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 become a Cybersecurity Officer and overcome self-doubt. And, of course, 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, paint, play guitar, and regularly learn new things.
I used to be a Project Manager in the aerospace industry at the crossroads of IT & Engineering projects.
Why were you interested in cybersecurity in the first place?
On my last project, I had to (accidentally!) deal with cybersecurity as the project was in a military environment. I had no previous knowledge of cybersecurity and I somehow had to start teaching myself 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-19, I was also financially able to invest in a new career; it had already been on my mind for some time. The hardest part was the first step (I mean the decision to dive into a new field); after that, everything kind of started to fall into place gradually and 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.
The Ironhack Experience
During the bootcamp, I experienced a mix of fulfillment at what I was achieving sprinkled with frustration here and there due to the more technical or complex parts. I would say the most important thing is to never give up, even if it may look hard or even impossible at times.
Success is going all the way; effort and resilience always pay back in due time.
It was nice and easy and although it was 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.
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 and adjust it accordingly, based on my brain-sharp or brain-lazy hours during the day.
I actually found several positions and I've already worked for 3 companies 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 rained with opportunities and I was no longer forced to let other people choose me; I chose the best for myself.
A little piece of advice on this one: life is short, so never settle unless you feel appreciated, valued, and fulfilled where you are. And yes, it's possible!
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 self-confidence. Thanks to the bootcamp, I managed to get into the cyber market, make my career change, and ultimately 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 or not, our entire life means constant change. Look at it this way: yes, it’s scary to make a big change (and fear potential failure), but you know what it’s even scarier? Regretting not taking the chance when you had the time, energy, and money.
Be scared if you cannot help it, but do it anyway.
Final Thoughts & Advice
Whether or not you feel experienced, ready, or skilled enough for a position you’d like to apply for, 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, there are stairs to climb one by one, 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, take risks, and know that failure is a greater teacher than success. It's truly the perfect way to prepare you for better things to come.
Now go and be courageous and enjoy every bit of that cyber ride out there!