Kevin Angeles graduated from Sheridan College in Ontario with a degree in Computer Engineering Technology in 2018. He was holding two jobs at the same time, yet felt unsure of the path he was on. He decided it was time to make a change.
“I decided to go another route and delve into cybersecurity,” he explained. “I realized without any further education beyond what I already had, it’s going to be very hard for me to actually find a fulfilling job.”
He had previously tried becoming a Cisco Certified Network Associate to move up in the IT world, but a sudden change in certification requirements frustrated him. Not discouraged, he decided to try something else.
Research first, just to be safe
At one of his then-current jobs at Cummins, he tested hydrogen fuel cells for functionality compliance with company standards before they shipped out to customers, which was interesting but Kevin couldn’t see himself in that position long term. Then, a friend referred him to UofT SCS Cybersecurity Boot Camp and Kevin saw what his future could be.
Juggling a new job with the myriad responsibilities that come with successfully completing an educational program in the midst of the global pandemic was challenging, but Kevin was up for it.
“I think it really helped that the program was online. Of course, there’s pros and cons — but the TAs were still readily accessible at any time. I could message anyone on Slack and they would be ready to help me right away,” he said.
Feeling secure in learning throughout the pandemic
As a result of being remote, learners and workers alike have had less structure in their day-to-day schedules — which makes it easy to get sidetracked and lose momentum.
But Kevin’s interest and excitement for the material helped him stay focused. “If you’re actually interested and you enjoy what you’re learning, you’re going to make sure you stay on top of things,” he explained. “I tried to stay on top of my assignments.”
Kevin was able to borrow what he knew about computer engineering and apply it to the cybersecurity program at the University of Toronto SCS. As such, he was able to help other classmates transitioning from completely different fields to succeed. For example, one of his classmates was a BMW mechanic; another came from the business world.
“I knew how tough it could be learning something for the first time. Especially as you get older, you don’t really learn as fast as you would when you’re younger,” he said.
Putting in the work
That’s not to say that things were a cakewalk for Kevin. When it came to the technical minutia of the cybersecurity world, he was in the dark before starting the program.
“Every field in security is its own beast. But the program definitely prepared me for a lot of things,” he said.
Kevin found that the allotted six months gave him a firm understanding of a variety of topics specific to the domain of cybersecurity. “Before, I had no idea what I was going to do in the cybersecurity realm,” he explained. “But this program was really great at touching the bases of a lot of aspects of cybersecurity so that you can make a better choice of what you want to do.”
Aside from the coursework, Kevin discussed how he benefited from the myriad career services offered through UofT SCS Cybersecurity Boot Camp. “They helped with my resume a lot, showing me what I could improve on,” he explained. “I participated in the Demo Day with a couple of my friends I made in class. I was in constant contact with my career advisor.”
Prepping for the future
Following his time in the program, Kevin worked with a friend who puts on interviews for large companies—and who coincidentally had also previously taken the same course— to try out a mock interview. From there, he was able to land interviews for a position as a full-time Associate Security Analyst at Herjavec Group in Toronto.
“First, I had a pretty general HR-focused phone interview. But then the second interview with the SOC manager was very, very technical.” Though challenging, Kevin was ultimately offered the position and started in May 2021.
For the future, Kevin plans to get the Offensive Security Certified Professional(OSCP) certification so as to become a penetration tester. “I had no idea there was even a job as a penetration tester prior to the boot camp,” he said.
While he had other certifications which helped make him a more attractive applicant, Kevin believes that the foundation he gained from UofT SCS Cybersecurity Boot Camp provided him with a strong foundation to build a career.
“It looks good on my resume, and helped me to start to take cybersecurity seriously,” he said.
Interested in securing yourself an exciting new career? Explore UofT SCS Boot Camps in coding, data analytics, UX/UI, cybersecurity, fintech, and digital marketing today.