February was an exciting month filled with fun and notable milestones for the INE family and me. Personally, I reached level 40 in the game of life and officially hit the ten year mark of running INE. From a business perspective, we updated our pricing structure to increase accessibility of our growing catalog of training to even more students around the world.
Being part of an organization able to break through the financial obstacles of entry into in-demand tech segments is incredibly rewarding. At INE, we remain committed to reducing obstacles even further while maintaining a sustainable and industry-leading business.
Waking up knowing I had hit forty years seemed a bit surreal. As a teenager, people who were forty were considered old. Yet here I am. Although I still feel like I’m in my 20s, my respect for time has grown substantially. Time no longer seems like an ever-growing horizontal line. I’ve come to realize that it will eventually intersect with the axis of life. Coming to this conclusion has filled me with a sense of urgency in everything I do; most notably in achieving goals from my to-do list that I’ve been meaning to get to for quite some time.
I can’t remember a time when education was not a massive part of my life. I’m proud to be a son of two physicians who instilled in me the importance of studying, good grades, and college. Society, more specifically that of the U.S., puts significant pressure and expectations on our younger generations when it comes to specific paths to success. Kids are often told to go to college and determine “what you want to be when you grow up.” As a result, these kids and/or their parents have a habit of accumulating massive amounts of debt just to figure out what it is they want to be. Four-to-five years later, most people are left with tens of thousands of dollars in loans to be paid back as well as unrealistic expectations of their value to the industry they choose.
As many of us have come to learn, the industry values “real world” experience over a theoretical knowledge of a topic. When it comes to programmers, the industry places a premium on a commitment to spending free time on open source projects, or a pentester collecting the latest bug bounties instead of high school senior projects. While the courses taken during college are valuable, they only amount to a small fraction of your overall time spent in school.
We all know college is expensive. In fact, it’s such a massive expense it seems nearly impossible to calculate. How do students pay for this? Most are forced to take out student loans. Even the term “student loans” is a hot topic in the news, with student loan debt surpassing credit card debt in the U.S. Despite this, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Not only are you paying expensive tuition, but you are paying for your textbooks, room and board, and other fees separately. Doing so takes away from practical ways students could be spending their money, and more importantly, ways they could spend their time. When considering the opportunity costs of placing a hold on your college career for four or five years, the actual costs grow exponentially. Needless to say, I am passionate about providing a viable alternative. I say all of these things as someone who spent close to a decade in the university scene with an undergraduate degree in software engineering as well as two masters degrees (MBA & Master of Software Engineering).
So, you might be wondering what the top item is on my to-do list. The answer is simple: to revolutionize education. This includes designing and building a platform dedicated to hosting the world’s top instructors, providing hands-on practical training, and a career path which gives students visibility, expectations, and aspirations for their career; something seemingly unheard of in the world of education. I say all of this knowing this is not something I, or INE, are going to do alone. We are in active discussions with key players in the industry, as well as other students who have been successful in their journey to have the best of it all right in our platform.
Additionally, our team is in the process of creating new career-focused certifications. In my mind, certifications are both a mental and meaningful milestone in the journey that is your career. Currently, INE has 14 certifications spanning different aspects of cyber security. In the coming months, we will showcase our internal roadmap and clearly define career paths, giving students more tools to focus on their studies and achieve their goals. For students already in the industry, we have you covered too. Our training is designed to help you become a well-rounded professional while giving you the confidence to not just do the job, but to excel.