full Stack Network Engineer program here or NexGenT’s Cyber Security Specialist program here!

 

NexGenT Celebrates The FSNE 4-24 Cohort Graduation

NexGenT Celebrates The FSNE 4-24 Cohort Graduation

On the evening of October 8th, we gathered for our virtual graduation ceremony to celebrate the recent success of our Full Stack Network Engineer 4-24-2020 cohort. This was truly an exciting moment for everyone as the cohort members completed the Full Stack Network Engineer (FSNE) program having put in their passion and hard work over 22 weeks to achieve success. The cohort began on April 24th 2020, and completed with 41 graduates.

Through the program, students learned exactly what it takes to be an effective and successful Network Engineer in today’s workforce. Having most students starting out with no prior experience, their knowledge was built from ground zero where they learned the fundamentals of networking and progressed all the way to planning, designing, and deploying their own multi-site, enterprise-grade networks by the end of the program. The students from this cohort are now in the job hunting phase. Three graduates have already landed new IT jobs and one earned a promotion from within his company!

 

What’s the program like?

The FSNE program prepares students for the real-world by rigorously vetting their skills and knowledge over 22 weeks and across multiple checkpoints and milestones which include multiple certifications. The first certification that students must achieve is the Full Stack Network Associate (FSNA) certification from NexGenT. To achieve this students must pass a written exam and also deploy a real network on their own which supports routing, switching, wireless networking, voice over IP, and network security. After achieving the FSNA, students then work on obtaining their Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification from Cisco Systems. The goal is for the students to knock out this certification by the 90-day mark before moving into the advanced training aspect of the program. Upon entering advanced training, students immediately begin learning project management skills and working to design and build their first project. Their first project is a very robust 3-site network deployment with a headquarters and two remote offices. Two more projects are then deployed where a Cisco ASA with remote access SSL VPN solution is deployed, followed by a Colo Data Center deployment for redundancy and additional network services.

networking project network engineer nexgent

 

After planning, designing, implementing, supporting, and finally closing all three of these projects, the student must pass their final skills qualification and troubleshooting check, in order to achieve their Full Stack Network Professional (FSNP) certification from NexGenT. Throughout the program students also receive career help and have many career-related milestones to accomplish relating to their career plan, resume, and personal branding. After completing all program milestones and capstone projects, the students then move to the job hunting phase where they focus strictly on landing their new job or promotion.

There are currently three other cohorts running who will soon be graduating and celebrating similar success, and our next FSNE cohort launches in October 2020, only a few days from now! To learn more about getting on the path to become a network or systems engineer with robust training, project-based learning, career planning, and real-world skills certification with zero upfront costs, then click here.

FSNA FSNP Full stack engineer Cisco CCNA

Please congratulate our recent graduates!

  1. Aaron Bey, FSNA-0176, FSNP-0049, CCNA
  2. Aaron Tulluch, FSNA-0137, FSNP-0030
  3. Alan Koska, FSNA-0050
  4. Amir Sayani, FSNA-0080, FSNP-0043, CCNA
  5. Anna Mensah, FSNA-0126, FSNP-0052, CCNA
  6. Banyan Wilson, FSNA-0125, FSNP-0061, CCNA
  7. Bryant Mejia, FSNA-0082, FSNP-0054
  8. Chris Breen, FSNA-0114, FSNP-0032
  9. Christian Exume, FSNA-0111, FSNP-0047
  10. David Alaga, FSNA-0129, FSNP-0031
  11. Dominique Higgins, FSNA-0100, FSNP-0033
  12. Hadassah Israel, FSNA-0077, FSNP-0038
  13. Harrison Warren, FSNA-0088
  14. Jacorey Williams, FSNA-0130
  15. Jan-Michael Madrid, FSNA-0124, FSNP-0044
  16. Jasmine Dobbs, FSNA-0133, FSNP-0034
  17. Jeremy Harris, FSNA-0085, FSNP-0053
  18. Josh Champion, FSNA-0084
  19. Komo Davis, FSNA-0109, FSNP-0035
  20. Kyle Palinkas, FSNA-0101
  21. Laurynn Buchanan, FSNA-0128, FSNP-0055
  22. Lexus Mendez, FSNA-0104, FSNP-0058
  23. Lourdes Cuello, FSNA-0083, FSNP-0039
  24. Merrie Mcfadden, FSNA-0074, FSNP-0037
  25. Michael Goldman, FSNA-0099, FSNP-0036, CCNA
  26. Michelle Lantigua, FSNA-0090, CCNA
  27. Mouandjo Louison, FSNA-0079, FSNP-0041
  28. Patrick Gales, FSNA-0135, FSNP-0056
  29. Patrick Stewart, FSNA-0121, FSNP-0051
  30. Peter Burston, FSNA-0081, FSNP-0040
  31. Philip Thompson, FSNA-0110
  32. Raenard Reid, FSNA-0115, FSNP-0042
  33. Rahn Rose, FSNA-0094
  34. Rajesh Kadim, FSNA-0151, FSNP-0045
  35. Robert Sheehan, FSNA-0089, FSNP-0050
  36. Russell Stewart, FSNA-0093
  37. Ryan Baldwin, FSNA-0112, FSNP-0060
  38. Sergio Huerta, FSNA-0116, FSNP-0057
  39. Terrence Johnson, FSNA-0103, FSNP-0059
  40. Travis Harrison, FSNA-0120, FSNP-0046
  41. Troy Lemire, FSNA-0078, FSNP-0048

