Tatsiana Kamarova was working in accounting before considering cybersecurity. As an alum of the first Lighthouse Labs Cyber Security Bootcamp, Tatsiana shares how she made a career change. Learn about the cyber security certifications and exams she recommends, the tools she learned in the bootcamp, and the personalized career support that helped lead to her first cyber security role as a Security Operations Analyst at Seekintoo.
What inspired you to pivot your career from accounting to cyber security?
I have a master's degree in accounting from Belarus. When I moved to Canada, I landed an accounting assistant job and then the pandemic hit a year later. I started working remotely and it was during this time that I started thinking about changing my career. Life slowed down and I could do research.
I've always been interested in tech and I wasn’t in love with accounting as it stopped being challenging to me. It was time to follow my curiosity. I was looking into STEM jobs and starting considering web development even though I wasn’t super interested in it. After some self-studying of entry online courses in cyber security, I decided I wanted to start a new career in cyber security.
Why did you choose Lighthouse Labs Cyber Security Bootcamp?
A major factor in choosing Lighthouse Labs was the convenience of getting a certificate in just 12 weeks! I had been following Lighthouse Labs on social media, keeping up with their Demo Days, and I saw in the Spring of 2021 that they announced a collaboration with CyberNB introducing a new Cyber Security Bootcamp. I started diving deeper into cyber security and realized I loved it, so I applied to the bootcamp!
Did you feel like you had to know basic cyber security skills or technical knowledge in order to apply to the bootcamp?
Not at all! However, to be accepted to the bootcamp I had to pass two levels: a quiz on given cyber security-related material and an assessment of logic and basic mathematics.
Did you have to complete any prep work before the start of the bootcamp?
Yes, after acceptance into the program we were assigned 40 hours of prep work on the fundamentals of cyber security, like basic protocols, network administration. The prep work really helped prepare non-IT people like me before diving into the coursework.
What was a typical day like in the online cyber security bootcamp?
In the morning, we had a two-hour lecture with our instructor after a recap of the previous day’s lectures and homework assignments. We were encouraged to ask questions with each new topic. After class, I studied and worked on homework.
Overall, the cyber security bootcamp wasn’t as demanding as what I’ve heard about the web development bootcamp. I quit my accounting job before the bootcamp started, but I think I could've worked at least part-time while studying.
What did you actually learn in the cyber security bootcamp?
The cyber security program dove into core cyber security domains, such as network administration, forensics, malware analysis, incident response, and ethical hacking. We were introduced to platforms and tools, like Splunk, WireShark, Burp Suite, and Cisco Packet Tracer. We learned so many different software programs that help in the everyday life of cyber security professionals!
Since this was an online bootcamp, did you feel connected to your cohort?
Yes! We connected on Discord and knew we could always communicate, text, and video chat. Our mentors were always available to connect to if we needed them.
Were your instructors or mentors cyber security experts?
One of my instructors worked as a Senior Manager in cyber security as a Cyber Security Advanced Consultant. The other instructor had a software engineering background with a focus in cyber security.
What kinds of projects or labs did you work on in the bootcamp?
We had daily lab homework that expounded on what we learned that day. There was one major project we worked on for 7-8 weeks and then we presented the project on Demo Day.
Did Lighthouse Labs prepare you for any cybersecurity or networking certifications?
While Lighthouse Labs didn’t prepare me directly for specific certifications, I was able to pass the CompTIA Security+ certification after completing the bootcamp. Later, I passed the CySA+ exam per my current employer’s request. Most employers require having some certification, so the typical path for cybersecurity and networking certifications is: A+, Network+, Security+, then CySA+.
How did Lighthouse Labs prepare you for the tech job hunt?
We had a few sessions with our cyber security career coach, Ashley on how to write and prepare a resume, interview etiquette, and common interview questions. I was also in weekly contact with Ashley after graduating from the bootcamp to discuss the progress of my job search. I really felt the career support from Ashley at Lighthouse Labs!
Which tech roles did you feel qualified to apply for after graduating?
I felt qualified for Junior/Tier 1 roles like Security Analyst and Security Operations Analyst. These are common as entry-level positions for people who have 0-1 year experience in security.
You’re now a Security Operations Analyst at cybersecurity service provider, Seekintoo! What was the interview process like for you?
I applied on my own and got an interview, which I felt confident about, thanks in large part to Ashley’s support in career services. Seekintoo’s interview process was straightforward and didn’t require multiple rounds of interviews to get in. My one interview was a solid, hour-long conversation that combined behavioral and technical questions. I was really nervous and I didn’t expect them to get back to me, but in two weeks they came back to me with a job offer!
Was Seekintoo interested in your Lighthouse Labs bootcamp experience?
They had never heard about Lighthouse Labs cyber security bootcamp, and they were definitely interested in what I learned, what I built for my project, and how prepared I would be to work there. Since I was hired, they’ve continued to interview bootcamp grads!
Did Seekintoo require certifications in order to land the job?
It was not required in the job description, but I indicated on my resume that I was in the process of getting certified. I started the job four days after I took the exam.
What kinds of projects are you working on now at Seekintoo?
My day-to-day duties include analyzing security events and alerts that come from our clients. I’m the first person to see events and analyze them to decide if events are considered security incidents and if they need to be escalated to the client’s security team for further investigation.
Are you using what you learned at Lighthouse Labs now on the job?
Every job and company are different, so we did not learn in the bootcamp exactly what to do on Day One. But I use the fundamental basics I learned at Lighthouse Labs, like how to investigate and how to analyze security incidents.
At this point in your career, was Lighthouse Labs worth it for you?
Yes, Lighthouse Labs was worth it. However, I want to point out that changing careers still involved a lot of self-learning. I wasn’t sure when leaving the bootcamp if I’d be able to jump into the field right away.
My advice to future cybersecurity students is to not limit yourself by only studying the bootcamp material. Always try to learn more. Prepare for a certification — at the very least, take the Security+ exam, because it includes a lot of basic information necessary for a cybersecurity career.
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