After earning a bachelor of science in cybersecurity from Loyola University in Chicago, Dipen Patel was having trouble landing a job. According to feedback from potential employers, he lacked the practical experience for an entry-level security analyst role. Dipen started looking for ways to do hands-on projects and build a portfolio–and a bootcamp seemed like a promising option. Shortly after, he decided to enroll in Springboard. After earning his CompTIA Security+ certification, Dipen started receiving messages from recruiters on LinkedIn. A few weeks ago, he started a new role as a security analyst at Accenture.
During the COVID pandemic, it was really hard to get a cybersecurity internship because I didn’t have hands-on experience. So I thought the best path would be enrolling in a bootcamp to get experience and study for the CompTIA Security+ certification exam. Because of Springboard, I was able to get the certification and land a job.
One-on-one mentorship was a big factor. My mentor would look at my projects and give me feedback on what I needed to improve upon. The capstone projects also helped me apply the concepts I had learned.
I was a bioengineering major in college, but I didn’t want to continue in that field, so I started to explore other career paths. I came across cybersecurity and I started listening to podcasts and reading more about what the field entails. I became really interested in the defense part, such as penetration testing.
I liked the fact that we would get a lot of hands-on experience and receive help from mentors and career coaches. I thought that would be a great help for me in advancing my career.
Our relationship was really good. He even helped me out after I completed the Cyber Security Career Track. I wanted to work on a personal project and I sent him a little diagram of how I wanted to set it up and he gave me his input on it.
In one of my capstone projects, we had to do a walkthrough of a penetration test. I thought it was really cool because I got to research new tools and see how they would work in an actual penetration testing environment. From there, I learned how to make security reports. Then my instructor reviewed it and pointed out the things I had missed.
Yes. I had someone to reach out to if I ever got stuck. Whenever I had questions, I would just email my mentor and it never took him that long to respond back. Then, during our weekly mentor calls, he would walk me through other resources I could use to help me out.
My career coach helped me fix my resume and LinkedIn profile. After that, a bunch of recruiters found me on LinkedIn and started messaging me. From there, I was able to go through the interview process.
Read the questions carefully. There’s only one right answer, but the way the questions are worded can mislead you. Don’t keep changing your answer because your first choice is probably the right one.
When I was studying for the exam, I used a website called Professor Messer, which has short clips to help you study for each section of the test. It explains each topic in detail and there are practice tests which not only show you the right answer but also explain why the other answers are wrong.
Communication for sure. When you’re speaking to a higher-up who is not as technically advanced as you, you have to explain things to them in a way they will understand. Also, being self-motivated to learn new things is important because this field is constantly evolving.
If you’re interested in how we can better protect ourselves online, then a career in cybersecurity might be for you. Start by listening to podcasts and trying out exercises on Hack The Box.