How a career harnessing Navy nuclear energy can power a transition to a Security+ certification
Whether in uniform or out, Charles Dorfeuille isn’t shy of a challenge.
After more than 10 years as a nuclear electrician’s mate in the U.S. Navy, Dorfeuille now has his eye on the complex and ever-fluid field of cloud security. He’s hoping to put his skills, his desire to tackle complex problems and his willingness to learn to the work of keeping sophisticated cloud resources secure against evolving threats.
To maximize the rest of his time in the military, Dorfeuille chose to pair his pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in information technology with cloud and security-focused certifications. He began by successfully earning the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification but chose to take advantage of the ongoing VetsinTech and Infosec partnership, completing the Security+ boot camp. VetsinTech supports our current and returning veterans with reintegration services by connecting them to the national technology ecosystem. VIT is committed to bringing together a tech-specific network, resources, and programs for our veterans interested in education, entrepreneurship and employment.
Armed with formal training and hands-on experience with security tools gained through the boot camp, Dorfeuille has since added the Security+ credential to his resume, with additional cloud and solutions architect programs now in his sights.
We recently had a chance to learn more about Dorfeuille’s experience with VetsinTech and Infosec and his preparation for a new career in security. Here’s what he would like other veterans to know about what their future could also look like. The interview was edited for clarity.
Tell us about yourself, your time spent in the service and how it brought you to where you are today.
I’m a nuclear electrician’s mate. I’ve been in this role for about 10 years now. I’ve always been interested in information technology and am currently attending school for my bachelor’s in information technology. I’m hoping to finish that within the next couple of years.
I was told about VetsInTech by someone who had previously gone through it and had just gotten out of the Army. It seemed like a good opportunity for me to get a certification before getting out of the military since I didn’t have any certifications while I was in.
Why did you want to pursue the Security+ boot camp or cybersecurity in general?
Probably about a year ago, I got interested in ethical hacking. I found a website called TryHackMe.com with many different tutorials, hands-on training and things you can do. So through that, I got interested in ethical hacking and the cybersecurity field in general. Before that, I didn’t really know it was its own established field.
Are you still primarily focused on ethical hacking or have you explored anything else, such as Networking or Computer Forensics?
Right after I got the Security+, I found out about cloud computing. So I think I really want to try and do Cloud security. Kind of combine the two. About two weeks ago, I got my AWS-certified cloud practitioner certification, and now I’m studying for the solutions architect certification.
How many certifications do you have?
I have two. I hope to have maybe four or five by the time I get out.
How has Infosec training and certification helped give you skills that you think will help you prepare for a job in the industry?
I think it was primarily the strength of our instructor. West Goewey. He was very knowledgeable and he did his best to give us examples and show us how to use the actual tools while he was teaching us. Then he also introduced us to a bunch of tools that we could make use of, like Wireshark and Nmap.
I think that experience of being introduced to tools that we didn’t know before and seeing demos was definitely going to help as far as just being knowledgeable about new tools when it comes time to interview. It also lets us go and research those tools and utilize them on our own, and in my case, get some hands-on experience before I get out.
What are your goals for the future? Is there a certain job title you want to have in the future, a certain company you’re hoping to work for or anything like that?
I’m targeting Amazon Web Services and their cloud platform because I’d like to become a solutions architect for Amazon or one of their partner companies. Being a solutions architect for a company that works with their services and then potentially get their security specialization certification.
How instrumental was Vets In Tech and Infosec in your security journey? Do you feel this helped you get a good start in your career?
Yes, definitely. In particular, because it was the first certification I could get. Through that, I realized that while my current job title and what I’ve been doing in the military are so much different than information technology, it showed me that I could continue to learn and learn something completely separate from what I’ve been doing for the past 10 years! So that also was able to give me the motivation to continue with the other certs. As I said, I was able to get another one soon after the first, so it kind of propelled me to continue to learn.
Anything else you want to share or talk about with the experience?
I would just want to let any other service members out there thinking about doing it that it’s definitely possible regardless of what you may be doing now or your job title. I think as long as you put in the effort and you actually study, it’s definitely something that’s achievable.