“One of my personal challenges was convincing myself I could learn cyber security despite entering the game much later. After a long time in any career, change can be daunting. But following that passion is so important, so you don’t go forward with regret. TryHackMe helped guide me through those early beginner stages and learn from scratch. I’m really grateful for this help.”
Today we’re sharing Michael’s story. Michael utilised TryHackMe training labs to dive into a whole new career path, following his love of technology and intrigue in security. Since upskilling in the field, he now works as a Security Engineer and thrives through the evolving nature of the industry.
Why did you start learning cyber security?
I have been a music teacher and band director for close to 10 years - a huge passion of mine is teaching and learning. After a long period in my current industry I wanted to develop myself further, and looked into the technology niche for opportunities. When I first considered switching careers I was initially apprehensive at how a long time in another field would play against me - thinking being a band director had zero relevance. While the knowledge scope varies, a mentor helped point out many parallels and showed me how to transition these strengths into a new career.
Cyber security jumped out to me. It requires consistent learning with so many regular evolutions, and there are many opportunities to progress. Security grabbed my attention immediately, and I’ve been hooked since!
What was the most challenging part of learning cyber security, and how did you rise above those challenges?
Honestly, challenges are an expectation in cyber security! There’s a lot to learn and a recurring host of new threats and tools to stay on top of, but I think that’s an exciting aspect. One of my challenges was convincing myself I could learn cyber security despite entering the game much later. After a long time in any career, change can be daunting. But following that passion is so important, so you don’t go forward with regret. Having a platform like TryHackMe to guide me through those early beginner stages was incredibly beneficial, and I’m really grateful for this help. There are some excellent cyber security learning resources available to beginners online.
How did TryHackMe help you learn?
TryHackMe was a brilliant starting point to learning cyber security. The modules and lessons were particularly helpful with step-by-step learning, walkthroughs, and virtual machines. The wide variety of pathways was also a useful aspect, as it was easy to choose paths that catered to my personal cyber security interests. I love the gamified approach and badges earned along the way, this makes learning more immersive and is a great way to benchmark progress.
What have you accomplished with your new skills?
I have achieved a security engineer position for a healthcare company through my training progression, switching from my previous role as a music teacher. I love what I do. I never thought I would veer from teaching music, but cyber security has allowed me to utilise my previous skills from teaching and evolve new ones. It drives real excitement about work and progression.
I continue to develop my skills in a range of ways in my current position, including topics such as log analysis, security tool implementation, vulnerability analysis, pentesting, and malware identification. I leverage my existing knowledge to develop awareness and training programmes for the wider team, and identify security vulnerabilities and mitigation strategies. I am still relatively new in the field, but I anticipate growing even more as time, experience, and training goes on!
What advice would you give someone just starting in cyber security?
Dive in! Keep going, keep learning, and have fun.
Find what resonates with you and immerse yourself in your learning. Setting up a home lab and messing things up is a great way to learn - and don’t let money be a barrier. There are many free resources, including hundreds of labs on TryHackMe. I think taking that first step of learning and breaking into cyber security can be the toughest, so it’s worth making that jump and seeing where you go. The more you know, the more valuable you are and the more doors open.
If you’re also transitioning from a different field, remember there are so many aspects of this industry where your skills are still valuable and can help you get a leg up. Cyber security is still a new focus for many companies, and all your previous experience is relevant and valuable. Use this experience as a strength and selling point.