Cyber Security Career Track
Vianey Luna
Before Springboard:
Spanish teacher
After Springboard:
IT security specialist at Cooper Machinery Services
"I'm having a lot of fun with Springboard! Getting into cybersecurity is not as difficult as I thought it would be."
"I'm having a lot of fun with Springboard! Getting into cybersecurity is not as difficult as I thought it would be."
Meet Vianey Luna, a student in Springboard’s Cyber Security Career Track.

Switching from teaching Spanish to training to become a cybersecurity analyst was an easy decision for Vianey Luna.

After spending several years teaching English as a foreign language in China and South Korea—and picking up Mandarin, Chinese, and Korean along the way—one of her students asked point-blank if teaching was what she had always wanted to do. She realized at that moment that it wasn’t.

While Vianey dreams of working as a cloud security engineer, she wants to find a way to give back to her students by teaching them technology skills. “I would like to continue helping youth, especially here in my community, because I have not seen any technology groups here,” said Vianey, who lives in Houston, Texas.

While she was hesitant at first about breaking into a male-dominated field as a woman of color (the proportion of women in cybersecurity is roughly 24%, while minority representation is 26%), Vianey says she has discovered a welcoming community where people are eager to help each other.

Let’s start with your career change. What made you decide to go from teaching to cybersecurity?

I would always tell my students, "Anything that you want to do, go ahead and give yourself a chance."

So one day, one of my students asked, "Miss, did you always want to teach? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do?" And I thought that's a really good question. Automatically, cybersecurity came to mind. So I thought, "Why don't I give myself a chance?"

I have a friend who was enrolled in Springboard’s Software Engineering Career Track and recommended it, and so I decided to join. The transition from teaching to cybersecurity was actually not a difficult choice to make.

How did you discover cybersecurity as a career path? Was there a specific “Aha!” moment for you?

When I was in college, cybersecurity was the new trend. So it was spoken about in academic terms, but there was no specific career path at that point. You either studied computer science or something related to that. So when I started interning in the communications industry, I started hearing about cybersecurity in seminars and talks—and that's when I was really intrigued.

For me, cybersecurity is the new frontier. It's unknown, and innovations are happening every day. That's what really attracted me, aside from the technology aspect. For me, being a part of something that is changing every day is what really motivates me—especially as a woman of color.

"From seeing the lack of representation in the field and considering myself a role model for my students, I would really want them to see me continue my new adventure."


What has your journey been like so far? Have you had any support from other women and people of color in the industry?

I joined WiCyS, which stands for Women in Cybersecurity. I've seen women really come together to help each other out and transition into the field. One of my initial hesitations was when you see meetings or events about cybersecurity, they're usually led by men. But seeing this group of women come together, and attending workshops led by women was amazing. My mentor at Springboard is a man, but he’s the one who turned me onto this group.

That’s wonderful. What do you hope to achieve in your career after you complete the course at Springboard?

I would like to work in cloud security. I really enjoy cloud computing. I recently joined a jam session with Amazon Web Services and I loved it. It was so much fun, especially working with a group of women that I had never met and having to battle and find solutions together. I think that really solidified my dream. So I would like to do that and also mentor. I would like to continue helping youth, especially here in my community, because I have not seen any technology groups here.

Do you think your teaching background will come in handy as you pursue a career in cybersecurity? Has it helped you so far?

I think so. My teaching background requires a lot of communication and breaking down big ideas. So far I've written a lot of reports where I've had to break down these complex issues and my teaching background has helped me out a lot. I can do that with ease. Communicating effectively with your peers is also really important in cybersecurity. Those soft skills from teaching have really helped me not only learn from others, but also collaborate.

It seems like no matter what background you come from, when you transition into the tech industry those skills come in handy in one way or another.

Exactly. I agree.

Cybersecurity has a lot of specialties once you've been in the field for a few years, like ethical hacking, blue teaming/red teaming, and incident response. Is there a particular specialty that interests you?

Cloud computing has been my biggest interest. Of course, ethical hacking is very important for every company small or large, especially nowadays, because of the constant threats these companies face daily.

Did you have any misconceptions about cybersecurity before? Have you debunked any of them?

There were two misconceptions that I had myself. One was that it was very difficult for women to get into the industry. The second misconception was that this field is difficult to get into if you don't have the skills. For some reason, I thought that you had to be born with the skills to be in cybersecurity or tech in general—but no, people are constantly learning. And there are so many resources out there to help you begin your journey. It's also a place where you can start at any age, whatever your background. Cybersecurity is a very, very open field and it's just waiting to be explored. Img

Let's talk about your Springboard experience a little bit. How do you like the mentorship in the course curriculum so far?

I love it. I had a full-time job, and the flexibility that Springboard offers is amazing. Also, the weekly calls with my mentor, Jay James [Cybersecurity Engineer and SOC Lead at Auburn University], going over what I've learned. Just having that one person to bounce back ideas and communicate weekly made a huge difference, but the curriculum is also very easy to navigate. It offers breaks. So it's not just about learning cybersecurity skills every day; you also have breaks to gain those career networking skills you need to get your first job.

Why did you choose Springboard?

I chose Springboard because of the flexibility that it offered. I think a lot of programs are very rigorous and you have to attend classes at a certain time; for me, that just wasn't an option. Also, I have several friends who have been through the program and just loved it. Having people back it up really made that a clear choice for me. The other bootcamps that I have seen have not had the same kind of reception. Seeing other people succeed made me want to join the program because they were also going through a career transition.

Any words of advice for those who are considering a career in cybersecurity but aren't sure if it's right for them? How do you know if a new career path is right for you?

Starting a new career is not an easy task. We're the hardest on ourselves and as I tell my students, “Give yourself a chance.” The hardest part is starting. As long as there's hard work and effort, nothing can stop anyone from reaching their dreams. If cybersecurity is really an area that interests you, give yourself a chance. The program at Springboard has really helped me. It's a step-by-step process and I think eventually I’ll be able to reach my goals. But I think the number one thing is just to give yourself a chance to get started.

Well said! Anything else you’d like to add?

Yeah. I'm having a lot of fun with Springboard. It's not as difficult as I thought it would be. I think imposter syndrome is very real and affects a lot of people, and taking it step-by-step has really helped me, so I'm really glad to be finally doing what I always wanted to do.

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