Student Spotlight: Joe Campbell
Information Security Analyst, Verizon
Welcome to CyberVista’s Student Spotlight Series. We regularly keep in touch with our alumni and highlight their experiences using the CyberVista system. Our latest installment features an interview with Joe Campbell, an Information Security Analyst with Verizon. The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Course completed: CISSP Live Online Course
Tell us about your job and current responsibilities.
I joined Verizon right out of college as a programmer and have been with the company for more than 30 years holding several different positions around application development and product support. In the past two to three years I started getting involved in information security by adding to my current responsibilities, but decided that I’d like to transition to make this my full-time focus.
Why did you decide to take on CISSP?
Several years ago in my mid-forties I took the pulse of the IT industry and saw that when professionals reach the age of 50 or above, it becomes harder to stay relevant. In my research, I found that employers really want three things out of their employees: experience, certifications, and education—in that order. I initially started at the bottom and earned my Masters in Information Security. Because certifications are really important, I jumped at the opportunity to take CyberVista’s CISSP course and use Verizon’s tuition benefit to cover the cost of the course.
What was your CyberVista course experience like?
During the 8 weeks of the course, I did all of the prep work prior to each class, reading the textbook, watching the videos and taking my own notes from them. Prepare for each class! Put in the time and you won’t be sorry.
I found that the amount of material can be overwhelming, and as the weeks went by it was hard to retain the information from the previous classes because there was so much new material to cover for the next class. But I’m happy to report that the amount of material became much more manageable, because I committed the time to studying.
Half of the course experience is the online class, but then you have to use the resources to get yourself the rest of the way. Just like Sam Meisenberg said in orientation, “there are no shortcuts!” I ultimately went into test day knowing that I was going to pass.
Did you have a favorite CISSP domain or topic?
Coming into the course I really gravitated to Domain 1: Security and Risk Management because I could see myself in that type of role. But as we started going through all of the domains, I started looking at other areas like security operations and thinking that could be fun too. Domain 8: Software Development Security was my least favorite because I’ve spent 30 years in that space.
Tell us about your exam experience.
I found that all of the advice I received from our instructor, Sean Smith, was true. Based on my experience, I would say:
- You need to know your stuff, inside and out. Don’t just memorize the questions because you will need to be able to actually apply your knowledge. For example, in a single question I found that you might have to take several steps to come to the correct answer.
- Take your time with every question. There’s plenty of time. Read every word and then read it again until you fully understand the question. Next read every answer carefully, more than once, and consider the topic being covered. Once you choose an answer, go back and read the question one more time to make sure that the question and the answer make sense together.
- The CyberVista test day strategies should always be in your mind when answering each question. So to prepare, watch those videos over and over, especially regarding the topics about honeypots and the themes.
What’s your advice to future CyberVista students?
Leave no stone unturned during your exam preparation. The CISSP exam is hard, but that’s what makes it worth the work. CyberVista offers many other resources — the live classes are just a small part of your preparation — and they should all be used in their entirety.
What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
My wife and I are empty-nesters so we like to do a lot of traveling. Some of my favorite places to go are my family lake house on Lake George in upstate New York and family timeshares in Key West, FL. I’m drawn to water!
Do You Want to Pass?
If you’re like Joe and want to expand your career options by pursuing a certification, we are here to help! At CyberVista we have two goals: Help you learn the material so you can pass the exam, and help you retain the information so you can apply what you learn for the long term. Learn more about CyberVista’s Certify training courses, including CISSP, CISM, CEH and Security+.