5 Tips For Creating a More Secure Organization

5 Tips For Creating a More Secure Organization

Within the last year, we’ve seen a huge rise in cyber attacks all over the world in almost every sector – banking, medical, consumer, and enterprise. In the U.S., workers received a slew of phishing attacks after relief funds were sent outIn Germany, the first death due to a ransomware attack on a hospital was reported. Despite a massive global pandemic that has stopped daily life in its tracks, hackers have made it clear they’re not taking a vacation. Since many companies have shifted to remote work, cyber security risk and management teams need to be more vigilant than ever.

 

Here are 5 tips to prevent cyberattacks:

1. Update Cyber Incident Protocols

Now that everyone has shifted to remote work, your networks landscape has changed. The trust boundaries are now different, and you have new vectors of attacks possible. Review all your plans to account for these changes. Leverage NIST and other organizations to use frameworks and models, no need to start from scratch!

2. Harden Corporate Assets

Ensure that all the assets employees are using are with the latest patches and tested for security. Companies shifted to remote work so rapidly, they were focusing on functionality rather than security. Corporate assets need to have at least the minimum available protection, such as anti malware software and security agents. Cyber teams should be giving guidance and best practices on what you should and should not do, sending out weekly emails helps with this.

3. Ramp Up Cyber Budget

While R&D budgets are being slashed, it is important to stay vigilant and buy the proper cyber tools and training to keep your organization safe. Cutting security costs now, could cause you to pay more in damages later.

Security training is a sector that should definitely be focused on. There has been a huge rise in phishing attacks and you want employees to be aware. Spend resources on both tools and training to avoid this low hanging fruit for hackers.

Social engineering is another aspect to watch out for. 

RELATED: IT Job Security Clearances – An Expert Reveals The Secrets

Employees have more distractions than normal and are operating in different environments. You don’t want them to become complacent. Reach out to leaders with instances of spear phishing attacks, and alert employees to the evolving cyber environment. Everyone should be reminded to remain focused and vigilant to malicious activities. Make sure to clearly communicate what to do and who to contact in the event of a cyber attack.

4. Refine Cyber Toolkit

Make sure that all your monitoring tools and capabilities are providing the best network visibility. Check that your log management rules enable full scope. If using third party vendors, check that they have made the necessary changes to compensate for the current status quo. 

The Cyber Tools you license typically come with support, make sure to leverage it and get these fixes in ASAP. The developers of those tools know their products inside out to get you the tailored fit you need.

5. Monitor Security Services. 

Changes occur both inside and outside your organization, be cognizant of what your vendors and supply chain are doing. Understand how they are changing their landscape to better fit your needs. Review your SLA’s and be sure to ask about new risks that they can anticipate and what contingency plans are regarding PII. Remember, it’s your customers data which means how it’s stored and saved is ultimately your responsibility.

