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Alumni Spotlight: From Layoff to Rewarding Career in Cybersecurity thanks to Ekata

Courtney Hans is a lifelong learner with a diverse set of skills, an avid adventurer and an amazing Code Fellows Alum! Courtney spent her early career as a whitewater rafting and worldwide adventure travel guide before getting her MBA and joining REI. During her time at REI, she worked on the adventure travel team, new business strategies and adventures entrepreneurial unit, as well as a marketing unit in local brand engagement. That was until she was laid off as a result of COVID-19.

Courtney’s experience at REI getting laid off made her realize the importance of obtaining skills for job security. It was this that led her to Code Fellows where, through a lot of hardwork and determination, she graduated with a certificate in Cybersecurity Engineering and landed a rewarding new career as a Cybersecurity Analyst at CareRev.

CareRev is a tech company that offers nurses an extra stream of income and creates flexible staffing for healthcare systems — it’s like Uber for medical staffing. Courtney said, “CareRev efficiently and effectively addresses staffing gaps in our healthcare system! I found this cybersecurity and compliance analyst role at CareRev through networking. The CTO at CareRev knew I went through Code Fellows’ cybersecurity program, and his team is working to have a more formal role in security. This position started as a contract role that then became permanent.”

Courtney’s journey into tech began when she signed up for Code Fellows’ Code 101:Explore Software Development workshop where she explored what it looks like to be a software developer in this 1-day immersive course for beginners that focuses on front-end web development technologies. In it, she was able to get a taste of the Code Fellows learning experience, find out how websites are built, and code a webpage using professional coding practices. She loved it so much that she decided to jump right into Code 102.

After finishing Code 201, Courtney became interested in cybersecurity, so she decided to learn more about this career path and signed up for Code Fellows’ Ops 101: Explore Ethical Hacking & Cybersecurity Careers workshop. In this one-day workshop, she was able to get hands-on practice with the tools and techniques of penetration testers and ethical hackers,get a taste of the Code Fellows cybersecurity program, learn how to find and exploit computer systems, and explore cybersecurity career pathways. Ultimately, the enormous demand for cybersecurity in the marketplace and a shortage of talent for the opportunities out there were enough to motivate Courtney to switch her focus to a career in Cybersecurity.

Thanks to the generous support of Ekata, one of Code Fellows’ hiring partners, Courtney was a recipient of a full scholarship for the cybersecurity program. Receiving this support meant that Courtney was able to focus her time on learning the skills she needed, while not being distracted with the stress and concern of paying for the program. However, Courtney continues to pay it forward through sharing her story with others, offering as much feedback and advice as she can, serving as a TA for the day and night cybersecurity programs, and continuing to grow in her career.

Courtney truly embodies Growth Mindset and continues to find new opportunities to learn and advance in her career as she works toward getting her CISSP certification, which is a multiple-year process. She also wants to finish Code Fellows’ software development program since she enjoys coding so much and sees how the additional knowledge of coding will only add to her strengths and abilities in her cybersecurity career.

“Code Fellows is a firehose of information. It's hard, but it’s also so rewarding. Figure out what interests you and start pursuing that. Nobody is going to learn everything about cybersecurity, but there is a niche for everyone! I recommend that everyone first get a good understanding of networking. If you are into pen-testing, start experimenting with tools. If you want to be a malware analyst or move into government risk and compliance, bring in a strong writing background and practice.

Document everything for your own reference. When you can't remember your steps, you can then go back and look at your own reference material. Technical documentation is usually not fun to read through, so the more you get used to that and get better at it, the better the whole tech space will be.” - Courtney Hegseth Hans

Feeling inspired by Courtney’s story? Spend a day with us to find out if a career in tech is right for you! See upcoming 101 workshops in Software Development or Cybersecurity.

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