A career switch to cybersecurity after 20 years in customer service

After spending more than 20 years in customer service and working as an administrative assistant, Julie decided to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. 

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Upon graduating in the Spring of 2019, she was introduced to Cybrary through a long-time friend. Julie started using the platform to learn and interact with others in Cybrary’s mentor community. Julie’s experience with Cybrary not only boosted her confidence, but enabled her to grow her knowledge and skills. Julie was able to leverage all that she learned to secure a role at ATOS, an international IT service company, where she provides technical support to clients in the financial services industry. Julie is a true example of resilience and determination. She’s currently preparing for the CompTIA A+ certification. 

Please tell us about your background. 

I have more than 20 years experience in customer service, but stepped away to start a family. When my son turned three, I decided to go back to work and found that the job market changed significantly. I didn’t have a college degree at that time. 

I decided to go back to school and pursue an Associate’s degree in web design and visual media. While I enjoyed the work, I couldn’t see myself doing this full-time. After graduation, I took a couple of years off and then decided to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. 

Upon earning my Computer Science degree, I started to explore my career options. This was when a friend of mine, who is a Cybrary mentor, introduced me to the Cybrary platform. 

I was able to continue to develop my skills with Cybrary. I took several courses on help desk troubleshooting and related industry certifications, which enabled me to secure a helpdesk agent role. 


What’s so exciting about Cybersecurity? 

I've always wanted a job that offered variety in terms of the day-to-day activities and really challenged me. 

My time as an administrative assistant was predictable and repetitive. Since entering the IT and cybersecurity field, I’ve found everything is different. You never know what you’re going to walk into on a given day and it definitely keeps you on your toes. It’s both challenging and rewarding at the same time. 


​What goals were you trying to achieve before joining Cybrary? 

I wanted to be confident in entering this line of work. It’s intimidating to be in a field where there are so few women. Cybrary equipped me with the knowledge and skills to walk confidently into a job interview and present myself well. 

In my first helpdesk role out of college, I was the only woman. I felt that I was being passed over for promotions and didn’t have an opportunity to grow. In my current position, I rely on Cybrary and its community to continue to grow my knowledge and instill confidence in my ability to perform on the job.


​What are the main advantages of using Cybrary? 

I am both a visual and hands-on learner. I love that Cybrary’s virtual labs allow me to connect the dots after watching a video course. I can put what I learn into action. Gaining real, hands-on experience has helped me a lot. 


​Could you share examples of skills you've learned on Cybrary?

Based on a recommendation I received from the Cybrary community I found a resource that outlined the seven step process for help desk escalation, which I used to prepare for a job interview. It helped me understand the escalation process this particular organization was looking to implement. I was able to talk to and demonstrate my knowledge of this process even though I didn’t have the requisite years of experience.


​How have you benefited from using Cybrary?

Cybrary has given me the confidence to be in this field. I’m learning every day and really eager to learn. In fact, I try to set aside 10-15 minutes each day to study. 

Cybrary, through its community and its content, has given me the confidence to feel like I could go on and present myself well in an interview and to be in the position that I'm in now. The more knowledge I learn the more confident I get in what I'm doing. 


What advice would you give someone new to Cybrary?

Explore the platform and ask questions. Everybody in the community is incredibly helpful and willing to answer any question. If they don’t know, they’ll get back to you. Try not to have tunnel vision on a specific career path, take the time to explore other options. You might find something that you like better or something that is interesting and put your initial idea on the back burner. There are lots of options.

Cybrary is a great platform. I really appreciate being a part of the community and having the ability to just constantly learn from people in the industry. That’s a huge plus in my book.


What’s next?

I’m currently preparing for CompTIA A+ Certification. I would also like to get into the Systems Administrator career path and explore the Network Engineer career path. I’m still learning IT, but want to continue to make progress so I can get into security.

"Cybrary gave me the confidence in my interviews to be in the position that I'm in now."

Level I Helpdesk Agent, Financial Industry Technical Services, Inc.