Anthony Nathan came from a mechanical engineering background; while he was well-versed with computers, he knew little about the world of technology.
Working in operations and management at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Anthony noticed how integral data was to his industry.
“Everyone was talking about data in my profession,” he said. “It’s becoming harder to stay secure, so you need to have strong cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is an industry that’s booming — by 2030, there’s going to be a real demand for it.”
Seeing a promising potential, Anthony wondered how he could make the switch to an IT career from a non-technical background. After researching and consulting with industry professionals, he enrolled as a part-time learner at UofT SCS Cybersecurity Boot Camp.
From imposter syndrome to nerves of steel
Anthony was nervous. Though his critical thinking and analytical skills were assets in the cybersecurity field, he found the boot camp’s course material challenging. For the first three months, Anthony worked an additional 15 to 20 hours during weekends so he could be up to speed with the rest of his class.
“The staff was really supportive both inside and outside of class,” he said. “The real challenge was getting rid of my initial mental block. Once I processed and began to understand the material, I was really enjoying it.”
By the boot camp’s four-month mark, Anthony had learned a lot. Still working as a manager for his firm, he decided it was time to give cybersecurity his all. With that, he quit his job, undertook independent research, and began building a portfolio.
“The boot camp really gave me the drive to be successful,” he said. “The material and the way instructors taught made me question what was next.”
A whole new world
Anthony finished the boot camp in April 2020. When the course ended, he was asked to come back as an assistant instructor for the very same program he had just completed. Transitioning from learner to instructor, he was able to share lessons learned in the boot camp with both prospective and current learners.
“It was a learning experience for me,” said Anthony. “Explaining and simplifying the material to [learners] allowed me to solidify my own knowledge.”
Yet Anthony’s journey was far from over. In September 2020, after five rounds of interviews, he secured a security analyst role at OfficeSpace Software.
“I love the role,” he said. “It’s a different world from where I came from, but I was able to apply what I’d learned from the boot camp to my new position.”
Today, Anthony works directly with the founder of the company and receives a lot of exposure both in and outside of cybersecurity. In the long-term, he hopes to combine his project management experience with his newfound technical abilities, managing a cybersecurity team.
His advice to prospective learners with non-technical backgrounds? Give it a shot. If you have the right mindset, success is inevitable.
Want to switch career paths? Explore UofT SCS Boot Camps today.