Freedom Learning Group’s mission-based model connects education publishers, businesses, and schools with a virtual workforce of highly skilled experts and educators. Meet Marc, a Navy veteran and FLG subject matter expert in cybersecurity and databases.
Please introduce yourself and your role at Freedom Learning Group.
My name is Marc, and I am a content author, or Subject Matter Expert. My focus is in cybersecurity, databases, and websites.
Where in the world are you currently located?
Los Angeles, California.
What is your education background?
My degree is actually in clinical laboratory science but I hold over 30 IT (Information Technology) certifications.
Are you affiliated with the U.S. military?
Yes, I am a disabled veteran and also a federal employee for the Navy.
Thank you for your service! Could you share what you did in your military career?
As I mentioned, I actually graduated with a degree in clinical laboratory science, so I started work in the medical field. I was working in a lab and they had a system put in, so I had to learn lab information systems, and in doing that I ended up getting certified in networks. And when I became certified in databases I just became more interested in that. Once I started getting into networking, I went to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs as the Laboratory Information Manager, managing the database for the pathology department for the hospital. Then I went to work at the U.S. Treasury and then took a job with the Army and then to the Navy, where I worked for over ten years.
With the Navy, I started out in systems administration. They brought me in to redesign their technical manual distribution system. I did a physical-to-virtual upgrade of the entire system that is used by military personnel around the world. We had about 6,000 active users every day. Then I did a complete redesign and built a new system, got that online, and then supported that system for several years.
I did that for quite a while, and then became SQL certified and managed the databases and web servers. I eventually ended up managing the security of these systems and became part of the cybersecurity team. Then my last couple of years I was the branch manager for the NSDSA, the Naval System Data Activity Center.
How did you come to Freedom Learning Group?
I saw an ad for a technical author and I sent a resume in. I was interviewed and then got a call from a project manager and they brought me in for a project. I did a few PBQs⏤Performance Based Questions⏤ and then got pulled into a couple of other projects.
What does a technical author, or Subject Matter Expert, do?
Mostly I help with assessments and exams. I write questions or develop scenarios based on my experience to be used for testing or course curriculum. It could be on virtualization using Hyper V, or related to database technology, things like that. And most of what I do is under the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity guidelines. So my area of expertise is knowing what is required to have a system on the DoD (Department of Defense) network. And I also have a ton of schooling in IT. I hold over 30 different IT certifications and I’m always keeping them up to date. With technology, there’s always more to learn.
Why do you love this area of focus?
It’s just technology. I’ve always liked it and the thing about this career is it forces you to spend a lot of time in school, which I also love. You have to be a lifelong learner because you can’t just get certified and call it done, that’s it because everything keeps changing. New things come out. You have to have that type of drive or personality to keep learning.
What is the best part of your job?
Sharing what I know and sharpening my technical skills.
How do you spend your day, or what does an ordinary day look like for you?
A lot of times, spending time with my wife. I read a lot, travel a bit. We have a trip to Portugal coming up. I work about 5-15 hours a week. Then I also have my own projects. I create videos. For example, I have one on macOS security that I’m working on right now.
What is a trend you see happening in the education space that you’re excited about?
When online education first came out, I didn’t like it because of the lack of interaction with students. But now I really like it because of the convenience, improvements, and offerings over the years. I think it’s great. There are opportunities for people to get certifications and degrees online, even for free, and it’s accredited around the world. This just levels the playing field for so many people.
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