Alumni Spotlight

From Athlete to Security Analyst with Clarusway

By Jess Feldman
Last updated on November 29, 2022

Emmanuel Apau was a soccer athlete for twenty years before starting over as a complete beginner in cybersecurity. Emmanuel dedicated himself to the Cyber Security bootcamp at Clarusway and passed the CompTIA Security+ exam on his first try, before he even graduated! Now he works as Security Analyst at Provalus with the long-term goal of becoming a Security Engineer. Find out what Emmanuel wishes he knew before enrolling in a cybersecurity bootcamp and why he’s bullish on tech internships. 

What inspired you to launch a career in cybersecurity?

I was a college athlete at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, then at Chicago State, playing soccer. I had played soccer since I was six years old, so this was my first time needing to do something other than soccer in twenty years! My brother and aunt work in the tech field and I wanted to find my niche there. I came across Professor Messer’s YouTube page and decided from there I wanted to explore cybersecurity.

There are so many online cybersecurity bootcamps now — Why did you choose Clarusway?

I felt like Clarusway was the right place for me because they were just launching their Cyber Security bootcamp. Since we were their first cohort, I felt comfortable that we'd all learn together. I first went to an info session, which explained the program. Then they gave us stats predicting the next 10-20 years of cybersecurity and how the role is projected to change. I felt empowered that I could change my life by going through this journey with Clarusway. 

Did you feel like you needed to know basic tech skills in order to enroll at Clarusway?

You don’t need to know basic tech skills to get into Clarusway. In the first month, they cover everything you need to know to be successful in the program. I really wanted to succeed, so before I joined, I looked up CompTIA A+ course work and combined that with my new knowledge from Clarusway. 

Did you receive any special financing from Clarusway? 

I joined Clarusway as a college athlete, so I was starting with nothing financially. I was banking on utilizing Clarusway’s Income Share Agreement (ISA), but after I got my taxes back, I was able to pay a certain amount upfront and then pay the rest after I got a job.

What was a typical day like in the online Cyber Security bootcamp? 

I did the bootcamp full-time and it was like working a full-time job. There was pre-work before each class that we needed to understand in order to participate in that day’s lecture. Class was held online in the evening, but I would start my prep-work at 5am and then rewatch the class after it was over. For me, I felt I had a minimal chance for mistakes, so I dedicated all my time and energy to making sure I got it. 

What did you learn in the bootcamp? Were you prepared for any cybersecurity certifications?

To be a cybersecurity analyst, you have to understand what the bad guys do, and Clarusway demonstrated that to us at the highest level. We did malware analysis and they taught us how to realistically pivot when we’re on the job and run into specific problems. 

Clarusway divided the curriculum into three modules, and the first module was dedicated to learning technology and CompTIA’s Security+ certification. It was tough learning from scratch but Clarusway was tremendous. They broke down the certification book so that we learned everything we needed to pass, which I did! I took the exam during the bootcamp. After module two, we took a break to take the exam. I used my tax money and passed the Security+ exam on the first try!

Who were your instructors and what was the teaching style? 

Palo and James were our instructors and they helped me tremendously! I was more of an observer than a talker in class and took notes on everything they said. They had invaluable wisdom that prepared me for job interviews after I graduated from the bootcamp. 

Since Clarusway is an online bootcamp, were you able to connect with your fellow classmates?

We got to know our fellow classmates through the groups we were put in for mentorships. I met a few people that I still speak with to this day. I felt included at Clarusway. 

How did Clarusway prepare you for the job hunt? 

Clarusway has dedicated workshops every Tuesday for mentorships and Career Management Service (CMS), which offer step-by-step advice on applying to jobs and what employers expect from new hires. Clarusway paves a way for you to achieve your end goal after graduating from the bootcamp. Coming from an athletic background, I didn’t have experience in professional interviews, so the career services at Clarusway gave me the confidence I needed to ace tech interviews. 

What tech roles did you feel qualified to apply for after graduating?

Clarusway bootcamp is designed to help you land a role as a Cybersecurity Analyst (either L1 or L2), but within the curriculum we were exposed to a lot of things that prepared us for other tech roles. I wanted to go for a Security Engineer role, but I thought starting out as a Cybersecurity Analyst would allow me to learn a lot on the job within the realm of cybersecurity, so that when I do get to that Security Engineer role, I’ll understand the roles of both Analyst and Engineer. 

You completed an internship experience at Duskbeacon before landing a full-time cybersecurity role. What did you do in the internship? 

Clarusway and Duskbeacon are sister companies that offer a competitive internship for students who show they are committed to their learning in the bootcamp. The internship actually happened during the second module of the bootcamp, and lasts for 3-6 months. During the internship, I learned about ways to pivot on the job and communicate effectively with my bosses. As I was graduating from Clarusway, I had already finished this prestigious internship, which really helped me stand out on my resume! 

Do you recommend that other recent bootcamp students and graduates consider internships?

I do recommend bootcamp graduates consider an internship. What Clarusway taught through the internship translated easily to jobs in the real world. I felt really prepared going into my new job having completed this internship first. 

Congratulations on your new job as a Security Analyst at Provalus! How did you land the job? 

Provalus is a consulting company for Humana, and I landed this job through hard work and prayer. It was listed as an EasyApply role on LinkedIn, which doesn't always offer replies, but to my surprise I got a call from a recruiter the next day! 

Did you feel prepared for the technical interview at Provalus?

Before graduating from Clarusway, every student goes through an interview process. I had 3-4 different interviews, so that if I was given the chance I would be ready for it! For the Provalus interview, I was a bit scared, but having that experience interviewing with Claursway gave me a better chance at getting the job — which is exactly what happened! 

What kinds of projects are you working on at Provalus?

As a Security Analyst L1, we operate like first responders in overseeing Humana's cybersecurity environment. If we see something that seems malicious or suspicious, we work with L2s to configure a solution to the problem. 

Are you using what you learned at Clarusway now on the job?

Clarusway teaches step-by-step how to be a cybersecurity analyst. They would ask us: From what you already know, how does this look malicious or suspicious? Why did it alert the system? What steps can I take to get to the end goal? They taught me how to pivot, and then they broke it down to help us pinpoint who, where, when, how, and how to document it by hand. 

How have you grown as a cybersecurity analyst since starting your job?

I've learned so much from working at Provalus! When I got on the job at Provalus, I learned how to use Notepad++, which allows me to quickly add areas of concern into a digital document, write my conclusion, and escalate it to L2 if needed from there. 

At this point in your tech career, was Clarusway worth it for you? 

After studying kinesiology in college as a soccer player, my parents wanted me to take a health career route but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Clarusway empowered me to change my life. They taught me how to be a Cyber Security Analyst, which opened up a world of possibilities for me and my career. I can’t thank them enough for the confidence they've given me in cybersecurity.

Find out more and read Clarusway reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Clarusway.

About The Author

Jess is the Content Manager for Course Report as well as a writer and poet. As a lifelong learner, Jess is passionate about education, and loves learning and sharing content about tech bootcamps. Jess received a M.F.A. in Writing from the University of New Hampshire, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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