Joe Stocker, CEO of a Microsoft Consulting company (”www.PatriotConsultingTech.com”) and author of the bestselling book on Amazon ”Securing Microsoft 365”, mentors his friend Larry on his journey to a career in Cybersecurity. Update: 5/1/2023: Larry is currently working part time for Joe as a SOC Analyst! Connect with Larry on LinkedIN here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lawrence-lishey-30942020/ Want to be a guest on the show? Let Larry know on LinkedIN!
Saturday Aug 07, 2021
Saturday Aug 07, 2021
Brett spent 24 years in prison, and was recently released. But how Brett spent his time will inspire you. Take the time to listen to Brett and get to know how he invested his time wisely. He has a lot to teach us on so many levels.
Brett took advantage of every education opportunity available, earned a bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts and taught himself to advanced math and physics, all without access to the Internet. But his life really changed when his friends invited him to the Last Mile program (www.TheLastMile.org). He wrote about his journey on his blog article here: The Crucible: Learning How to Code in Prison | by Brett Buskirk | Medium
The Last Mile is a truly amazing program. It gives prisoners an opportunity to learn full stack programming in a simulated web environment. Brett excelled and showed initiative during COVID when the program was suspended, he hand-wrote lesson plans that were distributed to multiple prisons that participated in the Last Mile program. Upon his release from prison, he was hired as an Instructor by Last Mile so he now gets to teach others.
Brett’s story reminds me of Kevin Mitnick. Upon being released from prison, Kevin started the company KnowBe4 which has become one of the fastest growing cybersecurity companies in history. I can say from personal experience that the majority of my corporate customers are now KnowBe4 customers. This is a great example of where as a society we have given returning citizens like Kevin, and now Brett a chance to bless all of us with their valuable skills they have to offer us.
I firmly believe that Brett has a bright career ahead of him - and there are no limits to what Brett can achieve, because his mind is so incredibly sharp and he has gotten to know himself and his self worth. Brett has found joy and purpose in coding and now he is now gaining an interest in Cybersecurity, which is how he found out about this show - one day he searched "Cybersecurity" on Spotify and found our show! He reached out to Larry and we both immediately knew we wanted others to hear his incredible story. The world needs bright minds like Brett to help all of us, because we are in the middle of a cyber war, where dangerous nation state actors and cyber gangs are destroying American businesses. In my opinion, Congress should set aside a gazillion dollars to help prisoners find hope like what Brett has found. Opportunities are all around us if we seek them with all our might - I believe God puts them there for us.
Highlights from the show:
6:55 Brett came to a belief of not accepting Limits of Learning. <- You've gotta hear this - it is very inspirational!
“I don’t believe in limits. I don’t believe that we have to not learn something just because it’s too difficult. I think it boils down to what interests us. If it is something that truly interests us, then we can learn it no matter who we are. It is just the matter of having the will power and discipline to do so.”
8:36 Brett escaped the horrors of prison life by diving deep into Math and Physics. “I knew it was something they couldn’t take from me.”
Later in the episode Brett recalls a time where he wrote an MS Access database with VBA Code to help the print shop with cost estimating. When the prison administration discovered the program, they removed Brett’s access and banned him from jobs involving computers, because they feared what they didn’t understand.
10:40 The pivotal moment in Brett’s prison life happened after he was let go from a job, and his friends told him about the Last Mile program which teaches computer programming, specifically full stack web development (front end and back end coding).
“From day one I knew I loved it.”
Brett really values much more than just the technical part - he appreciates how the program made him feel because they really showed how much they cared about Brett.
15:50 Brett is currently reading a Network+ book, and Larry talks about his decision of pursuing CYSA+ instead of Pentest+ or the Cloud cert.
Learn more about Brett’s story on his Medium Blog post.
19:15 Brett describes how he earned his current role teaching for Last Mile. During COVID he wrote tutorials / lesson plans, which he enjoyed doing, and that really impressed the leadership in Last Mile. After his release from prison, they hired him onto their full time staff, and now he is giving back by teaching those still in the system.
26:00 Brett and Joe talk about how valuable the skills learned in the Last Mile generate hope, and how when people volunteer their time it shows the prisoners that they have have value.
28:00 Brett talks about how the rate of change in the computer industry, and cybersecurity in particular is something that motivates and attracts Brett.
39:00 Joe and Brett discuss how Upwork is a great site for returning citizens to perform freelance work and gain job experience
41:00 Brett is in the process of learning Python, and Larry jumps in that he is also learning Python too.
43:00 Brett shares how he enjoys the show as a fan and following’s Larry’s journey and life experience, and Larry reminisces about his brief rap career
45:00 Larry shares how he failed the Security+ 501 exam and that he will retake the newer Security+ 601 exam. And Larry is available and very interested for anyone who is hiring for a SOC Analyst role.
46:30 Larry shares how he is experimenting with Tryhackme.com