A veteran transitions from military medical logistics to multi-national security analyst
The cybersecurity field benefits from the diversity of its cadre, as the diverse backgrounds and world views help bring different approaches and methods to fighting cybercrime.
Ricalyn Pascua exemplifies these strengths. The former U.S. Army medical logistics specialist veteran is now a security analyst for a multinational supply chain management company.
Armed with a unique blend of military logistics and medical experience earned over nearly a decade, Pascua knows the importance of not only a smooth supply chain but the necessity for security. After witnessing several high-profile cyberattacks across the industry, Pascua decided to turn her focus toward this dynamic, ever-evolving fight bolstered by the support of the VetsinTech program and Infosec.
VetsinTech (VIT), which supports our current and returning veterans with reintegration services and connects them to the national technology ecosystem, is committed to bringing together a tech-specific network, resources and programs for our veterans interested in education, entrepreneurship and employment. A perfect fit for Pascua, she entered the program, completed Infosec’s Security+ and Network+ Boot Camp programs, finished an intensive four-month cybersecurity training program, and then immediately began work in the field, ultimately joining the Flexport company as a security analyst.
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Infosec learned more about Pascua’s experience, her background, and how VIT and Infosec’s support helped build her cybersecurity knowledge and collected any lessons she would like to share with other veterans looking to enter the cybersecurity industry. We edited the interview for clarity.
Please tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a security analyst and a U.S. Army veteran. I served for six years as a medical logistic specialist. I obtained a comprehensive background in operations management, logistics, strategic planning and process improvement derived from conducting medical missions around the world. I have 10 years of extensive professional experience in engineering, robotic programming, automation and information technology.
Some of my passions include architecture, arts, photography, fitness and traveling. I love working out and running as my fitness regimen. Staying fit and healthy is an important part of my life. I strongly believe in the quotation of John F. Kennedy that “Intelligence and skills can only function at the peak of their capacity when the body is healthy and strong.”
Why did you pursue a career in cybersecurity and take the boot camp?
The high-profile data breaches that were making the news in the past few years have led me to explore the possibilities of learning to secure the security posture of an enterprise environment. I wanted to expand my horizon and change my 10-year engineering career. I learned about the VetsinTech organization through my military connections in LinkedIn and applied to the program.
How have your Infosec training and certification helped give you job-ready cybersecurity skills?
Learning the A+ and Network+ courses with Infosec initially has provided me with the foundation and ground-level understanding of IT, software, hardware and networking concepts. The boot camp training has increased my chances of passing the CompTIA Security+ certification, which involves security issues with concepts of risk management, threat identification, detection of intrusion, vulnerability attacks, setting up access controls and cryptography.
Overall, it provided me with a well-rounded understanding of the core issues of networking and security in preparation for a real-world job in cybersecurity.
What’s next for you? Since your boot camp, have you secured a new role?
I believe in professional development and continuous learning for self-improvement. Thus, after the boot camp, I decided to apply for IBM training with another organization supporting veterans. With that hands-on training, I achieved two certifications and a badge in IBM QRadar and IBM Security i2 Analyst's Notebook.
After that, I applied to another VetsinTech program, and I was accepted into the Artificial Intelligence Academy Program at North Carolina State University, sponsored by the Department of Labor. I completed three courses in AI academy foundations, Python programming, and data mining and attained the credential of data scientist certification.
And early last year, I applied to the Military Apprenticeship Program with the Smoothstack company. I was hired as a cybersecurity analyst. I underwent rigorous remote cybersecurity training for four months with the University of Maryland Baltimore and achieved several certifications. Finally, after the apprenticeship program, I officially secured my role as a security analyst with Flexport company.
How instrumental was/is VetsinTech and Infosec towards your employment journey?
For the most part, the VetsinTech free training programs have paved the way for my career advancement as a veteran from cybersecurity to data science. VetsinTech and Infosec have been very instrumental initially in my journey towards my career transition to cybersecurity from military service, engineering career and now as a security analyst.
What should you learn next?
What should you learn next?
What advice would you give to somebody looking to start a cyber career or take a boot camp?
The journey to starting a career in cybersecurity is not easy. However, anyone can be successful in life with a fervent passion to succeed. And that goes a long way with the right mindset, discipline, structure in life and consistent hard work.
Continuous learning for self-improvement and professional development is important. Take advantage of those free programs and training from VetsinTech and other organizations supporting veterans. Believe in yourself, and never give up!