With cybercrime on the rise, the need for cybersecurity professionals is greater than ever. But as a developing field, it’s not always the most obvious career choice. For Ryan Mohr, it took spending time in an unfulfilling IT job to realize that he needed a greater challenge — which led him to a role in one of the world’s fastest-growing fields.
Once Ryan discovered a passion for this emerging field, he began taking online classes and exploring cybersecurity courses and certificates. “In my search, someone from the Columbia Engineering Cybersecurity Boot Camp reached out on LinkedIn,” he said. “After looking into the boot camp, my choice was clear.” He enrolled.
Laying the foundation
The first few sessions of the boot camp were governance-based and included many concepts Ryan had learned in his self-study. Beyond that, the material quickly picked up. “The bulk of the boot camp really immersed us in the foundations of cybersecurity, like the command center, which I really knew nothing about,” he said.
Ryan began the boot camp in-person and enjoyed being able to work alongside other learners. However, rapid developments with COVID-19 required the cohort to transition online. “There was a bit of a learning curve, of course,” he said. “But the online aspect really put me in the mindset of troubleshooting and being resourceful, like you might [have to do] in a work setting.”
Entering the field
Once out of the boot camp, Ryan got to work looking for employment. The pandemic job market was tough, but COVID-19 caused cybercrime to skyrocket, increasing the need for defense professionals like Ryan. He utilized the boot camp’s career services department to fine tune his resume and then leveraged tools like LinkedIn to connect with recruiters.
“Sometimes, I’d send out 15 messages a day to recruiters, and I also attended many virtual networking events,” Ryan said. This dedication got him hired at Cohere Cyber Secure, a firm that helps financial companies protect their digital assets.
“In my current role, I’ve helped build our company’s SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solution, monitored logs for attacks, bolstered defense systems, and secured networks,” Ryan said. “Aside from that, I troubleshoot any potential threats to our clients. My career is one-hundred percent more fulfilling now and I’m so excited to be in this position.”
Looking to what’s next
The best part of cybersecurity, according to Ryan, is that it’s such a rapidly developing field where no two days are alike. As for breaking into the field? He recommends just jumping in.
“All experience is good experience,” he said. “I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am without the boot camp; there needs to be a starting point for any career. And now, I’m leading new things daily at my job and really getting a handle on what’s next for the industry.”
One of the biggest trends Ryan has set his sights on is protecting against advanced persistent threats (APTs), which are large-scale, politically motivated attacks. These targets on infrastructure put new stress on cybersecurity professionals, but provide a new challenge for skilled defense analysts to create stronger barriers against threats.
If cybersecurity interests you, Ryan encourages you to go for it! “Cybersecurity is experiencing its biggest growth with everyone working remotely,” he said. “It’s a great time to get involved.”
Ready to dive into the future of tech? Explore Columbia Engineering Boot Camps in coding, data analytics, cybersecurity, fintech, and digital marketing today.