In Conclusion

Whether you are a business owner putting these tips in place, or an employee who is noticing a way to improve protections, these 5 tips will help you to create a more secure organization.

If you are in search of trained cybersecurity professionals to join your company, a program to train your existing employees, or an individual looking to break into the industry, our Zero To Engineer program may be the perfect fit for your training needs.

Visit our website for more information about the program and see if you qualify for zero upfront tuition.

 

Taking the Cisco CCNA From Home, Trick Questions, & How to Prepare

Taking the Cisco CCNA From Home, Trick Questions, & How to Prepare

The Cisco CCNA remains one of the top entry-level certifications used to launch careers in IT and Networking. 

Due to Covid-19, the testing environment of the CCNA has changed dramatically, and it is now easier than ever before to sit for your CCNA Exam. What exactly do I mean? What I mean is that we can now simply take the CCNA 200-301 exam from the comfort of our homes. In the past, we had to schedule our exam at a physical testing facility, so it is now much more convenient, and only requires an internet connection and a webcam for the proctoring service. It’s possible that some form of online exams may continue after the restrictions from Covid-19 have been lifted – that would be great!

There has never been a better time to get your CCNA than now, and it just so happens to also be the easiest time given the convenience. Once you are ready to schedule your exam just visit pearsonvue.com. Now, since I know you are going to work on your CCNA, I’d like to share with you a few tips that I wish I had known before taking the test remotely.

How to prepare the day before

    1. The day before the exam, you will want to test the link sent in the email confirmation after scheduling the exam.  
    2. If possible determine if there are any applications that run in the background on your PC/laptop.  The first check on the morning of the exam looks to make sure all applications are closed.
    3. Lastly, make sure you have a clean, uncluttered work area in a room where you can close the door.  Someone entering the room during the test will be grounds for disqualification.  If you have a second monitor, it must be powered off (I just unplugged it and hung the power cord over the front of the screen).

The Morning of the Exam

Cisco recommends that you sign in 30 minutes prior to the start time to begin the process of evaluating your workstation and work area.  It is highly recommended that you sign in exactly 30 minutes prior to make sure you get through the pre-test checks in time.  It is stated that your exam will be rescheduled if you do not begin the exam within 15 minutes of the scheduled start time.

The general process:

    1. You will sign-in on the Pearson Vue page using the URL in the email confirmation sent to you after scheduling the exam.
    2. You will have to run a pre-system check – this is different from the one you may have run while scheduling the exam. The initial check just ensures that you have the physical resources to support the testing software and that you have a functioning webcam and microphone.
    3. The check ran on the morning of the exam will also look for applications running in the background and require you to close them.  I had some “Snag-It” application running in the background and I couldn’t find it.  I looked under the task manager and it was not listed.  Being short on time, I went in and uninstalled the application to pass the check.
    4. During the sign-in process, you must supply a mobile phone number.
    5. Once your system is deemed ready, the proctor will contact you via chat in the Pearson application.
    6. You will be forwarded a message on your phone that will contain a link that you will use to upload photos.
    7. There will be at least 6 photos requested:  Your face, a close-up of your picture ID, and 4 of your work area – from the front, back, left, and right.  If any of the photos are unclear, you will be asked to redo and upload it again.
    8. Once your photos are cleared, you will be asked to place your phone physically out of your reach.
    9. The final request will be to lift up your laptop or camera and slowly take a 360-degree pan of the room – including where your phone is sitting.
    10. Then you will be approved to take the exam.

Taking the Exam

When you begin the exam, you have the option of viewing a tutorial.  It is recommended that you go through this – the clock for the exam does not start until you click “Start Exam.

There are 102 questions and the majority are all multiple choice with the balance being drag and drop. The question topics are spread fairly evenly among those listed in the blueprint published by Cisco.

The questions on the exam are worded to make them more difficult.  Look for key-words in the question that clearly identify the answer.  Sometimes, you may have to look at the answers to figure out what the question is asking!  When in doubt, use the elimination method to rule out bogus answers.  Also, when viewing the answers, look for “the odd man out”.  Often there is one answer that does not fit in with the rest. (e .g. 3 answers that contain IP information and a fourth on passwords, for instance.) 

