Cybersecurity is number one of the top 10 challenge areas for finding qualified talent worldwide, according to Global Knowledge’s 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report.
Given the demand for cybersecurity talent, you could be forgiven for thinking it is a difficult field to enter, but Cisco Networking Academy makes it more accessible than you might imagine.
Seismic shifts to hybrid work and digital transformation across all industries are just some of the reasons for the strong demand for cybersecurity professionals. The good news in all of this is that there are many exciting career opportunities available to people who can demonstrate verified interest and aptitude in cybersecurity to serve in an entry-level cybersecurity role and do their part to fight cybercrime!
Before going into some of the easy-to-access cybersecurity pathways available through Cisco Networking Academy, I thought it would be an opportune time—during Cybersecurity Awareness Month—to highlight some student success stories from around the world for some inspiration.
Real people. Real skills. Real jobs.
Meet Amanda, from massage therapist to Cybersecurity Analyst
Experience in tech is not necessary, as Amanda J. Nelson, from the United States, found.
Amanda graduated from the Alexandria Technical & Community College with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity, Virtualization, and Networking Program.
Having achieved the Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate certification—which the Networking Academy CyberOps Associate course aligns with—Amanda was offered a job right away as a Cybersecurity Analyst.
“Cisco’s Networking Academy curriculum helped me succeed in the cybersecurity field by providing many different approaches to each area of networking,” says Amanda.
“As a non-traditional student with no background in technology I was impressed with the hands-on labs and packet tracer. These tools and methods allowed me to see and understand networks at every layer. This, coupled with the security classes, allowed me to grow my interest in cybersecurity and understand how it impacts every part of a functional network. Through the confidence and knowledge I gained from these classes I applied for and accepted a cybersecurity analyst position.”
Meet Cihat who now leads a team of 30 cybersecurity professionals
Networking Academy also caters to learners with a lifelong interest in tech, like Cihat Emlik from Turkey.
As a 16-year-old Cihat started with IT Essentials at Habitat, his local Networking Academy, and subsequently became an IT Essentials instructor. He then went on to do his Cisco Certified Networking Associate certification, and then became a CCNA trainer.
He now works for Turkey’s largest Cybersecurity company, leading a team of 30 cybersecurity professionals. “Those who want to pursue a career in software, networking, cybersecurity or other areas of technology must learn the basics of networking,” he says. “Of course, the most exciting, fun, passionate and inspiring way to learn about these networks is through Cisco Networking Academy. It should be the first stop for everyone on the way.”
Meet Jonathan who is passionate about managing vulnerabilities
Jonathan Jeremie, from the United States, attended North Carolina A&T State University, the largest historically black college or university in the US. While learning Cybersecurity with Networking Academy, Jonathan worked in the Helpdesk at the institution, assisting students with IT issues, which gave him experience working with others and troubleshooting.
During the summer breaks he interned at a health insurance company, working on data and perimeter securities, and subsequently he transitioned into a full–time role in Vulnerability Management, focusing on emerging threats.
“It’s a day-to-day thing,” says Jonathan. “Today may be a typical day, tomorrow a critical vulnerability may emerge that requires immediate action. That is what makes this field so fascinating and rewarding. It keeps us on our toes and to always remain vigilant.”
Meet sisters: Disha (left) and Nisha (right) who now see themselves in cyber
Sisters Disha and Nisha, from India, were in their final year before graduation when the pandemic struck, and they lost the part-time jobs they had in order to support their studies and provide for the family. They learned about NIIT Foundation through social media promotions and registered to do the Cisco Networking Academy Cybersecurity course.
After completing the course, they received a placement opportunity working as inbound process team members—jobs that allowed them to work from home. The Cybersecurity course has allowed the sisters to be financially independent and has provided them with a sense of security.
“The vast knowledge of Cisco Networking Academy helped me explore different areas in cybersecurity,” says Disha.
“Being from a non-technical background, the hands-on labs completely excited me to understand networks, its layers and security. The confidence and knowledge I gained here helped me to realize my dream of becoming Cyber Secure,” adds Nisha.
Meet Vanessa, successful in cyber
Vanessa S., from Brazil, has also been successful in cybersecurity thanks to Networking Academy. As a first-wave student of the cybersecurity program in Brazil, Vanessa completed the CCNA and CyberOps Associate courses in 2020.
Vanessa participated again in the selection process for the second wave and graduated in Network Security the following year. After earning both CCNA and CyberOps certifications using the voucher from the program, Vanessa successfully found work placement through a Cisco Networking Academy employability program in December 2021 and was recently promoted to Level 2 Support Analyst, focusing on Cybersecurity.
“Because we live in an interconnected world where cybercriminals can thrive, I wanted to learn as much as I can to help myself, other people, and organizations to be aware of this and better prepare to respond to the threats and risks,” says Vanessa.
“I was able to acquire a very good base and prepare myself to take my certifications and position myself in the job market.”
Do you see yourself in cyber, too?