Noah Lazzaro always knew he wanted to start his own company, but he wasn’t sure how to get there. He had a curiosity for technology and a passion for helping others, and wanted to create a company that reflected both interests. With the help of Penn Cybersecurity Boot Camp, he was able to do it.
Combining a new set of cybersecurity skills with a dedication to uplifting marginalized groups, Noah completed the program well-prepared to achieve his ultimate career goal.
“It’s time for us to circumvent how we’ve been thinking as a society and putting stigmas on people,” he said. “It’s important that people who have fewer opportunities know there are companies like mine out there for them.”
Discovering a dream
Noah struggled with school his whole life, discovering in college that he has Asperger’s. He worked full-time in order to put himself through school, but halted his education after three years. From there, he became interested in web development and completed a boot camp that certified him in user experience and user interface design — but he knew that wasn’t his calling.
“It just wasn’t for me,” Noah reflected, “but I really liked code, so I tried some different things out and eventually got a job as an application software engineer specialist.”
While working hands-on in this role, Noah wanted to expand his knowledge even further. That’s when he discovered the Penn Cybersecurity Boot Camp.
A brand new start
As a member of the program’s inaugural cohort, Noah quickly realized that there was a learning curve for learners and instructors alike. The curriculum, while comprehensive and market-driven, was also challenging.
To combat this, the instructors provided constant encouragement and support — and Noah was especially impressed by his two TAs, Angela and Anne, who really drove the class. He was also encouraged by the boot camp’s learner success manager. “He was awesome. He probably cared way more about me getting through the boot camp than I even did,” Noah said.
Despite its challenges, the boot camp allowed Noah to grow as a cybersecurity professional and accomplish something he’s proud of.
“When you’re going through the boot camp, you’re learning so much,” he said. “Your brain feels like it’s exploding and nothing makes sense — until you’re at the end of it. Then things really start piecing together.”
Building a company from scratch
After the boot camp, Noah founded his own company called Cyber Swordsmen. He’s passionate about providing people with access to critical information — so his startup does exactly that. “I wanted my own company so that I could always support the issues I care about,” he said.
Cyber Swordsmen deploys and manages a cloud-based security SaaS. They also provide people with penetration testing, which is a concept the boot camp touched on. Without the program, Noah would have faced an exponentially larger learning curve.
“The vendor that I chose to work with has a platform that’s very high-tech and expansive,” he explained. “If it wasn’t for the boot camp, I wouldn’t understand most of the things I’m doing.”
He’s also passionate about working with people from different backgrounds and identities. Noah is transgender, and aims to provide opportunities for other members of the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, he wants to hire people who are on the autism spectrum, asylum seekers, immigrants, refugees, and more. “I want a company where I never have to worry about not having a job,” Noah said, “and so do other people with lifestyles or circumstances that some people don’t understand.”
The future is uncertain, but Noah’s vision is clear. Moving forward, he hopes to eventually consult nonprofit organizations who share meaningful missions similar to his own.
“It would be a dream of mine to travel the world and do social engineering projects,” he said. “My company will always reflect any passions of mine.”
Through the cybersecurity boot camp, Noah was able to gain the knowledge and skills needed to create a company that’s doing impactful work.
“While being trans and working in technology, people are looking at so much more than just you — they’re looking at what you can do for them,” he said. “I want people to look at my company, see what we can do for them, and not care about who’s doing it. If someone has a skill that can help you, you should give them a shot.”
Ready to chase your own career goals? Explore programs in coding, cybersecurity, data analysis, and fintech at Penn Boot Camps.