Key Focus Areas

There are a couple topics that seem to be the focus of the largest number of questions.  They revolve around determining the route to a destination address when given a list of routes to choose from – and static routing (both IPV4 and IPV6).  Knowing Administrative Distances and floating static route syntax is important for both of these categories.  A common scenario used is 3 routers connected in a line where you are asked to choose the proper static route to get from a network on one side to a network on the other.  You must be able to correctly identify the destination network and the next hop or exit interface used to get there.  In some cases, a default static route may be the answer

Some Additional Topics to Review

    1. Know these things not mentioned in the Cisco Blueprint 
      • EIGRP
      • RIP
      • VTP
    2. Know CDP & LLDP 
      • Default Timers
      • Configuration syntax to enable/disable globally and per-interface
    3. Know Wireless 
      • Different AP Types
      • LAP Modes
      • Wireless Security
      • Wireless LAN Controllers
      • 2.4Ghz range – non-overlapping channels
    4. Know Security Fundamentals 
      • Port Security
      • Dynamic ARP Inspection
      • DHCP Snooping
      • Requirements for Configuring SSH
      • Know the difference between configuring an enable secret and pasting a previously encrypted password into a configuration
    5. Know Network Automation 
      • Traditional vs Controller-based (distributed vs centralized control plane)
      • Intent-Based Networking (Overlay, Underlay, VXLANs)
      • Spine-Leaf Architecture
      • SDA, SDN & SD-WAN
      • DNA Center, APIC-EM & ACI
      • REST APIs
      • Interpreting JSON Output (proper syntax format)
      • Key differences between Ansible, Chef and Puppet
    6. IPV4 Subnetting 
      • Subnetting calculations will creep into many different types of questions
    7. Command line syntax and “show” command output 
      • Make sure you know the command line syntax for basic configuration tasks such as access and trunk port configuration, ACL and Static route syntax, etc . . .
      • Cisco loves to give you the output of some show commands and ask you “why?”
      • Make sure you can quickly look through “show IPOSPF interface” and find the items that are preventing 2 routers from becoming OSPF neighbors.
      • Although there is no command line configuration required on the exam, there are many questions that are easily answered based on lab experience.  There are also some questions on Wireless LAN Controllers, for instance, that can really only be answered if you have accessed the GUI of a WLC.  Do not forget to include Packet Tracer lab simulations in your studies.

 

You will come across some trick questions

Lastly, I believe that nobody is supposed to get 100%. So, there may/will be a couple questions on something you have not heard of, or something so specific that only someone who has worked on a specific model of a device with a particular module installed and has performed the exact thing called out in the question could possibly answer it.  This should make you laugh and not panic . . .  

Time Is Limited

Remember that you only have approximately 75 seconds to answer each question.  Don’t waste time on the ones you absolutely don’t know.  Try to do a quick elimination of some answers, choose one and move on.  When you do get a question on a topic with which you have 100% confidence, re-read the question before answering to make sure you are not being lured into a trap.

Lastly, after you have answered the final question, you must click the “End Exam” button or your results will not get sent – and you never took the exam!

The format of the CCNA 200-301 is dramatically different than it used to be and is much more similar to the way that other vendors deliver certification tests.  The new exam incorporates more information from previous specialty certifications such as wireless and security than ever before. This is a difficult, fact-based exam – but is fairly representative of the Exam topics published by Cisco.  With proper focus and practice, this exam is definitely passable on the first attempt!

The best to you and Good luck on your exam! 

Level Up!

If you’d like to level up your career with job-ready IT engineer training and real-world projects, the Zero To Engineer program is designed to do just that. We help IT and cybersecurity professionals build successful careers from the ground up. To read more about our training and certifications click here.

 

 

Why Your Business Needs Diversity In The Workplace

Why Your Business Needs Diversity In The Workplace

Diversity has become one of the most important facets in a thriving business as companies become more competitive than ever and cultural dynamics with their audience evolves. Additionally, in today’s climate, customers are looking to work with companies that value a diverse workforce. Your customers are observing your company’s inclusion and using it as a deciding factor in who they choose to do business with. 

