Cybersecurity Program Graduate
Randall Muse ‘22 spent ten years as an HVAC and Home Appliances electrical service technician. When his body started to suffer due to the physical demands of his job, he realized it was time to make a career transition. After spending over 20 years as a computer hobbyist, Muse decided to take a risk and leap into cybersecurity. With guidance from a mentor in the IT industry, Muse enrolled at Summit Academy OIC to learn the fundamentals.
“Until I was 25 years old, I didn’t care about anything. I came from a dysfunctional family, and it was a tough life. But it was always going to be tough until I decided to learn. Once I started learning about computers, I never stopped,” said Muse. Before attending Summit, Muse attended several vocational schools for recording engineering.
Summit’s no out-of-pocket cost model helped remove the tuition barrier for Muse to get his foot in the door of the cybersecurity field. However, he still faced financial hardships in his personal life. “My wife is fantastic because she’s been supporting us predominantly through this whole process of me being in school,” said Muse. “We had to do a ‘go fund me’ to keep our place and have all kinds of bills to pay. My wife and I have been donating plasma to get more income.”
Summit is committed to reducing circumstantial barriers to successful program completion. A gift to Summit’s Student Support Fund will continue to provide financial stipends to students like Muse, who are facing financial difficulties that could prevent them from completing their training.
Despite all obstacles Muse faced in pursuing his cybersecurity certificate, he was at a loss for words to describe the support he received from his classmates and instructors. “I wish my class could go as a team and get hired at a company because we all work very well together,” said Muse. “Everyone is passionate about what they’re doing at Summit, which makes me more passionate about what I’m doing.”
Muse thought he would fall out of love with technology if he pursued a career in IT, but Summit’s cybersecurity training only strengthened it. “I like forensics and digging in looking for issues. I’ve been playing with Linux for the last 20 years, so it’s been really exciting to learn more commands and become proficient at using Linux,” said Muse.
Muse learned industry-standard tools and sharpened his interviewing skills, and tailored his resume to highlight the skills employers are looking for. “I’m 51 years old. Companies are always looking for new talent, but I haven’t stopped applying and looking for jobs. I’m getting more noticed now because I’ve got my LinkedIn, which we learned how to create in professional development class,” said Muse.
Muse remained undaunted as difficulties arose in his personal life, and he held a positive outlook, which fueled him to graduation day. Today, Muse works as a Customer Support Specialist at Masterson Staffing. “Interviewing candidates and talking to them personally is important as an employer. You’re going to find intelligent people. People who are go-getters and want to learn. And that’s not always necessarily young people.”