Evolve Academy Alums Discuss Cybersecurity Career Paths
Without a doubt, cybersecurity is a hot industry with many different roles and career paths. If you are ready to jump in, but could you use some advice on where and how to start, check out what we learned from a panel discussion with some of our Evolve Academy alums, facilitated by Martin McGovern, Career Coach and Founder of Career Therapy, podcaster, and leader of several Evolve career-related Meetups.
Cybersecurity Career Path Keys to Success
The following are some of the questions Martin posed to the Evolve Academy alums. Their stories reveal how they got into cybersecurity careers with diverse backgrounds and experiences. To hear the interview in its entirety, link through here. The keys to success that they all share are curiosity, determination, and continued commitment to learning.
- How long did it take to find that first role? When did you reach your career goal(s)?
- Did you experience “imposter syndrome”?
- Did your initial salary meet your expectations?
- How was your onboarding experience?
- How important are certifications?
Jeremy was a Missionary. Now he is an Attack Simulation Operator with Guide Point Security (Note: At the time of this interview, he was a Senior Cyber Defense Analyst at Avande)
When Jeremy joined Evolve Academy, he did not know what an IP address was, nor the difference between RAM and ROM. After working in Ireland, he wanted to settle down with a career that paid well, but where he could still use his skills helping people.
He chose cybersecurity on a whim after seeing information about Evolve Academy on Instagram. He knew that he lacked knowledge but was not shy about trying new things and asking questions.
Without prior experience in cyber, his first job was at an IT Help Desk where there were a lot of gatekeepers in his path. His colleagues told him it might take 10 years to learn the ropes, but he did not get discouraged. He found a supportive community of like-minded people outside of work. He connected with mentors via LinkedIn and surrounded himself with others like him who always wanted to get better. He passed his pentesting test and got promoted within six weeks. His determination to persevere paid off and has helped him earn a six-figure salary in his career.
Allison is a working mom who had a career in corporate communications. Today she is a Cybersecurity Analyst in a nonprofit health organization.
She became curious about cybersecurity when her father was the victim of a cybercrime. While teaching herself computer networking she connected with an organization for women in cybersecurity (WiCyS) that offered her a professional mentorship and introduced her to Evolve Academy. She took the Network+ exam, graduated from the bootcamp, then got her Security+ certificate and landed a position in cybersecurity shortly afterwards.
Allison appreciates her current job position as she’s continuously learning and growing, while practicing all the skills she learned at Evolve. It's also a blue team role focused on threat hunting, which is the area of cyber that she really enjoys. Allison continues to study on her own time to ensure that she keeps up with cybersecurity trends and threats in the news.
Mal came to Evolve Academy with a BA in computer science and some experience working on an IT Help Desk. She is currently a Cybersecurity Consultant at RubinBrown.
Mal wanted a job in IT where she could work directly with people. She thought of cybersecurity as a body of knowledge. In the bootcamp she learned that it is actually a set of skills that many people can learn with patience and persistence. As she loved the learning process, she decided that consulting might be a good role for her.
Two months after completing the bootcamp, Mal found a job as a Junior Consultant in a small accounting firm. She was the first female and minority consultant in the company, and felt she had to work harder to prove her worth. She did not have a clearly defined role but learned by watching the senior staff who encouraged her to share her ideas.
As a full time consultant, Mal does research, compliance, audit, assessment, and communicating with clients. She loves helping businesses get past their technical frustrations so that they can continue to make money safely. She is working toward increasing her salary, which in consulting is based in part on obtaining credentials such as Network+ and Security+ to help win new business.
If you're interested in viewing the video from this interview - link through here.
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