Companies that have placed serious value on diversity and inclusion have seen the positive impact on both their staff and their bottom line. Some of these companies include Johnson and Johnson, Mastercard, Disney and more. For Kaiser Permanente who ranked No.1 on the DiversityInc list and is within the healthcare industry, 60% of their staff comprise people of color. They find diversity to be crucial to the success of the company and healthcare giant to be able to provide culturally-acceptable medical care and culturally-appropriate services to all of the 140 cultures currently represented in the population of the US.

Beyond being able to better serve your customers, here are a few ways that hiring diverse talent can positively impact your business:

More Innovation

When companies hire staff with similar backgrounds they tend to receive similar ideas and feedback. A diverse workforce challenges the status quo and allows for more creative and innovative ideas to flow. Diversity brings in new perspectives and helps the company speak to a broader audience that is as unique as the team that delivers the content. 

Google, arguably one of the strongest leaders in technology innovation, has been taking strong initiatives over the last few years to champion diversity and have seen significant positive results as they push technology forward. When interviewed by Quartz at Work, Sundar Pichai the CEO of Google said, “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” 

Faster Problem Solving

Harvard Business Review ran a study testing groups strategic thinking and performance. This exercise has been used with over 100 teams, but for this study, it focused on 6 main groups to test for cognitive diversity. The study showed that diverse teams were able to solve problems much faster than teams that were not diverse. In this example, Harvard took 3 teams that were diverse and 3 teams that were not and the diverse teams were able to complete a task 2 to 3 times faster than the team that was not diverse. In IT and cybersecurity, having a team with varied education and work experience, for example, would be more likely to take a look at an issue from different angles, unlike a team that all had the same educational background. For companies, this could mean saving millions of dollars in IT or cybersecurity costs by hiring a diverse team that is able to solve problems quicker. 

The article quotes, “Tackling new challenges requires a balance between applying what we know and discovering what we don’t know that might be useful.”

Better Retention

Companies that value inclusion and diversity have overall better retention rates, keeping key talent for years to come. An ADP study found that companies that are diverse and inclusive retain employees 20% higher than those who don’t. When employees feel valued and that they can come as they are and not singled out for their “otherness” they are happier and are more likely to stay. 

For larger companies, keeping employee turnover at a low number is crucial for not only company culture, but also the financial bottom line. PeopleKeep shares that through studies from Human Resource organizations like SHRM, predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that’s $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.

Better Decision Making 

In a white paper conducted by Cloverpop, it was found that companies with diverse teams outperformed monolithic teams and delivered superior performance by 87%. When teams of different backgrounds come together, they bring their unique perspectives with them, with what works and what doesn’t to help maximize results. 

While we are living in an era where technology is moving and changing everything around us so quickly, making and keeping the best IT and cybersecurity team is the most important aspect for any business to survive.

For all of these reasons and more, NexGenT is proud to have a diverse group of students that we know will help drive a positive impact to the companies they work for. NexGenT helps individuals build their IT and cybersecurity technical and interpersonal skills, but it is who an individual is, their background, their culture, and their experiences that help make them the great assets that they are. 

How to Hire for Diversity

Looking for your first step in fostering a more diverse and inclusive organization? NexGenT’s alumn Al Minnigan (Network Operations Technician) has this suggestion.  “I would advise a company to truly do an across-the-board transparent view of candidates and employees. Truly assess the employees’ or candidates’ skills and strengths. When you focus only on what they individually contribute and make an effort to promote their growth, there will be a fair assessment. Always be open-minded, step out of your comfort zone, and give everyone an equal chance to build your organization and be a valuable asset. Globally, EVERYONE has positive contributions.”

Terry Kim, Co-founder and CEO of NexGenT quotes, “For IT teams to be successful within a company… they need to constantly innovate and solve critical problems. This is where diversity can make a huge difference as studies have shown from MIT to Harvard publications that diverse teams are smarter and more creative when working together. So why not build a diverse IT team from the start?”

If you or your company is looking to build its best IT networking or cybersecurity team, join our employer network by opt-ing in here.