To those in the service who are considering making a change, remember that there is a place for you. The trick is that you have to show the industry how your uniqueness can help them solve problems or bring value to their companies.
The Marines taught me leadership – and perseverance
I wasn't ready for college and I felt I needed to find out who I was. I wanted to see exactly what I was capable of and if I could overcome some of the toughest challenges, both mentally and physically, so I could be the best version of myself.
Going through the Marine Corps boot camp and the additional training I received helped me find out what I was made of.
There are several skills that I learned. First is understanding what it means to be a leader. I had been a manager at my job before I left for boot camp, but there is a big difference between being a manager and being a leader who can inspire and develop a team.
The Marines was where I learned this important difference.
Another skill that I learned was accountability. As a leader in the Marines, you own the decisions you make and how they impact the team and organization. You can't pass the buck to someone else or sweep things under the rug.
I also learned about perseverance. Things get rough in the military. There are times you want to quit. But you have to look at the bigger picture and be steadfast in what you want to accomplish in life. The ability to persevere and work toward your goals is something that is required to be successful.
Last, but not least, I learned the importance of teamwork and appreciating what each team member has to offer. No one can achieve success in a mission by themselves. It takes a team that can offer various insights, ideas, and skills to accomplish that mission.
The biggest lesson I learned is that no matter what happens, I have it within me to overcome anything that comes my way.
The mental and physical resilience I learned in the Marines helped me get through three back surgeries, cancer, and so many other things that I have faced in my life. I also learned that people deserve to be safe, which is why I have dedicated my life to protecting others and training people about how to stay safe and secure.
Looking back, I only wish I would have taken advantage of more technical training. At that time, I had no desire to look at other options but some of the technical training schools offered in the military would have paid off big time, especially seeing how technology will continue to advance and this industry will keep growing.
Cybersecurity is one of the hottest markets right now, and that means there are great opportunities for veterans making the transition, and that includes many resources to help veterans get into this field.
From Palo Alto Networks’ own academy to Vets in Tech, Bunker Labs, and so many more, the training opportunities are there, and you can have a very lucrative and successful career in this industry.
“Silence and invisibility go hand in hand with powerlessness.” Audre Lorde
My journey to Palo Alto Networks has been a long and winding road, and I am tremendously grateful for having had the opportunity to explore the world and different languages, cultures, and career options before I earned my MBA, spent a decade at Bain