20Fathoms Kicks Off New CyberSecurity Careers Mentoring Program tccyber
By Laura Cowan
Laura K. Cowan is a tech editor and journalist whose work has focused on promoting sustainability initiatives for automotive, green tech, and conscious living media outlets.
For the last year, Traverse City Michigan startup incubator 20Fathoms has been running a program called tccodes, to mentor professionals moving into software development careers. Tomorrow, Program Manager Keith Kelly says, they're kicking off phase 2 of the program, tccyber, with an event called CyberSecurity As a Career, to support people entering the growing cybersecurity industry.
20Fathoms runs the program through a state grant. Kelly explains that the program targets the end of the talen pipeline right before career entry to help people bridge that gap, though he would like to do more in future to mentor all the way from childhood education into career development phases. "The state recognizes software development as a high talent, high wage career," Kelly says. "We are starting at the last mile of the pipeline to find out what employers need," and then the program works with professional mentors to train talent into those roles.
This Thursday September 10, the program kicks off remotely with a virtual panel of cybersecurity professionals giving talks about their stories and how to get into security as a career. "We did a coding as a career event a few months ago, and this is in the same format," Kelly says.
Kelly says that just as with software development, lifelong learning is a must in cybersecurity, and the same "threats and drivers" are there in needing to support talent in professional development. The tccyber program is specifically designed for tech talent in northern Michigan, but Kelly says the program might become a model for the state to offer programs that are more accessible at a distance in the future. The tccyber program is open to tech talent at any stage in their career looking to work in security. Kelly says like development, they see people enter cybersecurity from "many paths," from military, to degrees, to self-taught tech talent.
Keith Kelly, program manager of tccyber at 20Fathoms in Traverse City.
If you would like to join the remote kickoff of tccyber, you can join them here tomorrow night. "We're aiming to help people by figuring out here's where you're at and what you need to do to get where you're going," Kelly says of the close mentorship formatting of tccyber. The program starts with one-off evening trainings on hot topics, training on popular technologies, and networking with other professionals. "What the state would like to see now is new hires and new talent," Kelly says. In the fall, tccyber will provide more of a cohort experience like one finds in an incubator, but plans are still up in the air how much of that needs to still be remote. Cohorts will last a couple of months each, where a professional takes new developers through tools and how to work on a team, how to go through the process of code reviews, and so on. "A cohort format is a higher value deliverable because it takes more commitment" to deliver, Kelly says of the developing program.
Traverse City is home to many remote tech workers and late-career entrepreneurs, and we look forward to seeing how this program develops to help local talent. This program will be led by Shaun Bertrand. Again, if you'd like to join the kickoff event, you can sign up here. To see if you qualify for the program or any others with 20Fathoms, visit the 20Fathoms Initiatives page to learn more about current programs.