From Federal Program Manager to Becoming Cybersecurity
Director: Dr. Sean Cortopassi Reveals His Secret to Landing a Top Cybersecurity Job

Dr. Sean Cortopassi

Designation: Director, Information Management & Cybersecurity Assurance Division
Company: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Country: United State

Want to know the secret to landing a top job in cybersecurity? Look no further than the Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) Certification. In an exclusive interview, cybersecurity director Dr. Sean Cortopassi reveals how this certification was the key to unlocking his success. Before becoming a cybersecurity director, Dr. Cortopassi was a federal program manager, but after completing his certification, he was able to branch out and learn in-demand skills that only this intensive training could teach. Not only did the C|EH help him get promoted, but it also equipped Dr. Cortopassi with the tools he needed to succeed in his new position. Don’t miss out on this exclusive interview and the chance to learn how you too can climb the cybersecurity ladder with the C|EH certification!

Is C|EH Worth It?

The C|EH was paramount in my career. It changed my entire life. It gave me a path to take and the confidence to jump ship from a very successful career as a lineman to something that interested me intellectually much more.

Tell me about your journey as a cybersecurity professional.

Hello, my name is Dr. Sean Cortopassi. I am a division director at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Program Systems Management office. And I manage the information management and cybersecurity assurance division. My background is that I’ve supported the federal government for over a decade. This certification has been beneficial in my career. And honestly, it’s helped me become a division director, which probably would not have been achievable without getting this certification.

What caught your attention about the CEH program?

Well, first off, it’s a challenging exam and not easy to pass it. I had to study intensively to attain the certification and score perfectly. But it did require a lot of work. So, what did I love about the curriculum? Aside from the fact that it’s incredibly comprehensive,

I learned about these valuable tools and countermeasures and all these other things that I apply in my day-to-day work activities as a division director for cybersecurity.

In that sense, the ethical hacker program fits my federal employee needs.

How did the C|EH benefit your career?

Before becoming a cybersecurity director, I was traditionally a federal program manager. Training from the ethical hacker program allowed me to branch out and learn new skill sets and in-demand skills that only the ethical hacker certification could teach me. So, it benefited me greatly and opened new opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have been able to get without this pretty intensive training.

How recognized is the C|EH in your organization and the industry?
The U.S. federal government, whether the civilian side or the military, very much values the benefits of the Certified Ethical Hacker program.

How recognized is the C|EH in your organization and the industry?

It’s known for being a complicated exam. But it’s also known for those who pass it to show some tremendous skills they only would have acquired had they passed the certification and done all the required training. In that sense, the ethical hacker program is highly sought after by me as a hiring manager. If I were to see somebody with the ethical hacker certification, I would look at it very closely. And that’s an excellent certification to have.

Did the C|EH help you in any way to either get higher pay, get a promotion, get a job you wanted, etc.?

As I said earlier, the ethical hacker program and completing the certification increased my skill set and allowed me to go from just program management to ethical hacking.


And as a cybersecurity director, learning all the different countermeasures and all the other things that I needed to be successful as a division director was only achievable by taking this certification.

So, yes, it not only helped me get promoted but also helped me succeed as a division director. So, for that, I’m very grateful.

CEH Review: What was your favorite part of the C|EH program? Please explain why.

Well, it’s the fact that I’ve learned so much about numerous different topics that I wouldn’t have been exposed to before. As I previously said, it’s very comprehensive. Also, I learned all about the tools. I learned about countermeasures


The most important part is the labs, knowing all the command line prompts, and understanding how to apply this knowledge in real time. That’s what sets the ethical hacker program apart from others in that you have to apply it and answer some tough questions.

But after you’ve completed this certification, you’ll be glad you did because you can use it in your day-to-day work activities. You can’t say that about all the other certification programs. So that’s what I loved about the ethical hacker program. And you might as well.

How has the C|EH certification impacted you?

I want to give you an example of how this has personally helped me. The HUD IT security handbook is very technical and comprehensive. It’s modeled after the NIST Special Publication 800-53, revision five. So, with that said, this certification helped me understand all the requirements in hot IT security. I had an IT security handbook and all the NIST Special publications. So, that is how it has impacted me tremendously. It helped me understand what I’m expected to handle as a division director. And what I need to do to get authority to operate the system I am responsible for. So, that is how it has impacted me.

Did the C|EH help you give back to the community in any way whatsoever?

Well, I have family, friends, and local small businesses that asked me how to secure their data, network, and system. And the answer is it’s helped me to understand system hardening.


It has helped me to give recommendations to these folks so that they know what they need to do to secure their network and their system

and all the other things that are required to run a good security program for their business so that they can comply and won’t have issues down the road. So, that is how the ethical hacker certification has helped me to give back to the community.

Do you attribute any part of your success to the EC-Council? If so, do you have a message for the team at EC-Council?

Well, yes, the answer is I do. Because not only do I have the ethical hacking certification completed, I completed the computer hacking forensic investigator certification as well. So, this isn’t my only certification through EC-Council. I love their training, and once you complete their training, you’ll be very grateful to EC-Council because they have excellent programs you could benefit from. So those are all the questions. But yeah, on a personal note, the ethical hacker program is cutting-edge regarding the questions they’re asking. They are not outdated. It is based on current situations that one would face as an IT director. It’s the newest and latest threats that one needs to be prepared for to secure your enterprise and the systems you’re responsible for. Putting all that together, I found the ethical hacker program to be of great value. I benefited a lot from it. And I was thrilled when I completed the certification. So, with all that said, that’s all that I have to say about the ethical hacker program. I’ve also appreciated getting recertified because even though all the hours you have to put in to get recertified is also a challenge, you benefit from it. So, thank you very much. Have a good evening.

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