New people bring new ideas and they invigorate a system. I’m hoping to do that wherever I go.
- Arnold Murphy
Arnold started his early career in the Engineer’s Corp of the Canadian Military in 1985. There, he was a Combat Engineer for almost 11 years.
After finishing his service, Arnold took some early computer courses and embarked on several different roles spanning security, supervising, politics, computer science and being an entrepreneur.
Following a burst ear drum Arnold suffered on a flight returning from leave to Yugoslavia in 1994, he developed a sustained low-grade infection, resulting in comorbid undiagnosed encephalitis of the brain and previously injured spinal cord. These complications would go on to impact his physical and mental health for almost two decades.
Arnold suffered from regular fevers, aches, pains and general weakness which exasperated his conditions and caused an ongoing anxiety disorder – all of which made maintaining regular employment difficult. He eventually went on disability, but never felt he was properly diagnosed.
Having always maintained an interest in computers, right back to the early days of the internet in 1993, Arnold decided to dedicate his spare time to developing digital skills.
Arnold completed a series of computing courses through Veterans Affairs and graduated from Athabasca university with a Certificate in Computer and Information Systems Management.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a coughing fit sent Arnold to the doctor – a trip which ultimately saw a series of medical investigations resolve his longstanding issues. He slowly began to recover both physically and mentally, understanding the underlying causes through positive therapeutic treatment.
Around the same time, Arnold saw an ad for WithYouWithMe offering free aptitude testing and tech training for veterans. Eager to continue growing his skill set, Arnold signed up for Potential. He was maintaining his own business but began ticking off training courses in the Linux and Cyber pathways in his spare time.
“The course structure and workloads are achievable, being all online and delivered in small chunks. The content is also very work-oriented and aligns well with skills you need in the real world.”
Completing the training courses gave Arnold a valuable opportunity to focus on something other than his illness, and to study, learn and progress in his chosen field of tech.
The course material is challenging, but not overwhelming. The support has been strong and reactive to my needs as I have healed and recovered my cognitive abilities. At WithYouWithMe, there is not the level of hurriedness of a university course and there is compassion and understanding from trainers.
Upskilling to specialise in cyber
Alongside his training, Arnold has also made a conscious effort to become part of the tech community. Through social media, participating in events and forums and starting conversations with people from all over the world, he has found a community of like-minded, down-to-earth people who want to solve problems just like he does.
“In tech, problems are non-subjective and logic-oriented and you’re assessing how to solve them. There are no emotions. You don’t have to navigate these subjective components. You just use software, logic and reasoning to deduce solutions. That methodology is really what attracted me to this sector.”
“When you’re going through a healing process, your recovery soon becomes less about the illness and more about being back in the world and contributing.
Learning has given me a new feeling of accomplishment and belonging that I find fulfilling and challenging, it helps me to have a balanced and rewarding life.”
Seeking a new career in cyber
Fast approaching the completion of his training pathways, Arnold is now on the hunt for his dream role in the tech sector. While it’s been some time since he maintained a 'typical’ job, he is excited to rejoin the workforce alongside a new team.
“I’ve been educating myself this whole time, so I have a lot of certifications including the CISSP – considered the gold standard in cyber certifications – and the AWS Architect Associate. I’ve also done some work for my own business but I’m really looking forward to working with a team and focusing more on technical problem-solving, either remotely or by moving to a more active location. New people bring new ideas and they invigorate a system, and I’m hoping to do that wherever I go.”
Given his military background, security clearance and wealth of transferrable skills, Arnold is planning to enter a cyber security role where he will help keep people and infrastructure safe, operational and productive.
“People like me who have worked in the military have a vigilance aspect where we are constantly looking around the environment and maintaining situational awareness. Cyber security is essentially the same. You always maintain that same awareness while focusing on the work and achieving high standards.”
Through his consistent focus on developing in-demand skills across a broad range of areas in the tech sector, Arnold has put himself in an excellent position to start seeking out the right role and working to develop a successful future career.
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