Military veteran Desiree Walters had relatively limited experience in the tech field, but she was eager to gain the skills she needed to transition to a career in the field. With the help of the Fullstack Academy Cybersecurity Bootcamp, Walters gained the skills and knowledge to kickstart a rewarding career as a SOC Analyst.
While Walters didn’t have much cybersecurity knowledge to start, her military background in aircraft maintenance did help prepare her for bootcamp. Through her military experience, Walters gained several transferable skills that are highly valued in the tech industry, like keeping meticulous documentation, conducting effective troubleshooting, and managing security protocols for asset protection.
The Fullstack Academy Cybersecurity Bootcamp is designed to prepare students for real-life scenarios and environments through labs, group projects, and career simulations. During bootcamp, Walters was exposed to a variety of in-demand cybersecurity principles, strategies, and tools such as Red Team (Offense), Blue Team (Defense), programming with Python, asset and inventory management, networking, and other critical fundamentals.
“My ultimate goal for the bootcamp was to prove to myself that I could learn a new skill and make a successful career transition into tech, even though I didn't have a background in it,” said Walters. “ I also wanted to excel in the program and learn as much as possible. With time, dedication, and great support, I can happily say that I achieved both goals.”
For Walters, one of the most challenging aspects of bootcamp wasn’t the program itself, but instead dealing with imposter syndrome, which is common for those transitioning to a new career. Luckily, however, Walters was able to lean on her classmates, mentors, and instructors for support when she felt self-doubt.
“The support I received from my fellow classmates, mentors, and instructors was amazing. They all played a crucial role in my journey.” Walters recalled. “They reached out to provide encouragement and reassurance about my progress, highlighting the strides I had made and reaffirming my abilities.”
The road to finding the perfect cybersecurity role was more challenging than Walters expected. With a large and diverse network, she hoped she would be able to land a job easily through personal connections, but that wasn’t the case. However, Walters did have the support from her Fullstack Academy Career Coach, Carolyn Montrose, which made all the difference.
“I'm so incredibly thankful for the support I received from Carolyn,” said Walters. “She always gave excellent advice and never allowed me to settle for less. I couldn't have done it without her.”
After bootcamp, Walters landed a position as a SOC Analyst for a company specializing in rural electric cooperatives. In her role, every day is always different, which challenges her and keeps her work interesting.
“I am always learning new things, and that’s what I love the most,” said Walters. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with a team of talented security professionals and to make a positive impact.”
Now that Walters has found her passion in cybersecurity, she encourages other military veterans to pursue a tech career.
“Even if you're only slightly interested in tech, I encourage you to pursue it,” Walters advised. “I wasn't 100% sold on this career transition myself, but I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did because I ended up loving it. I'm so glad that I pushed myself to learn something that I wasn't familiar with but was curious enough to check out. If you're thinking about a career in tech, I say go for it! You won't regret it.”
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