In today's fast-paced and rapidly evolving world, it's common for professionals to switch career paths and explore new industries. Recently, the Canberra Cyber Hub sat down with someone who has done just that.
Travis Franklin is a former Avionics Technician in the Air Force and current Technical Solutions Manager for Canberra-based security company archTIS – a global provider of innovative software solutions with over 15 years of experience working with the government, defence and enterprises.
Travis made the transition to the cyber security industry, leveraging his previous experience and skills to tackle complex challenges and delve into emerging technologies. In this interview, we'll explore his journey, discussing the factors that inspired him to change careers, the resources he found useful, the skills and personal attributes required for success in the field, and his advice for others considering a similar path.
What was your previous career and what inspired you to shift into cyber security?
I served as an Avionics Technician in the Air Force and earned an Electrical Engineering degree ahead of moving into my current role as Technical Solutions Manager for an Australian information security company, archTIS. I transitioned to cyber security to acquire new skills and tackle complex issues, and because I saw cyber as the foundation of the future. I was also interested in working for a home-grown Aussie company.
What resources did you find helpful when considering the career shift?
When considering my change, I started with YouTube, watching detailed tutorials before moving to more structured courses offered by big companies like Microsoft and CompTIA. I’d really recommend these courses for people wanting to explore the industry because you can participate in the training for free. Payment is required only if you want a formal certificate upon completion.
I was fortunate to find a company like archTIS, that valued recruiting individuals from other industries to address the shortage of cyber security professionals. Given my background in Defence, I was familiar with the traditional warfare domains, but I could see the opportunity for cyber to become the foundation of the future given the ubiquity of the domain.
What skills and personal attributes do you think someone needs to transition into a career in cyber security?
Having an open-minded attitude to learning new skills, even if they aren’t directly related to your interests, can add to your professional experience. This means being transparent with yourself and your employer about your knowledge gaps can help you advance your career. Nowadays, more companies are willing to invest in the training and development of suitable candidates for mutual benefit. With cyber, having a technical mindset is also an asset, but strong motivation to learn new skills and take on challenging tasks can overcome any lack of technical skill. Becoming proficient takes time and effort, but this is where communication is key. Even now, I work hard to improve my ability to articulate these complex concepts, but I work harder to learn from the experts around me every day.
Do you have any advice for people considering a career in cyber?
There is a concern among mature-aged people considering a mid-career transition into cyber security as a potential loss of income, especially during this period of economic uncertainty and big-tech layoffs. However, taking one step backwards into an area that interests you will soon catapult you forward. I’d also reiterate the importance of transferable skills and building a strong resume. There are companies in Canberra like archTIS, and all over Australia, eager to hire competent and motivated people.
So, take the plunge as I did. I haven’t regretted it for a second.