As an Information Security Analyst at Cisco Systems, Cassandra helps drive security compliance and sales enablement by assessing and resolving her customers’ security and compliance requests. After a long career in various non-technical roles, she found her passion after completing her degree in Information Systems and taking a course on Security Management. In 2018, Cassandra became a Cybrary Insider Pro to develop her cybersecurity skills to try to break into the industry despite having no prior IT or security-related work experience. Now in a job she loves, Cassandra is still learning with Cybrary to prepare for her CompTIA Security+ certification.
Tell us about your background.
After completing my undergraduate degree in Business Management and Marketing, I worked in a number of different roles. I was an Administrative Specialist at a pharmaceutical company, then worked in desktop publishing for a sales training vendor, before working in business development for a consulting firm assisting with government RFPs. After I was laid off by the consulting firm, I made the decision to be self-employed serving as a business consultant developing business and marketing plans for start-ups and other organizations. I did this for roughly ten years. But by 2015, I was ready to move on to something else, as I didn’t feel totally satisfied with my career.
In 2016, I started working as a content analyst but sadly 2 years later the company was acquired, which resulted in a massive layoff. But when I became unemployed again, I found my passion. Just before the layoff, I was completing my degree in Information Systems and one of my electives was a Security Management course. It was in taking this course that I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I was so fascinated and intrigued about cybersecurity and the tools one could use to determine if their system had been compromised. So, I set off to find a way into the cybersecurity industry.
What’s so exciting about cybersecurity?
I first became interested in cybersecurity after learning about the different tools organizations and practitioners use to detect if their system has been compromised. I’m motivated by the fact that I play an integral part in helping to stop threat actors. The field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving and poses unique challenges, but that’s what makes it so exciting.
What were your career goals before joining Cybrary?
Before I joined Cybrary, I was really just trying to figure out how I could break into cybersecurity without any IT or security-related work experience. I conducted some research using an online learning site and watched a video on how to get into cybersecurity. One of the tips the video offered was to join Cybrary to build the essential skills one needs to perform in a security role. I wanted to learn everything I could about cybersecurity, but soon found there is so much to learn and a wide range of roles to consider. I wanted to better understand the blue team (defensive security), red team (offensive security), purple team and the types of roles available in each discipline. My objective morphed from figuring out how to get into cybersecurity into finding out which area of security piqued my interest. I ultimately decided that I wanted to be on a blue team, but even now I’m still trying to pinpoint the best fit. My interests lie in securing networks and doing technical work.
What are the main advantages of using Cybrary?
Cybrary offers guided career paths for a number of cybersecurity roles, so if you’re new to cybersecurity and unsure of where to start, exploring one of their career paths can help you find your passion. Cybrary’s career paths provide insight into what a role entails and consist of courses led by knowledgeable instructors with real-world experience.
But the courses are just one piece of the puzzle. You can actually practice what you learn with Cybrary’s virtual labs and gain hands-on experience with different tools and technologies. When you’re ready to start preparing for a cybersecurity certification you also have access to hundreds of practice tests to ensure you're ready to pass the certification exam. Everything you could possibly need on one platform.
Another aspect of Cybrary that I really enjoy is having the opportunity to network with peers from all over the world. You can ask anyone in the Cybrary mentor community questions on any number of topics─ IT, security, interviewing, work experience, career planning, resumes─and always get helpful advice.
Could you share examples of skills you've learned on Cybrary?
While working through Cybrary’s SOC Analyst career path, I was able to develop my skills with Linux OS, Wireshark, ethical hacking, networks, and other core competencies. I’m now exploring other career paths that may put me in a better position to advance my cybersecurity career.
I was able to put the skills I learned with Cybrary on my resume and speak on certain experiences and scenarios during the interview process, which demonstrated my passion to learn, grow, and tackle new challenges.
How have you benefited from using Cybrary?
Becoming a Cybrary Insider Pro was a total game changer. Cybrary was instrumental in helping me break into cybersecurity, despite having no prior IT experience or security-related degree.
What advice would you give someone new to Cybrary?
Cybersecurity is so broad and is constantly changing. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. There’s no way you can learn everything, so take your time and really think about your goals and interests. I’d recommend doing some research to familiarize yourself with different security roles and to get a better idea of what’s involved. This will give you a sense of whether it’s something you want to do.
I’d suggest checking out one of Cybrary’s career paths, which lay out the specific skills, experience, and even certifications you need to not only land but effectively execute in a given role. You should also join Cybrary’s mentor community and ask lots of questions! You’ll be able to make connections with cybersecurity professionals, expand your LinkedIn network, receive guidance from those in roles that interest you, and learn how you can follow in their footsteps.
You can even get the hands-on experience you need for specific roles with Cybrary’s virtual labs. Experience that you can put on your resume and speak to in job interviews.
What’s next for you?
Now that I’m working in cybersecurity, I have my sights set on earning my CompTIA Security+ certification. I want to be able to analyze network structures, test security measures like firewalls and software permissions, uncover potential weaknesses, and run diagnostics on information changes. I believe Cybrary’s Security+ course will position me for success and I’m excited to leverage their tools and resources.
"The community was a total game changer. Cybrary was instrumental for me breaking into cybersecurity."