N2K Instructor Spotlight: Chris Harehttps://www.cybervista.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/SMEspotlight_ChrisHare_Blog.png1200628N2KN2Khttps://www.cybervista.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/SMEspotlight_ChrisHare_Blog.png
Welcome back to our Instructor Spotlight Series. In this series, we interview the certified instructors who teach our courses to current and aspiring cybersecurity practitioners. In this episode, we connect with Chris Hare, Cyber Content Developer with us at N2K. The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
N2K: What do you do and what are you most excited about in your role?
Chris Hare: I’m the Cyber Content Developer for all of the professional training content on project management. I’m most excited about amplifying my field to help our student base achieve their professional goals.
CV: Tell us a little bit about your background and experience.
CH: I started my career as a direct response/marketing copywriter, and then moved into project management for the next 15 years or so, working for such companies as Patagonia, Adobe, Guitar Center, and Harbor Freight Tools. All the while in project management, I’ve always kept a foot in the writing world. I was a technical editor for books on XML and agile scrum, and I even self-published my own book that taught parents to leverage project management skills to help their children succeed in school. I am also a passionate advocate for various causes and have served on several boards, written grants, and helped with legislative advocacy.
CV: How did you become interested in cyber and IT specifically?
CH: In my former lives as a project/program manager, I’ve mainly worked in IT, eCommerce, and Engineering departments at the companies I mentioned, so it has been a preponderance of my tenure. I love that I am now in the cyber world. The opportunity to work at such a fantastic company as N2K Networks was the perfect pivot to the cybersecurity professional training industry.
CV: Why do you think certifications are important?
CH: They are the crucial tie between theory and practice. They put into focus the practicalities of the knowledge areas so that you can synthesize the information for application in real-world settings. There is also a mutually beneficial, compound effect to upskilling via certifications; studies show that it leads to better opportunities for employees and higher retention rates for employers.
CV: How can an individual find the right certifications to pursue?
CH: I would recommend first asking yourself what your end goal job ideal looks like, and then work backward in terms of finding out what certifications would best befit that role. Looking at LinkedIn profiles is one way to see how roles and certifications match up; another way is to peruse the list of certifications on our website and see what interests you most.
CV: What are your views on certifications vs. college degrees?
CH: I consider myself a lifelong learner; to me, the more learning, the better! I see no detriment in personal growth from leveraging as many learning paths as possible. It will not only help you become a more well-rounded candidate, but a well-rounded individual as well.
CV: What is your favorite certification?
CH: The majority of my certifications are project management related. I think because it afforded me the biggest career jump, I would vote for the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification as my favorite. It is also the certification I recommend to anyone who wants to become a project manager (it also helps to know that those who hold the PMP certification tend to earn higher salaries than those who don’t have the certification).
CV: What do you like to do for fun outside of work that people wouldn’t normally expect?
CH: I’m exploring the possibility of creating my own non-profit! I’m in the early stages of figuring out what that will look like.
CV: What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who is interested in exploring a new career path?
CH: Learn as much about your area of interest as possible through as many means as possible: take classes, get certified, join networking groups, follow thought leaders on social media, etc. The more immersed you are in the content and context of your area of interest, the more likely you will be successful in it, because it will empower you to make thoughtful connections and see all of the opportunities that lie before you.