Before 2020 it would have seemed impossible to change the course of your career with nothing but a laptop and some free time. But our student, Ioana, took the leap with an Ironhack remote Cybersecurity bootcamp and did just that!
Let's hear from Ioana on how she made the change to became a Cybersecurity Officer, overcame self-doubt, and listen to her advice for building a career you love without fear!
Hi Ioana! Tell us a bit about you.
Hello there ! I’m Ioana, currently living in Paris.
In my professional life I work as a Cybersecurity Officer in the Defense industry, in my personal life I like to travel, to paint, to play guitar & to regularly learn new things on a general basis.
I used to be a Project Manager in the aerospace industry, at the crossroads of IT & Engineering - type of - projects.
Why were you interested in Cybersecurity in the first place?
On my last project I had to accidentally deal with a cybersecurity-related part as the project was in a military environment. So I had no previous knowledge of cybersecurity and I somehow had to start training myself on my own the best I could in order to make the project go smoothly.
Why did you decide to make a career change?
With plenty of time on my hands due to Covid, I was also financially able to invest in a new career as it was already on my mind for some time. The hardest was the first step - meaning the decision to dive in a new field, after that, everything kind of started to fall into place gradually & quite effortlessly.
Looking back now, a year later, I can say beyond the shadow of any doubt, that it was one of the best professional decisions I had ever taken.
How was your experience at Ironhack during the course?
During the bootcamp I experienced a mix of fulfillment at what I was achieving sprinkled with frustration here and there, on the more technical or complex parts. I would say the most important is: to never give up even if it may look hard, or close to impossible at times.
Success is going all the way, effort and resilience always pays back in due time.
How was the remote collaboration with the rest of the class?
It was nice and easy, and although remote, my colleagues were always eager to help out when someone gave them a shout. We even continued our collaboration after the class, when recommending different positions and/ or companies among us. It’s a pity we didn’t create a group on Signal or some other rather safe social network, we could have definitely kept in touch for longer.
What did you enjoy the most about the self-learning format of the Bootcamp?
It was done remotely in the comfort of my home - I tend to learn quicker and work more efficiently when I am in a psychologically safe / Home-like environment. I was also able, up to a point, to manage my own learning rhythm & adjust it accordingly based on my brain-sharp or brain-lazy hours during the day.
After graduating, you found a job. What would you highlight from your current company and position?
I actually found several positions and I worked for 3 companies already since I graduated last year, all of them in cybersecurity. It was hardest in the beginning due to the obvious lack of cyber work experience. But once I got on the cyber market, it literally rained with opportunities and I was no longer forced to let other people choose me, I chose the best for myself.
Piece of advice on this one: life is short so never settle unless you feel appreciated, valued & fulfilled where you are. And yes, it does exist.
How did the Bootcamp prepare you for the job market?
I honestly don’t think I could have been here without the Bootcamp. It definitely provided the necessary tools, knowledge, technology and the self-confidence that came with all these. It was thanks to the bootcamp that I managed to get on the cyber market, make my career change, and ultimately proudly work in an awesome company that I greatly cherish.
What advice would you give to those who want to get started in the tech sector and are afraid of change?
Whether we like it to admit or not, our entire life means constant change.
Look at it this way: yes, it’s scary to make a big change (& fear potential failure) but you know what it’s even scarier?
Regret, of not having risked it when you had the chance, energy and finances.
So be scared, if you cannot help it, but do it anyway
Do you have any final thoughts or advice for others out there like yourself?
Whenever you feel not experienced or skilled enough for a position you’d like to apply for, and you somehow don’t feel ready, do it anyway. Take the risk, let a company tell you no (it’s a possibility), but don’t tell yourself no beforehand, don’t sabotage your own opportunity.
Don’t forget to celebrate success, even small successful moments, remember you are your biggest fan, be kind to yourself and understand that this is a process - stairs to climb one by one - and not a one-time target to hit.
Fear is an illusion, most of the things we fear do not happen, train that resilience and mental strength, run risks regularly and know that failure is a greater teacher than success, and a perfect trainer to prepare you for better things to come.
Now go and be courageous and enjoy every bit of that cyber ride out there !