Cyber Security Career Track
Dipen Patel
Before Springboard:
Undergraduate at Loyola University
After Springboard:
Cybersecurity analyst at Accenture
“I chose Springboard because I knew I 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.”
“I chose Springboard because I knew I 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.”
Meet Dipen Patel, a graduate of Springboard’s Cyber Security Career Track.

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.

Tell me about what you were up to before Springboard. What made you feel the need to enroll in a bootcamp right after earning your degree?

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.

What type of hands-on experience were you able to get through Springboard that you didn't get in college?

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.

What initially interested you in cybersecurity?

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.

Why did you choose Springboard?

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.

How was your relationship with your mentor?

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.

Tell me about your favorite capstone project. What did you learn by working on these projects?

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.

Online learning is often seen as isolating, but at Springboard we try to provide students with a learning community of mentors, teaching assistants, career coaches, as well as fellow students. Did you feel adequately supported in your learning experience?

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.

How was your job search process? Was it easy or challenging? Were the career coaches helpful?

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.

Do you have any advice on how to study for the CompTIA Security+ exam?

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.

What soft skills are important for cybersecurity analysts?

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.

Any words of advice for someone who is interested in cybersecurity but isn’t sure if it’s the right career for them?

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.

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