In early March 2018, I sat in a beautiful coffee shop in Aachen Germany, eating breakfast and watching traffic pass by slowly and peacefully. It was my second day in Aachen and I was loving it.
This is a brief reflection of deliberate action, taking calculated risks, and following your passions. I hope my story will inspire you to make a deliberate effort to pursue something you’re passionate about and just challenge yourself with some adventure.
As I sat in the coffee shop finishing this article I remembered that a few days ago I was sitting in Best Class (the equivalent of first class) flying to Germany with an apartment waiting for me, courtesy of my new company. I watched myself get well wishes. I watched my family hug me goodbye at the airport in Montego Bay. I watched my mother cry. But despite it all, I felt happy making this step towards growth and I hope of improving someone’s life through Cyber security. I will now move into a new role as a Senior IT Security Consultant where through my new employer I will help companies throughout Europe to strengthen their Cyber security efforts.
This step is not final. This step is not guaranteed to be great. I see this step as a reminder to you and me that we can deliberately take charge of our journey. It’s not just about the money. It’s not just about the high. If you read this and feel it then I’ll be prouder inside. Proud I can inspire, proud you can relate, proud you took the time to read what I have to say.
Curious onlookers and their bottled up fears
Throughout processing all the paperwork, many persons questioned me keenly about how they could also apply for a job in Germany and “overseas”. This questioning was not limited to persons within my field but included persons at the airport, friends, acquaintances and colleagues. Despite the questions, what was similar among them was fear. In some cases, the fear of moving to a foreign country, the fear of learning a new language, the fear of making new friends or the fear of leaving their comfort zone.
My advice is to stop allowing your fears to hold you back from adventurous goals.
Stop generalising and start specialising
I’m seeing a global trend where companies are trying to hire more people who are focused on specific skill sets versus someone who says they are “good at IT”. You’ll see it in the descriptions of jobs posts, where a security post is specifically asking for specific security certifications and experience. What that implies is you will have a harder chance being shortlisted if you don’t seem to have focused skills.
If you’re trying to start in Cyber Security, here are some good certifications to start with. Choose one then move to bigger certifications:
- Security+ – CompTIA Security+ – https://certification.comptia.org/certifications/security
- SSCP – Systems Security Certified Practitioner – https://www.isc2.org/Certifications/SSCP
- CSX – Cybersecurity Nexus™ – https://cybersecurity.isaca.org/csx-nexus
- MTA Microsoft Technology Associate Security Fundamentals – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-98-367.aspx
- GISF – GIAC Information Security Fundamentals – https://www.giac.org/certification/information-security-fundamentals-gisf
Start the process and stop procrastinating
If you continue to postpone strategic life decisions, often times you will lose or miss opportunities you had hoped for. If you want to make the move to work I live overseas then start taking more active action towards it. ACTUALLY apply to multiple jobs in other countries and stop only thinking about it.
For my Jamaicans – The process to work in Germany from Jamaica
- ACTUALLY apply for jobs in Germany.
- If shortlisted, you’ll likely be interviewed through a virtual meeting (telephone or video conference). Many Germans seem to speak English well so you will not have to learn German just yet.
- If accepted, the German company will send you the documents to take to the German embassy in Jamaica
- The German company will also submit documents their immigration agency in Germany which is essentially them asking for permission to bring you into Germany to work.
- You will go to the Jamaican German embassy website (www.kingston.diplo.de) and book 2 consecutive (back-to-back) appointments. There is a single fee between USD$60-75 depending on which class of visa you are applying for.
- If you’re accepted, they will take your Jamaican passport and return it to you within 1 to 6 weeks. (Also depending on the class of visa you are receiving).
- Begin your preparations, pack the important things and come to Germany with a mind of adventure, good behaviour and discipline.
A great thing about having a German visa is it allows you to visit multiple other countries within the Schengen Zone without requiring additional visas or immigration hassle. The Schengen Zone is a group of twenty-six (26) countries similar to CARICOM in the Caribbean.
PS. If you’re one of the many persons who ask me for advice / mentoring on starting or moving up in Cyber Security I want you to know that the advice I give you is also what I follow. I wish you all the best with your goals
Wish me well.
A smart working Cyber Security Consultant who dared to switch his career 5 years ago above all critics.