Workforce Development at Northern Virginia Community College hosted its very first Cybersecurity Employee Roundtable on Nov. 13. The College welcomed representatives from the U.S. Senate, Raytheon, Triple Point Security and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Technical Solutions Division for a discussion and to speak directly with 15 NOVA students who are currently in the cybersecurity program.
“The event facilitated dialogue focused on preparation for a career in cybersecurity and provided networking opportunities,” said Michelle Crespo, NOVA Workforce career service specialist.
Before the roundtable discussion, students were given the opportunity to have their résumés reviewed by Carlo Espiritu of Triple Point Security. The discussion gave representatives from local and national organizations and agencies the opportunity to talk with students about how to prepare for interviews, what companies are looking for and how they should prepare for careers in cybersecurity and information technology.
The tech and cybersecurity experts on the roundtable gave the students advice as they embark on their career paths – encouraging them to be prepared, highlight and be confident in their work and internship experiences and show that they’re skilled team players ready to contribute and to learn as the industry continues to change.
“As far as best practices, what we like to see is for candidates to own their career, and to own their education,” Espiritu said to the students. “We want to see that you’ve been supervised by individuals and worked with colleagues in the past and maybe you’ve developed some managerial skills in your previous employment. So we like candidates who own their career, own their experience and who are not afraid to put that on a résumé.”
The roundtable participants also encouraged the students to share anecdotes – while still keeping their time limit in mind – to set themselves apart from other candidates. Representatives with the U.S. Senate said they sometimes interview multiple candidates, and storytelling really helps candidates connect and standout to the interview panel.
The event also allowed for students to ask questions and provided a great opportunity for students to network as they begin to apply for internships and job opportunities. After the panel discussion and Q&A, representatives from the U.S. Senate conducted one-on-one apprentice interviews and Hollis Cash with Huntington Ingalls Industries and Raytheon’s Manuel Villar reviewed students’ résumés.
The Cybersecurity Employer Roundtable was a collaboration between Dr. Margaret Leary, head of the NOVA Cybersecurity Program, Leary’s team and the NOVA Workforce Development team. Melanie Stover, NOVA Workforce director of strategic business engagement, said the roundtable is the first of many the College hopes to arrange between employers and students.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.