It’s no secret that the internet can be a scary place. (And we’re not just talking about your mom trying to add you on Snapchat). At a time when most of our professional and private information is stored online, we need a task-force of specialists to keep it safe—a team of superheroes, of sorts.
Enter cybersecurity experts: they’re the people safeguarding everything online, from our most embarrassing #squad photos, to documents vital to our country’s national security. And not only is the cybersecurity industry producing some of our country’s most vital jobs—it’s also producing some of the most lucrative. The industry is growing rapidly and paying well, yet many young people lack exposure to the field, or have misconceptions about what it entails.
That’s why we’re so excited to launch our newest road trip, fueled by University of Maryland University College (UMUC), and featuring three promising young adults who are interested in cybersecurity. They’re not the shadowy “hackers” you see portrayed on television; they’re a team of three bright and curious minds who are striving to make our world a better place through technology.
Their green RV launches from New York City next week, and will then spend three weeks winding its way through cities like Washington D.C., New Orleans, and Austin before finally ending in San Francisco. Along the way, the team will sit down with leaders from all different roles within the field to find inspiration for their own future paths.
So, without further ado, let’s meet the Cybersecurity Roadtrip team!
From San Diego, California
To Mansi, cybersecurity is a field where you can be a superhero. But when you’re a modern-day tech protector facing millions of malware threats, you need backup. That’s why she’s drawn to the space where cybersecurity meets machine learning. Mansi wants to help shape how we meet the growing magnitude of cyber threats through data and automation. This challenge energizes her—the same way she’s energized by the challenge of being one of the few women in the field, even though it’s sometimes difficult. She knows that what she achieves can have a ripple effect and inspire others. Right now, she’s pursuing her master’s degree in cybersecurity, and when she’s not working on her tech skills, she likes to practice yoga at the beach with her friends and cook Italian food.
From Greenville, North Carolina
Sometimes Antwan gets stressed out by the thought of competing with younger college grads for jobs in cybersecurity. But he’s worked too hard to get here—holding down a full-time job during the day and loading UPS trucks at night just so he can finish his master’s in digital forensics and cyber investigation. “I refuse to give up,” he says. The memory of his grandfather, who never complained, keeps him going. Hearing “no” motivates him, too—it just makes him want to work that much harder. He found his passion for cybersecurity a little later than some, but now that he knows what he wants to do, he’s looking for inspiration from people who have taken a leap of faith and made their dreams happen. “There are so many people like me,” he says. “Hearing about their experiences is the best motivation to keep going.”
From Bloomington, Illinois
The thing Emily loves about cybersecurity is its duality: the tools you use to break into a system are the same ones you use to protect it. Quick to get bored, with an insatiable curiosity, Emily discovered cybersecurity a year ago and found a home in the fast-moving, constantly evolving field. Formal education was a struggle—she dropped out of high school and didn’t finish college—and it seems like everyone else started coding as a kid, so Emily wonders if she’ll be able to catch up. She’s been teaching herself, and recently completed a coding bootcamp in between working as a barista, but now she’s at a crossroads. It’s time to take a leap if she’s going to pursue cybersecurity, and that’s why she’s on this road trip—to find guidance and inspiration to jump-start what’s next.
You can ride along with the cybersecurity road-trippers by following #CybersecurityRoadtrip on Twitter!
(And if you see the green RV on the road, don’t ask the road-trippers not to hack you…everyone in our office already made that joke!)