Former Council Worker Aces SANS Cyber Academy Exams

A civil servant who worked for Newcastle City Council for 15 years has come top of the class at the new SANS Cyber Academy with one of the highest ever scores in the GIAC information security exams.

Ross Bradley, who spent the past decade and a half processing parking fines for the local authority, has a bright future ahead of him in the cybersecurity industry after aceing the internationally recognized qualifications.

The results are a coup for SANS but also highlight the possibility of finally reducing chronic skills shortages in the industry.

The training institute launched what it claimed to be the world’s first ‘cyber boot camp’ back in April with the aim of getting recent graduates up to speed with real world infosecurity skills so they can more easily walk into a paid job.

With this in mind, the Cyber Academy compresses two years’ worth of training into just eight weeks, with only 31 “high potential” students chosen from over 25,000 candidates after completing an aptitude test.

Bradley and his fellow students completed the GIAC exams with scores which put them in the top 10% worldwide, SANS said.

"I was wary of quitting my job and starting the Academy, especially when I saw that people working in forensics and with degrees were going. I thought to myself, ‘I don’t have a degree, I just work for the council’, but I’m glad I went,” said Bradley.

“I wasn’t expecting to do so well but I knew I had to work extremely hard. I put a lot of work in and I’m glad it paid off.”

Fellow student, Kate Booth, a former university lecturer, praised the academy for offering an alternative way for women to enter what is still a very male-dominated industry.

“I was always interested in maths and science when I was at school and my parents gave me a lot of encouragement to do what I was interested in, but we need to do more as a country to support women into cybersecurity,” she explained.

“There is still a way to go, but initiatives like this can really help women to break through.”

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