Taking her tech skills to the next level through continued learning

Courtney Endress isn’t afraid of a challenge. After 18 years at Booz Allen providing continuity of operations and emergency management support for various federal departments and agencies, Courtney decided it was time for a change. She joined Cyber Core, part of the firm’s Tech Excellence Cyber Program. It provides participants with a solid foundation in systems networking and preparation to obtain the CompTIA Security+ (CE) certification.

Ready for Rebranding

When Courtney decided she was ready for a career change, she was drawn to cybersecurity because of the breadth of opportunities and challenges she’d be able to tackle. “Cyber is a hot topic and the work is not going away,” she says.

But cyber was a new subject with a steep learning curve for Courtney. The Cyber Core Program was a good fit. It gave her time to focus without juggling client work on top of learning a new subject and studying for her certification test. She benefited from connecting with a mentor and learning from colleagues who were more experienced in the field. “You’re set up for success from Day One—with senior leadership support, experienced mentors, online classes, self-paced sessions, and a cohort to help you through it all,” says Courtney. “Once you complete the course and finish your exam, there are resources available to help you find your next project—one that’s related to or requires your new certification.”

Less than a month after completing the program and earning her CE certification, Courtney found work on a new project as a training and compliance lead for the Cyber Workforce Development Branch of Defense Information Systems Agency Joint Service Provider—a role she wouldn’t have gotten without a Security+ certification. She has enjoyed the work and says she has a better understanding of everything within the Risk Management Framework.

Thanks to the Cyber Core Program and her networks, Courtney’s professional possibilities are endless. “It’s clear from this program that Booz Allen believes in and wholeheartedly supports its employees,” she says. “I’m not a technical person and had no cyber or technical IT experience before applying to the program. Booz Allen took the risk and invested in my future.”

Advice for Candidates

What advice does Courtney have for anyone considering joining Booz Allen and a Cyber Core cohort? “Take a chance,” she says. “Booz Allen cares about its employees. They invested in me; let them invest in you, too.”


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