My name is David Randall, and I want to tell you what a positive experience Calbright has been for me. I enrolled because it was free, but over the past year of my life Calbright has done more for me than I ever thought possible.

I had been on the job market for quite a while. I was looking at what I could do next as a middle-aged career switcher, and data privacy was very interesting to me, but the more I looked at the skills needed for the job, the more I understood that I needed to have more of a foundation in data security. 

I did a search and found that Calbright was offering this program with free training, so I signed up, and started really enjoying that work. I will complete their cyber security course this month.

What a year it has been, I live in L.A. and we had several stay at home orders due to COVID and social justice actions. Also, I had been trying to tend to my mother, who lives in New York, during the pandemic. But she died in July, and it was harder than I thought not being able to see my mom at the end, because NY would not allow CA residents entry into NY. There was some guilt of not being able to say goodby and attend her service and internment. Motivation became difficult for me. Some depression came in. I was surprised that one of Calbright’s counselors reached out to me, and we set up weekly check-ins. I was surprised at how influential that was. It got me motivated again, it was nice to have a human face to check in with after being so isolated. It was friendly and a relationship. It helped me get back on track.

That’s the combination that I like about Calbright. It isn’t just working through the modules. Having that human interaction, even if it was on Zoom, was really helpful.

I’m ready to take my IT certification exam in a few weeks. Talking to the professors, they introduced me to a framework they have for cybersecurity workers, a nice document which presents all of the career paths in cybersecurity which I had no idea existed. It opened up my mind to different possibilities and I am really interested in data privacy. The field is much broader than I realized, and I’m finding ways I can combine my existing knowledge and skills with this new training to make a career I’m excited about. 

I’ve had quite a journey.