Fabianna Rodriguez-Mercado had already considered a number of career paths before joining the Fullstack Cyber Bootcamp and earning her role as an Information Technology Analyst at Accenture.
“While I was in college, I tried a lot of different routes. I tried being a chemistry major, I did an internship with the USDA, and I did the Disney College Program,” she says.
She eventually decided on a degree in business and marketing administration, which she earned from the Pontifical Catholic University in Puerto Rico. She’d been working in marketing for five years as a consultant when one of her client’s websites got hacked. She felt compelled to help, but she didn’t have the necessary skill set.
“I didn’t know what to do about it. I reached out to some IT professionals who helped me figure it out, and that’s when I realized I needed to know more about IT,” she says.
Leveraging the Fullstack Cyber Bootcamp
She moved to New York City shortly after that experience, and her arrival coincided with the launch of CyberNYC, a $100 million investment from the state to help create 10,000 cybersecurity positions in New York state. To take advantage of this, Fabianna applied for the Fullstack Cyber Bootcamp.
“My interests, the opportunities, and my life just happened to line up,” she says.
As a student in the full-time program, Fabianna realized that her program format felt familiar. It was “like a 9-to-5 job except it’s studying.”
She explains, “in the morning, there were lectures. We did some pair programming in the afternoon to practice the skills we learned. That's something I enjoyed the most. Pair programming gave us the opportunity to work on our soft skills and practice working as a team. Every day we worked with a new partner.”
In addition to the emphasis on pair programming and soft skills, Fabianna also credited Fullstack’s immersive, condensed learning. “Fullstack Academy provided the space and environment where I felt comfortable asking questions. It was somewhere I could push myself to learn faster. I loved that Fullstack Academy compressed three months of learning into just a few weeks,” she says.
Career Coaching & Guidance
While completing the 17-week program, Fabianna was connected with Jackie Ore, the Career Success Lead at Fullstack Academy who Fabianna considers “extremely helpful in my career transition.”
One of the benefits available to all Fullstack Cyber students is career coaching and guidance. Students receive help with preparing their resumes, tailoring their LinkedIn profiles, practicing soft skills, and more.
Fabianna felt she benefitted from all of these services from the Career Services team, but “most importantly, they helped me identify the experiences from my previous career that were relevant to my new cybersecurity career. That can be challenging for people doing this transition. They gave me the confidence and the skills to get the job that I wanted.”
She was able to leverage this and land a job at Accenture as an Information Technology Analyst.
“I’m working with the local technical support team and I also work with the marketing and communications team. It's interesting to have a mixed role here,” she says.
She continued, “Accenture is a consulting firm, and it advocates for every employee to know about information security. I'm working on a project for OneDrive adoption. Every employee has it but we need to protect our data more and promote different features where we can improve the security. I'm also currently supporting the COVID-19 response team's contact tracing program.”
Demand for Diverse Backgrounds
Fabianna has found that Accenture recognizes the strength of having a team with a diverse background.
“About one in 10 of us have a computer science degree,” she says. In addition to working with a former musician, Fabianna also works with fellow Fullstack Academy graduates as well as individuals from marketing roles. She adds, “our diversity makes us a well-rounded team, and it's fun to work with so many different people.”
For others thinking about a cybersecurity career, she encourages people to “consider what excites you the most about technology. When you figure that out, go for it! I truly believe there is a role for everyone in technology.”
As a former marketer, she explains “my journey wasn't traditional at all, but there’s space for me! If you're into HR, you can be a recruiter for technical skills and you can mix that with new knowledge from a bootcamp. If you're into sales, you can be a technical sales representative. There are a ton of opportunities. I'm happy I made the leap.”