Welcome to another installment of the CISE Security Program student spotlight! This month we spoke with Alejandro Ramirez, a current cybersecurity student in the Application Security track who is spending the summer working at an internship at Cloudflare.
He first heard about the program while taking computer science courses at Laney College. Some cybersecurity programs caught his eye, and after taking a chance on CIS 71, Introduction to Information Security at Merritt, Alejandro knew he had found a new passion.
“After the second week of class, I was hooked. The class was being taught by former VMware CISO, Mark Egan […] the stuff we were learning was so incredible that spending 5 hours in class was a breeze.”
Learning how things work had always interested Alejandro, but it was the challenge of breaking down barriers in order to rebuild them, new and improved, that drew him to cybersecurity.
“Thanks to this program I realized the many erroneous assumptions I had made about computer and internet security. This turned my interest of learning how things work to entirely focus on cybersecurity. Two years later, that learning desire is stronger than ever.”
Thanks to the benefit of learning from cybersecurity professionals and the variety of guest speakers in the program, Alejandro is flourishing in this field. One of his favorite classes in the program has been Web Application Penetration Testing thanks to its hands-on nature which offers an invaluable and unique learning experience. He’s also thankful to the other students that have developed a strong sense of camaraderie in and out of the classroom.
Now Alejandro is able to put some of what he’s learned into practice with his internship at Cloudflare, where he’s had a chance to learn about major information security regulations in Information Security Compliance. Thanks to all of his hard work in the CISE Security Program Alejandro was well prepared to adapt to Cloudflare’s work environment.
“My internship at Cloudflare has been an amazing experience so far. I couldn’t be more excited to be spending the summer at such an important cybersecurity company world-wide. My first week was all about learning what Cloudflare’s role is for the internet.”
Beyond his internship and and classroom work, Alejandro keeps current on cybersecurity news and trends with websites like KrebsOnSecurity.com, podcasts like Cyber Security Interviews, and educational videos on Cybrary.it. Finally, Alejandro takes every chance he can to test new hacks on his devices at home to keep his skills sharp.
Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving field, one that requires diligent practice, and Alejandro’s parting advice for other students is patience and persistence.
“My best advice for anyone trying to begin studying cybersecurity is to be patient and persistent. You will never know everything no matter how long you’ve been working in the field, so don’t get frustrated if you feel lost sometimes and you don’t seem to grasp something you’re trying to learn. Learning technical skills takes time but never assume you don’t have the ‘talent’ to do it.
If you live near the East Bay and you’re interested in computer science and cybersecurity, take advantage of this great program at Merritt College because it will leave you with first-hand experience, with very good chance of landing a well-paid job, and best of all, debt-free!”
To nominate yourself or others for a future Student Spotlight article, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org